Dec. 8, 2012
Mizzou 68, Tennessee State 38
Dec. 8, 2012 - Mizzou Arena
Mizzou Head Coach Frank Haith
On making adjustments from the first half to the second half...
"Well, we played defense the whole night. I thought offensively we had some really bad turnovers in the first half and took our eyes off the ball. We couldn't get any rhythm going offensively. They sagged off of us and we couldn't make any shots which made us look kind of sluggish. But our defense looked pretty good in the first half. The second half obviously Stefan (Jankovic) gave us a good lift offensively, and Negus (Webster-Chan) also played very well. Our front line in Alex (Oriakhi) and Laurence (Bowers) were outstanding."
On the Tigers rebounding performance throughout the game...
"That's what we are right now and I think I sound like a broken record when I keep saying this. We are a team right now where we rebound and play defense to win. We have got to be consistent with that--our 3, 4 and 5 guys have got to keep going to the glass on the offensive end. You look at our rebounding numbers and our 4 and 5 guys have double-doubles; Negus gets eight rebounds and Keion (Bell) and Ernest (Ross) get four a piece. We really like to spread it out around the team."
On Stefan Jankovic getting an opportunity to play quality minutes in the game...
"That's the key, you have to stay ready. You never know when your number is going to be called. In the second half, I told him to be ready. Obviously he gives us a guy that's 6'11" and has great skill and he can pass and he can shoot the ball. The way they were playing us defensively, I thought he could get some good open looks."
On players being able to come off the bench and play different roles...
"You have to be able to come off the bench if you want to have a good team. Guys are starting to buy in and understand who they are. They all work every day in practice, so we have really good competition. We got guys that will take minutes from guys, so you can't have a day off when you don't produce or don't do the little things. It's not just about shooting the ball but whatever is needed."
On balancing practice, finals, and keeping the team sharp...
"Well obviously academics come first. We have to be on top of what we're doing academically. We have to get better and use this time to really study and get some court time to really improve. Guys know that this is an important week for us, particularly off the court, but definitely on the court as well."
Mizzou Forward Alex Oriakhi
On the team's defense performance...
"The defense was great, especially in the second half. We just responded as a team; we said we have to get stops and that's exactly what we did. From our defensive rebounding to contesting shots, it was great. We definitely showed improvement."
On getting more comfortable offensively...
"I think it's Coach Haith, always giving me confidence no matter what. Even if I play badly he's always emphasizing throwing me the ball. When your head coach wants to get you the ball inside, you want to do everything in your power to make plays. So, I think it's just Coach Haith giving me that confidence."
Mizzou Forward Stefan Jankovic
On his performance after not having much playing time...
"Coach always tells me to be ready, so it's not really a big thing; I'm just on the bench. Whether it's last game cheering or this game, coming in and being the spark. So I'm always ready."
On how he prepared during the past week...
"I'm still practicing, that's the big thing. Coach always tells me that practice - and I've heard it from other players - that's your chance, that's my game sometimes. So I find myself in practice trying my hardest. So when the game comes - I'm going up against guys like Alex and Laurence in practice, so I'm ready."
Tennessee State Head Coach - Travis Williams
On the positive takeaways from the loss...
"In the first half, we can definitely play with [anyone] when we're playing our type of basketball. We played well the first half; we played smart, got some shots that we wanted, and played well defensively the first half. The second half was a big let down for us. We let [Missouri] throw the first punch in the first four minutes of the second half and it dictated how the second half was going to be."
On high number of three point shots...
"We reverted back to our old ways. During our last three-game winning streak, we took good shots, didn't rely and settle for shooting 3s - we just reverted back to our old ways. Six-for-24 3s, that's unacceptable. We took a lot of bad shots. We didn't play within the scope of our offense that we were trying to do. So I think we took a step back in that category."
On what they plan to improve in the coming weeks...
"I knew going in that Missouri was a very, very good rebounding team. It showed tonight; they beat us on the boards 52 to 27. I knew going in `Hey, it's going to be a physical, grind-it-out game.' And we just tried to get our guys to understand the SEC level of play. You've got to play tough, physical, take contact and finish plays. That's going to be the main thing. [Also], defensive rebounds, executing our offense and making good decisions."
On improving the mental approach for the rest of their schedule after today's game...
"You've got to give Coach Haith and his staff a shout out. They're a very, very good team. They've got size, and got some skill [at each] position. I knew it was going to be tough. We've just got to regroup. I thought we would definitely play better. I didn't think we were a 30-point underdog. We just didn't make shots. Shots we normally make, we would make. But we also took some bad shots that we don't normally take."
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