Men's Basketball

 
Postgame Press Conference: UMass 75, Dayton 62




Jan. 10, 2009

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Head Coach Derek Kellogg's general comments

First of all, I thought the atmosphere for the game, the support of the city and all the people that came out today, was fantastic. They came out to the game and gave us a boost in the first half when Dayton made a nice run and pulled ahead by six or eight points, and then again in the second half when we picked up our play and made a nice run in the second half. I would like to thank everyone that came out today because it was a special day for the relationship between the city of Springfield and UMass. I was very pleased with how our guys competed. We got to the free throw line 27 times and we outrebounded them. Those are two things that are an indicator of how hard you play and if you are the aggressor. Defensively, I think we did a great job of executing the game plan and making the game tough on Dayton. Chris Lowe played his best game of the season today and he was the difference between us being okay and pretty good.

Coach Kellogg on Springfield game

This was an enjoyable day. I had a great time out there. Coming back to the city of Springfield and playing at the MassMutual Center, it was a big day for me. I think we have some fish to fry out there that may be a little bit bigger, but this was a good building block for us. I am happy that it turned out the way it did and I would like to play a game or two a year here. I think it worked out great for the area. It was a big day.

Coach Kellogg on having a full week of practice

We needed the week of practice, we probably could have used a month because we still have a ton of stuff to work on. The week was great for us. I didn't really worry about Dayton until later in the week. First, I had to get our team playing the way that I wanted them to play. We had some success, they started buying in a little bit more. It is hard to get them to do exactly what you want when you lose a couple games pretty tough, but this will help us to move forward.

Chris Lowe on A-10 schedule

We have been through a lot of tough practices since last week and I think everyone is starting to buy into what Coach Kellogg is saying. This is our conference schedule now. Forget about what happened in non-conference, we are 0-0 right now. If you think about it, everyone is going to be beat up. Xavier is the only team that will get an at-large bid, so we need to play together and listen to what the coaches are saying. If we do that, we will have a chance to make a run at this.

Ricky Harris on team's ups and downs this season
It has been an up and down season. The win at Kansas was a huge win for us, I think guys got complacent and content. We didn't really work as hard as we wanted to, or as hard as we were supposed to against Vanderbilt. Coach Kellogg told us that if we really wanted to make a run at this, we are going to have to compete every single day at practice. Over the past week, practice has been war. We have been going at it on and off the court. We are starting to come together and play as a team. Hopefully, we can build from this.

Ricky Harris on Anthony Gurley's play

It is huge. The game plan was to stall the ball for a second and run down the shot clock so we could melt some time off the clock. To hit two big shots like that, with five seconds left on the shot clock is big for us. He is a big time player, he came from a big time program at Wake Forest. We expect him to make big plays like that.

Chris Lowe on week of practice

We went back to day one in practice from when Coach Kellogg got here, doing high intensity drills with rebounding and shooting. We knew we were going to have to come in and be physical and win the ball battle to have a shot in the game. Everyone bought in and all five people on the court crashed to the boards and got some rebounds.

Dayton Coach Brian Gregory's general comments

I give credit to UMass and Derek did a great job of getting this team ready to play today. It seems like UMass is still in search of themselves, but they are a talented group and they were very efficient today. We didn't play very well, but they had a lot to do with it. We didn't defend and we didn't rebound. We were very hurried on offense. We lacked the poise you need to play with on the road. We lacked the basketball savvy that you need. We didn't do a very good job in those areas. We challenged our guys. Chris Lowe is as good of a point guard as there is. I know he hasn't had as good of a season as last year, but he is in the A-10 now and he knows this league. I think he has a little better handle on UMass' offense now and knows what Derek expects of him. There is no doubt that that is a team talent-wise that will be very difficult to play against during the season.

Coach Gregory on Tony Gaffney

He is the best non-scoring player in the country. If there was one guy in the league, and no offense to the other guys around the league, but I would take him in a heart beat. He plays with great energy, great intensity. He is not a great shooter by any stretch, around the basket, or anywhere. But he just plays so hard and he makes great things happen. I remember watching him earlier in the year against Memphis and he dominated the game as much as you could in that game with sheer effort and energy alone. Because of that, he has turned himself into a heck of a player. He had 17 points and 7 blocks today and he plays that way every game. You have to give a kid like that credit.

 

 

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