Men's Basketball

 
Postgame Quotes

Dante Milligan

Dante Milligan

April 2, 2008

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - COACH Travis Ford's OPENING STATEMENT:
You know, very excited about the win. These guys have shown a lot of heart and a lot of integrity and believing in each other. You know, we played tonight against a very young but very talented and extremely, extremely well coached Florida basketball team.

You know, again, I told our guys, the reason I thought we would have a chance in this game would be if our seniors would show leadership; if our seniors would step up. And there's no question that our three seniors who played tonight I thought were the difference in the basketball game. Obviously Chris Lowe did some very, very nice things. But I think our three leaders have had the mentality of not wanting to take the UMASS uniform off. I think it has shown in our previous games in the fact that we have gotten down in all of them, and we figured a way out to come back. And the reason we come back is these guys just have that never die attitude.

Dante Milligan's THOUGHTS ON THE GAME:
I knew my teammates were trying to play their heart out and we just wanted to come in and get the win.

Gary Forbes ON TEAM'S POOR SHOOTING IN FIRST HALF:
From day one, when Coach started coaching us, he told us we are going to be susceptible to runs and we are going to make runs and so we never worry about how we're shooting in the first half. We shot 1 for 13 from the 3. We came in the locker room very positive and we knew we were going to make a run like we always do.

Gary Forbes ON TEAM'S ABILITY TO COME BACK:
I mean, I felt, like I said, we think about all of the past games and we've played, like Northern Iowa from the beginning of the season, down 20 points at the half and we came back, down at Syracuse and came back; Akron and we came back. It's like an ongoing thing for us. It's like Coach said, we have a never die attitude.

Chris Lowe ON THE FAN SUPPORT:
You know, that means a lot because it shows how well we're playing as a team and how the coaching staff is getting back in the winning tradition back at UMASS and make us seem like on home court. A lot of us are from New York and we're right in Massachusetts and it's real close.

Chris Lowe ON TEAM'S CONFIDENCE:
We started making shots and better decisions with the ball once we went up, and once we went up, we knew we were going to keep the lead as long as we played smart basketball and that's what we did. We just fed off each other's energy and protected the lead for the whole game, or in the second half.

Gary Forbes ON PLAYING IN THE GARDEN:
I kind of felt at home. I've played here twice before for championship games in high school, and you know, it was ironic that I ended my high school career here at my high school and ended my college career here. This time I felt like I wanted to get to the championship game and won my last college game and to win it at the Garden is definitely a dream come true.

COACH Travis Ford ON FREE THROW SHOOTING:
We don't have the greatest percentages when you look at a piece of paper, but we seem to have made them this year when they counted.

Obviously it's key, you know, Chris Lowe is a good foul shooter and Gary can make foul shots and Dante is getting better. (Laughter).

But it does have something to do with making sure the right guys get there, and you know, there's no question that we would love for the percentages to be better on a piece of paper. I've always said, I think there is such a thing as a good free throw shooting team and not so good. I think you can get a little better if you're back and forth, but this team has seemed to, when they counted, put them in. You know, there's no question Chris made some big ones tonight.

Dante Milligan ON HOMETOWN FANS:
Yeah, I mean, it definitely felt like a home game. We definitely fed off of their energy and I think that helped us go on our run in the second half, and that's why we've continued to play as hard as we did.

Dante Milligan ON DEFENDING SPEIGHTS:
In the first half I was primarily playing on his back and he was getting easy catches in the post but in the second I was a little bit more active working him too much, so I guess he didn't like that too much.

COACH Travis Ford ON DEFENDING SPEIGHTS:
And the first half, the way we were playing defensively put Dante in a bad spot a lot because we were blitzing or trapping ball screens which got him out on the court and allowed Speights to run free a little bit so then we quit blitzing and quit trapping which allowed him to focus a little bit more on his man. So probably we put him in a bad spot the first half.

COACH Travis Ford ON USING THE CLOCK LATE:
Yeah, I do think we got the game going up and down the way we wanted it for most of the second half. I was very confident with our defense, the way our defense was playing. I think we held them to 30 points the second half and that's the only reason I had to slow it down a little bit because I felt pretty good about our defense at that point in time. I felt if we got to the 3 minute mark and didn't give up any 3s, I felt like we were in good shape.

I felt like off the dribble at the end of a shot clock, we were trying to spread the court out a little bit and Chris Lowe is one of the tough guys to guard off the dribble and we wanted to him to create something, whether it was a drive for himself or a drive and kick. Gary made a couple tough shots, he made a fall away jumpshot which was a hand right in his face.

So we made a few shots to be able to continue to do that.

COACH Travis Ford ON WINNING DESPITE NOT SHOOTING WELL:
Yeah, again, you know, when you go 1 for 13 in the first half, obviously you're wondering how things are going.

But as I told our team, it's funny, right before our team went out on the court in our last little get together, I said, "We're a team, we are not dependent on three pointers." I told them, "We are depending on how hard we work. Don't depend on 3 pointers." I don't know if I jinxed us or what but we didn't make many.

As many as we take, I've said this, it's not a do or die thing for us. You know, what is important for us is to get the game going up and down. Now, if we make a few shots that allows you to press and allows you to do things, but as long as we are not turning the ball over and as long as we are not fouling a lot, those are two things we don't want to do because that slows the game down and that's what we want to do. We want to try to make it as fast as possible, try to fatigue teams, and we're going to make some 3s. May not be a whole lot, but we'll make a few here and there.

COACH Travis Ford ON WHAT HE SAID AT HALFTIME:
We talked again at halftime, you know, I think we were down nine and things weren't going well and defensively we had to make some adjustments on our ball screens. We started the game trapping and blitzing, Lucas and those guys, and it wasn't working and they ended up turning the corner on our big guy and playmaking to some other guys. We made some adjustments defensively to go in the ball screen, quit trapping and allowing them to get a high number of assists. We wanted to cut down their number of assists.

We told them, we need to get the game going up and down. The game is not going fast the way we want it to go and we came out and scored a couple baskets early which gave us some confidence and the game started getting back into the flow that we liked it. Again, we talked about, it's crazy to say, we're happy to be down nine. It could have been a lot worse. It could have been a lot worse. When you go out and shoot 1 for 13 from the 3 point line it could be a lot worse.

COACH Travis Ford IN IF HIS TEAM IS COMFORTABLE PLAYING FROM BEHIND:
It's been so long since we had a lead in the first half. Our guys really believe in each other.

I go back, Coach Donovan has got a very young basketball team, this is going to be a valuable experience for them, and there's not a better coach in the country. And we talked a lot about, we were an older basketball team. You know, we start three fifth year seniors, and that needed to show at some point, it needed to, if we were going to have a chance to win because they are a very young, talented basketball team. But those three seniors need to show why they have been at college for five years, and I thought they did that. I thought Dante played great and Etienne made a few good shots at the end and played defense and rebounded the ball well. I told them, we'll go as our three seniors go, and I thought those guys really stepped up tonight.

 

 

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