Iowa State beat Bradley 87-68 on Sunday afternoon. Here is what Greg McDermott had to say about the victory after the game.
Opening Comments The first half was as well as we have played all year. Defensively, our rotation was good. We were able to make their looks from the 3-point line at least challenged and I thought that we were able to at least plug some gaps of their dribble-penetration, force some turnovers and turn them into offense. We made a few changes in what we were doing defensively in respect for the ability that Bradley has to get in the paint. We were able to knock a few balls loose. We were efficient offensively when we didn’t turn it over for really, the entire afternoon. Bradley got it going in the second half and we played 30 minutes of very good basketball. Then, for 10 minutes, I’m not exactly sure as to what was going on exactly. The game got out of control in a lot of ways. We didn’t respond to it in a very mature way.
Was it nice to have your defense fuel the team for once instead of the offense?
GM: We have been a team where as our offense goes, so do we. It was good for a change to allow our defense to create some opportunities for us on the offensive end, some easier baskets and a few run outs. We had a lot of points in the paint in the first half. That has been an area, it’s been an area of concern of mine recently, the number of points in the paint that people were getting on us. We weren’t getting enough. This afternoon, we were able to reverse that.
Will you continue to work on defense over offense in practice?
GM: I think most coaches are that way. I hate to let the cat out of the bag but it is just that players are so good and so talented with the basketball. You have to have a defensive plan. It changes to what the other team’s strengths are. As Marquis said, we worked on a little bit of zone and a little bit of trapping. If nothing else, just to disrupt rhythm. If a team gets into a rhythm on you, you want to be able to disrupt that. We worked on it all along. We zeroed in on it a little bit more this week and made some good strides with it. I think that we got some good results from it.
You’ve had over a week off and you said that the first half was the best your team had played all year. Were you surprised that there wasn’t more rust?
GM: Somewhat. Finals week is always tough. I tell myself every year that I am not going to get upset during finals week when practices don’t go exactly as planned. Every year, you end up getting upset because guys aren’t as focused as you’d like them to be. We had a really good practice yesterday. I felt as good going into that game as I have in some time because of the focus, the attention to detail that we had last year. The effort that was there. It seemed like everybody was clicking on both ends of the floor. I felt that the guys really understood what we wanted them to do in this game. They really executed that in the first half.
How much has Marquis grown since he got here?
GM: I said earlier in the year that our fans are just going to continue to see him grow with each passing game, simply because, the guy hasn’t played a lot of basketball. Now, we’re working on some fundamental things with him to try to develop that part of the game. He is spending more time in the gym. His daughter went back home. That has allowed him to really focus in and spend a little bit more time over at the practice facility working on his game. He is practicing at a different level over the past 10 days to two weeks than he was early. I think that it was overwhelming for him, as much as he had going on with school and his family being here and with practicing 2 ½ or three hours a day. Now, I think that his body has adjusted to it. Mentally, I think that he has adjusted to it. He is making some really good strides.
Did LaRon seem focused to you? Is his situation calm and is he here to stay?
GM: It’s calm for the moment. He had some issues. It is unfortunate that someone can’t go deal with some issues that they have at home without the whole world having to know about it. That is the world that we live in. The world of the Internet and things get blown out of proportion. That is unfortunate for LaRon. That is unfortunate for our program that that has to happen. Because frankly, what he has going on at home is nobody’s business but his.