Appalachian State (9-15, 4-7 Sun Belt) 77, UTA Arlington (14-10, 5-6 Sun Belt) 89
Thursday, February 1, 2018
College Park Center o Arlington, Texas
UTA Head Coach Scott Cross
On the win vs Appalachian State: "I'm proud of the guys. It felt like throughout the game we were playing the right way. They were competing defensively and it felt like we were playing together offensively. App State gave us a great game. They were hitting shots, a lot of contested mid-range shots from 15 feet, but they have some really good shooters so that's gonna happen. I'm proud of our guys for holding them to 40 percent. It was an all around team win offensively. Kevin Hervey gave us a huge lift on the boards. Johnny Hamilton did a good job down the stretch protecting the paint for us. Nathan Hawkins was huge tonight with a scoring lift. I think Mairega (Clarke) and DJ (Bryant) gave us great minutes off the bench as well. We needed everybody once Kaelon went down, as he had been our most consistent 3-point shooter."
Update on Kaelon Wilson, who left the game with an injury: "Hopefully we'll have an update soon. Our trainer was heading up to the hospital after the game, he felt like he was going to be okay. Maybe two stingers and it kinda went numb in his arms when Link stepped on him. That's all we know right now."
On halftime adjustments, and the huge second half: "The home crowd definitely picks you up, I thought they gave us a lift. At halftime, I think our guys were in a decent place but we've lost the second half in the last few games. So you could kinda see the energy drop, but I'm proud of them because it could've gone the other way like the last two games. They showed toughness and grit. I remember when Johnny was diving on the floor, those little things make a difference. And that's what we have to do as a basketball team, we have to be gritty and dirty. We're not going to come out and just dominate, we have to be great defensively. Early on they were hammering us on the boards and were getting second chance points but I thought down the stretch we did a better job."
UTA Senior Guard Erick Neal
On what was behind his huge second half: "I'm just tired of losing games, I just want to win. At halftime I started talking to the guys saying that we have to get the win, no matter what. And we're at home so we had to get the win. It was hard to see Kaelon (WIlson) go down, so we played for him in the second half as well."
Thoughts on App. State G Ronshad Shabazz, who scored 31 vs UTA: "He's a baller, I'm not gonna lie. Even when we played them at their place I tried to get into him, but he knows how to use his body to get open and create fouls. And I'm a smaller defender, so I just try to use my quickness to stay in front. Every time we play them you always hear him say `you're so fast, you're so fast'. So I try to use that to contain him."
On how he plans to carry this performance over vs Coastal Carolina: "We're gonna try to do the same thing. I think that game is a little bit more personal. They think they're better than us, but we don't think so. We don't think anyone is better than us in the conference, we're beating ourselves right now."
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