2016-17 UT Arlington Basketball
UTA vs. St. Francis (Ill.)
Nov. 21, 2016
Arlington, Texas -- College Park Center
UT Arlington Head Coach Scott Cross
Opening statement …
"It was good to be at home. We needed this game. I felt like our last game we made some steps in the right direction, at Arkansas. Our guys played the right way. They played extremely hard, minus the turnovers we had in the second half, I felt really good about that game. Felt confident going forward if we continued to do that we would be in good shape. At times our intensity was great and but in the second half it dipped again. That was a little disheartening. That is one thing that needs to remain constant for us and our guys have to figure out how to keep up that high intensity, regardless of if we are hitting shots. Regardless of whether the opponent is hitting shots. We have to be a little bit more poised with how we execute offensively. At times, the other team hits a shot, and we miss one or two, we will have a careless turnover or we won't execute offensively, and move and cut with speed like we are supposed to. Then when we do, it seems like we get everything that we want offensively. It was a step in the right direction. We needed a win. They are a well-coached team. They have a couple of good players on their team. It was a positive. These two guys (Nathan Hawkins and Faith Pope) were both big contributors coming off the bench and were a big reason why we won the game."
On improving on second-half energy …
"Some guys, these two guys right here. I thought Faith (Pope) was the one guy that I thought was consistent with his energy throughout the night. Nate too. Nate was diving on the floor. He's a guy that, if we are struggling execution wise, we can always rely on that he can get the ball where it needs to go. He understands every position. He is a guy that never panics and plays with confidence out there. Faith is the ultimate energy guy. Both these guys helped us during that time. We hit a couple of shots. I know Drew (Charles) hit a couple of shots at crucial times. I know if he misses a couple of those, who knows how close the game gets. Luckily we were able to execute and get back to running our zone offense the way we are capable off. Last year, when teams went zone, we absolutely picked them apart. We probably had spent a little bit more time on it last year. But last year, we got to the point where we were so good at (zone) that we didn’t even need to spend a lot of time on it. We really haven’t this year because there are so many other things we have to work on. We have new guys coming in: Link (Kabadyundi), DJ (Bryant) and Erkam (Kiris) and we are trying to teach them the basics of our offense. Our zone offense is simple, we just have to execute a little bit better."
On the performance of transfer Link Kabadyundi…
"It was good to finally get him a bucket. He has probably been pressing a little bit. He tries so hard out there. It is different having a 7-foot-1 guy out there. These guys can tell you that. It's an adjustment for him. It's an adjustment for us. It's an adjustment for the players out there. We've had to learn how to get him in positions where he can be successful. As you can see, he's 7-foot-1, he's huge and he plays hard. There is going to be a spot where he can help this team. We've just got to figure it out. He's going to get better as the season progresses. He is going to be a guy that can help us win a championship down the stretch."
On Kevin Hervey's performance and gradual return from knee surgery …
"From a shooting perspective, he did great. I wanted to see him rebounded a little bit more. He wasn't crashing the glass like he's capable of. He's a guy that should have 10 rebounds in a game like this. He was on fire from the outside and that was good to see. I know he's probably been pressing a little bit and struggling a little bit to get going offensively. It is kind of a breakout game for him and hopefully that will continue for him. Once he figures out that his knee is completely healed and he gets back to getting relentless crashing the boards then we'll start to see the double-doubles out of him that we saw last year."
UT Arlington Student-Athlete Quotes
#3, G, Nathan Hawkins
On a strong performance attacking the basket …
"I appreciate that. Just trying to not settle for too many threes. I've had a tough go of it with 3-pointers this season. Just trying to stay aggressive attacking the basket and just picking my spots, trying to stay in the flow of the offense. Having my teammates tell you every time when you come off you are doing well. Keep on attacking. It's a big moral booster, keeps your energy up and your head in the game. It is easier when the team is behind you."
On facing a team for the first time …
"Being a team we don't know, our coaches had to do a good job of scouting. It is just being another game that we had to focus on. Coaches talk about taking it one possession at a time, one day at time. Just staying focused on finding our identity. Like coach said, just trying to get back to that gritty play that we do. No drop-offs energy wise. Whether it is first half, second half. Whether we are hot or they are hot. It doesn’t matter. Trying to focus on getting our identity back and playing the way we play, regardless of who we are playing."
#34, F, Faith Pope
On his performance today …
"Like coach said, I'm just trying to go out there and bring as much energy as I can. Just do whatever it takes to win the game. Whether it is dive on the floor, grab a rebound. Dive on the floor, anything. I'm just here to do whatever it takes."
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