Nov. 15, 2010
Jeff Capel Quotes
“We are very fortunate to get a win. You have to give a lot of credit to North Carolina Central. I thought they were tremendous. I knew they would come in very hungry. I know their coach; we were AAU teammates. We were in the backcourt together. He was one of the best players ever at North Carolina Central, one of the best scorers ever, always played with a lot of passion. Watching them from last year and following LeVelle’s [Moton] career, he’s done an incredible job there at North Carolina Central and his team’s taken on his identity. They prepare very, very hungry. They knocked us back there when they made their run in the first half, and I thought we became very tentative with our inability to make a shot. That affected us on both ends of the floor.
“I thought our defense in the second half was a little bit better. We held them to 33 percent in the second half and then finally, down the stretch, we were able to make a few plays and were very, very fortunate to get the game into overtime. Then in over time I thought we did a better job of attacking their zone and we were able to put together a few stops to make it at least a three-possession lead. Give them all the credit. This game will help us be better. Somewhere down the road we will learn a lesson from this.”
On Steven Pledger’s late 3-pointer to tie the game and force overtime:
“It was kind of from a busted play. I was happy to see him step up with confidence and shoot. All of our guys lost confidence shooting the ball because we couldn’t make a shot. Steve stepped up. We think Steve is a really good shooter. He’s a guy that should never lose confidence in himself.”
“One of the things I thought we did, and what I told them going into the huddle, we have a new life now. It’s 0-0 and a five-minute game. We do this every day in practice. We go through the five-minute segments or four-minute segments. I thought our guys did a pretty decent job of forgetting about the first 40 (minutes) and just focusing on that five (minutes). In that five we were better. We had a couple of bonehead errors, but I think we were 4-for-4 in overtime and stepped up and made some free throws.”
On OU’s defense:
“I thought it was better in the second half, better in overtime. In the first half it was non-existent. Eighteen of their 35 points came in transition. They became very confident. They shot 62 percent. The second half I thought was a little better; maybe they just missed some shots. I thought they got good looks at times. At times I thought our help defense wasn’t good. Again, we have to rebound the ball better. We out rebounded this team, but they had a few possessions where they had three cracks at it and made us pay for it.”
Sophomore Guard Steven Pledger
On if he can explain the difference between the first 38-and-a-half minutes and the last six-and-a-half minutes:
“I really can’t. It’s shooting. Shooters have to shoot. I just have to make shots. Thank God I hit them at the right time.”
On what was going through his mind late in the game when he was 0-for-6 from 3-point range:
“That time it was just ‘calm down.’ I’ve been in this situation before. I work for moments like that. So I just go through my progression and keep shooting.”
On getting the win:
“We’re going to have to get a lot of ugly wins and we’ll take them. A win’s a win. In the end it’s all about wins.”
On the last sequence in regulation when he hit the game-tying 3:
“When I caught it, he closed out how you teach a close-out: hands high on the shooter. But he was inside the 3-point line, and I was probably two or three steps behind it. I know that’s my range, so I just shot it. It was confidence; supreme confidence.”
Junior Forward Nick Thompson
On the end of regulation:
“I think a lot of it is just reacting and going to the bucket. We were settling a lot early. And when it came down to crunch time I think we just did the right thing and found a way.”
On his performance in overtime:
“It just kind of happened, I guess. It’s not like I went in there thinking I was going to go score and get an assist. We just played and it ended up being me. It could have been Steve (Pledger), it could have been anybody. They just found me at the right time.”
On playing a bunch of games over the course of the next week:
“I think, more than anything, we are just excited to get things going. We’ve got two games under our belt. We’re growing every practice, every game; stuff like that. We’re excited and ready to play.”
Sophomore Forward Andrew Fitzgerald
On a tough shooting night:
“Tonight just wasn’t our night, or it wasn’t my night. It wasn’t anybody’s night, but I think that our heart and the way that we play all the time really helped us pull it together.”
On overcoming a poor shooting night:
“The plays that Coach Capel set up for us, it’s really just me ducking in strong, just finishing. Tonight it really wasn’t my night of finishing. I was 8-for-17 from the field. For me, that’s unacceptable. But I have to put this behind me. Our next game is Thursday a
nd I have to be ready for that game.”
North Carolina Central Head Coach Levelle Moton
"It's tough. I have to go back and look at the video; it's happening at a much faster pace when you're on the sidelines. It came down to a loose ball; I thought we secured it and they just came out of the pack and threw it over and hit the 3. I thought that broke our backs, you know? As a young team, I thought we stayed in that moment, as opposed to moving forward. I thought it affected us mentally and physically in overtime. It kind of drained the life out of you, and it got the crowd back in the game. We just have to go back to the drawing board.
"Make no mistake about it, these young men came in here for one intent and one intent only -- to win a basketball game. We're trying to turn a corner and change the coaching, and winning is going to be the standard at North Carolina Central. We're going to hold them to that. They're hurt. They're still in the locker room crying; I mean it's a very emotional time. They felt that they could win a basketball game and we didn't do that. I told them to remember this hurt, remember this pain and let's not forget about it. It's going to be the same feeling that allows you to exert yourself. We'll lift the weights a little harder, run sprints a little harder, and just finish free throws out there."
On the overtime loss:
"I'm really at a loss of words as far as what it does to you physically. It just takes the life out of you. As a competitor, just beat me by 100 points. It's almost like Lucy and Charlie Brown with the football. He always tried to kick it and she pulled the ball right out. It hurts. But nevertheless, we have to go back to the drawing board. It's a long season and we can't have a pity party."
On the team's morale:
"If nothing else, our guys feel like they can play some of the top conferences and some of the best schools in the country. We sold them on that from day one. I told them, 'I'm going to push you as if we're vying for a national title. If you don't want that then I'll announce my resignation and you'll probably need another coach in here. But as long as I'm the coach, God willing, I'm going to push you as if we're approaching a national championship.'
"I think this does help. We have to go to the drawing board and we have to do things a little better, also. Now we've probably gotten the attention of some more big-time schools. They're not going to take us lightly. They're going to prepare for us like they're preparing for a conference foe."
On Andrew Fitzgerald becoming a force:
“Eight-of-17; he has to finish more. I said to Andrew after the game against Coppin State when he had 22 (points) and six (rebounds), I told him the next day in practice, “You’re happy with that. You should have had 28 and 10.” Tonight he should have had more. He should have had 28, 30 points. He has to do a better job of finishing plays down there. This is no disrespect to North Carolina Central or Coppin State, but especially as we start to play bigger, better, and more athletic teams. He has to do a better job of maximizing those opportunities.”