USU men's basketball head coach Tim Duryea addressed the media on Monday and answered questions about the upcoming home game against Great Falls on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The complete transcript of the press conference can be found below.
On Great Falls
“Great Falls is off to a good start this year. They are like most non-Division I teams in terms of the issues they give you. They are small at the four- and five-spots. Their four’s and five’s are more like guards. They do have a 6-9 kid they play at the five, but other than that they are going to be undersized and give you matchup problems.
“They’ll play man or zone and you are going to have three, to four, to five guards on the floor most of the time. We have been guarding people very well, but those are the issues that they’ll give you, like any other non-Division I game.
On matching up with Great Falls with a smaller lineup
“For tomorrow night, we are going to start Alex (Dargenton) at the four and Norbert (Janicek) at the five. Jalen (Moore) will play some four during the game and Quinn Taylor will play some five and that is how we’ll go small.”
On tuning things because it is a non-Division I game
“It will be good that they’ll play some man and zone defense. We didn’t play well enough against the zone that Indiana State played on Saturday. We haven’t seen a lot of zone in games. We face it quite a bit in practice when we are playing against each other, but we don’t play a 2-3 and that is the zone we faced the other night. I’m glad we are going to face some changing defense because we need some work on the zone side in game conditions.”
On the feelings on the Indiana State game after watching the film
“We are still disappointed in terms of how well we played offensively for a while, but confounded by how we played against the zone. We are a team that can shoot the ball, but we didn’t shoot the ball very well at all and had really good looks. We just didn’t ever get comfortable. If we would have gotten comfortable attacking the zone, they would have gotten right back out of it. I thought it was a total desperation move on their part because of how well we were playing against their man defense. They fell into something and we didn’t handle it well enough to make them get out of it. It was frustrating.
“We guarded the heck out of them for the most part. We are defending pretty well right now and defending at a high level. We took care of the boards the other night, so I was pleased with that part of it. We didn’t defend the 3-point line quite as well as we need to and as we have. They hit some tough 3’s when we were right there and they got rolling in the second half. The one thing we looked at was the last possession of the game. You always question yourself, should we have doubled (Brenton) Scott and made it hard to catch? Should we have been in a zone press to take up time? The fact that there were 10 seconds left, it wasn’t a three- or four-second issue where they would get the ball in, take a few dribbles and then take a shot. It was more of a short possession, and we knew the ball would get to the half-court and we would have to defend. We decided the most accountability you can have is to have a man matched up on a man. So many games are won in that situation, not on the first shot, but on the second shot. We wanted to have a body on a body and it ended up that the ball got loose and we had two guys to the ball helping and the ball came to a guy that was totally unguarded. You always question yourself there if you should have done something differently. We had two or three options available to us, but the one we picked didn’t work out.”
On the approach to free throws
“We actually got a lot of free throw practice in before the Indiana State game. I wished it always correlated because you obviously don’t ever practice your free throws. We make our guys make 100 outside of practice. We make our guys practice during practice. We have them work on it outside of practice. We had guys shooting free throws well after 10 o’clock at night on Thursday after our practice and then Saturday we got the free throw performance that we did. Free throws are so mental. They are so contagious as a team one way or another. If everyone is making them, it makes it twice as easy to make them. Especially in a tight game, if everybody knows you’ve missed your last two or three then that becomes contagious, as well. It comes down to somebody stepping up and knocking two in and getting the momentum going the other way. We’ve talked about it. We’ve not talked about it. We’ve practiced it, we always practice it and they have to make 100 every week outside of practice. We do that consistently. For years around here we were a tremendous free throw shooting team because our bigs were good free throw shooters and they’d get fouled a lot. We have the right guys going up to shoot them, but we are just not making as many as we should. It cost us the game the other night.”
On the reason for starting Alexis Dargenton
“We need to get some production out of that spot. We are just not getting solid, consistent production from anyone playing that spot. I’m going to continue to play Jalen there for stretches based on matchups with other teams, based on the way they are guarding and based on the way we want to play during stretches of the game. The minutes that he is not at the four, somebody else has to pick up the production. Alex has shown flashes of that and gives us some athleticism over there. Quinn (Taylor) is struggling with production at that spot and we’ll play him at the backup five. We need to get more consistent play on both ends of the floor from Ngor Barnaba. It is a spot that no one has claimed and it is a very important spot with the way we play offense. It has really been the hole in our offensive game and it is a big reason that our shooting percentage is going down, our points per game are going down and that spot is the number one concern.”
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