USU men's basketball head coach Tim Duryea addressed the media on Tuesday and answered questions about the upcoming game against Youngstown State on Wednesday, Dec. 20. The complete transcript of the press conference can be found below.
On Youngstown State:
“The first thing that jumps out about Youngstown State is they are extremely athletic. They play a lot of guys and play a lot of different lineups and a lot of different matchups. It is their program just trying to find their way. When you put on the film, you don’t see a 2-9 team. You see a team that plays really hard. You see a team that plays multiple defenses, on the half court and the full court. You see a team that is going to win this year by trying to dominate the offensive glass and by turning you over with their multiple defense. They want to pressure for almost 40 minutes. They are a little deceiving because they are a team, on film, that is playing better than what their record shows.”
On YSU opponents’ shooting percentage:
“Their field-goal percentage defense has to be a concern for them. If you can handle the pressure, the full-court pressure, the three-quarter court pressure, even the half-court pressure that they put on you and get by that, then teams are shooting at a high rate against them. That is obviously something they need to address. It is really hard to win when you are giving up those percentages. When you prepare to play them, their pressure concerns you quite a bit. They are living by the sword and dying by the sword right now.”
On YSU’s size:
“It isn’t their physical size that scares you, but it is their athleticism and depth. They run a lot of guys in and out and have strength a lot more than height. They are 6-6, 6-7 and 6-8, and are strong-bodied kids. They really do a good job of chasing the ball down. They just have not shot the ball at a high percentage, even though they have gotten a lot more shots than their opponents. They are 100 shots ahead in 11 games, almost 10 shots a game more per night than you are getting and that puts a lot of pressure on your defense.”
On the health of the team:
“It’s awful. It’s terrible. It’s [laughs] hard to believe. We have the possibility of going into tomorrow night not playing four scholarship bigs. Daron Henson isn’t 100 percent from the last game when he took a fall and has a knee and ankle issue. He could only practice about a third of the time today. Alex Dargenton will miss the game, so will Norbert Janicek and Klay Stall also. We are really down on the frontline. We are healthier on the backline, but it is an issue in the front court.”
On how the guard line will benefit USU versus YSU’s press:
“If you are going to have a part of your team depleted by injury going into this game, I guess you would want your guards healthy. There will be a lot on their plate, in terms of defending their quickness and handling their pressure. You have to have good guard play to play against a team like that. Hopefully, with a smaller, versatile lineup there on the back end we can convert some opportunities with an addition 3-pointer or an additional layup while attacking their pressure. We basically have Dwayne Brown Jr., playing as our backup five going into this game. He’s never practiced there before yesterday. We are struggling. Sam Merrill got some reps at the four, which he has never done before as well. You could easily see four guards on the floor and if things go really bad you could see five guards out there.”
On what the team will work on in its last non-conference game:
“This is an opponent that really tests you in everything you do. They will test you in your press offense. They will test your zone offense. They are going to test how you handle pressure man-to-man. They are going to play all sorts of defenses, so everything you do offensively will be put to the test. They’ve even shown some half court 1-3-1, which we haven’t faced all year. It is a great opponent that way, in that everything is on the table. You could see anything imaginable and have to handle that. We are equipped to handle all those things, but typically you don’t have to face them all in one night. On the offensive end, it will be a very complete test for us. Defensively we’ve been a good rebounding team and we’ll have to be that tomorrow night. We’ll have to play a couple of different defenses ourselves to try and protect those frontline guys a little bit. We can’t turn the ball over because that gives them a chance to beat you. We are looking at every facet of our team. It will be a great test leading into the league.”
On the benefits seen on the offensive side versus Life Pacific:
“Those games are hard, no matter when you play them, but that was probably the best thing that came out of the game. We had some players see their ball go through the basket. Dwayne Brown Jr., was able to expand his game a little bit. Koby (McEwen) saw his ball go in. We were pretty efficient up and down the roster. That is the main thing we got out of that and hopefully that carries over into tomorrow night.”
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