Vanderbilt-South Dakota State postgame quotes

March 20, 2015

Recap | Box Score | Notes | Howell’s Photos media_icon_photogallery.gif

Vanderbilt 92, South Dakota State 77
Postgame Quotes

Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings
On the crowd for the team’s final home game:
The first thing I want to say is; how awesome was our crowd? That was a phenomenal, phenomenal crowd on short notice. Their energy helped us so much and we really, as a team and as a program, appreciate all of those that came out and cheered wildly for us tonight. It was electric right from the beginning of the game. We want to acknowledge and appreciate our sixth man tonight, because they were fantastic.

Game reaction:
I thought that was a pretty entertaining game. If you like college basketball, you like shot-making, or if you like two teams playing really hard and competing, you probably liked that quite a bit. I have great appreciation for South Dakota State’s team. They really are well-coached, they really know how to play, and they’ve got very good players. You could see their shot-making ability there at the end of the game. I’m always very worried, but I was very worried about this game. I wasn’t sure if we could guard them. I thought we guarded them great in the first half, but not so much in the second. But, fortunately, we came alive offensively when we needed to, and a lot of that had to do with Matthew Fisher-Davis. When Riley [LaChance] got his fourth foul I said `listen, we’re not going to win if you don’t make some shots,’ so he decided to make four of his next five. We did a good job defensively at the rim protecting and blocking shots, which has been a big thing for us the last two games. Obviously, Wade Baldwin was sensational. When you get 20 points on eight shots and you’re one assist away from a triple double and ten rebounds, how can you play any better? Good for Wade, he hasn’t gotten so much better and grown up so much over the course of the season. We got really good point guard play tonight, when Shelton [Mitchell] came in, he was good as well. I’m happy for my team, very proud of them. We’re pleased to still be playing.

On the team’s second half hot streak from three:
The hot streak was really just Matt [Fisher-Davis], even though we had a bunch of guys make them. He made one, but sometimes it’s fool’s gold when one of your really good shooters, after missing a bunch of them and then makes one. You think, `is this real? Is he back? Or did he fake me out on that one?’ So I ran another play for him and then he made that one. Then it was back to the play card to see how many plays we could run in a row for him. We ran some counters to plays and some different options to try and get him loose, then he made one in transition from pretty deep. I think he was 0-for-6 or 7 when he made his first one. When that happens, you’re not thinking that he’s getting ready to make a bunch of them. But, when he made his second one, we’ve got to try this and see what happens. We executed some out of bounds plays and came out of some timeouts and hit some good stuff, so our guys did a good job of executing the things that we wanted them to do.

On Wade Baldwin missing a triple-double by one assist:
Riley, we told him this in the locker room, ran the two-on-one wrong. If he would’ve just run the two-on-one the way we coached it, he would’ve thrown it to Wade early and Wade would’ve taken a hard dribble and thrown it back. So we all blamed Riley for Wade not getting a triple-double.

On a school record 13 blocked shots:
I’ll tell you what [Assistant Coach] Tom Richardson said. We told our team when we out to Saint Mary’s that we’ve got to defend the three so, if they beat us in penetration, we need our big guys to clean it up and they did. I think we blocked 11 [at Saint Mary’s]. Tom said to me after the game that we should’ve told them to block more shots earlier. We always want them to block shots and we talked to them about protecting the rim and things like that, but they’ve taken it to a new level here in the last couple games. I’ll say this, if you play in the West Coast Conference on the Summit League, they don’t have that kind of length in those leagues.

On the new rules implemented in the NIT and their effects on gameplay:
I’ve enjoyed [the 30 second shot clock], and I’ve enjoyed that four foot arc, too. I like that better. Is it good for the game? Probably. I’m a traditionalist, I don’t like change a whole lot. I could see a movement to the 30-second clock, it’s ok with us we like to shoot it up pretty quickly anyway.

Vanderbilt Guard Wade Baldwin IV
On what got them going in the second half:
This man right here [looking at Fisher-Davis]. Four straight threes in a row. He was real cold in the first half, and he came out firing. I told him, “It’s time,” and he came out and did his thing and hit four big threes to really ice the game for us.

On when he knew they were good:
It never stops. James Siakam and Damian were really cleaning up the boards, and with that happening as well, it just makes it easy.

On almost having a triple-double:
I knew, the coaches told me. It was the right play, it would have been forced and I didn’t want to cause a turnover. I’m about making the easy play, getting back on defense and getting a stop. They had three threes at the end of the game. Coach Stallings was really begging us to take away the three from them.

On what winning these two games have done:
It’s great. I’ve said this multiple times, this is for James Siakam. We lost in the first round of the SEC tournament. The kid’s a fifth-year senior, he has been nothing but the model student of Vanderbilt basketball. He is a great kid. We don’t want him to go out losing like this. We’re trying to go all the way to New York, this is for him. He can’t go out like that.

On what playing in New York means to him:
This is a dream, man. This is a dream to play at Madison Square Garden. I mean LeBron, Muhammad Ali, I mean all the greats have been in that gym. Being a Jersey guy, playing there is a dream come true.

On the thirty second shot clock:
I guess it has been working for us. We need to continue to play hard. We have either Rhode Island or Stanford up next, and we’re either travelling out West or going East. So whatever it is, we’re road warriors, we’re going to get it done.

On blocking shots:
That has been a major focus. Coach really inspired us to be able to block shots, as long as they are protecting the rim, we’ll be alright.

On his position:
I don’t have a preference. I go in there and play whatever Coach Stallings needs me to play. Riley had four fouls, so I kind of slid into there too.

On the scoring:
It’s great, we have guys like Matthew, Luke, Riley, Damian, James, myself, that we’re great scorers. We work with Coach Richardson and the rest of the coaching staff. They making shooting easy for us, and we really pride ourselves in that, with all of the repetition we go through in practice. I mean we get off a plane and we are in the gym shooting right after we get back from California. So it is no break. We have to get our shots in, and it shows up in the games.

Vanderbilt Guard, Matthew Fisher-Davis
On the difference between knowing you made a shot and knowing you’re about to make a couple in a row:
Honestly I don’t even think about it. The last shot is kind of irrelevant in my mind going into the next one. But when you start hitting a couple in a row, then the baskets just gets even bigger.

On the fact that plays were being called to get him the ball:
He [Stallings] told me to look for my shot, and keep shooting the ball. Regardless of my first half, he told me just to keep shooting the ball, he is confident in my shot.

On blocking shots:
I just got the opportunities to block shots, and so I did.

South Dakota State head coach Scott Nagy
On 18 of 22 shooting from Vandy in the second half:
“I mean that is unbelievable. I knew they were shooting a good percentage.We talked about switching defenses but I just want to go with what we got this year. They a very good offensive team. We were so flat in the first half and played so poorly that it was a miracle we were only down six. We came out in the second half and obviously played very well, but when a team shoots like that you are not going to beat them.”

On Vandy’s transition offense in the second half:
“It is hard for me to remember all that but Fisher-Davis hit some big shots in a row. They obviously pushed the ball out very well. They shoot the ball pretty well in the second half. Having to go on the road playing in Colorado State, then come in here is obviously a tall order for any basketball team in the country. I just love this team. I love them to death. I want to stay with this team and coach. It is hard to say goodbye to our seniors. We have great players coming back. But, it is hard to say goodbye to those seniors.”

On coaching Cody Larson the last two years:
“I mean Cody has really been sharp. Honestly, I didn’t really care about the basketball. I’m just proud of him coming back and face those people who doubted him for he was and what he could be. There is no way anyone can say anything now with what he was able to do.”

South Dakota State Player Cody Larson
On Vandy going on a run late in the game:
“I think they are a really good team. I thought our guys fought hard. I give them a lot of credit. They hit those shots and they are a really good team.”

On unsuccessful transition defense in the second half:
“That opened up a lot of things, like kick out threes and going to the rim. They just executed. They play that style the whole year and they are really good at it.”

On playing defense on Damian Jones:
“With him, we are just trying to limit his catches. It’s really hard for guys his size. He can get into good position to get some rebounds and there is not much you can do about it. I mean he is a NBA-caliber player. He is big and skilled and really good.”

On his experience as a SDSU basketball player:
“This experience has been the greatest two years of my life. I want to thank everybody and Coach, my teammates and my buddies. We fought hard this year and I am going to remember this year forever. This is my last semester and I made some good memories and good friends.”