Vanderbilt-St. John's postgame quotes

Nov. 23, 2015

Recap | Box Score | USATSI Gallery media_icon_photogallery.gif

Opening statement
COACH STALLINGS: I thought our guys came out witha lot of intensity and purpose at the beginning of thegame. The way we played the first, probably, 10 or 12minutes of the game, I think, set the tone.We were a little disappointed in our play last time outon Thursday night, and I think our guys wanted toatone for that.

We also recognized that we caught St. John’s in ashort-handed situation. They were without a couple ofguys that are usually available to them, and wecertainly acknowledge that. But I thought our guysplayed very, very well, and I was pleased with our playon both ends.

Q. Luke, you had seven rebounds again todaywhat’s been the difference for you this year as faras rebounding the basketball a bit more?

Luke Kornet: I think a lot of it was just the mentality.Just every single day trying to be bit of a more physicalpresence around the goal, and definitely it helps when Ihad the whole off-season to improve my body and stufflike that. I think most of it though is really trying to be apresence with blocking shots and rebounding. It’s allkind of the same thing and all about my mentalapproach for the game.

Q. Nolan, what was different for you today?

Nolan Cressler: I think my approach was better.Yesterday I got a couple extra shots after practice andwhat not. Got with Coach Richardson, one of ourassistants, and I just think my preparation was better,and when my name was called, I stepped in and madea couple.

Q. You guys shot almost 53% from three. What doyou think it was today?

Nolan Cressler: Some days they go in a lot more.We’ve got a team full of great shooters. I think we justexecuted and we were excited to play. I think ourpreparation was great. We’ve been working hard allweek, and I think if we do that, the ball just goes in.

Q. Did you guys imagine you would win by thismuch? Just the margin of the victory?

COACH STALLINGS: I don’t think you ever anticipatewinning. I told Chris, and I meant this, their team hasreally, really, really improved, and I know that that maysound a little weird, but from where they were aftertheir first exhibition game to where they were after theirlast game where they beat Rutgers, their team hasshown a tremendous amount of improvement.

So, no, I did not anticipate that the final margin wouldbe the way it was. I was just pleased with the way thatwe approached the game and the way we played.We’re always pretty good about sharing the ball. Youasked about us shooting 53% from three, and honestlywe’re not a 53% three-point shooting team. But thereare lots of days we shoot over 50% if you countpractice. Our team can make them on most days.Some days you don’t, but a lot of days we do. So that’snot a surprise to us, because we do have a team, asNolan said, full of guys that can make them.

Q. Coach, no player with more than 25 minutes.How big was it the first game of the back-to-backto-back to be able to limit minutes?

COACH STALLINGS: When we got the lead, certainlythat was something that was in the back of my mind.Damian only played five minutes in the first half. Iwanted to give him time in the second half. He pickedup a couple more fouls, and I took him out. I didn’thave to, but I took him out. But we wanted to limitminutes.

Luke had 17 in the first half. I think Riley had 15 or 17,and I wanted to shorten those up guys up in thesecond half given the lead that we had. Because,again, three games in three days is a challenge,especially against this quality of competition.

Q. Just wanted to get your thoughts on DamianJones. He’s playing well for you guys. He’smentioned as somebody who clearly has a propotential, sooner rather than later, most likely.What makes him so good? What’s gotten him fromwhere he was when you got him to where he isnow?

COACH STALLINGS: I think a couple things. First ofall, Damian certainly did not have a Damian-like day, which probably makes this even better for us that hedidn’t play anything close to what he normally gives us.Again, he only played five minutes in the first half. Youcan’t produce if you’re not on the court.

But to answer your question, he’s every bit of 6’11”. Ifhe’s not the fastest guy on our team, he’s the secondfastest guy on our team. He can run and jump andchange directions with the grace and the skill of a 6’2″really athletic guard. Because of his own work and howhard he’s worked since we’ve gotten him, and hopefullysome of it has to do with the way we develop guys, butyou saw that left-handed jump hook. That’s prettyimpressive. You saw the right-handed jump hook, andit wouldn’t surprise me at all for him to jump up andtake and make a three-point shot.

So he’s just really worked hard on his skill level, andthere are times when more of it shows up than others.Like today was a little bit less than other times. ButDamian is a great kid. Probably too nice sometimes,and he’s playing with a little more fire this year whichhas really been good for us, and a little more intensityand tenacity.

We won’t do in this tournament what we were hoping todo if he doesn’t step up and kind of become the leadplayer in the band, because he’s our guy. Our guysknow it, and he knows it. But he did what he had to dotoday. He didn’t have to do as much.

But I would, again, long answer to a short question, hiswork ethic has been the biggest thing, but he’s beenblessed with a great body, and a great amount ofathleticism.