Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Fordham 73, St. John's 57: Quotes From Felix Balamou & Chris Mullin

St. John's guard Felix Balamou on whether younger players were shell-shocked:
"They're young kids, they're still learning, It's a tough game on the road. Nights on the road in college basketball, it's hard to come back and win when we don't play well, but we just have to go back to work and get ready for the next game."

"I would just say we didn't play with a lot of energy."

On pressure causing problems with ball handling:
"I don't think so, we've been working on that. It's just a matter of calming down, just going with our principles. I feel like we're rushing, and we didn't play our game."

On losing to a local team:
"I mean, for us, it doesn't really matter. It's a college game, it's a road game. You have to be able to bring it every single game, whether it's Fordham, whatever. Anybody can beat you. I don't think it's Fordham or whatever team. We can't have 19 turnovers, it's way too much."

Head coach Chris Mullin on Yankuba Sima and Federico Mussini:
"Yeah, they both had tough nights, but that's freshmen. I told you, a lot of nights, it's going to be tough. These guys are young, inexperienced, and going through a lot of these first-time experiences, so it's going to be hard. Like Felix said, we worked on pressure defense the last couple of days and handled it well in practice. We just didn't handle it well in the game."

On Fordham:
"They played great, they played with force. I don't know the classifications of their roster, they seem more experienced, more stronger. But they played a great game, they did. They played with force, they got all the 50-50 balls, all the hustle plays, they made. You couple that with our turnovers, we gave them 15 more shots, it's hard to win a game like that. Then they got 16 offensive rebounds. Even the times we played good defense seemed like late clock, and if they threw a shot up, they got it back, so all the credit to them and as I said before, this is just another part of the building process. This, believe it or not, will make us better. Our young guys that had played well, tonight, they struggled. That's fine, they'll get better for it."

On crowd atmosphere:
"I thought it was a good crowd, I know they enjoyed themselves."

On Mussini and where to go for offense when he is ineffective:
"Ideally, we like to go down low first. Again, I thought to start the game, we got good looks, I thought Sima made some nice passes inside-out. We didn't capitalize, and the first four minutes were okay, but then the turnovers came into play and I think we got rattled. To me, and we've talked about it a lot, turnovers are a big key for us, taking care of the ball, and giving up 16 offensive rebounds hurts."

"We didn't shoot the ball well. We never found any type of rhythm, really, even on offense. When we did stop and get in transition, we were not aggressive. We were very passive. I talked to them before the game about being very aggressive, but composed. I thought we were neither."

On reported postgame tension toward Fordham and head coach Jeff Neubauer, and whether anything materialized:
(shook his head "no")

On Kassoum Yakwe, who debuted for St. John's tonight:
"I thought he was great. I thought he was wonderful: Great energy, again, for a young kid to get in there first night out, I thought he played a nice game, and he's going to be good. He's going to be really good. I was happy for him, and I think once he gets a little bit more experience, he's going to find his way around just fine. Offensively, defensively, rebounding, you can see how athletic he is. He'll keep improving every day."

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