Sunday, November 26, 2017

Battle of the Bronx: Quotes and Observations

Due to the brief press conferences for both coaches and nature of Sunday's 70-57 Fordham victory, what would normally be a separate post for quotes and observations from each team will be condensed into one:

Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello's opening statement:
"Give Fordham credit. Jeff had his team more prepared than I did. We didn't come out ready to play, and that's on me."

On his biggest concern during Manhattan's four-game losing streak:
"Just being consistent, I think coming out with a defensive mindset every night. I think we played good basketball in Florida two of the three nights -- the scoreboard didn't show it -- we just came up a little bit short, but I thought tonight and UMKC, we didn't come out ready to play and I gotta -- that's on me."

On Manhattan's 25 turnovers and it being attributed to Fordham's pressure:
"I'll give Fordham all the credit in the world. I'm not a coach to ever not credit the other team, so I'll give Fordham all the credit, but I really don't think they pressured us. I just thought they kind of sat back in the 2-3 zone for 17 minutes of the half and I just thought we were throwing the ball all over the building like we've never seen a zone before, and that's a little strange because we play against zone 80 percent of the day every day."

On worrying about finding a consistent third scorer behind Rich Williams and Calvin Crawford:
"Not at all. There's too much talent on this team. That's not a problem. We've got to get back to playing defense."

On biggest concern going to Northern Ireland for the Belfast Classic:
"Just getting better, getting our team back."

Fordham head coach Jeff Neubauer's opening statement:
"This was a really gutty performance by our team. I'm really proud of our group. We went down to Jamaica and played two really good teams and we competed, but we knew we could play a whole lot better. We had a lot of guys step up today, a lot of guys that just played with confidence. Will (Tavares) played really well, Perris (Hicks) off the bench, but the guy we're most proud of -- Jesse Bunting really gutted out 21 minutes and really brought a lot to the table."

On an eight-man rotation and standing up to Manhattan's depth:
"They really only play about eight guys as well. That's one point I made to the team before the game. They do play a very aggressive style, they make it a 40-minute, 94-foot game, but it really was 8-on-8, and we were confident in our eight guys and I'm really proud of how we controlled the game."

On growth of Fordham's defensive abilities and what he can take away:
"Thirteen steals in the first half, it tells a lot about our guys. We do guard the ball, we work on it. It's something that's very important to our program. We play with a lot of effort and we're going to get better and better, but our defense; through all five games we've played, really has been pretty consistent."

Will Tavares (game-high 19 points) on his role in Fordham's system and today's matchup:
"We've been getting ready for the Manhattan game since the summer, in workouts, me and Coach. We do a lot of high post catch shooting because they play zone and it's open, so a lot of my decisions came from the high post -- just catch it, pass it and drive."

Neubauer's update on Prokop Slanina:
"No. With all of our guys, it's day-to-day, and we'll get him back soon."

Update on Jesse Bunting:
"He'll be fine, actually. He's had a lot of injuries through his three-year career, but I think he just had some spasms here tonight."

Neubauer on offensive changes after a rough start:
"Part of it is Manhattan plays their zone all year long and they've really become great at it, and we talked to our team; not only in this game, but in other games: Let's improve as the game goes on, so we stuck with the same offensive plan against that zone even though it wasn't very pretty early, and our guys just got a little more comfortable and got better at making decisions against the zone. Manhattan's really good at what they do."

On Joseph Chartouny and his shooting:
"If you look at what Joe Chartouny's career has been, it's really been a balance of just giving this team whatever it needs. Joe has scored points in his career, but what he's done more than that, last year he was number one in the country in steal percentage. He has been our leading rebounder at different times during his career. Joe just does whatever it takes for us to win, so we're not asking him to score. We're simply asking him to make sure we win the game."

On ball movement with 23 assists on 30 field goals:
"Our value for the ball has been a lot better this year than it was last, and a lot of those assists also came in transition, where we had guys that made unselfish plays two-on-one, three-on-one, and it led to layups."

On expectations going into Wednesday's game against East Tennessee State:
"We're simply taking it one day at a time, and what I mean by that is; and Will said this to me in the locker room after the game, he said we needed that one, and he's right. Our team is a group that simply needed a win to just feel better about how we're approaching the game and how we're playing. This one will give us confidence."

Tavares on responding to not having a true post presence and do more than usual:
"I don't know -- it was a like a timeout probably early in the first half, and I just huddled the guys up and said, 'We're going to have to give it our all, we're going to have to rebound because we're already undersized. If everybody just pitches in, boxes out or helps out, somehow it's gonna get the job done.'"

Observations
1) Record-setting defense.
Fordham set a school record with 17 steals, as Will Tavares and Joseph Chartouny recorded five each, giving both of the two guards as many steals individually as Manhattan had as a team. The Rams turned Manhattan over 25 times, 17 in the first half, and although they only scored 24 points off the miscues, their transition offense fed off the opportunities to the tune of a 16-4 margin in fast break points. In addition, the 57 points surrendered represent the lowest point total Fordham has yielded to a Steve Masiello team since he took over the Manhattan program in 2011.

2) Career days from two unexpected sources.
Getting the nod to begin the game in place of Prokop Slanina, who was unavailable, Jesse Bunting delivered with 12 points and six rebounds, tying his career high in the former. The 6-foot-8 junior entered today's contest with just 105 career points and an average of under two points per game, but before cramping up in the second half, proved to be a weapon that Manhattan had no answer for under the rim, something uncharacteristic of the Jaspers' physical nature. Elsewhere on the Ram bench, Perris Hicks stepped up to post a career-high 15 points and a second consecutive double-figure scoring game, doing so on a perfect shooting day in which he made all six of his field goal attempts, half of which came from three-point range.

3) Some bright spots for Manhattan:
The Jaspers, a team that commits fouls more than most due to their aggressive style, were whistled just ten times today in a game that featured just 23 total infractions from a regional-worthy crew of Pat Driscoll, Ed Corbett and Ron Groover. Despite 25 turnovers limiting Manhattan from imposing their will offensively, four players did manage to post double-figure scoring totals, led by Rich Williams' 12 points. Tom Capuano, Zane Waterman and Calvin Crawford all added 11 apiece, with Crawford supplementing his production with 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.

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