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March 20, 2013

Postgame Quotes: MT vs Saint Mary's

Middle Tennessee head coach Kermit Davis' opening statement:


 "I thought we got off to a good start. We went through a scoring drought in the first half. About six or seven minutes, Marcos got in foul trouble. 
Dellavedova has really been struggling shooting the ball. We thought two things. He's 1 for 18 from 3 coming into the night. We got him going. We missed a couple of assignments early and kind of got his head up, then he made two or three really tough 3s in the first half. 
We thought we had to turn him over. We only turned him over seven times. We had 14 assists, 9 turnovers. The whole stat in the game was the free throw line. They shot 25 times, and we shot seven. That was kind of the difference in the game."

Senior guard Bruce Massey on trying to contain Matthew Dellavedova:


 "We just wanted to slow him down, limit his possessions and looks at the basket. Like coach said, he was struggling shooting the ball coming into the game, but he got going early. 
I think he hit his first 3 he took, and then he got another one, and then a transition layup, and after that he started hitting tough shots and got going early."

Senior guard Marcos Knight on the Blue Raiders slow start that resulted in only 20 first half points:



 "I think we got a lot of good possessions. We've just got to finish the ball at the rim. The second half we did finish better. Second half. Early in the game, we just couldn't finish balls at the rim. 
We got great shots. I don't think it was nerves at all."

Knight on MT's second half run that cut the deficit to three points:



 "It started with our defense. We play a great defense. We got out in transition and cut it to three, and they called a time out. We ran a set play, but we didn't execute it well. 
You know, our defense leads our offense. That's a great point that you made about getting out in transition and how we had to make them call a 30 second time out."

Knight on defending Dellavedova and the kind of player that he is:


 "He's a great player. Like Bruce and coach Davis said, coming into the game, he was struggling. He was 1 for 18 from the three-point line. But we tried a lot of combinations on him. At the end of the day, he just made great plays."

Bruce Massey on MT's impressive two-year run:


 
 "It's been a great two years. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I wish it ended differently, but we broke the drought for MTSU going to the NCAA Tournament in 20 plus years, so you hang your hat on that. 
After a tough loss like this, you don't forget what you did the last two years for the program. We help MTSU get back on the rise, and hopefully it continues to make further steps into the future."

Head coach Kermit Davis on trying to slow down Dellavedova:


 "Well, we hard hedged ball screens. We trapped him at times. We were going to 1-3-1 him and trap him and take the ball out of his hands. 
I thought in the second half we got him tired, and then he responded better. So he just he shoots the ball like that. He's big, strong, and he still can run a team, but he hadn't made plays like that from the perimeter. 
When he does that, he may be the best point guard in college basketball. When he shoots it like that from 1 for 18 to 5 for 7 from 3 is a big difference."

Davis on the caliber of player that Dellavedova is:



 "I just think there's no question he'll make some NBA team. Wouldn't you love to have him as your 11th or 12th man on an NBA squad? He's strong. He's physical. 
They'll pick apart some things he can't do. He's got quicker feet than you think. The NBA is full of ball screens, and he uses his best judgment on ball screens. The whole thing is can he shoot it? If he shoots it like he shot tonight, he'll make a team. 
You just sit over there and watch him play. I know Randy's got to love that. He just puts guys at different spots. He sees it as good as anybody."

Davis on the MT's second half run and subsequent run by Saint Mary's:



 "We defended. We got in transition. We needed to get in transition. That's where our team's at its strength. We turned them over, rebound the ball. 
Then we had the ball up 3, excuse me, down 3, and Tweety got on the side real close to the backboard and kind of forced up a shot, and they went down and scored. After he got about 7, we could never get the game back. 
I was proud of our guys. They competed hard, played their tail off. Saint Mary's played good tonight, but like I said, you look at all the stats. 17-for-25. We were 6-for-7. They just got to the line better than we did."

Davis on what the last two seasons have meant to the program:


 "It's just, I'm so proud of our players. I'm happy for our fan base, and Dr. McPhee, our president, Chris, our AD. It's just been fun to watch. It's been fun to see Blue Raider basketball and the program grow. 
The national attention we've kind of gotten, the MT brand the last two years is fantastic. Those six seniors will be sorely missed, but we've got a top 25 recruiting class coming in and a good number of players coming back. So we feel really good about the future."



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