Video/Transcript: Tom Crean Postgame Presser – Georgia vs. LSU 2021

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Video/Transcript: Tom Crean Postgame Presser – Georgia vs. LSU 2021

On if he can take any type of moral victory from this type of game…

“No, moral victory is not a word. It’s not a phrase. Learning and understanding that we can come out here and compete for our first road game. We can compete. We can play hard. We can play tough. We can get our speed going. We can make big plays. We can also make mistakes, and we have to overcome those. Anytime as a coach, the most important thing you want is to see your team compete. You want them to understand what they have to take care of when it comes to communication errors on a switch, or not blocking out on a free throw situation or something like that. I am proud of them, don’t get me wrong. Moral victory is not a phrase I’d use. I am proud of their effort, their tenacity, their togetherness, their bench energy in here—and what was a pretty flat crowd, at times because it was a close game. Obviously, there’s not that many people here, but I thought our guys did a tremendous job of creating great energy for us. Now, we just have to find out what our level of resilience is as we go on to play at a very, very tough place against a very, very well-coached team [Arkansas] with Eric Musselman, and a team that is very deep and can score a lot of points.”

On what contributed to losing after having a 10-point lead…

“They made a couple of big threes. One of them I believe was challenge, one I believe was open. Cameron Thomas created enough contact to get to the foul line which stopped the clock and set it for them. They certainly had more free-throws than us tonight. The bottom line is it’s just a couple of threes. At the end of the day, those aren’t the things that beat you—just like the last play at the end of the game where we missed the layup. That’s not what beat you, that’s the end result, but it’s more about where we don’t communicate on a switch with [Darius] Days, and I believe was [Javonte] Smart or Thomas, or whoever it was at the end, but we didn’t communicate on the switch and Days gets that open three. We had been switching that all game. That’s where you just have to make sure your mental toughness, focus and concentration, and your level of communication continues to go on. I know they were tired. Right? But, we were making plays. We were never not in the game, and even after we lost the lead we were still right there. Those are the kind of things you wish you had back, but we’ve got to learn from it and hope that they don’t happen again.”

On the maturity level of bouncing back before heading on the road to Arkansas on Saturday…

“I was thinking about this today—outside of the SEC tournament, and obviously we only played one game there before we flew home, the last time we were on the road was at LSU, and that was a completely different result. We lost the game, but it was a completely different game in the way we played it. We were never even close in that game. Tonight, we came out. For our first road game, we showed we can compete. We showed that we can be tough. We showed we can get our break going and play with speed. We showed we could really move the ball, and we also showed that we have a lot of things to get better at. But, all in all, that’s what we have to look at. We have to look at the plusses. We have to do what we can do to control the minuses. We have to understand that we don’t have the size, and maybe even sometimes the strength—depends on who it is. But, if we don’t have the size that some of these teams have, and that’s so important that we have great awareness of the ball when it comes to people that are cutting and moving. We have communication on the ball when it comes to how we are defending in action. And, that we have tremendous awareness when the shot goes up so we can rebound.”

On if Justin Kier’s inbound play should have been reviewable…

“I didn’t understand why they could not review it. I will try and get clarity. I never understood the explanation. But, I understand that we have two referees that have thrown up the jump ball in the National Championship Game. So, I have respect for those guys but, I never really understood why we couldn’t review it. I’ll check on that tomorrow. I think when we have rules questioned, we have to wait. I think we are pretty much mandated to wait a day before we ask the question, which is fine. That will give me a chance to review it. I have definitely heard it is not accurate. But I have not seen it myself. I was standing right there, and I thought I had a pretty good view. I guess all I can say right now is that it is what it is.”

On play calling down the stretch…

“On the attack, we were moving the ball pretty well, I should have called more plays in the Mississippi State game, especially the first half. I called a majority of them in the second, that’s not how I want to coach. I want them to play with freedom, and I want to play out of concepts rather than plays. When we’re moving the ball and we’re cutting, kicking, and reversing through, it took us a little bit to figure out how open we wanted to be against that zone. Once we did, we got better with it. In a situation like this, I thought our intentions were really good, but there’s no question. There’s a yin and yang to play call and trusting us to make a play right now. We have got to build that chemistry. What are we, nine games in? We’ve got to continue to understand that part of it and just continue to work there and play the game out. Our scoring wasn’t the issue as much as a couple of mistakes defensively. We weren’t up on the shooter and we missed a switch, we miscommunicated, which hurt us. When the game is that close, you’re going to live possession by possession. Our guys really fought hard, I mean they fought hard against a really good team, third in the league and a lot of talent on that roster. We had a great look to tie the game, at the end, it was a layup to tie it. If there was help coming out of the corner on P.J. [Horne]’s man that he’s sitting in a place he’s making about 45 percent of his threes right now from that right corner. That’s a play we wanted, but we didn’t get the result with the layup. I would say this about Justin Kier, if he’s not the best layup maker I’ve ever recruited, he’s right in that first couple of fingers on the hand. He can really score, and he did an excellent job tonight and we just missed it at the end.”

On how he feels his guys handled that offense going into Saturday’s game…

“We scored 92 as well, I’ll get into Arkansas somewhat now. They are, not nearly as much, a high scoring team. They’re going to put five shooters on the floor including a 7’3 Connor Vanover who shoots threes with great regularity. They’re going to be a different matchup, there were certain times tonight that LSU didn’t put a team full of shooters out on the floor outside of the four scorers. I think Arkansas has more guys that can make shots so we’re going to have to be really attentive to what we need to get done defensively there.”

On if there is anything they can do defensively to prevent fouls…

“I’ll have to watch the film because I thought we had a lot of verticality, but again I’ve got to trust the referee when he tells me that there were hands-on it or something of that nature. I thought LSU did a really good job with contact and they were rewarded for it, especially Cameron Thomas.

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