March 14, 2019
George Mason 61, George Washington 57
COACH DAVE PAULSEN: You know, we're really excited about that win. I think you get into conference tournament play, you know, you've got to win a game like that, a grind-it-out game.
You know, where maybe we weren't as sharp offensively as we needed to be. You have to give a lot of credit to GW. They really played an inspired game.
But I thought our defensive effort, especially in the second half, even in the face of some adversity offensively. I think we were down 52-47 and really stepped up defensively. We went ten-deep. Every guy who played really gave us a key contribution, even Boyd who has really been hurt came in for a minute and had a nice assist for a three-point play.
This is survive-and-advance time, and we're excited about having survived and advance to tomorrow.
Q. What kind of troubles were you having with GW's defense, particularly in the halfcourt set? Seemed like a lot of one-shot possessions, and obviously some misses.
JUSTIN KIER: No, we made the adjustment. Their zone kind of made us shoot quick shots, so we knew if we moved the ball, get it in the paint a little bit, and just find the open shot instead of the first perfect one, that we'd start making shots, and, you know, we'd start doing good against that zone.
Q. Great to see you again and congratulations on a nice win today. Talk about, I guess, the three-point shooting. That just continues. We saw that back in Philadelphia when you beat St. Joseph's and seems like it's getting better and better. Do you feel like this team is progressing a lot on threes?
JUSTIN KIER: Yeah, that's a good thing about this team is we all have talent and we all played really good together, and we trust each other into making shots and all that kind of stuff.
So nothing better, no better feeling than, you know, seeing your guys happy and, you know, we just found, you know, we all shot good today. We didn't shoot very good, but we shot decent and Otis and Jamal, Javon, guys that, you know, don't get enough credit, really knocked down shots tonight. You know, credit to them.
Q. Otis, they were without their leading scorer, DJ Williams. When did you find that out and how did that change your approach offensively or defensively?
OTIS LIVINGSTON II: I would say right when we got out for warmups, but that didn't really change anything. We wanted to come out hard and just play fast and make good plays on both offense and defense.
That didn't really change anything. We were still going to play how we played, regardless of who was on the court for the team that we're playing.
Q. You have a proximity to two schools and being in Fairfax county Virginia and them being in Washington, D.C., the I-66 rivalry. Do you pretty much throw out the records when the two of you all play?
You all being close together, you all being relatively, like maybe within miles of each other, the two universities.
OTIS LIVINGSTON II: What's the question? (Laughter).
COACH DAVE PAULSEN: It doesn't matter records. It's going to be a tough game.
OTIS LIVINGSTON II: For sure. They have tough, tough players. You know, great coaches. You know it's going to be a dogfight whenever we play them, so much respect to them.
You know, yeah, they are a great team. They play hard for a full 40 minutes, you know, so we know that going into it, it's going to be a dogfight.
Q. Did you see anything different that they did today that they didn't do last week when you played them?
OTIS LIVINGSTON II: They had Terry Nolan today, and he's a great player. He gives them that scoring option that I don't think they had last week. But I mean, they are going to play tough, though, regardless of who they have.
JUSTIN KIER: I don't think they played any differently. I think, you know, they played -- I think they played harder, and also, I think their big man, 32, he had a pretty good game. You know, they have Terry, who is a great player, and just we got to lock in on him, too. He's a great shooter outside.
I don't think they played differently, but they just had more pieces and more guys step up-and-coming off a good win yesterday, I think they had a lot of confidence and stuff like that. We just had to come out and play our game.
Q. Can you quickly pivot now and think about St. Bonaventure? You played them a few weeks ago. Didn't go very well in Olean. What are your thoughts on facing them again now?
OTIS LIVINGSTON II: You know, great team. A lot of great players. Great coach. So they are going to come out hard and ready to beat us, so we've got to come out, too. We're going to watch the film tonight, you know, scouting report, and we're going to be locked in and focused and ready to go.
Q. Otis, I've known you since you were playing as a Linden Tiger probably five or six miles from here. What does it mean to come back to New York and to the metro area and to play in front of your friends and family?
OTIS LIVINGSTON II: It means a lot. They support me a lot throughout my career here at George Mason. It's always good to come home and play in front of them, and yeah, I mean, I just want to thank them for their support. But when I'm playing, I'm locked in on us and what we've got to do and hopefully we can win and keep winning games.
Q. You mentioned a couple players have been injured. Ian Boyd has been injured and Mar hasn't played a lot of minutes recently. How do you think about giving those guys minutes heading into the game? Do you have a plan for them?
COACH DAVE PAULSEN: Well, so Ian for the first time in, I don't know, a month, whatever it was, didn't have extreme pain in his wrist. So he played a couple of games where we had to play him a little bit, but you know, he can't shoot. He shot a left-handed free throw against VCU. So he's showed glimmers of it being okay. So we said, we've got to get through this first day. Got him a minute or two. He made a great pass play.
Goanar, I've never in my 25 years of coaching had a guy attack rehabilitation as quickly as he did. There was no way that that kid was going to be ready to play this season except for he just willed himself to do it.
You know, again, he's not -- you know, he's not anywhere near full strength, but if he can give us a presence -- I just said, we need one good game out of each one of you guys this weekend. You can choose which day. They did fine; they didn't have a great game. So now one of them has to give us a great game and one has to give us a great game hopefully the next day.
But we need that depth. When we were really off to a good start, our depth was a strength of our team.
Q. With the team down five with about five, six minutes left, did you see something in them that -- because there have been situations where adversity has set you back a bit at times this year. Did you notice something that sparked that late run?
COACH DAVE PAULSEN: You know, I think -- and I think for the most part, the adversity our guys have responded to, certainly a week and a half ago, not so much, at all, and we really challenged our guys. Guys, that's not who we are and that's not who we've been -- and I liked their response, getting ready for last week's GW game was phenomenal.
We just talk about, we're supposed to be built to win a game, we tell them all the time, 52-50, 82-50, but the 50 has got to be the common denominator.
Last Saturday, we shot the ball great. We attacked their zone. You know, you asked, did they do anything different. They are doing the same thing.
We just missed some of those same shots. So last Saturday, we won by 16 and really looked good offensively, and then this is a progression of them, like, okay, you're not playing great offensively, still defend, show toughness, make the energy plays.
And a microcosm of it for me was Javon Greene who has played really, really well. You know, didn't play great today. Got three fouls. He came to the bench. He had that ashen look on his face like, oh -- and I'm like, you've got to get it together. This is where you need toughness.
And so I think he came back and defended and then the offensive rebound, with a few seconds left and then the free throws, that's the mark of a team that we want to be in terms of toughness.
Q. Looking ahead to tomorrow, last time you played St. Bonaventure, you didn't have Greg Calixte, and I think Jarred Reuter struggled with the matchup against Osun, who is awesome. How much does having Calixte change the core of the front matchup tomorrow?
COACH DAVE PAULSEN: One, St. Bonnies is a tremendous team, and they run -- and it's a tough prep with no day of practice because they run more sets than anyone, maybe in America.
Having said that, not having Calixte, he does so many things that don't necessarily show up in a box score defensively. You know, Jarred has been banged up, is really hobbled. Ian Boyd, that was the game when we took one free throw, and I'm like, oh, my gosh, the kid is in unbelievable pain, we can't play him. Otis sprained his ankle.
So we were as depleted as we have been. So that's going to help, you know, and -- but we've got to challenge and we've just got to really go out and fight for 40 minutes and then left whatever happens, happens.
We might shoot it great. We may not, but if we fight and defend like we did, especially in the second half, we're going to have a shot.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports