Jan. 25, 2014
East Carolina Head Coach Jeff Lebo
"It was another tough game, I thought we played a similar 30, 32 minutes of a game, and then in the second half we could not score the ball. Defensively I thought we were outstanding in the first half. We battled hard, shot well, and were confident. I thought we were fairly solid defensively for the entire game. This was the first time I've ever played zone the whole game. Their toughness is just off the chain. It's some of the best toughness that I've seen from a team. They've got guys who make winning plays. The play that (Jerrold) Brooks made sprinting from behind on Akeem (Richmond) was unbelievable. Those kinds of plays is why they are 18-3. Their guards are solid, and tough at every spot. Their quickness in that press bothers a lot of people. We had a couple of turnovers in it. We handled it decent in the last 10 minutes, in that we didn't turn it over, but it just takes you out of rhythm with everything you wanted to do. Our inability to make some shots in the second half doomed us."
On Southern Miss' style of play
"They do wear you down; they hold teams to low numbers. They're good defensively; they rebound the ball even though they are small. Their strength is in their speed and their balance. They've got great balance within their team. They're all capable on a given night to get you 15-20."
On the game plan
"Our game plan was that we have to make a lot of 3s. We wanted to get the ball to (Caleb) White at the foul line, which we did. He got it right there and scored it in the first half. The second half he missed probably three or four right there that were great looks. We missed a couple of layups. I think that you can attack them inside there if you have some size, but we certainly don't."
On Southern Miss' defense
"Their zone is different than a lot of peoples. It's as good as I've seen. They extend you, they make you put it on the floor. I don't know how many balls they deflected. They might not have gotten it, but that's what they do every game. We just could not put the ball in the basket the second half. We played great the first half, as good as we can play. We were up on the glass against them, and that doesn't happen against them very often. But it evaporated pretty quickly with some missed shots. The one thing I thought when we lost a lot of the guys is `How are we going to score?' That was a big question I had, and early, we found a way to mask it. But after 19 games it's a little bit harder for us to hide. It's been a problem here as it's gotten later in the season."
Senior Guard Akeem Richmond
On the second half shooting woes
"The offense wasn't running as smoothly. They did a pretty good job of defending us. We just couldn't make enough plays down the stretch. We weren't making any shots in the second half."
On the difficulty of winning when jump shots aren't falling
"It's very difficult for us. That's one of our strengths, but if we're not knocking down shots, we're not playing well."
On Southern Miss' second half defense
"They weren't leaving me at all. Once I hit two 3s, they weren't leaving me. They were coming out further in the passing lanes."