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Postgame: Boston College coach Jim Christian on loss to Wake Forest

acc tournament 2017Boston College coach Jim Christian talks with reporters after the Eagles’ loss to Wake Forest in the 2017 ACC Tournament.

 

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Boston College. Coach, a brief opening statement of the.

COACH CHRISTIAN: I was proud of our team’s effort. I thought we played really hard. Obviously, when Ky went down, that really hurt us. Obviously, he’s such a great player, it hurt us from that standpoint because he’s such a great player. Also from a minutes standpoint, we’re not very deep on the perimeter. We really had no subs at that point to guard. They kind of wore us out as the game went on.

Again, proud of our effort. I couldn’t have asked more from our kids. If you were in our locker room now, they’re broken up because they wanted to keep playing. I’m proud of them.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Jim, was the strategy to try to keep Collins from beating you? Was the downside of that the fouls?
COACH CHRISTIAN: Well, we didn’t foul him in traps, we fouled him in open floor. I mean, if you don’t double him, he hurt us in both games we played, so we tried to neutralize them. You got to pick your poison, right? He’s probably the best offensive post player in the league. They’re also a good three-point shooting team. You have to scramble, get to those guys. They hit some threes early.

We weren’t fouling on those situations. We were fouling in open-floor situations, off a couple turnovers. It was, you know, way too much.

Q. Is there any update at all?
COACH CHRISTIAN: No update. The doctors are here. They came on the trip with us. It’s a knee injury. To what extent, nobody knows. We have to go back and get it MRIed. We got to find a way to get him back. We’re taking a bus back. Probably don’t want to put him on the bus. We’ll get an MRI when we get back, find out what it is.

Q. The brace?
COACH CHRISTIAN: Precautionary. It’s a knee injury. It’s what they do.

Q. The minutes become one thing, but in that moment, a four-point game, five minutes left in the first half…
COACH CHRISTIAN: The first thing, you know, just to talk about it, obviously our kids care so much about him. To get our kids back in the locker room, focused — he was in the locker room, when we came in at halftime. They were obviously very concerned about him and they care a lot about him. Try to get their mind back on the game. That’s one of their friends who is in there crying, he’s hurt. To try to get them refocused back on the game, that’s not an easy thing to do.

That’s the kind of kids we have. We have great kids. They care for one another. That’s a hard thing to do. That’s a hard thing to do.

Q. You held Collins with your defensive strategy to one shot in the first 24 minutes, then he got involved in the game, was a big part in their breaking the game open. What did they do differently to get him going?
COACH CHRISTIAN: You know, he did a good job posting up early in the clock before we could get to a double. So like in transition when he’s posting directly under the rim, he’s hard to handle there. He got himself going. I don’t think they changed anything.

He was really good. He handled double-teams really well. He made the right plays. He passed the ball. In the second half, he was finding open plays. He’s a great player. He can pass and he can play. He got some other guys shots.

He might not have scored in the first half, but he was very influential in the game. That’s what great players do. He’s a First Team All-Conference. He played like it.

Q. After you tied the game at 53, they went on a 14-1 run, what was the catalyst of that?
COACH CHRISTIAN: Our run?

Q. Their run.
COACH CHRISTIAN: We had a couple live-ball turnovers, got a layup. A three-point play on the break. We only had two turnovers at halftime. That he was keeping us in the game. We were getting shots.

The second half, I thought we had some careless decisions with the ball. That got them going a little bit. They hit a couple big threes. There was a stretch there, we settled for jump shots. We were attacking the rim. That’s been a bad formula for us.

Q. How much of the onus fell on Jerome?
COACH CHRISTIAN: It was a tough role for him. He was dying out there. He plays a lot of minutes anyway. They picked him up full, tried to wear him out. It was hard for him. There’s no other point guard for us. He got worn out.

Obviously on the defensive end, that’s where the toll is. It’s not the offensive end. We’re a step slower on the defensive end, guys are turning the corner, ball-screen situations. The big guys have to stay a little bit too long. Now they’re making other plays.

That one step defensively, when you don’t have depth or guys get too tired, that’s how they get going. That’s what happened.

Q. Not that you can look from 50,000 feet right after a loss, but you can kind of see some of your pieces coming together. I’m curious, at what point do you see some places that need to sort of still be tweaked?
COACH CHRISTIAN: There’s a lot. There’s a lot of areas. Look, the guys who are coming back, they have to get much better. There’s no two ways about it. They have to get better.

We have a good foundation. We have some good, young players who are talented. They have to get hungry, better, keep adding pieces. That’s the bottom line. This is a process. It’s one step at a time.

We have a foundation with our two guards are good. Nico and JC are two young players, have to get stronger, more experienced. We have to keep adding players. We added one early. Add some late. Then you have it.

That’s what it takes. There are no miracles out here. You have to stay with your process, believe in what you’re doing. I do. Our kids grew and got better as the year went on, individually and collectively.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.

COACH CHRISTIAN: Thank you.

   
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