Postgame: Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton on loss to Notre Dame

accFlorida State coach Leonard Hamilton and players comment on FSU’s on loss to Notre Dame in the 2017 ACC Tournament.

 

THE MODERATOR: We’ll go ahead and get started with the late hour. A brief opening statement from Coach, and then we’ll go to questions.

COACH HAMILTON: Congratulate Notre Dame. I thought they shot the ball extremely well. It wasn’t that our defense was necessarily that bad. They hit some great catch-and-shoot shots that were exceptional. I thought the early part of the game kind of put us back on our heel.

We normally can do a much better job getting to the shooters, but they executed very well. They caught the ball and shot the ball so quickly with accuracy that it gave them the lead.

From the offensive end on our end, I thought we weren’t very aggressive. Starting our game off, our game plan from the beginning was to be more aggressive, like we were in the second half. First half, I thought we were extremely tentative, and I thought they were very, very aggressive, and they were extremely effective. We dug a hole for ourselves that was difficult to dig out of.

To their credit, I thought they played more to who they are than we did. Hopefully, we’ll learn from that as we move on to the NCAA Tournament.

Q. How do you balance the disappointment of losing in this tournament with looking ahead to an even bigger championship, which you’re positioned for?
COACH HAMILTON: I think we’ve been pretty good at bouncing back all year. We’ll evaluate it, look at the film, dissect it, debrief ourselves, try to evaluate the mistakes we made and things we could have done better. We won 25 games. So we realize we’re a pretty good basketball team.

Now what we have to do is move on to the next level. Each time you falter, there’s a possibility that you can grow and learn from it. Hopefully, that’s what we’ll do this time. We normally bounce back pretty good.

XAVIER RATHAN-MAYES: Like Coach said, got to go back to the drawing board. Evaluate what happened tonight, go through, correct some of the mistakes we made, and just continue to get better.

Look forward to making a deep run through the NCAA Tournament. We know we’ve got the talent, the depth. We’ve got a great coaching staff that leads us. We’ve just got to look forward to getting to the NCAA Tournament, and like I said, making a deep run.

DWAYNE BACON: I think it’s stressful for us just because we know how much we think we could have won this tournament. But I think after we go and watch film and get back in the gym and work on the things that we didn’t execute right on tonight, we’ll be fine when we come to the tournament.

Q. Coach, this is for you. I’ll put this as best I can. Like you said, you thought your defense, you played fairly well today. However, on the season, you’re 143rd in the nation in points allowed, however, you’re seventh in the —
COACH HAMILTON: Speak up. I didn’t quite hear you.

Q. Nationally ranked, defensively, you’re 143rd. Offensively, you’re 17th. Heading into the tournament, do you feel really worried about your defense or feel confident that your guys, like today, will continue to keep improving?
COACH HAMILTON: I looked at several of the teams in the ACC in the top 25, and they have similar statistics. You can’t worry about stats. You’ve just got to worry about preparing for your opponents and move on to the next level.

I think in the ACC, especially when you’re playing people for the second time, they make their adjustments. They’re good coaches, and they have outstanding players. But I feel like we’ve had a pretty good season. I’m not going to be overly concerned about statistics. If that’s something that you’re overly concerned about, let’s wait until after the NCAA run, and let’s see where we are.

Q. Coach, you got huge contributions off the bench. Going into the tournament, how important is it for the bench to give contributions, maybe in a day where your starters aren’t having a good shooting game?
COACH HAMILTON: That’s who we are, and that’s what carries us all year long. Occasionally, it throws us a little off rhythm because we’re playing, most of the time, 12 guys. Sometimes it bothers us, but in the long run, I think that’s one reason why I feel good about where we are going into the tournament. I think we’re fresher, and we’re going to play this tournament with a tremendous amount of energy.

Today, I think, we just got beat by a team that was red hot. Sometimes that happens when you run up against a good team. Sometimes you have to give them credit for what they did positive as opposed to trying to figure out what you did wrong.

I think we could have played better, but I really believe they shot the ball exceptionally well today. And I think the quality of our depth as we move forward will be a benefit to our team. I got a tremendous amount of confidence in the guys who come off the bench. Rodas had 17 points tonight. It takes junior college players sometimes a little more time to adjust. My freshmen, Walker and Forrest, they played exceptionally good basketball for us this year.

We still have a young team. We have five first-year players we’re trying to rotate into our system. I feel very good at this particular point as we move on and prepare for the NCAA Tournament.


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