Inside the media room: Men’s basketball transcript after comeback win over Stockton

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Nearly 16 minute long postgame press conference following 100-95 victory over Stockton University. These questions were posed by The Whit staff writer Christopher Connors and members of Professor Phil Anastasia’s sports journalism class. Transcribed by Christopher Connors. Anything labeled “Question” is by a member of the class. Anything labeled “CC” is by Christopher Connors. Anything labeled “Crosstalk” is for when more than one of the members in the presser were speaking at once.

Question: Defensively, you guys stepped up in the second half. What went into that?

Coach Crispin: The second half was tough. Ramon [Wright] did a great job. We played small a lot of the second half. And so he was in a situation where we were small and they tried to go big a couple of times. So he did a great job battling, but we were right. They did have a hard time matching up with us, defensively. So I think it was the right move for us because the flow of the game was in our favor, especially at home. And again, like we were up 10 at the end, and then 5 in the end, but I told the guys we turned the ball over too much, we missed the first few free throws, and we won pretty comfortably so I can’t complain too much.

CC: Coach, Stockton shot uncharacteristically (from three) well in the first half, and really the game overall. What did they do that created such great looks?

Coach Crispin: Well they attacked quickly with jump shots and…

(Rowan Assistant walks in): Nick is getting treatment on his eye. He’s downstairs. He’ll be right up.

Coach Crispin (cont.): Thanks. To their credit, they attacked quickly and we give that up when we press and we know we’re kind of giving that up a lot of times. It depends on the game. But in this game, we were really aggressive in the full-court. They made their first five, I think. Five for five or five for six. But, after that they went, you know, seven for 22. So it kind of averages itself out, which we figured. They went on their little stretches where they made from the floor. But on the whole we felt like, you know, if they’re taking quicker shots it’s still in our favor because the game is moving quicker. I think in the end, it worked out that way.

Question: I’ve got a question for you (Ramon Wright). From a player’s standpoint, late in the second half when you guys made that big run back, is there anything you felt on the court or on the bench maybe that kinda, like, sparked it? That helped you guys get more into it and take the lead?

Ramon Wright: How many threes did Nicky [Nick DePersia] hit?

Cross talk: Nine, five in the second half

Ramon Wright: Pshh, that did it.

Crosstalk: You were the first lead change though.

Ramon Wright: Oh really?

Crosstalk: It was 68-67 and you took it up to 69-68.

*Nick DePersia walks in*

Ramon Wright: This guy right here. He gets me going.

*laughs*

Comment from media member: Your second half was big. Your second half you put the points up. You finished with 16. You had 15 in the second half. Three blocks, very good defensively on the glass. You hustled. First half, didn’t start off so well. The second half, that’s what matters. I thought you were huge in the second half.

CC: Real quick Nick, what happened with your eye during that whole falling situation?

Nick DePersia: I dove for the ball and kind of like landed on top of my head and just went down and I slammed against the court. I’ll probably need a stitch or two, but I can cover it up. Didn’t really matter too much.

Question: When you guys were down by seven and then completely took over in the second half, when you started flowing, like what made you stay consistent when you were just pulling up from every angle around the court?

Nick DePersia: I caught a hot streak in the first half so once I hit my first one in the second [half] the rim just kept getting bigger and bigger. And my teammates did a good job of playing team ball and getting me to good spots. Also, coach just tells me to let it fly. There’s a couple of them I shot from deep but they go in sometimes.

Question: You hit four [threes] in the first half. You guys went on a big 18-5 run in the second half. Just huge. Definitely big when you can hit five [threes] in the second half, so a lot of hustle you guys had. Especially towards the end things got really intense between both teams. How did that feel?

Coach Crispin: He was just thankful his coach kept his cool.

*laughs*

Crosstalk: It helped the team just lead by example.

Coach Crispin: I led by example tonight, for sure.

Nick DePersia: It was a great atmosphere in there. It’s always a good little rivalry versus Stockton. We made it more exciting than it had to be. Missed free throws, and we turned the ball over but *inaudible* it’s a great win, especially versus Stockton. It’s good to get them back after they beat us the first time.

Media comment: It’s a big win. Definitely good to get that comeback win after the last time. It’s also a big win, standings-wise too. 15-5, tied with the top three, so it’s definitely a big win for the conference too.

Nick DePersia: Yeah, every win matters at this point. So we just take it one game at a time.

Question: To be able to comeback, what does that kind of say about your team? Like never giving up, even down by 20. What is it about your team that you can do that?

Nick DePersia: Just the style of play, we have to trust it, collectively. We were down by 17 maybe?

Media comment: I think it was 20.

Nick DePersia: And it just shows you, close the half strong. And that was huge for us. For us to have a chance in the second half. We have the weapons on offense to bring us back and it showed. They wore down on offense and defense, so it was a good comeback for us.

CC: Hey coach, you were able to get Connor Dickerson for a few elbow jumpers. Was there a concerted effort to get him to that spot?

Coach Crispin: Yeah, they were in a zone. Ramon does a great job in the high post. So it was either really him or Ramon. I think when Ramon went out early. We took Ramon out for a free throw early. He doesn’t get many but he got one, and Connor came in for him and filled that spot. He knew he’d either have that jump shot, which he’s very comfortable with, or some good one-on-one situations. So that did help. But we probably should have got that sooner. I was probably a little frustrated with him about that T [technical]. I probably could have brought him back in that situation in the first half.

Media Comment: Lot of fire.

Coach Crispin: That’s for sure. Can’t take that away from him. I want to shape him just the way he is.

CC: So Ramon, it seemed like in that second half you were getting to the lane at will. Is there something that goes through your head when you decide ‘I’m going to take over right now?’

Ramon Wright: Well when he [Nick DePersia] started making threes it started to open up the lane because now they have to come out. So I knew it was time to attack. To give him a shot, or his brother Robby [Rob DePersia], Connor [Dickerson] on the drive, so once we make shots, it opens everything up.

Nick DePersia: That’s a modest answer.

Question: Ramon, you had four blocks and three steals and obviously you had high energy the whole game. How much pride do you take on the defensive side of the ball?

Ramon Wright: Well my father coached me in high school and he’s the complete opposite of coach Crispin. It’s defense, defense, defense. So I kind of made a living on the defensive end. So he sent me here to work on my offense. I’ve always had that edge. I hate when people score on me. You should see me in practice. We have so many good players. And they can all score in different ways so I get a ton of practice, in practice. So in the game, I don’t fear anybody.

CC: Hey Nick, so last game coach didn’t think your 39 three-point attempts as a team were enough. Your last game you set a season high with 15 attempts and today you set a season high with 16 attempts. What kind of looks were you getting?

Nick DePersia: The last two games they tried to play us in zone. As a shooter, I love that. Like I said before, my teammates do a great job moving the ball. I made a couple early. As a scorer I’m a little streaky, so when I make a couple I’m putting a lot of them up. Luckily they went in.

Question: Coach, what does this win do for you, momentum-wise?

Coach Crispin: Well, I think we didn’t play our best game Saturday. The hard part of this league is every team is really disciplined. We always play fast. We have different strategies every game. Believe it or not, you can’t tell always watching us, but we’re trying to do some different things. But anytime you lose a game, you feel like you should have won. We don’t really talk about streaks as much as there’s a game in front of you, find a way to be the better team that night. And when you do that, you end up with a winning streak. At the end of the conference, everybody is right there. I think Ramapo lost to Kean tonight so anybody can beat anybody. Our guys know that and we want to end the season as the best team in the conference and the tournament. You’re not going to play your playoff best game every night, but you have to find a way to be the better team and we did that tonight. So now we have to figure out how to do that again on Saturday.

CC: So Coach, Teirique [Robinson] had that moment where he hopped off the bench, got that technical on what appeared to be the hard foul on Ramon but was actually a double technical. How hard is it to keep your discipline in a highly charged moment like that?

Coach Crispin: Well, it’s real hard. Coach has to learn it. *laughs* I told the guys today, like listen, if I was keeping my cool tonight I could get on them. But I didn’t. I didn’t keep my cool tonight. There’s some nights I do a better job than others. It’s very hard. Especially in the heat of the game. It’s a hot gym. It’s close quarters. You have some calls that don’t go your way that you’re not happy with and maybe you’re justified and maybe you’re not. But you’re fighting to win the game. Our guys know I don’t get overly frustrated by emotion. You have to be careful and sometimes you cross the line, as I do, but I’d rather cross the line once in a while with emotion than not have it at all. The way we play, it is kind of emotional and you walk the line sometimes. And you walk the line, you don’t cross it. But I don’t want to not come up to that line. It’s an emotional game, we just want to bring that emotion on Saturday. I’ve told these guys before, when you shoot a basketball, it’s an emotional thing, I like it that way. When Nick’s pulling up from 25 feet from three, like I love that stuff. That’s why I always tell these guys, if they play another 10 years of basketball, I want them to think I was awesome and also that I was nuts. Someday when they’re a coach they’re going to be like ‘I’m not going to let that guy pull up like that.’ You know what I mean? But I like that stuff. That’s where I think the game is won and you know, sometimes you go a little bit too far. But then you sit there and go ‘alright well we learned from it,’ but that still is what helps us capture the games.

CC: So Teirique got a lot of run tonight. Was there a certain look you were seeing that you decided you wanted Teirique in there instead of Diante [Bah]?

Coach Crispin: Yeah Teirique did a nice job Saturday and we might’ve been able to use him a little more. You know Diante has played really well. Teirique was probably a little more comfortable against the zone and Teirique was active. He was active on the boards, you know, he stayed ready. He has not played a lot of minutes and he’s had a great attitude the last week so he was getting a look either way and the way we usually go is everyone’s getting looks in the first half. We kind of see what fits best and Teirique stepped up. He made the most of his minutes so he got more. It’s not rocket science. He ends up with nine rebounds in 13 minutes. Four of them were offensive so there’s four more shots. Our guys know, the way we play, I mean how many guys did we play? 12, 11 guys. Yeah we played 12 guys and Brian Thatcher came in and gave us some good minutes. First and second half he created space because everyone knows he’s going to come in and shoot the three, it gives these guys more room to roam. You know Brian hasn’t played much so he’s ready. Our guys know that they have to step up and be ready because the way we play, the game is matchups so when they try to go big, we stay small, it works. Another time, we try to go big and they change a guy and Austin [Kearney] came out quickly because they made a switch because we didn’t like the matchup. So we went back small and it ended up working out better that way. Different games, different demands. That’s why we’re a good team, we can go multiple directions.

Ramon Wright: Can I say something?

Coach Crispin: Yes.

Ramon Wright: Robby had nine rebounds.

Coach Crispin Nine rebounds, yes. He’s going to tell you about it too.

CC: So Nick, coach was talking about the emotion of shooting and pulling up from 25-feet but what possessed you to do that? Were you seeing something?

Nick DePersia: They gave me a little space and once I hit a couple, I don’t need that much. Just to see, once one goes in, just to see my teammates back on the bench just like jumping up on their feet and the fans, I don’t know, when I hit a three it gives the team a big energy boost. And especially to end the half, the first half, it was crucial for us to create the momentum in the second half.

CC: So Nick, you’re also on pace to shoot a collegiate career-high in three point attempts. Has that been a concerted effort to shoot as many times as possible?

Nick DePersia: I mean coach gives me the freedom to. I’ve been working all off-season. Last year, I didn’t shoot the ball that well and this year it’s showing. A lot of its mental. You just have to go up and shoot your shot. You’ve been practicing your whole life and this year it’s winding down. Four more games left. So keep shooting.

Ramon Wright: Keep shooting. Shoot your shot from full-court.

Media chorus: Shoot your shot.

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