|Video: Belmont HC Byrd says he hopes Clemson wins NIT
Full postgame press conference with Belmont head coach Rick Byrd below:
Byrd closes the press conference by saying "I hope they [Clemson] win it all."
“I thought it was a great basketball game. I am honestly happy for Brad, he’s one of the real good guys in this business. He’s a good friend that does things the right way and I admire his team plays. I told him that I wanted to host this game, so everyone was pulling for Illinois, but I couldn’t do it. I wanted both and it couldn’t happen. This was a great night for our program; 38 minutes of even basketball and then you just flip a coin who wins. They made the plays to win it and I’m not taking away from them, but that doesn’t mean they are better than us and doesn’t mean we would be better than them if we ended up winning at the end.
“They made some big threes, they went 10-21. I told our guys if they made shots like that then we probably wouldn’t be able to beat them, but we have to take away their drives and we have to take away their inside game and make them make threes. I’m so proud of our kids. Blake Jenkins has been on five conference championship teams and J.J. Mann has been on three. I think this team and this NIT run did a whole lot for our school and our basketball program going forward and I really applaud our guys for looking at it that way and by not hanging their head and not showing up. I’m lucky to coach that team.”
On outrebounding the Tigers:
“Well, we’re bigger and stronger and jump higher than they do. (Laughter) When I looked at halftime and saw that we had 11 offensive rebounds – if we analyze those 18 for the game, I think they were hustle long rebounds. They weren’t our guys getting around them and them not boxing out. It was about effort on our part and it actually got us some kick-out threes in the first half. I did tell our guys before the game that when we appear outmatched on the board which is every time we play almost, we end up more than holding our own which we did.”
On Clemson’s late defense:
“I don’t know how much it changed, but there’s’ no question that sometime there late they just upped their pressure. They made it tough to deliver passes. We tried to run a couple of misdirection throwback plays and Craig (Bradshaw) couldn’t make the passes because the defender was all up in him. I made a couple of bad calls. I really think I hurt our team late. I called an out of bounds play and usually it’s just a pass to Drew Windler where he might be able to shoot a six-footer, but he was going up against (K.J.) McDaniels, and why I think he could shoot over McDaniels was crazy. He ended up double dribbling the basketball and then we tried the backdoor play late when we were down and we got it a lot, it’s a hard play to stop. A couple of bad plays by the head coach; there’s no other way to put it.”
On how the late first half effort affected play early in the second half:
“I think it gave us a boost. You can ask Brad, you’ve got no explanation why your team comes out of halftime a certain way. For all I know, that could have made them mad and they could have come out strong. Both teams wanted to win that game and both teams played really hard and I don’t think either one of us could possibly fault the effort of our kids in that game today. I hope they win it all. Thanks.”