Additional Quotes: USA 81, Germany 59
John Calipari (USA and University of Kentucky head coach)
Your thoughts on the game, overall?
Here’s what happens - you have teams that are going to play with such high intensity and focus, it’s just can they do it for 40 minutes? The way we are doing this, when we are playing 10 or 11 kids and they are playing 22 or 18 minutes, you just keep coming at people in waves. We don’t have any weak links on this team. We just don’t. What I’m seeing right now is us pressuring them, and at some point, they will back off. Now, they went zone, and it was bang, bang, bang with 3s. So, we didn’t execute offensively. The beginning of the game, I thought there wasn’t enough intensity, so we put in that second group, and wow, they did it again. It was great to see.
Was the defense better in the second half?
Yeah, we guarded. We got out-rebounded 24-14 at halftime, I think it was, and then we out-rebounded by seven for the game, which means we out-rebounded them by 17 in the second half. That means you get breakouts. You get layups. You get two-on-one’s and three-on-two’s, and that’s what we did. We had almost 50 points in the second half and played how we had been playing.
Who particularly impressed you tonight?
Carsen Edwards was the one guy that went in and changed the game because of his intensity, and he was dragging people with him. Payton (Pritchard) played well, I thought, in that group. In the second half, all those guys that have been starting, played well. I thought Austin (Wiley) rebounded and got baskets and did his usual thing. Cameron (Reddish) played better in the second half. I don’t think anyone played poorly. Kevin (Huerter) went in and does what he does. The minute you put Kevin in, he makes everyone around him better on offense and defense, and that team will go on a spurt, and he’s done that for five games now.
What are your early thoughts on Canada?
I’ve watched a couple of halves in person, and tonight I’ll watch their game versus France, which was a great win. They played all two-three zone, so I don’t know how much I’ll get from it. Two quarters of the game they played two-three zone, but they did the same thing against Japan. They started man-to-man, started getting beat and switched to two-three zone and stuck with it the rest of the game.
Carsen Edwards (Purdue/Atascocita, TX)
Your overall thoughts on today’s game?
Like coach Calipari said, this was good. We have been beating teams by large margins from the start, normally, so this was good for our team, I believe. It was a good game for us, and they were a really good team.
You hit some shots in the second half - did the zone help that out?
When they switched to the zone, we were able to move the ball around and get some good shots, some open shots. From the start, our guards were pressuring the ball well and making them uncomfortable, and we were getting easy buckets that way, too. So, when they went into that zone, we were able to knock down open shots.
Do you think you wore Germany down a bit?
That’s basically how we felt. We knew they were going to play well, but we just had to keep pushing and grinding. That’s what we did, and we came out ready to play to pull this off.
Do you think today’s effort is going to be what it takes to defeat Canada in the semifinals?
Yes, and I think that’s fun. I’m excited. I’m ready to keep battling and working.
Cameron Reddish (Norristown, Pa./Westtown School)
Austin Wiley (Spain Park H.S./Hoover, Ala.)
Your thoughts on your effort inside, scoring and rebounding today?
It was just a real physical game. We all wanted to make it to the semifinals. Germany came out playing their best, and we came out a little slow, but we got it together and continued to play hard.
What was the difference in the first half and the second half?
There really wasn’t a difference. We came with the same mentality. We kept pressuring and pressuring them, and eventually they folded, so that was good from us.
What was your focus out there?
I was just doing whatever I thought we needed from me to win the game - whatever coach Cal and my teammates needed me to do.