Summit League Basketball Championships
Championship - #2 South Dakota State vs. (4) Western Illinois
March 6, 2012
SDSU head coach Scott Nagy
"We weren't good tonight but a lot of that had to do with Western Illinois. Jim [Molinari] and his players were tremendous to play in a tough environment for them. I know that he is super proud for them. We weren't good offensively because how well they were defensively. Obviously the focus, coming off last year was to be better defensively. It kept us in the game enough to help us win the basketball game. I am so happy for Griffan [Callahan] because this was his last game to have another chance. He made huge plays for us late. He was the huge senior we needed."
on being more subdued on sideline than normal
"I didn't think we played poorly we just didn't shot the ball very well. They were good defensively. I just felt our job in the second half was to spur them on and be positive. That isn't generally how I coach but we were in that position and it was needed. I thought our coaching staff did a good job in every timeout in the second half and just didn't let our kids feel sorry for themselves. It is not my nature to be positive but I knew that is what was needed tonight."
on Chad White
"If I am not mistaken, Griffan [Callahan] got a big rebound and then Chad [White] hit that big three. Obviously it was a big shot and it put us up one. I can't remember how it how happened. Chad hit three of them tonight. Chad hurt his knee in practice last week and he has had to really battle through that. He has been in a lot of pain. He is starting to feel better. I told him last night and I told him before the game, because he didn't play a lot last night, that he would play a lot of minutes tonight and that we would need him. He was good defensively, blocked some shots. I am really proud of him."
on[Griffan] Callahan's go-ahead three
"I knew it was going in. When Griffan [Callahan] took that shot, deep down I knew it was going in. If you go back and look at our games this year and when we needed a big shot, he made it."
on conservative play in tournaments
"In tournament play scores just drop, they just do. Games turn into half court games as teams get more conservative. It certainly is not our nature offensively but they [Western Illinois] made us play that way. It is the reason we have 27 wins and not 19 because our team is not different in talent wise and all that. Starting last year we made a commitment to be better. Last couple of weeks I have really started to feel we have a pretty good defensive team. It won this game for us; it got us into the NCAA Tournament - it wasn't our offense."
on going to the tournament
"I do think it is - everybody talks how it is big for program. It is big for the University and big for exposure. People love our logo. Now, our logo will get out there this next week. I think Andy Katz [ESPN] absolutely loves our Jackrabbit logo. Obviously, it is good for the University to have both of us, the men and the women, out there. What a tremendous opportunity for both us. But for me that [going to the NCAA] is the dream. When I have had the recruits come in, number one, they ask if I am going to be here. No coach can guarantee you he will be here tomorrow. But I can say that I have been here for this many years, whether it is 13 or 14 or 15. My dream is to see SDSU play in NCAA tournament and obviously that was realized today and hopefully we will do it again and do it a lot more."
on Nate Wolters
"Nate Wolters is one of the best in the country. He struggled tonight but big deal he is allowed to struggle every once in a while. It is good that his teammates picked him up and he played good defensively tonight. Playing good defense was the most important thing for me. Yes, when we go into the tournament to have a guy like that he can help you win games. This isn't the end and it isn't like we got into the tournament, ok. Obviously, it is a big celebration. We have to get our players pulled back in. Let's prepare to win the next game. You saw VCU go to the Final Four. I am not going to guarantee we will go to Final Four. We know if we play well we can beat anybody."
on the end of the game being surreal
"Yes, it is still is. I am not kidding you. It is not very many times in my life that I felt like we were dreaming. It was surreal; I was looking for my wife and my dad because they went through it with me. It was hard for them too. I am so pleased for them to because I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my wife, my kids and my dad."
South Dakota State guard Nate Wolters
on how they defended him
"Ceola Clark is a great defender. They defended me well my whole career. I didn't have a lot of good looks and I struggled but Griffan [Callahan] came up big. He did an unbelievable job. He was amazing, hitting a clutch three."
on Making NCAA Tournament
"It is still soaking in. We will try and enjoy it for a few days but it will be a lot of fun."
on the pressure in second half
"The second half we couldn't get anything to fall. Defense won it for us. Eventually we thought we could get a shot to fall and then Griffan [Callahan] won it for us."
South Dakota State forward Griffan Callahan
on Coach Nagy going to NCAA
"I thrilled for him; he has always believed in us stayed confident with us. He is a great coach and we love him very much. I am extremely happy for him.
on fighting back from a deficit
"We never gave up hope no matter what happens. That is what I love about this team. Nothing can get us down. And, we don't get on each other. We don't scream at each other. Our whole thing is to stay positive. I told them we would come back to win and we did."
Western Illinois head coach Jim Molinari
"Proud of our guys, I thought they fought extremely hard in, obviously, a very difficult environment. These three [Ceola Clark, Tommie Tyler, Terell Parks] especially did. Thought we defended great, tried to get to the foul line a little bit, tried to penetrate a little bit but give South Dakota State credit. They made some big plays down the stretch."
on what being in the championship
game meant for his program
"I don't think this will be our last game. I assume we'll play in some tournament. So hopefully we can get this taste out of our mouth. I think it's always good to put your school and your program on the map, but obviously it really hurts when you get this close. But yeah, there are all positive things that come out of this, making this run in the tournament. There's no doubt about that."
on if he became wary when SDSU
started to gain a little momentum
"Here's the thing you have to understand, if I'm ever going to lose a tough game, I wanna lose to Scott Nagy. A guy like that, great family guy, does charity work, loves the Lord, great [guy]. So I mean that makes it a little easier. And South Dakota State has a great program. But this was a road game. The reality that the reason they stayed in the game was because we were on the road. And don't get me wrong, I'm not making an excuse I'm just thinking, it's great for our league. I love Sioux Falls. I think it's one of those [cities] where the products better than the marketing. I don't think a lot of people know about it. You got a great town, great people, great tournament. But I think you have to be ten points better if you're going to win here. And we weren't ten points better tonight. I think Oakland has been that in the past and I think that's the reality of the situation. So I guess what I'm telling you is I knew, because of the crowd, they would never let the game get away from them. And they didn't. And I think we did everything we could, we just couldn't score at the end there. But we played the way we play, possession by possession, defend. You can't defend any better on the road than that [holding SDSU to] 35% and the other things we did. I can't be more proud of our guys. And then we put the ball in the right people's hands: we put it in Ceola's hands at the end of regulation. Both teams didn't sub at all. It's really hard to sub in those situations. And then what we wanted to do at the end, we wanted Tommie to drive it in as hard as he could and if he couldn't get to the basket, kick it out to one of our shooters, try to put pressure on the rim. Those are the things that we tried to do down the stretch. I couldn't be prouder of the way we played but that doesn't lessen the hurt. But I don't wanna take anything away from South Dakota State. They're a very good program, a real class program and they did a tremendous job."
on failing to score down the stretch
"I think we got tired. We got tired and we stood around a little bit and that happens on the road when you play in that type of environment. We had some guys- this is their first tournament ... so I think that [had an effect]. Tried to get it inside a little bit. But I think that's what happened [being tired], it's a natural tendency. We just needed to get one basket down and we had some wide open looks I thought, we just couldn't get them to get down."
on how his players dealt with the hostile atmosphere
"I thought we dealt with it great. We only had 11 turnovers. I think we played with poise, we just didn't hit some open shots in the last seven minutes [of regulation] and then I thought overtime we got off to a decent start. But you know, give Griffan Callahan credit. He drove the ball to the basket and then he made a big three. It was a great college game. It'll hurt for awhile. Hopefully we'll get a chance to play again and then we'll come back and we'll keep trying to get better. Keep trying to make progress."
Western Illinois guard Tommie Tyler
on his night and the last shot
"Just tried to come out playing aggressive. The last shot was a play we go to at the end of the game. I was driving baseline and it didn't work out. But we played hard. We played our hearts out. They're [SDSU] a great team."
on going out in this fashion as a senior
"It's tough, man. It's heartbreaking. That's all I can say is heartbreaking. I feel like I let my teammates down. Wish it could've came out different. [WIU] is a great team. They got a bright future ahead of them. I'm happy I played with these guys. I think they'll be back here next year. I know for a fact that if they come back and work as hard as they did this year, they'll be back here next year."
on his big game compared to the
"Just trying to attack the basket more. Coach Mo [Molinari] always tells that my best asset as a player is to attack the basket. I think the first couple of games I was too much of a perimeter player. My role on the team is to get to the basket, try and get teammates open. I was getting to the basket [tonight] and saw a little opening and just took it."
on having the upper hand defensively
for most of the game and frustrating Wolters and Dykstra
"We take pride in our defense. That's what our program is based on. That's our foundation. So at the end of the day, that's what we do. Ceola did a great job on Wolters. He's a great player and Ceola did a great job giving him tough shots. Terell blocking shots effectively, effecting shots of anybody that came into the lane."
Western Illinois guard Ceola Clark
on what the Leathernecks did
"Nate Wolters is a great player. I just tried to contain him, force him into tough shots. It was a low scoring game, a game that was at our pace. Went to overtime and just couldn't pull it out. Just came up short tonight."
on the team's run after being picked
to finish ninth in the conference
"Hopefully we'll start getting some respect. I mean, I haven't seen much respect out of anybody around besides our fans and us. I think this season was a great stepping stone. Tommie, you know, he opened the door for us. Hopefully just keep moving forward. Hopefully the guys can build off of it. For us to play like this towards the end of the season, that's what you want to play like in March. I think we showed a lot of people we're one of the best defensive teams out there. Like I said, hopefully we can start gaining some respect in the Summit League and around the nation."
on having the upper hand defensively
for most of the game and frustrating Wolters and Dykstra
With the faith I have in my team and we have in each other, I feel like we can compete with the best of them. Like Tommie said, we're a defensive minded team and we dug down, tried to make it tough on them, but they're a great team and they pulled through at the end. We just couldn't knock down a few shots when we needed it. We had the stops that we wanted, we just couldn't score. Like I said, we were really fighting for respect this year and that's something that we really wanted this year. We talked about we wanted to gain respect, it was so close, we were right there. You don't know how much it hurts inside all of us. It hurts to be that close when everybody doubted you. It hurts."
Western Illinois forward Terrell Parks
on how his team can build from this
"I mean it's great. Like these guys said, these are great teams. And we feel like when we can compete with them, we can compete with anybody. It's going to be the same team next year pretty much, minus Tommie. [SDSU]'s going to be pretty much the same team minus [Griffan] Callahan and so we feel like we'll be right back at the top of this league next year."