Chattanooga 89, Covenant 44
Chattanooga, Tenn. | The McKenzie Arena
Monday, November 6, 2023
Head Coach Then Earl
On the opening night win.
“It’s good that we got the win, but if you watch that game, there’s a lot to learn from, to say the least. I don’t think our guys handled the game well. I give a ton of credit to Covenant; they played hard, they moved the ball, they set a bunch of screens, and I didn’t think that we were solid on either end of the floor. Tonight, I feel like we were trying to hit a home run offensively [by] making one shot that’s worth 20 points to get the crowd going and taking chances defensively. I didn’t think we were solid, but a bright spot [was] the two bigs. Sam Alexis and Jan Zidek played well, and as I mentioned to the team, Jan was very solid. He was very efficient; 11/13, he didn’t force things, the ball just found him, and we try to play that style where it’s unselfish and the ball finds the open man, but we didn’t do that tonight. We’ll have to learn from it.”
On having the opportunity to learn despite the win.
“You don’t get stung with a loss, but you could feel the vibe out there where we’re just dribbling, trying to do too much and turn the ball over. We had 17 turnovers, they had 14 offensive rebounds as well, so I give a ton of credit to Covenant, but we didn’t control the things we need to control, so hopefully we get their attention while still getting the win. There’s plenty to improve upon, but we’ll watch film and get that figured out.”
On avoiding an upset.
“A lot of times when you’re dealing with college kids, they think it won’t happen to [them]. It’s happening left and right, much more often… That was a good, solid basketball team that executed, that played hard, that was executing on all cylinders, and I felt like we had this vibe that we’re going to just steal the ball from them, run down and dunk and it was going to be an easy night. All of a sudden, it was like ‘Oh, these guys are here to play.’ So, a ton of credit to Covenant and a relief; good that we got the win, but plenty to learn from.”
On if he was used so aggressively on offense by design or if he was going out of his way to challenge people one-on-one.
“Honestly none of that was really going through my mind. I was just playing the game and doing what the coaches wanted; just trying not to force anything and make the right plays. I had lanes open up for me and shots open up for me . I got one-on-one situations that I could take advantage of and I did. It just all worked out.”
On the opening night nerves tonight for the team.
“Not everybody is going to always have a good night. In basketball there are always going to be ups and downs, especially when it’s the first game of the season. The preseason is long, the summer is long, all you do is practice against each other and then all of a sudden you to perform on this stage in front of fans. There’s definitely some nervousness there, but we handled it pretty well tonight. Now we get ready for Louisville on Friday which is going to be a way bigger challenge for us.”
On how well Chattanooga’s system fits him and his play style.
“I think it’s fits me pretty well. It’s very team oriented basketball, lots of ball movement involved, lots of playing fast. It’s a pretty good fit for me.”
On today’s game being a bit of a wake up call to build from.
“We didn’t play our sharpest. There were a lot of mistakes out there that we need to work on or else we’ll get burned on them by better teams that we’ll eventually face. We also did some good things, but every day is a new opportunity to get better and to learn from our mistakes. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to go back into practice, learn from what we did wrong and focus on what we did good. Every day’s an opportunity to get better.”