There is only so much to write about any game that winds up 52-46 and includes the losing team enduring a field goal drought of more than 13 minutes.
Such was the case Saturday when George Washington rallied past Saint Louis at the Smith Center.
Fortunately, the Billikens are coached by the scathingly candid Rick Majerus, who had two of his top returning players (Kwamain Mitchell and Willie Reed) suspended before the season and another (Femi John) derailed by knee injuries. Saint Louis fell to 7-13 with the setback, and Majerus didn't sugarcoat much during his postgame discussion with reporters.
Rather than try to selectively dissect Majerus' take, the full three-question transcript is presented after the jump and is well worth the click.
Q: You guys had a long stretch in the second half where you didn't score a field goal.
Majerus: Yeah, we missed good layups. We missed shots. We got wide open looks on out-of-boundses. We pass to the 6-11 kid from New Zealand under the basket, and he's going to touch pass to the little guard on the right, [Mike] McCall. And, you know, we had 12 turnovers. Two of them are a charge and setting a screen, so we have 10 turnovers against pretty much a veteran team with their presses. Everyone, of course, knows about Kwamain [Mitchell] and the other kid sitting on the bench, Kwamain and Willie [Reed], but Femi [John], too --- and Femi gave you a degree of toughness and someone who had been around for a year.
We are what we are. We're a young team that has a tough time scoring and they get tightened up. Like McCall has that inexcusable turnover on their press. That was self-inflicted. He comes too close to the baseline. The inbounder guy, Dwayne [Smith] throws a bounce pass because he's playing backward because I yelled at him. It's just one of those situations that's difficult. What's the next question?
Q: Where do you go from this game?
Majerus: Well, we go to practice. We get a day off, we go to study, we go to practice. Where the hell do you think we're going? We're going on to the next game. It's a game-by-game deal. I'm not upset with you, but what do you want me to do? We going to go to a gas chamber and commit suicide? I understand this is a toy-store life. I deal with a lot of real issues in life. This is a game. It was a game when I won those other games, too. I understood that. What else?
Q: Coach, what did they do well?
Majerus: Well, their quickness, they hit a couple of tough shots. That Paul [Eckerle] kid is a walk-on who tore his ACL. Ecklerle, the stocky kid, they just abuse him and take him one-on-one. Dwayne Evans, we threw that lob to him at the start of the second half, it's wide open, terrible pass. Instead of bringing it down and taking it right back up or not valuing the ball, he tries to make the home run hammer dunk, which he can't make. How many finger-rolls does he try to miss because he's used to playing in some place [like] McLean, Virginia, against a bunch of stiffs in a charter league. No, really, it's the truth.
I try to tell him 'Hey, you have to take the ball up strong, get fouled.' You're dealing with four freshmen. Cody [Ellis] played half a semester last year. And now all the sudden you get to the point where guys are playing shortstop who should have been playing right field like Linus. Guys are playing pitcher who have no business pitching because we're such a bastardized team because of depleted ranks.
So what did they do best? They took advantage of being a little bit older. They took advantage of being at home. We missed those layups. [Cory] Remekun, the poor kid from Texas, is a 19-year-old sophomore. He should be a freshman. I promised him I'd redshirt him. I don't have the time to redshirt him. Because extenuating circumstances in each of the last two years, I can't honor the commitment to the kid to redshirt. He needed a redshirt a year, and then he'd be good.
The guys are trying. I want to show you something. The clips would be amazing to you how many open shots we had. We start out with that one backdoor play coming out of the timeout in the second half in front of their bench. Then [GW's Joseph] Katuka comes out of the high post. He's just a great athlete. The kid is a world-class athlete and he makes a blocked shot. Then you've got to get these kids who are 18, 19-year-old emotional wrecks because they've never encountered that stuff before, and there is no leadership. Your captain is on the bench, Kwamain, but he's a passenger. These guys have become passengers instead of driving the car.
I'm not taking anything away from them. I'm just trying to tell my own guys that in the face of adversity, you have to compensate. Everyone says 'Let's step up.' It's not stepping up scoring, it's stepping up --- like we had that turnover on that side out of bounds there because McCall doesn't go get the ball. It is what it is. We're going to come out and play very hard. We're trying to cultivate toughness and our three toughest players are history. You know, that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to play with the hand we've got right now.