bleedCrimson.net: Your thoughts on the big win against Pacific on Saturday night?
Marvin Menzies: I was very excited to see the kids come out and play with that level of passion and desire on defense. It was good to see and I'm hoping it's something that will be a signature for us going forward and will allow us to be able to play up to our potential.
bc.net: Tyrone Watson has been a player that really has brought a ton of energy to the starting lineup and Renaldo Dixon is a player that has really brought that same level of energy off the bench.
MM: We've done a good job of bringing in young guys and trying to develop them and turn them into the type of players that can win at a high level. It's good to get those guys quality minutes in their sophomore years and that will be something that will be a big plus for us going forward.
bc.net: With two games left in the non-conference you have a chance to match the win total from last year's non-conference schedule. How big is that considering all the things that have gone on this season that have been out of your control in terms of the injuries?
MM: I think that would be a great achievement if we were able to notch seven games like we did last year especially with all of the distractions we've had. That's still two games away and we need to concentrate on winning the next game against Lafayette who is a very talented team that has had its trials as well. They've had a lot of close losses this season especially on the road. We're hoping that they don't get going against us. I do think that we're taking care of the games that we're supposed to win and winning those games gives you a level of confidence that if we can get over the hump and get some fresh bodies and healthy bodies back on the floor we could still end the season on a very high note.
bc.net: The matchup against St. Mary's on Thursday night is a matchup of two NCAA tournament teams from last season. St. Mary's obviously no longer has Omar Samhan but they do return some very talented guards.
MM: Yeah, Mickey McConnell is one of the kids coming back (49.1% 3PT). They've got a kid, Clint Steindl (38.7% 3PT), they've got some kids that can really shoot the ball. They're doing a very good job, I think they're 9-2, they're doing a good job both at home and on the road. Obviously they're Top 30/35 team in the country and it will be a challenge for us to win that game with our youthful team. I do think we have the talent to do so if we perform defensively like we did in our last outing.
bc.net: What is the injury status for Hamidu and Troy?
MM: Both those guys and Wendell as well are guys that are healing up pretty well. I don't have a timetable of when they'll be able to return. We're optimistic that they'll be able to help us in the near future, hopefully the immediate future, but I'm just relying on the doctors and trainers and the kids to give me that information. As soon as they're 100 percent they'll go out. I'm not going to put them out there before they're ready to contribute without any further risk of injury.
bc.net: What are a couple of keys to come out of this week with a pair of wins?
MM: I think the main thing is to build off our defensive effort of this last game and also have a better execution offensively in the area of our assists and at the free throw line as well. I think those are of our achilles' heels that we've had offensively. We've got to get our assists up and take higher percentage shots as a team down the floor rather than challenged shots. If we can do that and continue to grow, our chemistry is great and our effort is there but we've just got to continue to play smart.