Transcript | Coach Beard talks after loss to Gamecocks, discusses the final no-call: ‘…There was absolutely contact’
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Ole Miss men’s basketball mounted a furious comeback on the road against No. 15 South Carolina Tuesday night, falling just short, 68-65.
The Rebels had an opportunity to tie the game in the closing seconds, down three, but the referees did not call a foul on the three-point attempt taken by Matt Murrell. Coach Beard talked about the loss — and that critical play — in his postgame press conference. Here’s everything Coach Beard said.
Coach Beard’s Opening Statement
“Congratulate South Carolina on a good home court SEC win. A lot of respect for the coach and the program he’s building here in year two. They’re really good. And, I think the national story has finally caught up. But, I think those of us in basketball knew this in December and January. This is a really good team, well coached, with really good players. And so congratulate them. Another good home court environment here in the SEC. Came down here a few years ago when Frank was coaching, one of my best friends, and I’ve always had a lot of respect for this job, the job Frank did here, building it. And certainly this team and this coaching staff is doing a great job. So congratulate them on a good win.”
Question: Coach, wanted to ask you about Collin Murray-Boyles, No. 30 for South Carolina. What made him so tough to stop? What did you think of his play?
Coach Beard: “He’s a talented player. I think he knows who he is. He doesn’t try to do things outside of his game. He has a poise for a young player that’s very unique.”
Question: Coach, the offensive production from South Carolina in the first half was significantly better than it was in the second half. You guys really did a good job of kind of slowing them down. What were the adjustments that you guys were trying to make at halftime to really get them off their rhythm?
Coach Beard: “Yeah, really no adjustments. Just trying to get back to what the original game plan was supposed to be. So this is a hard offense to guard because they play with patience, and they’ll work that clock all the way to the end. And again, they’re set up nicely there, contributions from inside play and outside play. So we wanted to try to be the most aggressive team tonight, understanding that that would open us up to some weaknesses.
“But I thought in the first half we did not do that. We were not the most aggressive team. I think the same could be said, different in the second half. I did think we were the more aggressive team in the last 20 minutes of play, and that’s why we got it back to a one-possession game. That really, in my mind, came down to the last call of the game — or no call.”
Question: Coach, what do you think Jamarion Sharp provided for you guys in the second half as y’all started to whittle down that lead of South Carolina’s?
Coach Beard: “Yeah, I thought he was active on both ends. Obviously put some pressure on the rim. With our pick and roll game, we were able to get a couple of looks not only for him, but for other people when they were tagging. Then on defense, he protected the rim like he has for many, many years in college basketball. I thought he was aggressive. He was dialed in. That was one of his better halves of basketball. That’s a good sign for our team. He wasn’t able to play last game because of an illness, so for him to come back and respond like that, it’s a real positive for our team here in early February.”
Question: Since since you mentioned it, what did you see on that last three pointer? Is that what you wanted, going straight down the court like that without a time out? And what did you see on the call or no call?
Coach Beard: “You know, I would say this. We’ve we’ve said this for many years, not just tonight, but I don’t think a game ever comes down to one play. But certainly on that one play when we’re down three, the first question is, are they trying to foul, up three?
“So we played that from our perspective about as perfect as we could. We got the defensive stop. We had enough time on the clock. We got the ball to the player that we wanted to get the ball to, Matt Murrell. We’re coming down the floor. And so Matt’s read there is if they’re fouling on purpose, get the shot up to get three free throws. If they’re not fouling on purpose, then make a basketball play depending on time and score.
“So again, You know, there’s a human element to this game. So you guys saw the play. I’m sure it’ll be played on video nationally. I’m not so sure they weren’t trying to foul in that possession, but I can’t speak for them. I thought Matt made the right play. He brought the ball down the floor with space. He knew we were down three.
“When he felt the contact…you know, we can we can sit here and dispute whether it was a foul or not, but there was absolutely contact. Everybody will see that tonight on video. So when the contact is made, Matt makes the right basketball play to try to get the three free throws.”
Question: Allen Flanigan was 11 of 15 from the field. A lot of those are really tough, contested mid-range jumpers in an era of, I guess, college basketball where teams are shooting more threes than ever. What’s it kind of like coaching a guy who is a tough shotmaker from like 10 to 15 ft?
Coach Beard: “Yes. I think for some people on the outside eye, that might look like tough shots. But those are game shots for Al Flanigan. Those are shots that he works on daily on a consistent basis. Al takes a lot of contact because he’s a physical, strong guy. I know he’s a hard guy to officiate. But I thought Al did a good job tonight, playing with a low base, a strong base, playing through contact. Obviously had a really efficient night offensively. Our spacing was much better in the second half which gave Al a better chance to play his offensive game. But Al obviously was very aggressive tonight and played really well.”
The Rebels will take the weekend off to prepare for another big road test next on their schedule, as they’re set to head to Kentucky on Tuesday, February 13 at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN.
Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn’s love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.