The Flying Dutchmen’s NCAA Tournament hopes ended in heart-breaking fashion this afternoon, when Old Dominion held on for a 52-51 win in the CAA quarterfinals in Richmond. Afterward, Tom Pecora took a few minutes to talk about the game, his thoughts on the season and the Dutchmen’s chances of earning a bid to the NIT or another postseason tournament. Our sincere thanks to Jeremy Kniffin for arranging the interview and to Tom as well for his time, both today and throughout the season.
On the game:
They did what we did to people all year. That was the difference in the game. [Gerald] Lee was great, had 30 and 10, but with that said, we could have weathered the storm better, rebounded the ball better.
On Lee’s performance:
It was frustrating, we expected it. At our place, he had 20 and eight, but we beat them. What really hurt us was they had Jonathan Adams [with] eight rebounds. They did a good job on the offensive end, at the other end they had more field goal attempts than we did. And we didn’t shoot the ball well from the free throw line. That’s where we lost the game, there and the offensive glass.
I’m proud of the guys, they played their tails off all year. Charles Jenkins was great again and the sophomores played well with him, Greg Washington and Nathaniel Lester. And we’ve got a good recruiting class coming next year.
On the Dutchmen’s resiliency this afternoon:
We jumped back in it. They jumped on us 9-2, we jumped back in the game and they fought their way back and made a couple threes in transition early in the second half. And it’s a road game basically—the house goes crazy when they score. You settle in, I had to burn some timeouts early to do that. But I thought we had a good look at the end. Charles got a good look on the elbow. You’re not going to get a whistle at the end of the game there.
Look, this year, we’ve been tough. I think, including tonight, we’re like 12-3 in five-point games. We had the ball and with a chance to win the game. When we’re in the game late like that, we expect to win. Tonight it didn’t work out that way. Such is life.
On what he said to the team after the game:
Not a lot [laughs]. Just said, hey, we’ve got to get on the bus, going back to the hotel and we’re on the bus on the way home now. We’ll have a team meeting [upon their return]. We’re on the bubble for the NIT. Four years ago, we would have definitely been in, in the old days. But I don’t know how important the New York influence is anymore for them. Maybe we’ll have a better chance if there’s an upset tonight, if Northeastern loses tonight or something like that. We’re going to practice and see what happens.
On what he’d say about his seniors if this is in fact their last game:
Just a sad way for them to end their career, quite honestly. I think they were great soldiers. They went from 12 wins to 20 this year. They all bought in. Wonderful young men. But I’m sure they all would have preferred to have had a better [end] to their career than tonight.
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