Here is what Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said after his team blew a 22-point lead in Nashville and lost to Nevada Sunday (Cincinnati was the No. 2 seed in the South Region, Nevada will now play Loyola-Chicago in the South semifinals Thursday):
MICK CRONIN: Well, we had watched, obviously scouted Nevada, and we knew they were an older team, dangerous team on offense, and I knew the game was far from over. We tried to continue to say that.
Our guys did a great job until the last ten minutes, where obviously they took the gamble and just started trapping Jacob.
We were playing 4-on-3 and got the deer in the headlights look. Ball stopped dropping for us. We got fouled a lot of times and it wasn’t called around the rim. And that got in our heads. It affected our defensive execution.
But give credit to Nevada for the win. The game’s never over, obviously, in the NCAA tournament especially if you turn the TV on until the clock hits zero.
We play really hard. We demand a lot of our players, and they’re accountable. They work hard. They’re good kids. And they allow us to try to bring out the best in them. I appreciate the guys. Been an unbelievable season, obviously. Wanted to win the tournament and came up short today. Unfortunate.
Q. Mick, one thing I noticed, they had — I don’t have a book, but I think they only had two turnovers. Obviously, that’s not you.
MICK CRONIN: But they play five guards.
Q. Talk about that.
MICK CRONIN: They only average nine a game. Give them credit. Jordan Caroline is a small forward, playing the five. They don’t play really a big man. So they’re not a team that turns the ball over. They’re top 5 in the nation in turnover margin.
So it’s not a surprise that they didn’t turn it over. Obviously, it gives them a better chance. That’s why they score so many points. But that didn’t beat us.
Look, we had a big lead. They gambled and just started trapping at half court, gave us a lot of wide-open shots that we didn’t make. And it got real, real physical around the rim, and I’ll let you take it from there on that. When we had chances around the rim, it was unbelievable what was happening.