Rob Senderoff, Jalen Sullinger and Miryne Thomas addressed the media following Indiana’s 71-60 win against Kent State on Friday in the 2023 NCAA tournament first round at MVP Arena in Albany, New York.
Watch their postgame comments below:
Transcript via ASAPSports:
THE MODERATOR: Media, we are joined by Kent State University Coach Rob Senderoff and the two athletes to my left Miryne Thomas and Jalen Sullinger.
ROB SENDEROFF: I know it’s late or early, however you look at it. Disappointed in how our season ended here tonight. We lost to a very good team. Give Indiana a ton of credit. They played really hard and played well. Obviously disappointed in how it ended for us because we took — it was a bad night for us to have a bad night.
And it wasn’t for a lack of effort at all. It just — you know, shots didn’t fall. There were a lot of four point swings that we miss a layup, they get a three. Or we miss a layup, they get a layup. Just too much for us to overcome. It’s obviously disappointing with how it ended, but an unbelievable season for sure.
Q. Rob and Jalen, just talk about their size and how much it really caused you guys problems tonight. Shots were altered. Obviously Trayce went off in the second half. How much did that size really play a role in tonight?
ROB SENDEROFF: I’ll say from my point, and then I’ll let Jalen answer. There certainly were times when their length impacted shots at the rim, and there were also some times where I felt like we just missed shots that we normally would make. So a combination of both.
Again, Trayce Jackson-Davis had five blocks, and his presence down there, I’m sure, impacted some of those misses as well.
JALEN SULLINGER: Like Coach said, we picked a bad night to have a bad night. I just want to say I love all my brothers and I’m happy we left it all out there.
Give credit to them. I mean, like you said, the big, he dominated tonight. So props to him.
Q. Miryne, all season you guys have been able to create a lot of turnovers and score off of those turnovers. What was Indiana able to do tonight to kind of prevent that from you guys?
MIRYNE THOMAS: I really wouldn’t give credit to them. I would just say we really weren’t at our best, and that reflected in them being able to make plays. So that was it.
Q. Race Thompson at the beginning was hitting from the outside. How much did that really change things up and really let them — allow them to do what they did?
ROB SENDEROFF: I don’t know that it necessarily changed things up, but credit to him. He’s made 12 threes going into the game on the season, and he stepped up and made them.
Again, you’ve got to credit him for stepping up and making them in a big moment for them, but it didn’t necessarily change how we played. It just — it certainly impacted the game because those are big shots for him to make, and he played a heck of a game tonight, one of his better ones, I think, of the year, I think he’d tell you.
Q. Really for both you guys, what are the challenges when you have such a late game and have to wait around all day to play?
MIRYNE THOMAS: I would just say the preparation. Staying focused throughout the day and making sure that we key in on matchups and defensive assets that we’ve got to make sure we’re focused on and just make sure we’re fired up when the ball goes in the air.
JALEN SULLINGER: Playing in the NCAA Tournament, I don’t think it matters what time you play, you’re going to be fired up and ready for the game. It just didn’t go our way tonight. That’s it.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you to the student-athletes.
Questions for the coach.
Q. It sounded like there was some kind of mishap in the shootaround with Sincere. What exactly happened? Was he affected at all?
ROB SENDEROFF: In shootaround today, he took a knee to the thigh and went down. I don’t know if it impacted him or not. Looking at the stat sheet, I’d say it probably did based upon the stat sheet.
He played 39 minutes. I think I took him out 57 seconds to go. He would have had to have his leg cut off for him to not have not played tonight. That’s the bottom line.
When he got hit, I was worried that it was serious. He came over here early and got treatment with our trainer, who did a great job, Brent. Again, I know he wasn’t going to miss this opportunity.
I’m disappointed for him because I don’t know. I don’t know if it impacted him or not. But again, I look at the stat sheet, and I say he had been playing so well leading into this game, it’s hard for me to think that it did not impact him. At the same time, that takes away from Indiana and what they did, and I don’t want to do that.
He was able to play, and just as a team we didn’t play as well as we needed to, period. We played really hard. It was a bad night to have a bad night. That’s what we talked about in the locker room.
Q. Every time they pulled away with ten, you guys kept chipping it back to single digits. Can you just talk about what your message was to your team every time they went up by double digits to kind of get them back in to keep fighting?
ROB SENDEROFF: That’s the resiliency of the group. That was them. That was the guys in the huddle. Again, we didn’t play well tonight, but nobody could sit here and watch the game and say, boy, those guys didn’t compete. We competed really hard.
That’s what we’ve done all year. Again, it just wasn’t our night tonight. We shot 31 percent from the field. We had 19 offensive rebounds in the game and only had 9 turnovers. Like we played really, really hard. We just didn’t play well.
In each of those timeouts, guys in the huddle were saying, hey, we just need to get a couple more stops. We call them kills. Three stops in a row. And we were getting them, and then we just weren’t converting.
Q. We talked a little bit Tuesday before you guys came out, this season how much can you use this, not only next year, but the next four years, and kind of make this like it used to be, where it was an annual run for Kent State?
ROB SENDEROFF: Obviously the guys we lose with Malique and Sin and Miryne, those guys are tough to replace. Those guys don’t come around every day, especially Sin and Malique, who have been here the last two years.
So we’ll have to recruit here in the spring. Hopefully there will be some guys who look at the success they’ve had and say, hey, this is a great opportunity. It’s a great school, great program, and we can attract some guys that can help us.
Then the returning guys like Von, who played well, Cli’Ron, who he came on this year. Tonight, I thought in the first half, he really guarded well. Chris, Jalen, Julius, those that choose to return — and again, we don’t know because of the way this transfer portal is. But the guys that choose to return, we’ve just got to keep getting better and improving.
We’re going to do our best to try to get back here. This was a lot of fun.
Filed to: 2023 NCAA tournament, Kent State Golden Flashes, Rob Senderoff