Quotable from UE’s loss to Creighton

UE lost by its largest margin of the season Saturday to Creighton at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb., by an 87-70 score.

UE coach Marty Simmons on the loss, which came after UE opened with the game’s first bucket and Creighton answered on a 19-3 run: “They just came out, and they punched us right in the nose. We never really responded – had a couple good spurts in there. There’s certain things that we have set up in a game plan. They’re things we’ve worked on since Oct. 12 of this year that you have to execute to give yourself a chance, and we haven’t been consistent from day one in being able to sustain execution and attention to details. When you play good teams, you’re going to get exposed. Too many times we had breakdowns defensively, and we gave up too many easy baskets.”

Senior Troy Taylor was a bright spot, as he recorded the program’s second-ever triple-double in the loss with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. “Troy’s a competitor,” Simmons said. “He wants to win, and he changes his pulse when things don’t go well. We need more of that from everybody else. We got into a sequence there in the first half where we just tried to shoot our way through things. We weren’t making shots, and we’ve talked about it – again – not settling, staying aggressive and driving the basketball. It seemed like, when we did that, we got much better looks.”

Added Taylor on the accomplishment: “It’s something I always had as a goal, because I know freshman year I was in the same situation and missed it by like two points. It kind of ate me up inside that I missed it. You never know when the chance is going to happen again. I’m upset, obviously, that it came with a loss. I just try to play hard every single game and keep everything consistent.”

The crowd of 18,458 was the second-largest ever for a Creighton home game. “It was pretty loud,” Taylor said. “I’m just like every athlete. I enjoy playing in front of a crowd like that, but it’s even better when you win in front of a crowd like that.”

Simmons expressed concern over the Aces’ rebounding. They’ve been edged on the glass in every loss this season. “I think at Butler, we missed more shots there that allowed them to get defensive rebounds. We actually out-scored Butler 15-3 on the glass. I think when you look at those, you’ve got to see through it a little bit. Now tonight, they absolutely beat us on the glass. It’s just effort. We work on blocking out every day. (Gregory) Echenique and (Doug) McDermott – they’re two of the better offense rebounders – because they’re strong, physical and have good hands.”

Senior Colt Ryan matched his season high in points with 25 to join Taylor in double figures, but he too expressed concern over the Aces’ rebounding. “I don’t know exactly if there’s a magic pill we can give people. It’s just like coach said. We’ve got to do it. That’s the bottom line. We’ve been talking about it all year.”

Ryan on other areas where Saturday’s game got away defensively: “We knew they wanted to come out and jump on us early. We didn’t do a very good job of containing the dribble drive. We were giving up middle penetrations. Their two man – we didn’t do very well with that either to start the game – and as a result they were able to get some layups and wide open 3s to stretch that lead.”

The Aces have had these problems all season, even back to when Simmons said the team wasn’t as far along as he anticipated with four seniors as UE started practice on October: “We gave up three middle penetrations right out of the gate. That’s something that’s part of our defense since we got here six years ago – to not give up middle penetration. If you don’t respect the details against good basketball teams, the way they spread the floor, they’re going to get good scoring opportunities. We allowed that, and you just can’t. You’ve got to be consistent with your effort and your ability to execute the details against good teams if you’re going to win. It’s kind of been the same story from day one. We just haven’t changed it.”

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