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March 16, 2012

Grant Gibbs

Doug McDermott

Greg McDermott


Creighton – 58
Alabama – 57

THE MODERATOR:  We'll start with an opening statement from coach and then take questions for the student‑athletes.
COACH MCDERMOTT:  This is a terrific win for our program.  It's been, if I'm not mistaken, ten years since Creighton's won a game in the NCAA tournament.  So for that to happen, for our team, for our university, for our great fans, it's an incredible feeling.
Here we beat Alabama at their own game.  I would not have guessed that we could win a game at 58‑57.  I thought we were going to need to be in the 70s and get the tempo in our favor the entire game.  We were able‑‑ we weren't able to ever get it there, and that's a credit to a great defensive team.
But I'm proud of my team, especially the way the second half started with them scoring on four straight possessions and taking a 11‑ or 12‑point lead, I believe.  To be able to battle back and chip away at it and play inside out, which I thought we did a good job of in the second half, and we escaped with a victory on a day when we didn't shoot free throws very well and we're a very good free throw shooting team.  So very proud of my team.  These two guys next to me, Grant Gibbs stepped up huge in the second half; he played in the second half like a guy who was the only person in the game that's participated in a NCAA tournament before.  And Doug's been a rock for us all year and we did a good job of spreading the floor and getting him the ball inside, and he does what he does best and that's put the ball in the basket.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  Did you feel like you were starting to wear them down a little bit in the second half, you personally, just them trying to keep up with your constant motion?
DOUG MCDERMOTT:  A little bit.  I think part of our plan was to run in transition and that's what we have been doing all year is transition post ups have been huge for us, and I just tried to constantly sprint to get them tired.  And even if I wasn't getting the ball, I knew I was getting them more tired as the game went on.

Q.  Facing the all SEC forward, outperforming him, you had 16‑10, I think he had 10‑6 or something like that.  Was that performance a big reason why y'all were able to win your performance over JaMychal's?
DOUG MCDERMOTT:  I think so.  I've got to give a lot of credit to my teammates; they did a good job of finding me.  And I wasn't necessarily matched up on him every time.  He's a really good player, got to give him a lot of credit.  He's got a really good future, and I'm glad I got a chance to play against someone that good.

Q.  It looked like in the first half they did a good job of denying you and Gregory touches.  What changed in the second half for y'all to get a little more offense going?
DOUG MCDERMOTT:  Me and Gregory found some shooters there in the first half, and then in the second half we did a really good job of what we do best, like my dad said earlier, just looking inside and getting those transition post ups.  So I think that kind of wore into them as the game went on.

Q.  I think two spots in the second half you guys were down 10 maybe or at least close to it, can you talk about what changes you made offensively and defensively out there on the floor to kind of try and turn that to ‑‑ no pun intended ‑‑ to turn the tide?
DOUG MCDERMOTT:  They came off to a good start, got us down 11 right off the get‑go.  And then as the half went on, we fell into a two‑three zone and were getting some stops and got some good looks offensively and got it inside.  And Josh Jones made a couple big plays there and Grant as well, so I'm really proud of the way we executed things in the second half.

Q.  Grant, second half it looked like you did a lot to just sort of slow things down and collect everybody.  Has that sort of been your role this season?
GRANT GIBBS:  Yeah, absolutely.  Kind to try to be that calming force.  And I think the first half as much as we talked about not being tentative and not getting sped up, I think it's just human nature our first NCAA tournament game and the style they play to get a little sped up, and we weren't ourselves in the first half.
The message at halftime was play the way we have been playing all year and try to insert our style into the game.  And once we started doing that, that's when we were able to kind of change the course of the game.

Q.  How do you go into Sunday with the likely matchup now against a former teammate and just knowing that that's going to be the spotlight, kind of the spotlight one‑on‑one matchup of the day across the country?
DOUG MCDERMOTT:  Yeah, really looking forward to that.  I think it will be a lot of fun, assuming North Carolina wins, but Vermont's a good team too.  And I mean, we're looking forward to it.  We got a chance to talk to him a little about it, and I think it will be fun and we're really looking forward to the challenge.
THE MODERATOR:  Okay.  Thanks, guys.  Questions for coach.

Q.  Can you talk about the defenses you showed at the end?  I think Jones said you guys did maybe a different look to kind of throw them off on the final couple plays there.
COACH MCDERMOTT:  We came out on the sideline out of bounds, we showed man, and then took a timeout, and then came out and kind of stood by our man but then we dropped into a zone.  We felt like we knew what play they were going to run from one of their earlier SEC games that we had saw on the Internet, and thought we could cover it in the zone the best.  Josh Jones did a really good job of it.  He got Releford's right hand, made him take a really tough shot.  So it's‑‑ we don't play zone a lot, and we have worked on it a lot the last ten days.  And our guys, I thought they responded pretty well with it.  And most importantly for the most part we rebounded out of it, which we needed to do, but it's good to have a team where you can change something on the fly and they can execute it.

Q.  More about the zone defense you played.  It seems like every team that's been able to beat Alabama has played that zone well.  And coming into the game you knew that wasn't one of your strong suits.  What did you do in practice to make it more effective?
COACH MCDERMOTT:  Our goal in the zone against Alabama is to try to keep the ball out of the paint, both off the dribble and to try to plug it up so they can't get it to Green and Jacobs down low and swarm them if they do.  And for the most pardon we did a good job of that.  But I thought we could accomplish the same thing versus ‑‑ with our man‑to‑man defense.  And outside of the 3‑point shots the first half, I thought we did a pretty good job of that.  They actually took the shots we wanted them to take.  The first half we were a little slow on a couple of JaMychal's double teams.  We were more aggressive with that the second half and got it out of his hands.  But we just made a decision if they're going to beat us, we're going to make them beat us from the perimeter, and our guys executed that zone pretty well.

Q.  You said before the game that you were going to shoot a lot of threes, that you weren't going to change anything.  But were you pleased with the amount of touches that Gregory and Doug got inside or is that something that you would like to see more of?
COACH MCDERMOTT:  They took 20 of our 50 shots, so that's not awful.
I didn't think Gregory played with the aggressiveness the first half that he did the second half.  He's a totally different player in the second half.  He had no field goals and one rebound at halftime, and in the second half he gets three important field goals, four rebounds, and was flying around defensively.  I really thought he neutralized their front line when he had to play them one‑on‑one.  If they made shots, they made tough shots.  But I think three of Green's six field goals were perimeter jump shots, so we wanted to try to control them in the paint.
And Alabama does a good job of ‑‑ they double teamed Doug some the first half, got it out of his hands.  I thought they did a good job of forcing Gregory off the block the first half.  The second half we got in some ball screen situations where we got the floor spread and were able to get Gregory diving to the basket and space and that allowed him to score a couple of those baskets.  We're always going to throw it into those guys, but we're not going to turn down an open three.  And I think our ability to make 3‑point shots the first half at the end of their press was a probably a big reason they got out of it.

Q.  Could you talk about the play of Josh Jones?  He really seemed to provide a spark to your team in the second half on both ends of the floor.
COACH MCDERMOTT:  Well, the thing about Josh, when he goes into the game, something's going to happen.  Sometimes it's going to be good and sometimes it might not be, but something is definitely going to happen.  And he plays with a lot of confidence, he's got no conscience so he's going to fire it up there.  But I thought he played‑‑ there's one shot I didn't like down in the corner, but other than that I thought the shots were within the offense.  And then defensively he provides a spark.  And he's talking ‑‑ he's getting things to happen for us and keeping his teammates loose.
But without question, if you want to point to one thing is as to why we won this game it's our bench.  Our bench outscores their's 18 to 6.  We get big baskets from Wragge, Austin gives us quality minutes, and Dingman gave us good minutes in the first half, and then of course Josh was outstanding coming down the stretch.

Q.  How do you get your team ready and Doug specifically just for the spotlight that they're going to see on Sunday, the likely spotlight and especially with that one‑on‑one individual matchup.
COACH MCDERMOTT:  Well, we'll try do it the best job we can as treating it as another game.  The reality of it is besides the team that we could possibly be playing, assuming North Carolina wins, we're playing to get into the Sweet 16.  So that in itself is plenty of motivation to be ready to play and to not allow outside factors to influence your ability to focus on the task at hand.  So I think our guys are going to enjoy this for a little while, and by the time this game gets over and we get something to eat and get back to the hotel, they will be ready to dig in on whoever we're going to play.  And if it turns out to be North Carolina, congrats to Doug and Harrison if that happens.  Those two guys have had terrific high school careers.  They both have had wonderful college careers.  And for it to‑‑ for them to meet again on this stage, that's pretty cool story.  And I wasn't real excited when the seedings came out to find out that that was a possibility, but I understand why it's important to people and why it's going to be a story.  These two guys have achieved at a really high level.  They have taken different paths, Doug flying under the radar with no expectations to the start of his colleague career; Harrison you could argue has had more expectations placed upon him at the start of his college career as any player in history.  And they could possibly be playing for a trip to the Sweet 16 on the same floor with each other and that's pretty neat.

Q.  Are you surprised that more is being made out of the fact that they were high school teammates than y'all's obvious relationship to have the star and then be the son seems to be even more of a story line at this time of year and yet a lot of questions about Harrison?
COACH MCDERMOTT:  Everybody's heard that story already, so it's been told a thousand times.  And I obviously I'm very proud of my son and what he's accomplished, I think he feels the same about me, we have got a great relationship.  That's all business when we're on the basketball floor.  But I understand it.  How often does it happen?  Where you have someone that had the high school career that Harrison did, and receive the national, that much national attention as a high school player and then have a teammate that flies under the radar and ends up playing for his dad and all of a sudden he's an All‑American.  That's a cool story and I understand why people would be interested in it, but my concern is ‑‑ my concern will be the game.
THE MODERATOR:  All right.  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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