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March 11, 2015

Tonye Jekiri

Jim Larranaga

Sheldon McClellan


MIAMI テや 59

COACH LARRANAGA:テつ Yeah, actually, I thought the game was exactly like we anticipated.テつ We played Virginia Tech just a few days ago, and we shot lights out.テつ We played great.テつ We were ahead by 28 at the half, and ended up winning by over 20.テつ The way they played last night was a real concern of ours.テつ We thought they really did a great job of spreading the defense out and driving and scoring off of those drives.テつ They did the same thing to us.
I thought our defense was pretty solid in both halves, but I thought our guys, we didn't execute like we've been.テつ Monday in practice we were so good.テつ I thought if we play like this, we have a very good chance to win the tournament.テつ But we didn't play like that.
But we've won.テつ We're moving on.テつ We've got a big game tomorrow night against Notre Dame.テつ I thought Tonye and Sheldon were terrific.テつ I thought Deandre Burnett's three at the top of the key really was a dagger.テつ That was a very, very important hoop for us.テつ Manu's free throws were also a real key.テつ When you have a little bit of a lead and then you go to the foul line and you make your free throws, that is very important.テつ We ended up 14 for 18 from the foul line, which was terrific.

Q.テつ What made this team so effective in the clutch today?
SHELDON McCLELLAN:テつ They did a good job being aggressive in the second half, and they attacked our closeouts and got to the rim, got fouled and got a little momentum going, but we got stops down the stretch, so that's how we closed the game.

Q.テつ In the two regular season meetings you led the whole second half and one‑hand delay.テつ What was different in this game?テつ Why was Tech a little more competitive this time out?
COACH LARRANAGA:テつ Well, I think first of all, their win last night had to give them some confidence, especially the way they won.テつ That game see‑sawed back and forth down the stretch.テつ One big shot after another.テつ I think when a team wins a very close game like that, they're feeling really good about themselves, and we played so good at their place the other day, we couldn't match it.テつ We were 15 for 25 from three.テつ We made every right decision.
In this game, in the first five minutes, we had more turnovers than we did in the entire game in Blacksburg.テつ So we didn't play as well, but our defense was similar to what it was.テつ But we just didn't make the consistent good choices of passing and shooting.テつ We didn't shoot the three badly.テつ We ended up shooting 35, 36%.テつ But the other day we shot 60%, and we're making everything.

Q.テつ Going with that, it seemed like the pace of the game was just shot, miss, shot, miss, it was kind of back and forth.テつ It wasn't really a rhythm.テつ How much did that affect your team or even both teams and kind of just the pace of play?
COACH LARRANAGA:テつ In actuality we've played in a lot of games like this one.テつ Some games we've shot lights out, and other games didn't shoot quite as well.テつ What we've always told the team is in order to win the games when you don't shoot great, you have to play great defense.テつ If you shoot lights out, you've still got to play good defense to win the game.テつ But when you don't shoot well, the defense is the answer.テつ I thought that was the key tonight. テつWe played good defense.

Q.テつ To follow up on that, what made your defense so effective, especially holding on to just the three three pointers?
COACH LARRANAGA:テつ Well, I've got a great staff.テつ They've been with me a long time.テつ My assistant coaches do a fantastic job in preparation of identifying all the things that the opponent is trying to do.テつ Like we saw last night how much they were trying to drive.テつ Earlier in the year they were shooting a lot of threes.テつ Tonight they only shot 15.テつ Earlier in the year they might have shot 30 in a game.テつ So my staff did a great job of preparing the team, and the players really listened attentively.
We ran over the same things that we saw on Saturday.テつ We went over them for several practices to be sure our guys knew if we played Virginia Tech, this is what they're going to do.テつ This is what we need to stop.テつ To their credit, despite the fact I didn't think we played great offense today, our defense is what won the game.

Q.テつ Just the challenge of facing Notre Dame now.テつ Obviously, had a lead on them in South Bend and just the way they were able to come back, do you expect a different team or is that a challenge for you guys?
COACH LARRANAGA:テつ Well, Notre Dame is a top 10 team in the country.テつ They've had an absolutely spectacular season.テつ They've had answers in almost every game they've played.テつ When we played them, I thought it was one of the best team performances by both squads.テつ I thought it was just a tremendous college game.テつ At that time, we had to make more adjustments than we normally do.
So I think we'll be a little better prepared having played them once, plus this team is very good on the road.テつ We're now 11‑5 away from the Bank United Center.テつ Now that's twice as many road victories as a lot of teams that supposedly are going to get an at‑large bid.
So we need to continue to play really well, but this is a neutral site, so hopefully that will bring us a little closer to being able to play a great game and maybe bring them down to less than super.

Q.テつ Can you talk about Sheldon's performance tonight?
COACH LARRANAGA:テつ Yes, he was very good.テつ I don't think I took him out.テつ Did he play all 40?テつ He played 40 minutes of just terrific basketball.テつ I went to take him out once, and I turned to my staff and they said no, he never really gets tired.テつ I said okay, because he's really playing well.
His three, we opened up the court for him to give him an opportunity to basically make a decision.テつ Drive or shoot or pass, and he did all three.テつ Made very good decisions.テつ He was very calm.テつ I don't know how many he ended up with, but he had 16 points, and that's really like a third of our points or 25% of our points.テつ He did a yeoman's job today.テつ At both ends, by the way.テつ I want to say that.テつ He was not only scoring, but he was rebounding.テつ He had six rebounds.テつ The other day he had five assists.テつ Today I see he didn't.テつ Not because he didn't share the ball but because we weren't making as many shots.

Q.テつ I was curious, after Hudson's big 32‑point game yesterday, what was the defensive approach to containing him today?
COACH LARRANAGA:テつ Sheldon McClellan.

Q.テつ Sheldon did not make the All‑ACC team.テつ Can you tell us how you view him especially after a game like that that looked All‑ACC in the context of this league?
COACH LARRANAGA:テつ First of all, this league has a lot of very good players, and I think the guys that made the all league team are very, very deserving.テつ But when I saw that Sheldon was left off, honestly, I was shocked.テつ I don't know.
Has anybody ever heard the expression he's a 180 guy?テつ So, anybody that's never heard the expression, it's very, very simple.テつ You combine someone's two‑point percentage, three‑point personal, and free throw percentage, and if it totals 180, then the guy is one of the most efficient players.テつ In the NBA there are only like three or four guys a year.テつ Like Dirk Nowitzki was one of those guys a few years back.テつ I don't know if there is someone in the league now.
Sheldon's a 180 guy.テつ How can you leave off a guy like that when he shoots the ball from three, from two, from the foul line, as well as he does.テつ He's one of the better rebounding guards in the league.テつ He's one of the better defensive guards in the league.テつ And we didn't win the league, but we beat some of the teams that had players on the all‑conference team.テつ So, yes, I was shocked.テつ But as I said, I think the players who were voted were also very, very good.

Q.テつ Have you discussed with your team‑‑ you mentioned the at‑large bid and being 11‑5 on the road.テつ What have you told your players about the need to win tomorrow to go to the NCAAs?
COACH LARRANAGA:テつ Our focus has been coming into the tournament to win the tournament.テつ That means you've got to win‑‑ we have to win four games.テつ If we don't, if someone beats us, then I hope that it will be with us playing our best.テつ Not having a bad game, but someone outplayed us.テつ But right now we've‑‑ we've won three in a row, all on the road.テつ Our team is confident.テつ They're playing well.テつ Very, very attentive to detail, and hopefully we'll play a great game tomorrow night.テつ We're going to need to to advance.

Q.テつ To follow up on that, Jalen Hudson, what was your defensive approach to containing him tonight?
SHELDON McCLELLAN:テつ Just make it tough for him. テつHe had a great game against Wake Forest, and I just wanted to make it tough for him.テつ As soon as the game was over, I text the assistant coaches and saw the game on TV, and I told coach I wanted to guard him before the game even started.テつ So my mindset was just to start him, and my offense would come.

Q.テつ Tonye, can you just talk about how difficult that win was, and how satisfying it is to win a tough game like that and reach the quarterfinal?
TONYE JEKIRI:テつ Yeah, it was a tough win for us today.テつ We actually didn't play as well as we wanted to play.テつ But our defense helped us out.テつ We looked upon each other, and at one point in time the coaches called us together and tried to talk to us about what offense they're running, and how they're running and doing, and their back door they're looking for and stuff like that.
So we just pulled ourselves together and tried to make a defensive stop one at a time and rebound the ball.テつ Our guys really helped in rebounding.テつ Sheldon helped.テつ Manu came in to rebound in defensive.テつ That just helped us to pull out the win.テつ All credit to them.テつ Today they came out and played really great.テつ Everyone, after they played last night I could imagine they still have legs to run fast and try to run us.テつ They did a pretty good job.

Q.テつ When you said your guys practiced so well, it made you believe you could win this whole event, what could you share about what you saw?
COACH LARRANAGA:テつ Well, on Monday, we were missing Tonye who has been sick with the flu or cold or what have you, so he didn't practice.テつ Joel Thomas has been sick.テつ He didn't practice, so without two key members of our team.テつ But the guys who did practice, everything was done so sharply.
We shot the ball well.テつ We passed the ball well.テつ We defended it well.テつ Our attention to the scouting report and what was going to be the game plan, whether we played Wake Forest or Virginia Tech, we knew they have a lot of three‑point shooters.テつ They try to stretch you out and they try to drive you.
So you have guys like Devin Wilson or Cody Miller‑McIntyre, they're going to be taking you to the hole.テつ All the players really knew the personnel we were going to be facing.テつ And I just love the attitude.テつ I think attitude has everything to do with success, and our attitude was in the right place.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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