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March 12, 2015

Patricio Garino

Mike Lonergan

Joe McDonald

Yuta Watanabe



COACH LONERGAN:  Pleased to get a win tonight so we can advance.  I thought both teams shot the ball very well from the outside.  We did a really good job rebounding the ball.  I know they still got some points, but I thought we really made Colter work for his shots and Mason shot a high percentage.
Happy for our guys.  Important game for us.  One of our tough losses was at Duquesne this year, didn't play real well, so I think they really wanted to play them again.  Try to get home and get prepared for a really tough road island team.

Q.  Talk about what playing so well on the big stage means for you and everybody who is watching you from overseas?
YUTA WATANABE:  Yeah, I just try to play hard and I had a good game against UMASS, so I got confidence.  I just tried to keep shooting and I think that's it.  That's why I played very well.  I think I got three offensive rebounds which is very good for me.  I'm going to keep working hard and I'm going to keep improve myself.

Q.  How much of the last game at Duquesne was on your mind during this game?
JOE McDONALD:  I think we just played with a chip on our shoulder, especially myself.  I didn't play particularly well against my match‑ups last time we played Duquesne (off mic).

Q.  What was it like guarding Mason and how did you try to stop him?  What was your game plan?
PATRICIO GARINO:  We know he's a big matchup and he gets hot really quick.  He really knows how to shoot.  We watch a lot of film and we learn basically all their plays and we walk through how he (ph) plays, but I knew he was a big matchup for me.  Even though he got 22 points, we contained the whole team.  I think one of our goals was to contain Mason and Colter.  Basically the Mason matchup‑‑ but by containing Colter, we knew we could get the team win. 

Q.  Turnovers were a big problem the last time you guys played Duquesne.  What did you go into this game thinking about?
JOE McDONALD:  Well, we're in the two‑three zone, Coach is always preaching, we shouldn't really have to turn the ball over when they are in zone.  I was just making crisp passes.  In the beginning, made a couple sloppy passes, but after that I think we had our confidence going.  A lot of it, it builds from our defense.
When we can get out in transition, we don't have to worry about forcing a pass inside, or just jacking up a late shot.  We didn't really handle that pressure late with their little three‑quarter score press, but we will get that addressed for the next time.
PATRICIO GARINO:  I think it was focused kind of thing.  In the beginning we were a little out of it, a couple passes that weren't crisp enough as Joe said.  But through the game, we knew in we needed to contain those turnovers by maintaining that focus through the game.  We made better passes, and again, our confidence got higher and higher, and then reduce those turnovers through the game.

Q.  Yesterday Duquesne tied the tournament record for blocks in a game.  They had 12 and they won the points in paint battle by a lot and now you guys dominated points in the paint.  What was the game plan after watching the game last night?
PATRICIO GARINO:  Well, we are aware of those‑‑ we knew we needed to avoid that.  54, Lewis, is really big, but we think he was a little slow so we had to go around him.  He had seven blocks yesterday, so we did a great job today.  He only had one.
We know that we can out‑muscle them, by going around them, we could take the advantage.

Q.  You just talked about playing with a chip on your shoulder; almost like a carbon copy tomorrow night with Rhode Island.  Can you go to that well again, playing with that chip on your shoulder?
JOE McDONALD:  Without a doubt.  We've been looking forward to this when we saw the bracket come out.  Obviously we didn't want to overlook Duquesne, because the last time we played them the outcome wasn't what we wanted.  We are just glad we got this win and just want to continue the momentum.
I think the biggest thing tomorrow against Rhode Island is taking care of the basketball.  Our defense will be there; our intensity will be there, because we are going to have to match Rhode Island's intensity.  We can take care of the basketball and just get shots.  Like Coach says all the time, shots not turnovers, I think we'll be fine.

Q.  You both shot the three‑ball very well in the first half.  How do you keep your confidence so high from the last game?
YUTA WATANABE:  Well, I'm practicing like every night by myself.  So I got confidence, like every time, so I just take shots.  Yeah, that's it.
JOE McDONALD:  I just think it's shot preparation.  Our assistant coach, Maciariello, has done a good job of just keeping our confidence high with the shot.  He always said, you know, be shot ready.  So make sure we continue that.

Q.  Seems like this is a home away from home for you all.  You make the short trip up here from D.C., seems like your fans here that were very vocal‑‑ how does that help you build confidence being that this is a one‑and‑done type of situation?
PATRICIO GARINO:  I think at home we have a great advantage.  We have a really big fan base at home.  But I think we have a lot of alumni here in New York.  I know the people that travel from D.C. was key for us.  I think it gave us more confidence and we really appreciate the job they do.  They get really loud and they get into the game and they gave us confidence at the end of the game, and it's impressive.  Not every team has that many fans and we appreciate everything that they do.

Q.  When you started traveling, what was the advice he gave you?
JOE McDONALD:  Well, he was one of our best shooters, clearly, so we just tell him to keep shooting and be confident with the shot.  He's got a nice stroke.  He's a lot taller‑‑ when he plays the three position, he's a lot taller than the other guards he goes up against.  So he has a height advantage to shoot over them.  Just be confident. 
PATRICIO GARINO:  Yeah, definitely, confidence, but I think through the games, different teams scouted him better and knew he was a shooter and maybe he was taking a little contested shots.  So maybe taking shots that were open through the games helps him a lot and builds up his confidence.

Q.  Can you talk about in the second half, you were up by as much as 15 and they kind of cut it to something like four, you guys were up by four.  Then you guys got on that 11‑0 run after John got the N1 (ph).  How did the team weather the storm?
COACH LONERGAN:  I probably should have called a time‑out.  We had a couple ten‑second violations, which is kind of shocking.  We work on it all the time and worked against our press today.  We know to look at the shot clock, when it gets down to 27, you have to get it over or call a time‑out.  I was just kind of caught off‑guard where we were kind of casual and got caught there.  That was disappointing.  And then we missed a couple free throws.
But they made shots‑‑ give Mason credit.  He's a tough match up and Garino is a great defender but he hit some shots.  I didn't realize he shot that well.  You know, that's what he does.  But for the most part, I don't think they scored a bucket off the bench, and Colter had to really work for his.  One guy got his point, that's fine.  We knew they would make a run.  Basketball is a game of runs.  So I'm glad we survived it.

Q.  Can you talk about the game plan going into it with the battle in the paint after seeing that Duquesne had blocked 12 shots last night?
COACH LONERGAN:  It's crazy, scouting report watching that game last night was they were second‑lowest shot‑blockers, whatever, in the league.  The big guy, Lewis, last night, he just blocked somebody by putting his hands up.  He was so confident last night, he started jumping and blocking shots.
So our kind of theme was we were going to go around him and not through him.  That's what we did.  They got their confidence up, they had five blocks today.  I think they are averaging two and a half, if that, on the season.  So I give them credit, they played hard.  Like I said, their coach gets them to play hard.  But we really wanted to attack.
You know, Kevin, if he's tired‑‑ he went in there a few times and didn't score.  They did a good job on him.  He didn't score a basket in the second half, and I think he got tired.  We weren't really that worried about their shot blocking because we felt, just try to go around them instead of going through them.

Q.  What's the difference in the three‑ball in the past couple days?  Is it just you guys are making shots?  Are you getting better looks?
COACH LONERGAN:  We were shooting so poorly‑‑ early in the year we were playing great defense and rebounding and we weren't a great shooting team.  But then when February came, we stopped guarding as well and not playing, even rebounding.
So to get out of that, we just kept working on our shooting, too.  It's hard.  It's hard to rely on defensive rebounding all the time, especially guys that are not shooting well and scoring, naturally don't play D as well.  So I think it's three, four games in a row now we have hit double figures in three‑pointers.  Even our loss to Davidson, I think we made ten or 12.
So that makes things a lot easier, that's for sure.  I mean, against a 2‑3 zone; at Duquesne, same team, we were up by 38 at our place and hit maybe 14 threes, and we were 2 for our first 20 shots with two airballs.
So our team, sometimes we get a little tight when things don't go well.  But lately, we've gotten our confidence.  Part of that is Yuta.  He had a lot of games where he's 1‑for‑5, 0‑for‑5, and now he's bounced back.  And when he hits shots early, he was terrific.  That gave us team confidence.  I was actually asking Joe to step up and try to shoot some more threes.

Q.  When they went on that run and cut it to four, and you guys responded with a run of your own, what were you telling Patricio guarding Mason, the other guys giving them help what were you telling them to adjust?
COACH LONERGAN:  We were supposed to be hedging out there.  I think some of our bigs got tired and we don't come out and they do a good job screening.  But then I felt that, you know what we got to start scoring again.
So we were trying to say, hey, let's try to break this press and try to score.  I thought a big play was Patricio had a two‑on‑one with John, inside‑out move, didn't charge, and then scored, all right.  Johnny scored.  I thought that was a big basket just to get some separation.
I told our guys, we're not playing slow‑down.  We want to break this press.  We would have numbers.  But press caught us a little bit off‑guard for whatever reason, and give them a lot of credit.  It got them back in the game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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