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March 14, 2015

Archie Miller

Jordan Silbert

Scoochie Smith



COACH ARCHIE MILLER:  Well, that was a really hard‑fought game, anybody who watched it probably didn't enjoy it as much as the players and the coaches in the game, because it wasn't the prettiest of things.
But I thought two teams who really competed; I thought Rhode Island really, really battled hard.  They were ready, in particular on defense.  That was the defensive team we expected at our place.  It was just a little different playing in our arena.  But our kids battled, too.  We had a lot of guys step up and make a lot of different plays.
The difference in the game really was probably the turnover margin and our ability to maybe convert some of them at big times.  Every basket was hard‑earned, and we are very fortunate to win.  But at this time of the year, it doesn't really matter how you get it.  You've just got to get it. 

Q.  This is a very tough defense you guys faced.  How did you overcome their ends to make those shots in the end when they really mattered?
SCOOCHIE SMITH:  We just stick with it throughout the whole game, trust in one another, trust in the coaching staff and plays.  We just played defense harder than they did.  We made plays when they counted at the end of the game.
JORDAN SILBERT:  We basically know that our defense is what fuels our offense.  So towards the end, we tried to pick up our intensity, tried to pressure a little bit more, and kind of got our offense clicking towards the end.

Q.  After yesterday, do you feel tired about playing a back‑to‑back game with having only seven guys?
JORDAN SILBERT:  No, we don't get tired.
SCOOCHIE SMITH:  Can't afford to get tired.  It's not in us when we got a chance to try and win.

Q.  You had I think ten turnovers in the first half two in the second half.  What changed?
SCOOCHIE SMITH:  Just know coming into the game you can't start with ten turnovers and try to win the basketball game.  The focus at halftime was just take care of the ball and play defense and get stops and let that fuel our offense.

Q.  Can you just talk about that steal you had at the end of the game, about a minute left and got pushed ahead to Jordan for the big‑time lay‑up; can you talk about how big a play that was for you personally?
SCOOCHIE SMITH:  I knew they had a little fast break advantage, so just tried my best to get a stop.  I think that would have gave them a lot of momentum.  I got the stop and then we got a basket, so I think that just helped us out a lot.

Q.  Can you talk about how you guys contained Martin, he really struggled in the paint.  What did you guys try to do to slow him down tonight?
JORDAN SILBERT:  Just tried to crowd the floor.  Try to make him feel crowded.  Credit to Kendall, Dyshawn and Bobby.  They did a great job just being physical with him and making it tough around the basket for him.

Q.  If somebody told you you would be 2‑of‑13 from the three, and the only two were by Bobby, do you think you would win?  And how big were the two by Bobby?
JORDAN SILBERT:  They were huge.  Bobby came out and played great today.  He had great intensity, great confidence.  It's a team thing and Bobby is a part of this team and he does a great job whenever he gets out there and we needed those and he stepped up big.

Q.  Poor shooting night for both teams; how do you manage the game, what you can control personally as a coach, tell the guys?
COACH ARCHIE MILLER:  I mean, offense isn't going to be there at times in the postseason.  I thought today's game was going to be one where the players won the game because there just wasn't any easy baskets.  There wasn't anything easy around the paint on both ends.  There were some bunnies that were missed on both ends.
We just stayed with what we do.  Part of it is we know we have won games a lot of different ways this season.  Some of them we shot really well and offense just clicked.  Some of it's just been we have grinded it out and found a way to just be there at the end and make a few winning plays, like tonight or last night, or a few games back when we had a big road win at VCU.
You have to win different ways and I think we are built to win different ways because of our versatility.  But I'm happy just in general, defensively we were able to play 40 minutes the way we want to play, hard, and our defense was able to give us a chance.  Part of their turnovers probably had a little bit to do with our defense.
But we didn't do everything perfect.  I mean, right now, we have really lost our three‑point defense, in particular, the two games here in Brooklyn we have really got dialed up.  VCU is shooting the ball really well right now.  So we have got some things to work on and think about.

Q.  Second half, did you change anything defensively to ramp things up?
COACH ARCHIE MILLER:  Pressure was up a little bit.  We just felt like they were moving the ball way too easy.  Where they caught the ball was way too easy.  Our ball screen coverages had to be mixed up in the game.  You know, I thought we flew around.  That's what we have to do.
I mean, if you look at the games we have been successful, when they are dogfights or they are really good teams, part of it is you just look at the steal column.  Last night was ten steals.  Tonight was 11 steals.
Some of our biggest wins, our activity off the ball, deflecting balls, two‑on‑ones, three‑on‑twos; that's how we have to play being at our size.  That probably saved us as much as anything was the points off the turnovers.

Q.  Dyshawn struggled for a large part of the game, but all of the sudden he was possessed there in the second half.  Did you say anything to get his spirits up?
COACH ARCHIE MILLER:  For the first time in a long time, I think you saw the scowl on his face that you're normally accustomed to seeing when he really wants to put his head down or he really wants to make something happen.
Our last game and a half, in particular, our last game and a half, he sort of let the action kind of take him out of the game.  The game is physical right now.  They are not letting him do what he wants to do and he's missing some short shots.
But I thought at about the nine‑minute mark, when things really started to get physical, he really raised up.  He had a couple great moves, he had a couple great finishes.  And the fact that he finished with 10‑9, that's a heck of an effort for him because he was really battling through it.  He is who he is.  He's one of those guys that can really get going in a big way and we need him to.

Q.  Martin led the league in field‑goal percentage.  What did you guys do to contain Martin and not let him get those easy buckets?
COACH ARCHIE MILLER:  First of all, I thought he missed a couple that he normally makes.  Normally he smashes through the rim or he knocks them in.  He didn't make a couple that he normally makes.  I don't think we had a lot to do with it.  But.
The big thing was there was a lot of contact around the basket, whether he had it around the basket or we had it around the basket.  I just thought there was enough physicality they were going to let us play; that you're going to have to make them; you're going to have to hard earn them.
He made a couple.  But I thought, No.1, keeping it out of there, not giving him the normal looks, the normal catches that he got.  I don't think he got a ton of just great catches.  When he did, we challenged things at the basket.
In general like all guys, you play two games in two days, every once in awhile, you lose your legs.  I could say the same about Kendall tonight.  Kendall wasn't anywhere near the finisher tonight that he was yesterday.

Q.  This is your first time to the championship game as a head coach.  Back in 2002 you had a really nice run‑‑
COACH ARCHIE MILLER:  We had a great run.  We lost by about 50 (laughter).  It was an awesome run though.

Q.  Do you use that experience as a teachable moment to kind of try and explain to these kids‑‑
COACH ARCHIE MILLER:  What we talk about this time of year is advancing.  We have some seniors on our team, at least one in Jordan and guys who were part of our run last year, know how special it is to stick around every time you get a win.  Whether you can stick around in your conference tournament or the next one, it's the greatest feeling in the world, going back to that hotel and watching other games and knowing you're still alive to play.
That's the thing we try to talk about the most:  This is advance time of the year.  To be playing for a championship about 12 or 13 days ago, and really not getting the job done, I'm happy for them that they have another opportunity tomorrow.  But tomorrow is not going to be very easy, either.

Q.  You mentioned about VCU shooting very well.  How do you see your guys matching up with them and what will be the key to beating them?
COACH ARCHIE MILLER:  I think any time you play VCU, first thing is take care of the ball.  You have to take care of the ball, and that sort of can at least help you a little bit in defending the easy looks.
Then, you have to defend.  You've got to guard.  You've got to guard the line.  You've got to guard the ball.  You've got to be able to protect the paint, and if they are going to make threes, you just want to make sure that they are the ones that you challenge.  I thought in the first game, they probably missed some ones that they are making right now.  But we'll have a very difficult prep to play them.
Shaka does a great job.  Watching those guys finish through the games that they finish in this tournament in general, just shows the culture that they have.  This will be a heck of a matchup.  I'm excited for our guys to be on the floor with those guys tomorrow.

Q.  Taking away Bobby's two threes ‑‑ talk about Bobby coming off the bench. 
COACH ARCHIE MILLER:  Bobby did a great job.  He was very aggressive.  I know the first one banked in, but he was open.  He took it.  That's what you like to see.  The second one was a side pop where he banged one from the corner which is good.  I think Jordan dumped one off to him; he had eight points.
The big thing is when Bobby is able to play 20 minutes and get four rebounds and he's able to hold serve while Kendall or Dyshawn is in foul trouble, he's done that a number of times for us.  And told him in the elevator, sort of either last night or this morning, these guys, we are not going 160 minutes with five guys.  You have to be ready to go when you get in there, and I thought he did‑‑ right when we asked him.
Darrell, as well.  Darrell is a freshman, playing in some big, big games.  Some freshmen are not playing at all right now.  To have those guys being able to contribute to another great run has been good.  Every one of them has contributed.  We played 32 games.  We have won 25 times and it's been a team approach.

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