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March 14, 2015

Gilvydas Biruta

Dan Hurley

E.C. Matthews



COACH DAN HURLEY:  Tough loss obviously.  Obviously lost a little bit with inexperience, 21 turnovers, giving away that many possessions obviously hurt.  And you've got to give them credit.  Obviously for us, knowing with their limited roster, scholarship players, playing seven guys, our game plan was obviously to try to attack the paint as much as possible.  I think we have 55 paint touches in the game.
You know, they showed tremendous‑‑ I guess they showed tremendous discipline.  We commit 11 fouls and so they did a great job defensively of not fouling us with that limited roster.
It was a tough loss.  We obviously had chances.  Up in the second half, under eight minutes.  It was a tough loss but obviously thrilled with the season we've had to this point.  Felt like we were right there.

Q.  What can you say about your three years here?
GILVYDAS BIRUTA:  I enjoyed my time, especially playing for Coach Hurley; to be part of this program that is rebuilding and just to see how far we've come since the day I came on campus.

Q.  You had five points in a row yourself‑‑ what happened in that stretch from the 13‑minute mark to the three‑minute mark in the receive half?
E.C. MATTHEWS:  I would say turnovers, too many outside shots.  A lot came into play.  WE went cold for a little bit, but I would say ‑‑ too many outside shots and needed to attack the paint more, got everybody else involved. 

Q.  You guys obviously are a young team.  What can you take from this game toward next season?
E.C. MATTHEWS:  Just motivation.  We wanted it really bad, so it hurt, hurts real bad.  So just carry over to the summer and to next season and we'll get better and be more experienced and have a better season next year.

Q.  The way that they were able to score last time when you were out at Dayton, this was a very different game and obviously you defended them much better.  Is this the type of game you guys felt you needed to play to beat them?
GILVYDAS BIRUTA:  I don't know, I'm just following the plan.  (Laughter).
COACH DAN HURLEY:  I don't know whether to laugh or cry.  Not giving one‑word answers so that was good I guess. (Laughter).

Q.  Coach says you can chalk up the loss to youthfulness, what can you guys do going forward with experience or what do you make of this?
E.C. MATTHEWS:  We start the two freshmen, two sophomores.  We are a young team and I think we have better days ahead of us and we can only get better.  You know, just lack of experience.

Q.  If Gil declined to answer it, I would ask you the same.  Was this the type of game that you felt you needed to play to potentially beat them?
COACH DAN HURLEY:  I felt like it was going to be a similar game to the game that we played obviously last night.  This was a really physical game.  It was a really physical, tough, defensive struggle.  The difference in the game was obviously I think their maturity, their maturity and our immaturity.  We turned the ball over I think by the first media time‑out like five times, and we just got‑‑ we kind of‑‑ it was such a big spot for us.
I think our guys felt like coming into the game that if we got the game, that we would have a chance to get in the Tournament with the win.  You know, we've been discredited for not having the Top‑50 win, even though we have consistently from the beginning of the year had a consistently great year, Top‑10 in the country and defensive efficiency; longest losing streak of the year was two games and that happened once, and we won, and we're 13‑5 in a great basketball conference, one of the top six or seven in the country.
So I think all of those things at play:  The crowd, the atmosphere, semifinals, I think it just got a little big for us today.  Our guys, in particular, our guards, just tried to do a little too much.  They didn't share.  They weren't being selfish, because we don't have selfish kids; we've got winners and tough kids that want to be successful.  I just think we tried to do a little too much on our own and it hurt us.

Q.  What's the big picture perspective on a tough loss, obviously, but going forward?  What's the perspective on it?
COACH DAN HURLEY:  It was a tough loss.  We're obviously disappointed.  Felt like obviously could have won that game.  We feel like big picture, you take our VCU game, take our Davidson game, take our Dayton game here on a neutral court; a Jack Gibbs three basically beats us at the buzzer; relinquished a lead that we had for 36 minutes against VCU with Weber at home, and they were able to beat us at a real close game.
And obviously here, it was a toss‑up game from beginning to end.  We probably looked like two teams that could compete on the same level.  So bottom line for us is we are very close to the top of the league.

Q.  Stopped (ph) your most efficient player offensively, and today 2 for 7 and some easy missed shots‑‑ was it the legs today or was it anything physical or what did you see?
COACH DAN HURLEY:  They were definitely being physical with him.  He got fouled a couple times and they just didn't call it.  I think he's tired.  We asked him to do a lot.  We've asked him to do a lot at both ends of the court.  He plays hard minutes, you know.  Some guys just play 35 minutes; he plays hard minutes, that kid.  And your heart breaks for him, because for me, he's first time all conference player this year, and the last two days, he just didn't have any pop in his legs, and your heart breaks for him.

Q.  A lot of people didn't expect you to be in the semifinals, so what do you think this has to say about the way the team has progressed this season being so young?
COACH DAN HURLEY:  It's great for our program.  It's great for our program.  It's great for our kids.  It's great for our fan base.  Moving forward, this is where we expect to be, playing in these championship rounds.

Q.  How big will it be for the remodeling of your program to get an invitation to the NIT?
COACH DAN HURLEY:  Yeah, you know, if that's where we end up landing, then we'll be thrilled with that.  Obviously going into the year, so many young players, if you had told me we'd be 22‑9, you know, I'd be pinching myself.  But then you get a little greedy because ‑‑ we excel.  The hardest games to win during the course of the year are conference games in a good conference, and ours is a really good one.
So to go 13‑5 in our league, it almost ‑‑ we'll be thrilled with whatever postseason tournament we're in.

Q.  You were able to play here last year and admitted it was a very different mind‑set when you came here last year and this year you came here to win and you were able to win a game.  How significant a step?
COACH DAN HURLEY:  It's just a big step.  Last year you could probably have counted the amount of fans we had here on your hands and your feet.  And this year, to come out and see all that blue out here, and to have these great young players, and the guys we have coming in, we're just getting started.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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