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March 19, 2015

Mike Anderson

Alandise Harris

Bobby Portis

Michael Qualls


WOFFORD - 53 COACH MIKE ANDERSON: First of all, Mike Young and Wofford, what a gutsy performance. It was a game played at their pace, and we were fortunate to be on the winning side. As I was telling our guys back there, they just ran out of time. Thank goodness, they ran out of time. A game that went back and forth. The largest lead was probably three points, but we executed when we had to. Hats off to our guys. I thought the nerves were going early just being in the tournament. They got real tired early on, but Wofford, I'll tell you what, they've got some guys that can really shoot the basketball. They're good at what they do, and for our guys to have played against them playing the way they played and find a way to win, that speaks volumes of these guys, and I couldn't be no more prouder than these guys.

Q. Could you describe what turned out to be the winning three-point play?
ALANDISE HARRIS: I just ran the floor hard and called for it and Kyle found me and I just went up strong and finished.

Q. Michael and Alandise, seemed like you weren't able to get in the groove that you normally get in. Did you feel like you had to pick up the scoring, with how good they were playing defense, on Bobby particularly?
MICHAEL QUALLS: You know, no. We just take the shots we usually take. It was more of a next share defense, so it was kind of tough on Bobby and us to get those entry passes in there. Bobby is a big target, so we just kept cutting and kept moving, and we just happened to have the open shot at the time.

ALANDISE HARRIS: You've got to throw it in there and let him see what he can do and cut him off and just play basketball and live with the results.

Q. Bobby, just talk about the tempo of this game. I'm sure internally you thought you were going to make a run and pull away, but it was hard to pull away, wasn't it?
BOBBY PORTIS: Oh, yes, sir, because they just kept coming at us and coming at us, just getting easy baskets off their assists, off their orange set that they was running. That was pretty much it just because you know they were just running sets on us and making good shots.

Q. Mike and Bobby, what did you think of those last two threes? They were pretty decent looks that Wofford had. What was going through your mind there?
BOBBY PORTIS: What went through my mind was I didn't want to go to another overtime because our team went through two or three overtimes during the season this year. So I didn't want to go to overtime just because you know in overtime crazy things happen.

MICHAEL QUALLS: You know, I was actually just trying to run to the open man. It was crazy. It was crazy out there. When the first shot went up, he had a very good look at it, so they had another good look, so I almost had a heart attack out there. But it is what it is. The worst case scenario we would have went to overtime, would have had to handle business.

Q. Obviously this game feels good to survive and advance to the next round. Now you've got a big tall task against the North Carolina Tar Heels, a very historic program. How do you feel about having an opportunity to go against a big time team like the North Carolina Tar Heels?
ALANDISE HARRIS: I feel like it's a great opportunity for us to be able to showcase the way we play again on a national stage and in the NCAA Tournament against a good basketball program. It's just another challenge, and we'll be ready for the challenge.

BOBBY PORTIS: I think it's big for us to come out just ready to play Saturday. Like our team can come out like we did today, it could get ugly, but hopefully our team comes out ready to play Saturday and can live with the results.

MICHAEL QUALLS: Arkansas is a big time program, too. I look forward to it. I'm not sure but I think Harvard put up a good fight against them. You know the dance is the dance. You never know. It's just the best team that game. We're going to come out, we're going to bring our hardhats and just be prepared for North Carolina.

Q. Coach, how do you think your team adjusted to playing a game not at their ideal tempo?
COACH MIKE ANDERSON: I said that in the opening statement. I think it's kudos to our guys. We can win a lot of different ways, and I think we showed that tonight. We've been in a lot of games that have been close where it comes down to a possession, where teams have slowed us down. And the thing -- I have the utmost confidence and faith in these guys that they're going to carry out their assignments, and they did, and you talk about the shot there at the end, fatigue was a big part of that. It seemed like the shot stayed in the air for quite a while. But our guys have done a good job. We've got some guys that bring good leadership to our basketball team. They don't get rattled. They don't panic. So the experiences of playing in so many close games, and people call us the Cardiac Kids. So I'm sure Razorback Nation back home, they're saying it right now, what are they trying to do to us? But we're trying to find a way to win the game.

Q. I just added it up real quick, you guys are 10-2 in games decided by six points or less. How much does that experience -- going through that so many times, does that help keep pressure off you in late game situations like this?
MICHAEL QUALLS: Yeah, we don't get rattled, and it's almost a carryover over two years. Last year our team, they had nothing to do with this year, but there was a couple close games that we let go just because of inexperience and just crunch time. We weren't ready yet. But this year we've grown. We're better players. We have a better team. With that being said, there's no reason to get nervous. We've got a good team. If they made that bucket, like I said, we know we was going to handle business in overtime.

Q. Coach Anderson, what was the challenge with getting the game to be at the pace where you wanted it to be at with what they were doing, to keep that from happening?
COACH MIKE ANDERSON: It's funny you say that because I thought -- going in at halftime, I kind of vented a little bit, and as I vented, I did it pretty early and gave them probably one or two minutes to just talk amongst themselves. And I was in a little secluded room, but I kind of heard what was going on, and it's amazing how sometimes they know when they're not playing the way they're capable of playing. And I just heard some of these guys that are up here right now, hey, we've got to go pick it up, guys, ratchet our defense up, get after these guys. They're a good team, but we're much better. Once they started doing that, all of a sudden they understand, they're taking some ownership, and we saw in the second half. We played with a little bit more passion, a little bit more urgency. Our defense was making it difficult on Wofford. My hats off to those guys.

Q. Coach said earlier that he thought you guys started the game with a little bit of nerves. Did you feel the nerves coming into the game, or what was the slower start for you guys?
MICHAEL QUALLS: You know, it's a big stage. No one has ever played in the NCAA Tournament on our team, so it was just a big -- it was big for us. We wanted to come out. I felt like everybody was so overeager and overzealous that we just had to calm down and settle our nerves. But that just shows you the leadership that we have on this team. We didn't get rattled. We talked to the younger guys on the team, telling them, hey, we've done this before, we're going to do what we do. And I feel like in the second half, after we did come together and had a conversation as brothers, that's what made us take off in the second half.

Q. You're a perfect guy to ask this question. Why has the gap narrowed between the big boys and the mid-majors? We had two big upsets today. Every year now, four, five, six upsets where the double digit seeds beat a higher seed from a power conference. Is it the fact that we've got the one-and-done rule, 351 schools playing this sport? Why is it that the little guys have been able to beat up on the power conference teams in the NCAA Tournament?
COACH MIKE ANDERSON: I think number one is you've got 13 scholarships so everybody has got players now. When you get to this stage right here, it's about the best team. You can go talent for talent on each of these teams, and you're like, man, there's no way they can hang with those guys. But that's coaching. So I think coaches recruit to their system, their style, and they stay with it, and that's -- when I look at Mike Young's team, they're a very talented basketball team. So it ain't the little guy versus the big guys anymore. We've seen Wichita State, we've seen VCU. I always tell our guys, don't look at nobody's jersey. Everybody has got players now. I think that's a big part of it, as well. Everybody has got players now, and so you look at some of the players that are -- the Faried kid. You just think about it. You look at the Cochran kid, he's a dynamite player. Everybody has got good players, and that's called parity.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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