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March 5, 2016

Greg Lansing

Devonte Brown

Khristian Smith

St. Louis, Missouri - Arch Madness

Evansville-68, Indiana State-42

THE MODERATOR: Indiana State Sycamores are with us. Khristian Smith, Devonte Brown represent the student body. Going to ask Greg to start off with a statement on the game.

COACH LANSING: I was certain that game was going to go a little different, especially after yesterday and how hard we played and how well we played and how well these guys were tied in together. Ran into a buzz saw.

There's some teams in this league that have been playing at an extremely high level, teams that should be in the postseason and experience success in the postseason.

Evansville, they're always just tougher than heck to play against. Marty is a hell of a coach. They've always done a great job. And this is a team built for this year. Two First Teamers, back-to-back years, and the rest of their guys have continued to improve. They won a championship at the end of the last year, and I know that helped springboard them here.

They've wanted more, and now they have a chance to get it tomorrow. That will be a heck of a final. So commend those guys and wish Evansville and UNI the best. Two very outstanding teams.

I'm just very, very fortunate and blessed to have been able to spend the time with these guys sitting next to me. That's all I'm going to remember, and I'm going to cherish it. These are guys that mean a lot to me and have meant a lot to our program. They're going to go on and do even greater things when they leave us. Indiana State and our community owes a debt of gratitude to them.

Q. Devonte, I'll start with you. Just talk about what Evansville was able to do to break down the defense today and get themselves going in a way that Illinois State wasn't able to do last night.
DEVONTE BROWN: We didn't do a good job of frustrating them and allowed them to get to their spots. They got to their spots, and D.J. got to his spots. We got them in good foul trouble early, but the guys off the bench came in there and gave them a boost. We didn't carry what we did last night, that intensity and that tenaciousness on the defensive end. This is a very talented team. Just as talented as them, but a different kind of team and a different game scheme. We didn't grasp it like we needed to today, and you see what happened.

Q. Khristian, Coach Simmons called you one of the best shooters in the country. Can you talk about their defensive scheme in the game today.
KHRISTIAN SMITH: I appreciate him lying to you all, but I think they just wanted it a little more. They've got a senior group that, when we started off, they were just getting the feel of college basketball. You kind of saw it. Every year they would get it and get it and get it, and they even had close games with us, when we had Odum and our senior group. So we knew, when they were going to get this age, they were going to be a tough team to beat.

They've always been good on defense. I think they just knew what they had ahead of them, and they came out and executed their game plan.

Q. For both of you guys, just how frustrating was it? It looked like you were getting good looks, but they weren't falling. What level of frustration did that add to the game for you today?
DEVONTE BROWN: That's just the game of basketball. Those shots happen. People are going to miss shots, but that doesn't take away from what you've got to do on your defensive end. And we allowed that to carry on, how bad we missed shots on offense and we carried that over to the defensive end. You're going to lose games like that, and we lost games in the past like that. It's a lesson to be learned, especially with B-Scott next year. I'm pretty sure he's going to be the one to let them know that. You can't allow your offense to dictate the defense. It's a lesson learned. And frustrating as it is, you've got to find some good in that frustration.

KHRISTIAN SMITH: What was the question? I'm looking at the stats. Oh, couldn't make shots, right. Just by looking at it, we were 6 for 7 from the three-point line. We've got good shooters, and they were wide open. We just couldn't make a shot.

Like I told you yesterday, we can't allow our offense to dictate our defense. We still have to go down the other end and still have to guard. I think there was a time yesterday when we couldn't make a shot for a couple possessions. Illinois State only cut into the lead by one or two points. That's the name of the game. Regardless if you're making shots or not, you still have to go down to the other end and try to frustrate the other team as well so that the game ends up a dogfight and on the defensive end.

Q. What kind of legacy do you feel that you leave at Indiana State?
DEVONTE BROWN: I have no idea. All I try to do is play the game the right way, play as hard as I can, and play for my city back home. I don't really get into the legacy thing. I don't really know. I haven't won too many championships. I went to a couple NITs, but I'm known as a good character guy and a guy that left it all on the floor. I'm pretty happy with that. I don't get into stats and those kinds of things. That doesn't really define me. I'm defined by my character on and off the court.

KHRISTIAN SMITH: I'm going a different way on that one. Both of us are 1,000 point scorers. We try to be leaders every day on the court for Coach. Like he said, the same thing, it's character. You go out, and you're in a grocery store, and you've got a little kid that sees you. That's the one thing I'm going to miss. People out in the community that love you, that know you, that you don't even know them, and you have people out there rooting for you, and you don't even know, and they're pulling for you every day. I think that speaks volumes that people are out there cheering for us that we don't know. That's the one thing I'm going to miss.

Q. Khristian, talk about your conversation after the game with D.J.
KHRISTIAN SMITH: It's been a battle for four years. I've guarded him every single time. He's a great player. Obviously, over 2,000 points in his career, Evansville's leading scorer. That's my guy. Over the years, we've built a friendship, and it's going to go on from here. I just wished him luck tomorrow. I said, don't do all this today and not finish it tomorrow. I've got him to have a little chip on his shoulder for tomorrow. I wish him all the best for tomorrow and his future.

Q. Greg, it looked like Evansville was able to drive baseline a little bit to break down the defense, reverse the ball. Of course, they hit shots. That doesn't hurt. What are they able to do to kind of break the defense down a little bit early?
COACH LANSING: Like Devonte said, and that speaks volumes to his basketball IQ, we were two really different teams. Yesterday we were really trying to get in the gaps and take things away and make them have to shoot jump shots and score over us.

Evansville is a different animal, and we kind of were acting like we were still guarding an Illinois State type of team. You just can't do that.

These guys are relentless in their cutting and their screening. They do everything with a purpose. They move the basketball. They share the basketball. And they play with tremendous basketball IQ and are very senior laden. They have guys that can read defenses and do the right thing.

We didn't offer much resistance. Yesterday we followed a game plan and played our tails off. Today we didn't follow the game plan near as well as we needed to and just didn't give enough.

Again, Evansville is very, very good, and they're a team that's built for this. We at times were a tremendous team at the defensive end and a pretty good team at the offensive end. We're so inconsistent this year. You saw that in the last two days.

Q. It was also frustrating. It looked like you were getting what you wanted offensively, and it just didn't happen. Obviously, you don't want offense to dictate defense,
But when you're missing that many, it's just hard.

COACH LANSING: You've been around us all year, and we've let them do that way too much. If you're not making shots, you can't let it deflate your defense. You have to always be able to bring that with you. I thought we were guilty of that today, and we did have good looks, but we shot -- we didn't move it like we needed to.

I thought yesterday we really did a good job of moving, and Evansville jumps into the passing lanes and some different things. But we took contested shots earlier in the possession and against a very, very good team defense there like they have, you just can't do it.

Q. Greg, is that kind of the nature of the team that's the underdog, it makes it so hard to win in these games? Your win was so emotional yesterday. Tough to bounce back from it.
COACH LANSING: They had so much fun yesterday, got to go in the lobby and the fans were there. Evansville don't care about that. They're going to come and punch you right in the face and play every possession. That's what our young guys learned. Khristian and Devonte have always been tremendous workers and tremendous leaders, but until you go through stuff like that, it's not always easy. Coaches can tell you this and that, but going through it is a little tougher.

In our tenure, we've been in the semifinal four of six years. A lot of teams can't say that. And a couple finals. Won one and lost one to a good Wichita State team. We don't want to settle. There's a lot we can learn from this year. Like I said, we showed our inconsistency the last two days, and there could be a lot of reasons for it.

Q. You talked about the makeup of the team. What do you think is the biggest learning lesson that they take away from this season for some of the guys that will be back next year?
COACH LANSING: I think handling adversity within a game as well as within stretches of the year. I've said it all along, and, Todd, you know this. They're great guys. I love being around them. I'm going to miss the guys that we're losing this year. And they were hard workers, but so is everybody. Everybody is going to work hard, and your teams are going to work hard. That's what you do at this level.

But when things didn't go well for us -- and it could be missing shots, it could be an individual not doing what he needs to do -- we did not handle adversity as a unit, as a team. We weren't together as much as we need to be. That's the biggest lesson I think these young guys can learn. They can learn a lot from the three seniors on how to work and how to conduct themselves on and off the court. But we also learned in tough times, you look at the teams that are at the top of this league, they handle adversity like it's nothing, like they expect it, and go to the next possession. So that's the biggest thing.

Q. Coach, going off of that, obviously, you're losing a great group of seniors, but the program is trending upwards. Can you talk specifically about Brenton.
COACH LANSING: Brenton has probably come as far as anybody I've ever coached, but also probably has that much more to gain and grow ahead of him. Our relationship is good. He has to be able to listen and to learn.

Like yesterday, I thought he was really locked in -- he had five steals yesterday. I don't know if he's had that all year. He was locked into the game plan. He is one that's very guilty of his offense, dictating his defense. He's just a competitive, confident guy that thinks, when he gets it in his hand, he can get a bucket, and it doesn't matter who he's guarding.

But teams are trying to take him away, just like Devonte learned this year. He's got to learn to beat teams with the pass. He didn't have any assists tonight. We'll get him shots. We're going to run stuff to get him shots. He's got to learn what a good shot is. Every shot he takes, he thinks is a good one, and the contested shots aren't. And then defensively, he's so gifted and tough and physical and quick, he could be a good defender, but that's a lot of mental, and that's a lot of concentration.

He's coming. He's got a long way to go. I'm happy to have him. He's got a screw loose. So do I. But he's a good player in this league. He accomplished something as a Second Team All-League guy, Freshman of the Year last year, and I know he's going to be right in that gym tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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