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March 10, 2016

Chris Mack

J.P. Macura

James Farr

Trevon Bluiett

New York, New York

Marquette - 72, Xavier - 90

CHRIS MACK: I thought our team was a little different than we've been the last couple of weeks defensively, and we've been making a big point of it in practice. The message seemed to be heeded. I thought our guys from the very beginning of the game played really hard defensively. They're a tough match-up. The night before against St. John's they scored almost 100 points. They're one of the best scoring teams in our league. Really, really talented. They play hard. But I was really, really pleased with how hard we defended in the first half.

Second half we weren't perfect, and we have to be better tomorrow night because obviously whoever comes out of this game here will be even a stiffer challenge than the one we just played.

Offensively I thought our guys really shared the ball, but that's nothing new. We've been doing that all year.

Q. Obviously you guys came out fired was there a thing specific part of the game that established a presence early not getting -- coming out on fire?
CHRIS MACK: I mean, if I can tell them to come out on fire, it worked. I would do that all the time. The biggest thing was making sure that we earned our shots. Really taking good ones, which I thought we did an excellent job. Might have been two shots I wish we would have had back in the first half. We made Marquette work longer defensively. We could get the ball reversed and have good movement and could have balance between our post players and our perimeter players. We have enough guys on the floor that can make shots and make plays. It's very, very difficult.

But if we take quick ones, it puts Marquette at their best in transition. That was really something than we needed to do better tonight than we've done the last couple of weeks. We certainly did that.

Q. Chris, having played them twice already, having to face them again, how much was that a help or was it going into the tournament?
CHRIS MACK: There are no secrets. These guys will tell you. You know who likes to do what. We all know that Luke Fischer likes to camp out as deep as he can around the basket. Henry Ellenson, at least the way we play him, is going to try to pick on our guards in the post. They are a driving team. They get to the rim extremely well. We knew what we were up against. But I'm sure Woj can say the same thing about when they play us.

There are no secrets. When you have a round-robin league and you're playing everybody for a third time it's difficult. But it's difficult for both teams. And I was really proud the way our guys responded.

Q. For the three players, was there any extra motivation to play like this for Coach considering that he kind of got skipped over for Coach of the Year honors? Was that on your minds at all?
JAMES FARR: No, not really. You know, we just want to go out there and play hard knowing that we're in the tournament season now; it's one and done. You lose and you go home. If we don't play hard for ourselves, I mean, we won't go very far. We can't play for anybody else but ourselves.

Q. Were you surprised he didn't win the award?
JAMES FARR: Coach Mack is the kind of coach who can control what he can control. He doesn't bring stuff up like that. He cares about winning. That's what we're focused on.

Q. After you guys gave up 89 points in the last three regular season games, what was it within the players I guess that really turned things tonight?
TREVON BLUIETT: You know, like Coach Mack said earlier, we kind of strayed away from playing hard defensively and we kind of wanted to make a point of emphasis to get back to the way that we've been defending at the beginning of the year. Just because we know the way we've been defending those past three games, those won't win us any championships.

So you know, we realized that and we know that every game we come out we have to play our best.

Q. You had a career-high 24 points tonight. Did you just feel like you were getting good looks or were things falling the way you wanted?
TREVON BLUIETT: My teammates set me up to give me perfect looks. Once a couple went in they kept finding me. That was pretty much how it went. When there's a hot guy, the team, we're unselfish enough to keep going to them.

Q. And your ankle, how is that?

Q. Trevon, how satisfying was it to have this big of a game? You talked about recently your last March last finished wasn't the way you wanted it to be. To come out and have a big game, how satisfying is it?
TREVON BLUIETT: It's satisfying. But it really doesn't mean anything now. Just because we've got another game in 24 hours. So I mean to be able to get this win, it's great. We're turning the page to the next game.

Q. Coach, did you feel from an offensive standpoint you could take advantage of them from a height standpoint? Was that a focus of trying to get the ball down low?
CHRIS MACK: I would tell you that what we really wanted to be was a team that can get out in transition. Certainly when they have Ellenson and Fischer on the floor and we have Tre or Kaiser Gates at the four position for us, I think that's a very, very difficult match-up. I think like Tre said it best, guys look for one another. Were able to get in the lane, able to spray out. We're a very, very tough team to guard when you have two traditional big guys defensively. And we can play that way, but as long as our guys defensively with that lineup are playing the way we did tonight, then I think that's a more difficult challenge for them than it is for us.

Q. For the players, how much did you progress through this tournament thinking about the possibility of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament?
J.P. MACURA: We're not worried about that right now. We're just worried about winning games and winning the Big East championship.

Q. James, it was getting a little chippy there. What do you attribute the dead-ball technicals and delays in the last ten minutes?
JAMES FARR: You know, just two competitive teams trying to keep their seasons alive. All credit goes to Marquette. They're a really good team. Not what their record shows. Just two competitive groups. That's all it is. Nothing past that.

THE MODERATOR: Xavier, thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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