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March 11, 2016

Orlando Antigua

Chris Perry

Jahmal McMurray

Orlando, Florida

Temple - 79, USF - 62

THE MODERATOR: We'll take an opening statement from Coach and then take questions.

ORLANDO ANTIGUA: Really sad that the season is over. Some emotional guys in the locker room. I got to give Temple a lot of credit. They did what they do, they take care of the ball and I'm proud of our guys, the way they competed and how they continued to battle and fight even throughout the challenges of the game.


Q. For the players, when you look back at this season, what do you think are the farthest strides that you guys made and how are you going to look back on this season?
JAHMAL MCMURRAY: I would say we had a lot of times where we came together and we fought and showed that we could go win games. But we have to do that every game for 40 minutes. We've got to credit Temple today because they're a really good basketball club, and they make it hard. They make it hard to get a win. I think our guys fought hard today, and I feel like we did everything that we could to go out there and get a win. Unfortunately, we wasn't able to get that, but I still, I love these guys to death, and I'll go to war with them every day. So we just got to go back and continue to get better and just continue to fight and just continue to learn and continue to learn how to win.

CHRIS PERRY: There were definitely strides in the season where we saw what we had to do to play better. I'm really just thankful for the seniors right now, because I really do feel their pain right now. Because I seen this a couple times, it's the last game and it really hits them like, dang, this time it really hurt me because I'm really, really close to the seniors. So I'm just thankful to have had them this season.

Q. Can you talk about the physicalness underneath in today's game in particular and your guys' ability to hang with them rebounding wise, at least?
CHRIS PERRY: We held with them but on the offensive glass that's where they got us. Big bodies versus big bodies, there's going to be physicality. We matched it, but not on the offensive boards. They got too many offensive rebounds, so that's what pretty much got us.

Q. You guys have hit that three-pointer there to cut their lead within 10 right before halftime. Looked like you guys were going to come out in the second half with the momentum. What was the mood like in the locker room, and then what -- did Temple do something different to come out to that run to start the second half?
JAHMAL MCMURRAY: The mood in the locker room was positive because we knew that we were still in the game, and we wasn't even playing at our best. So, we just wanted to come out and keep competing and keep competing. But I feel like they kind of came out and punched us in the mouth a little bit. And we responded at times well, but at times we didn't. They went on a little run and a little stretch, and it was hard to fight back.

Q. It's basically your team next year. You're going to be the leaders. Jahmal you're only going to be a sophomore, but you were one of the leaders on the team this year. What can you take forward going into next season?
CHRIS PERRY: Like Coach just told us, remember this feeling right here and -- like, the first game next season, just remember it and we don't want to feel this ever again. So that's just extra motivation.

JAHMAL MCMURRAY: Just like Chris said, we just got to go in and have that focus and have that drive to want to get it done. If we do that in practice, we just continue to learn and continue to grow. Because with all the adversity that we faced, we never made excuses. So, we're not going to make excuses now either. We're just going to continue to get better and continue to be coachable and that's all we can do.

Q. You two guys will be back next year, all those guys in gray warmups at the end of the bench presumably will be ready to play. You got some good recruits coming in. Is this program ready to turn the corner?
CHRIS PERRY: I feel like it is. We're definitely on the rise. We just got to keep our focus and play hard every single game and stick to what we do best, and I think we'll be just fine.

Q. You had an up-and-down season. Obviously a little gap in the middle, but you had two really good games here in this tournament. Do you feel like you kind of went out with a bang here and does that give you confidence moving forward?
CHRIS PERRY: Of course it does. The fact that Jahmal and I have chemistry, the way we were flowing on the court that showed me a lot. I really like playing with him and he really made this weekend a lot easier for me, so I give him a lot of credit for that.

THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you, gentlemen. Take questions for coach.

Q. While you guys were answering some of those guess questions there I couldn't help but notice you nodded your head and had a smile on your face. Despite losing some of the seniors, is this the group of guys that you want to be building that USF program with, the group of guys that you have in that locker room right now?
ORLANDO ANTIGUA: Certainly those two young men have grown, have learned, have become better people, better students, and better basketball players. We're fortunate to be have an opportunity to coach them. They both still have a lot of room to grow. For us and our program and where we want to try to take this, it's important that we have kids like both of them.

Q. Can you talk about Temple as a potential tournament team and then, secondly, can you maybe talk about the American Athletic Conference overall. Is this league getting enough credit basketball-wise nationally?
ORLANDO ANTIGUA: The league is definitely not getting enough credit nationally. Understanding the youthfulness of the league and all that stuff, but when you look up-and-down, the coaching, the talent, the student-athletes that are involved and a part of each program, it's really, really -- there's depth, there's different coaching styles, and certainly I think that Temple is a tournament team. Hopefully, they get the opportunity to go and show and represent our conference and how hard of a match they are, how well coached they are, and it's a team that we've played three times, they're very, very difficult to match up with.

Q. You mentioned the emotion in the locker room. Could you elaborate on that a little bit and what was it like in there?
ORLANDO ANTIGUA: No, there was some guys that understand that their collegiate careers have come to an end, that they will not be suiting up and representing the university any more, that group, that collective group. So there was some emotion in there. And that was good to see. That was really good to see.

Q. While Florida has, the state of Florida has produced a lot of good basketball players out of here, it's still known as a football first state. Can you just talk about what your process is in terms of recruiting kids to come here and especially to help build a program that's trying to get a national profile.
ORLANDO ANTIGUA: Well, as far as recruiting, we're relying a lot on our relationships both domestic and abroad. Certainly we want to continue to recruit kids in the state. I think that there's nucleus of a bunch of young talented kids coming up that are playing basketball and that are national caliber talent. So, our job is to -- we're not going to get all of them, we just have to get a few and a few that are really good that want to come and be a part of our process and be a part of our program and be a part of our institution.

Q. You got it down to 35-29. A little jumper there by Chris and then it just kind of got away from you. I think they went on a 9-0 run. What transpired there in your eyes?
ORLANDO ANTIGUA: We defended, we were taking care of the ball and we were rebounding. Then I thought we gave them too many live ball turnovers in that series where then they were able to get some confidence going, get into the free-throw line some, and it just never could quite recover from that.

Q. How important was it to you to come in today and have your kids have a good showing against Temple? It's kind of seen as you have a couple teams at the top that are, I wouldn't say dominating this year, but have traded places at the top, and then you have the lower tier teams that are trying to build their programs. How important was it to have a good showing coming in?
ORLANDO ANTIGUA: It was very important. It was very important for our program, for our university, that we come out and represent them well, that we compete and we fight. You get into post-season play and it's 0-0. So, I was really excited, obviously, about the step that we took in being able to advance. Would have loved to continue to be playing. But I'm encouraged about where we're heading and where we're going.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.


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