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March 11, 2016

Phil Martelli

DeAndre' Bembry

Aaron Brown

Isaiah Miles

Brooklyn, New York

Saint Joseph's - 86, George Washington - 80

PHIL MARTELLI: The credit to GW for an unbelievable first half. I often say these guys, look, we have a game plan, and if the other team beats the game plan by making shots, then we shake their hand and get on the bus and go home. At halftime I told them -- I didn't mean at halftime that we would shake their hand and go home.

Just a great -- eyes were up at the halftime. They were quiet. They were nervous. But right in the beginning of the second half, we got three stops. We didn't score, so you get a little bit concerned, and then we just chopped it up and said, each play, if we can get this play, then we can get the next play, and that's really what we did.

The zone in the last three minutes, all credit goes to Mark Bass. He was on me about the idea of playing what we call makes and misses, and I just was watching, and we were like in that stretch of time where we were down one, and I thought if they hit a three, it's four, and I might walk home if that would be what would cost us the game.

But once we got it tied, the zone was effective for us in DC against them, and it was certainly effective here. And then just in closing, kids like Larsen, McDonald and Garino are what make the Atlantic 10 great. Those guys are really tough, fierce players. But there's no nonsense. Not for four years. Not one word. Not one time. And it's an honor to have competed against them for their careers.

Q. Isaiah, what went into that run you had late in the second half down 73-72?
ISAIAH MILES: Yeah, absolutely. I want to credit DeAndre' for looking for me, keeping his head up on the fast break. Plays like that is when you take the energy away from the other team. Definitely, I feel like we gained the momentum, and it was really good to have the crowd on our side. It was a real good home crowd. That play was right there was a huge play.

Q. Isaiah, just describe your nervousness the second half, just collectively? How much did you feel like you were playing for your lives right there?
ISAIAH MILES: You know, in the halftime we thought about it, but we stayed confident. Like Coach said, everyone kept their eyes up. Everyone kept their head. We were confident. We knew the game wasn't over. We knew we had a whole 'nother half. And again, we are playing for our lives because it's win so go home, so that's also in play in our minds.

PHIL MARTELLI: Only for this tournament. Only for this tournament. Everything else is a waste of time. You need to do it. They have to do it because they're kids. But we have not had any discussion about next week.

Q. DeAndre', coming out of --
PHIL MARTELLI: I apologize for jumping in there.

Q. Coming out of the halftime locker room, what was the plan on stopping George Washington from behind the arc?
DEANDRE' BEMBRY: Well, I hoped they'd miss a shot. They were making everything first half. I felt like they was 11 for 16 on threes, so we kept telling each other, there are missed shots here and there, but Mark Bass made a different plan on the defensive end on Larsen, and we've got to give credit to Isaiah. He's only 6'7", Larsen is about 260 probably, so he played good defense on him the second half, and that's what happened. Then we ran with the momentum after that.

Q. Aaron, in a game like this, they played so well, but did you feel as though the deficit might not have felt like 14 because you guys shot well in that first half. Did you feel like it was close and this kind of comeback would be inevitable?
AARON BROWN: Yeah, we walked to the locker room and said, we've been here before, we've been in this situation versus St. Bonaventure a few weeks back, but we weren't able to get over the hump. We just really preached to keep fighting and stay with it, and that's what we did, and we showed some character with that.

Q. How big was it to get over that hump because if you look at the Duquesne game you were tying it or down by a few and couldn't get the lead, but did that help your psyche to see you were in the lead on the scoreboard?
DEANDRE' BEMBRY: It was great to see that because we were down most of the game. We knew that they would miss shots in the second half, so our offense is really not the problem for this team, we just knew if we get any stops, we'd come back and score, and that's what happened. Aaron Brown scored a couple layups. Isaiah scored. I scored. James was the player of the game in the second half, a lot of offensive rebounds and one at the end of the game. It's definitely as a team, and we try to stay like that, and everybody made big plays down the stretch.

Q. How much part of the game plan was driving to the hole, and what's the mindset in the first half when that's working and they're dropping the threes?
AARON BROWN: That's really the main part of our offense. We mainly do four round one, and that's just to find a match-up and straight-line drives. Coach always preaches straight-line drives, and we had it going, and we just wanted to continue to do it.

Q. As it's working, though, what's the mindset as they start hitting threes?
AARON BROWN: Oh, I mean, we've got to stay with it, stick with it, trust the process, and continue to get lay-ups. I mean, they hit, what, 12 threes in the first half. There was nothing we could do about that.

Q. On that play where you take the lead, James hits the shot, but Lamarr has a steal, and then as a freshman pulls it out. He didn't exactly have numbers, but how important is it to see a freshman make that sort of a play in that situation?
PHIL MARTELLI: You know, that's ironic because I talked to Shavar and Fresh before the game about McDonald, and to be honest with you, he's not a senior and they're not freshmen and sophomores anymore. Fresh has always played with a brighter mind than a young player. Shavar had the one little brain freeze when he tries to throw a bounce pass. We had the thing rolling in our direction, he tries to throw a bounce pass. He's trying to make up for the missed lay-up the play before, and that's the play where James raised up and hit a three.

He hasn't hit a three since before the first debate in the presidential cycle that's been going on. That's honest. Like that's not a joke. And he's been off his game. But for them to acknowledge the fact that he was the player of the game, and it's because of the way he practiced, but Fresh is just -- he's just a bright guy. He says the right things. If you listen to him, he's talking to his older teammates about this stop, this stop, this stop, this is what we want to get. In the locker room he says things that are beyond a guy that's played three years in college.

He's a credit to the way he's been raised in basketball, and I'm not a big cliché guy, but you want to know what a Philadelphia guard looks like, then look at Fresh Kimble.

Q. I saw your nice fist pump at the end when you got the win. What did this win mean to you?
PHIL MARTELLI: 400, to be honest with you, it never entered into any of my thought. Next week didn't enter into my thought. I just wanted to play tomorrow with this group. Like that's really a heck of a comeback, when a team shoots like that, you can take it -- and there are plays along the way. There are various plays. We miss a lay-up here, go to the foul line, we miss two. They had a flurry there where they had three or four offensive rebounds in a row where if we get possession of the ball -- what you're pointing to the players is exactly right. At St. Bonaventure we got the lead. We were down 13, we got the lead. They scored on the next 11 possessions. Against Duquesne we never got the lead. Isaiah raised up one time against Duquesne. He hits that. We'll win the game, because we'll have that thing rolling in our direction.

Today we got the lead, and it rolled in our direction.

But the 400, I'm much more delighted about 25, and even more delighted about being 1-0 in this tournament.

Q. What was the game plan to guard GW from three-point going in?
PHIL MARTELLI: Well, we decided in the first half not to do anything.

Q. Did you look at the first game that they played and saw they were making threes and knew it would be a point going in or did you look at their entire body of work this season?
PHIL MARTELLI: Yeah, you're giving me a lot of credit that I'm not worthy of to be honest with you. Here's what we do. We play the numbers. We play the numbers, and I don't mean that in an illegal way, like in a South Philadelphia kind of way. But we play the numbers, and the numbers would indicate to you that Larsen and Cavanaugh are their horses.

Now, Watanabe's last two games, 22 and 19 gave me cause for concern, because the match-up was DeAndre' on Cavanaugh, and Checko, who's still trying to find his way, guarding Watanabe.

Those flurries, to be honest with you, felt like a street fight, and if you've ever been in a street fight, you don't know where the punches are coming from and you're just trying to cover up, and that's really what was going on.

I mean, look, they deserve the credit because they had a game plan against our post defense, but call it the way it is; that one three by swan hit the rim four times and went in, so some days you wonder, second half it didn't go that way. We thought they would go inside in the second half. We changed our post defense a little bit, and as the game got tighter, it's natural for players to get a little bit tighter. They shot free and easy in the first half, and all credit to them, they had a great plan for what we were doing against the post.

Q. Obviously the zone worked really well in the second half. Do you see that as being very game specific and something you will carry over against Dayton?
PHIL MARTELLI: Well, I don't know -- I'm going to go back and look at our game with Dayton the first time. I'm going to look at Dayton, VCU. I do know this: Dayton-VCU, did you see the game? Did you see that game? The big basket of that game was in overtime. Kyle Davis drove the ball. VCU was in zone. The guys on TV didn't mention it, but they went zone, and he drove the ball. So I have to look at the numbers, and here's the -- here's what I would say to you about tomorrow: Whatever it takes. So like tonight Papa Ndao got seven minutes. He averages 20 minutes. James Demery got 20 minutes, he averages 19. Whatever it takes is whatever we'll do. I won't know until about 9:30 tonight. That's when we'll meet with the team and come up with our game plan for Dayton.

Q. Phil, you had mentioned you try to keep the talk about next week away from the kids, but you even admitted sometimes it's hard to keep that out of the kids' heads. Now that you've got --
PHIL MARTELLI: Impossible.

Q. Now that you've got this win, do you think this alleviates a little pressure off them, thinking, okay, next week is all right?
PHIL MARTELLI: I don't know. And I want you to understand this. I have Lunardi right across campus. If he was to come in here right now, hand on the Bible, I have not said a word to him. I have not looked at an RPI. I have not looked at any of these experts. I don't have any idea. I have no idea.

I knew we came in here on a two-game losing streak. That was it. So all I wanted to do was play tomorrow, and what I'm saying about them is they're college basketball players. They watch ESPN. It's along the bottom of a thing. They all have the internet. They know how to use the internet. They get on the internet. They then discuss it. When we started practice on Tuesday, I was sitting in our video room on the other side of the wall is the locker room, and I heard them, and I heard them. This guy has us as a 9, this guy has us as an 8, this guy has us as a 7. They came in, and I was calm about it. I said, I have us as a 4. We're a 4 seed in the Atlantic 10 tournament because of what we did last week. Let's go. And other than that, there's been no conversation.

Q. Could you just talk about DeAndre's performance today and what he really means to this team?
PHIL MARTELLI: Well, it's his leadership. I don't know how to say it any other way. He left some plays out there, four for eight from the foul line, a drive that he has to finish. But he's a very confident player.

During the time-outs when everybody was overexcited, including assistant coaches, and everybody wants to talk, he was the one that said, yo, one voice here, one voice. Everybody got zeroed in. He kept them calm, and he competed. He wasn't great on Cavanaugh, but he competed against a guy much bigger than him. But it's his leadership. It's his leadership that brought us home.

Q. Understanding everything you said about NCAAs, on the other hand you know what a three-game losing streak looks like. How much does that weigh on you?
PHIL MARTELLI: I'm honest with you; I don't know where we were. I chose not to. Look, would I have wanted to go through the next 48 hours with a three-game losing streak? No. No, I wouldn't. Would not.

But campaigning wouldn't do anything. Putting more pressure on them wouldn't do anything for us for this game, for this moment, and so look, I knew one thing, we're playing next week. We're playing next week. Might not be in the tournament that we all have worked so hard for, but we're playing next week. So let's play for today, this day and this day only. A champion never worries about what happened or what will happen because that takes all strength from the moment in time. We had this moment in time, and it took every ounce of our strength for 40 minutes. I'd have been pissed, though, if we weren't in. I'll be honest with you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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