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March 12, 2016

Ed Conroy

Louis Dabney

Orlando, Florida

Memphis - 74, Tulsa - 54

THE MODERATOR: We'll start with an opening statement from coach and then take questions for the student-athlete.

ED CONROY: Credit Memphis. I thought, right from the very start of the game, I think the first two or three possessions, they drew four or five fouls on us and I thought Shaq really was the difference maker, really their whole front line, him and Lawson both. Right from the outset they had great focus, great intent. Josh, with his game plan, credit him. But that's what we have been doing to people the first two games is establishing that inside presence and controlling the game from there. They were able to do it to us right from the outset. The longer the game went and that we were playing from behind, that then I think fatigue did become a factor. So, again, credit Memphis. All the credit to them. But at the same time, awfully proud to coach my group of young men. I think that we all sometimes with all the exposure on TV and the amount of games that are on, maybe it gets blurred a little bit just on how special March still is to everyone of us that's a part of this great game. I think that yesterday's day at the tournament here and I think our team, I don't know how anybody around the country couldn't tune in and start to really feel again if they had lost that feeling at all just how special March is and just how much it means to young men. Because it drove our motivation for several months. We knew we weren't going to be an at large team for a long time now, but every day they came to practice and worked their tails off, because March was still out there. And when they arrived here they were able to really execute under that pressure and get some magic going for a little while. Not as long as we would have liked, but we were the madness for a little while and I'm sure someone's going to pick up that torch now. But really proud of our guys.


Q. Obviously, it's hard to play three games in three days, how much do you think fatigue was a part of things and how much also was just the emotion of last night and trying to come back and match that today?
LOUIS DABNEY: We just really ran out of gas, honestly and that's the honest truth. I just wish I had another year to play with this great coach and these great group of guys and just I'm just sad that it had to go down this way.

Q. How much more does it mean to have what you had last night, to kind of have not only one win but a second win to make this more of a run to go out this way?
LOUIS DABNEY: It meant a lot to win both of those games and just play the way we did and come together like we did. Like I said, once again, it's just sad that it had to go down this way.

Q. As the leader of this basketball team, is there anything that you said to the rest of the players after the game?
LOUIS DABNEY: Just keep your head high and next year's season, y'all are going to be real good. I think this team is going to be real scary, especially if they stay under this guy right here. And the sky's the limit, as long as they keep grinding like I know they will and I just told them to keep their head up.

Q. What do you guys think of when people outside are saying all these things about your coach and his job security and obviously you have, you guys have a different perspective on him, because you guys build a different type of relationship. So what is it that you guys see that you feel the outside people don't see?
LOUIS DABNEY: From day one since I've been in this program Coach Conroy always preached to keep the outside noise out and don't listen to what no one says and just stay together. When all that was going down, we didn't really bother to even care, because Coach Conroy always put us first. And we are a close bunch and we just kept it together.

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

Q. And I know it's been a difficult last 24 hours with everything you've gone through but just what it means for you to have had the win you had yesterday for these guys, even though there wasn't much left today to have more of a sustained run and what you had going back to last night.
ED CONROY: Well, again, I'm extremely proud of these guys and like I said, March and the ability, the opportunity to come to this tournament is what drove us. It's what motivated these guys, what kept them going every day in January and February. We had great practices all the time. We needed those to keep getting better, but this tournament and coming here and so to see their hard work and their belief in something that they hadn't been through before because so many of them are freshmen, to see their belief pay off and them have the joy that they had, these last couple days, and I even told them just now, the pain that they're having in the locker room, it just, again, it goes to show you how special March is. And what I want the most for these guys is to see them have their dreams come true. And so everybody but Louis Dabney is going to be have the opportunity to be back and in the locker room next year. I really believe that when you get a taste of success in March, and that's what I thought yesterday it was so important it can really drive your off season and it help you and push you to what you're really capable of doing. So that's my prayer for these guys is that that happens that way, because I've seen it before and I just know they're capable of it.

Q. And I know your focus has been on this team, when you talk to them after the game, are you saying good-bye to them, are you their coach until someone tells you you're not?
ED CONROY: That's an interesting question. You know, it's been a tough week for me personally, even more so than just this team. My family's gone through a lot. Someone I was really close to passed away in my family. And he and I used to always argue. He started one of his books, my cousin Pat did, with a statement that said, "reunions are for winners." And we used to argue about it all the time. I knew what he was trying to say, that reunions go to the teams that hang a championship banner. But I also argued to him that when teams really find their voice, they're a team for life. And so, no, I didn't say good-bye to them as their coach. And I told them it's our job, I think we found our voice this week. We need to be teammates and a team for life.

THE MODERATOR: All right, thank you, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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