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March 15, 2016

Riley LaChance

Kevin Stallings

Joe Toye

Dayton, Ohio

Wichita State - 70, Vanderbilt - 50

THE MODERATOR: We're now being joined by head coach Kevin Stallings and student-athletes Joe Toye and Riley LaChance.

KEVIN STALLINGS: We congratulate Wichita State. It's a hard-fought game. And I think that the story of the game, and I just heard some of Gregg's comments, were they were able to make shots and we weren't. We shoot it poorly from two. We shoot it poorly from three and we shoot it poorly from the foul line. Generally we're a pretty good shooting team. And these two guys made shots for us. I thought both of them played very, very well. I thought our bench was a real bright spot for us tonight. But we're not going to -- we're not going to win many games when we don't get a little more production from guys that we depend on and have carried us all season long. So we're very disappointed to lose, but I'm proud of my team. I'm proud of their effort, and wish the night could have gone a little bit better. We kind of had it where we needed it. They made a spurt there at the start of the second half. We came out and just had three bad plays in a row and one bad on offense and two bad on defense. And that gave them a spurt. We got back into the game. We're shooting a one-on-one, missed that. And then they made a little run and that was the game.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Riley, was there a sense as good of a shooting team as they are and you are as well, that after that first half, eventually one of the two teams would shoot it well in the second half, there would be a hot streak one way or the other?
RILEY LACHANCE: Yeah, we knew somebody was eventually going to make shots. And we were confident that it was going to be us with the amount of shooters we have on our team. But unfortunately it wasn't.

Q. You guys shot the ball all right but for the most part, as Coach said, the team didn't. Did you think that was more about their defense or more about you guys just missing shots?
RILEY LACHANCE: They're a very good defensive team they played physically. We did get some good looks, some open looks that didn't happen to fall and I think it was a combination of both.

Q. Joe, what was working for you? You came in off the bench, you gave the guys a spark there off the bench in the first half what was working for you?
JOE TOYE: I was trying to give my team a little bit of energy. My shots were going in. So it was a good first half. We just didn't finish it up well.

Q. After you guys gave up that 11-0 run to start the second half, you guys went on a 17-5 run, what started clicking for you guys?
JOE TOYE: We were just really together as a team. Everybody was cheering each other on. So I think the energy from the bench and everybody on the court, just we played well together in that spurt. And just couldn't finish it up.

Q. I know we're looking ahead a little bit but you played really well these last two games. What did these last two games do for your confidence going into next season?
JOE TOYE: Makes me feel good. I mean, I wish we had kept going and had a better run. But I mean it's nice to know that we have a lot of good players coming back. So I think we'll be fine next year.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.

Q. What were they able to do effectively to really neutralize Damian and kind of the inside game you guys have?
KEVIN STALLINGS: You know, I thought that we got the ball there some. And Damian got some pretty good shots. They just didn't go in. Started off by missing his first four free throws, and sometimes he's a little too fragile because he wants to do well for everyone. He's such a nice kid. And I think missing those first four free throws kind of bothered him. And he might not agree to that. But anyway, he just -- you know, we didn't get it to him enough. He didn't convert enough and if you can, if you can stop him, then that takes away a lot from what we can do. And we couldn't make the shots on the perimeter to take the pressure off of him and he wasn't making the shots inside to take the pressure off the perimeter.

Q. Where specifically has Joe improved in the last couple of games that he's had such strong showings?
KEVIN STALLINGS: He's just been very aggressive and he's made shots. As a matter of fact, right at the end of the half, we ran a play and we got exactly a good pitch out to him and he didn't shoot it. He ended up driving it and we got a shot clock violation. At halftime, I said: Joe, man, shoot that ball; you're making shots, shoot that thing. But I was very impressed with Joe's improvement over the course of the season and he played himself until he was almost exhausted tonight. He didn't do as well in the second half. But he put so much energy and effort into playing that he was truly, truly physically very, very tired. And I was really proud of Joe and his performance tonight. And as you mentioned the progress that he made at the end of the season.

Q. You alluded to some of the season lows in shooting, shooting percentages. No starters scored in double figures. Is surprised the right word that --
KEVIN STALLINGS: Yeah, surprised and disappointed. I mean, those guys didn't go out there. Jeff Roberson didn't want to go 1 for 7. He was trying his butt off. He played as hard as he could play. And I feel badly for those guys. They're good shooters. Their statistics say that they are. Prove that they are. And tonight they didn't go in. And again we got a number of quality looks that we didn't make. And one of the bad things for our team this season has been when we don't make shots, we tend to give in a little bit more on the defensive end. We don't combat that in the way that you need to and the way that we've tried to stress, okay, now you have to be even better on defense. If you come into a bad shooting night, now your defense has to win the game for you. And I thought we did, we hung in there, we hung in there. And then that run that they made there, about six or seven minutes to go in the game or five, somewhere right in there, just sort of broke our spirit a little bit and a lot of that was just from the fact that we weren't scoring the ball. I encouraged my team all week long, or since we've known who we were playing, and told them this was not going to be an easy game from an offensive standpoint. Wichita State is very good defensively, which means we're going to have to be even better. And at times we were really outstanding defensively. But all in all we just couldn't get it going on the offensive end.

Q. How would you assess the season overall?
KEVIN STALLINGS: You know, it had a lot of ups and downs. We struggled to find consistency. We struggled to find a consistent chemistry amongst our group. And I thought there were some real bright spots. I thought that some guys did very well. I thought some guys statistically had disappointing seasons. But even the guys that might have had disappointing seasons from a statistical standpoint, you know, their attitudes were great. They never wavered from being team-first guys. And so there were a lot of ups and downs and we actually had a really good chemistry about us early in the season. After Luke got hurt, we lost some of it. And I'm not sure that we ever totally recaptured that together chemistry that we really had, I thought, going well for us early in the season.

Q. Whenever a season ends, with the expectations you guys had and all that, do you expect to be back next year? Is that your plan?
KEVIN STALLINGS: I don't really control whether I'm back. That decision is not made by me. I've been here for 17 years. So I don't know what else I would be doing. But we're proud to have been in the NCAA Tournament. We got behind the 8-ball a little bit during the season and our guys fought hard and dug their way in and dug their way out. And we had a pretty good finish. The way the last seven minutes of this game went wasn't to our liking. But it wasn't because our guys didn't play hard. They played hard. They competed hard and I'm real proud of them.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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