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March 17, 2016

Demetrius Jackson

Zach Auguste

Brooklyn, New York

Q. People always talk about how tough it is when you lose a game in the conference tournament like that, but the way you guys lost it, it was so bad. Was that better for you? Were you able to get rid of it quicker than if it had been a real tough, close game?
DEMETRIUS JACKSON: Yeah, it was definitely a tough loss for us. Nobody likes to lose. But it was easy for us to put it past us because of how much we lost by. We kind of buried that one quick. But at the same time, we just tried to take away some lessons from the game, tried to work on some things that we could have done better in that game and use that going forward.

ZACH AUGUSTE: Definitely I agree. We just use that as motivation and use that to get that edge and get our focus back and come in here and play strong.

Q. How did you guys prepare this week when you weren't going to know your opponent until last night? Did you guys prep for both teams? Just focus on your guys' sets and your guys' stuff? Or how did you do it?
DEMETRIUS JACKSON: It was good for us to kind of work on our own stuff for a little bit and do some things that we can kind of do better in the game. So taking care of the ball, working on our offensive efficiency, things like that. So it gave us some time to work on ourselves, but at the same time, just prepping for both teams along close-outs, because we know both teams like to shoot the ball and they shoot it well. So it was kind of similar preparation.

ZACH AUGUSTE: That's perfect.

Q. Did you guys watch the game last night, Michigan win? Where did you watch it? Can you tell us a little bit about what that experience was like?
DEMETRIUS JACKSON: So we started watching it at Dave and Buster's. So we were at Dave and Buster's playing some games, having fun, watching the game. And then we kind of finished it in our hotel room. But, yeah, we watched the game, kind of digested it, saw a great game, saw two great teams going at it. So we're just really looking forward to getting back out there and playing against another great team.

There's some things we learned from watching the game. We're going to use those going forward and continue to work on those things today in practice.

ZACH AUGUSTE: Yeah, like Demetrius said, we're at dinner watching them play, focusing on both teams. We saw that Tulsa likes to get up and down a little bit more whereas Michigan has great movement. They like to do double ball screens. They like to move the ball a lot among the guards. It's more of guards play with Michigan. So once we saw that, we just focused in and worked to focus more on us.

Q. I was just curious for both of you guys. Obviously, you guys don't play in football anymore. Does that give any juice to this game, the fact that you guys are playing a team that's traditionally a pretty big rival for you guys as a school?
DEMETRIUS JACKSON: Yeah, I guess so. I mean, we know it's a big rivalry with the two schools. But at the same time, we just want to go out and compete and have fun, continue to play with this group. We have a really tight group, and it's just like a family. So we're going out playing for each other, playing for our university. Just giving it all we have.

ZACH AUGUSTE: I know it's a great tradition, especially it's fun for the fans to get involved as well with the tradition of this rivalry. But at the same time, we're just focused on this. Just going out there and playing another game.

Q. What lessons did you guys take from the Kentucky game last year? Obviously, right down to the end. And what did you learn, carry over from that to this season?
DEMETRIUS JACKSON: I think one big lesson is just playing to win and going for it, just going out and playing fearlessly. That's something we're trying to carry over to this season, just going for it, having fun, competing, giving it all we have. And I think we did that really well last year. Weren't able to finish it, but it's a whole new year. So we just try to use what we learn. We have a lot of guys back who were in that tournament. So we just try to use those things, like in our huddles and in our time-outs, we talk about those things as a group.

ZACH AUGUSTE: It's something that I think we learned is obviously nothing's going to be given to us. We're going to have to continue to go out there and work, go out there and play, fearless, like Demetrius said, and relentlessly. We've just got to go out there and get another chance to put the jersey back on.

Q. For either of you, a little bit of a struggle early in the year, particularly down in Orlando. What did you do to kind of hit the reset button after that?
ZACH AUGUSTE: I think early on in the season, we kind of struggled with our identity and kind of re-establishing who we were as a team. We had a lot of great pieces, a lot of talent, but we just at the time didn't know how to fit them all for 40 minutes consecutively. That's something we worked on. Now we're very unselfish, and we play high efficiency basketball.

DEMETRIUS JACKSON: I think one thing we struggle with was finishing. A lot of the games we were right there, and it was tough for us to finish down the line, and a lot of times that's what it comes down to, like the Final Four minutes, how can you finish? So I think, as the year went on, we got more comfortable because we were put in those situations a lot. We got a lot more comfortable with the game situations and finishing them.

Q. I guess specifically for Zach, last time Michigan lost to Purdue, Purdue's bigs had a really good game down low, like 44 points in the paint. When you see that type of performance against a team that you're playing from another team, does that maybe make your eyes light up a little bit, going in and knowing that you could have a big game yourself?
ZACH AUGUSTE: Yeah, definitely, but I kind of stray away from that. I look at it more from a team standpoint to a chance where we get to go out and play our basketball versus a great program under some bright lights. But definitely it's going to be a great battle in the paint and a great battle with the guards as well. So just looking at it from the team aspect is what's most important.

Q. This one is probably more for you, Zach. You and a lot of guys on this team, there's a lot of East Coast guys, not necessarily in New York, Brooklyn area or anything, but East Coast in general. When you guys found out this was going to be the site, what was the reaction from within the team, being that you guys do have so many from the whole East Coast in general?
ZACH AUGUSTE: Yeah, it was great. It was exciting. From a team standpoint, we got a chance to come back to New York. We've had a great success here in the past, whether it be at MSG or coming down here and playing in the Big East Tournament back in my freshman year.

But individually, I was excited. Me and a couple guys like Bonzie from the East Coast are excited, and a couple guys from New York. We're happy to get a chance to play in front of our friends and family. It will be a quick trip down here, but we're excited to play in this great facility and coming down here to New York and play.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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