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March 17, 2016

Tim Cluess

Jordan Washington

A.J. English

Denver, Colorado

Iowa State - 94, Iona - 81

THE MODERATOR: We're ready to begin with Iona.

Coach, if we can start with you, just some comments on today's game.

COACH CLUESS: I'm really proud of my guys' effort out there. We may not have played our best game execution goes, but I thought they played with all their heart and left it all out on the court. I couldn't be more proud of any group I've ever coached. Obviously hats off to Iowa State and wish them luck going forward.

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the student-athletes, dismiss them, then come back to the coach.

Q. A.J., seemed like you had a lot of difficulty defending them. They're a little bigger and stronger than you physically. Was that a big part of the challenge today?
A.J. ENGLISH: Yes, of course. They shot 50% from the field, too. That helped them a lot, too. They have great players. They come from a great conference.

We tried to slow them down, but we just couldn't today.

Q. A.J., was it a little bit like looking in the mirror when you see a team like that, they have so many shooters, defense to offense quickly?
A.J. ENGLISH: Yeah, definitely. You watch Iowa State over the years, that's how they always play. Especially this year, they had a lot of versatile players that have size. That's the style we try to play.

Q. A.J., what happened on that technical? Seemed like you were jawing back and forth. Did you say something?
A.J. ENGLISH: We was having fun the whole game. That's what I felt like. A lot of people, basketball players, talking to each other.

I mean, honestly, I was smiling like when I was talking back to the player. I didn't understand why the ref, you know, made the call.

But, I mean, at the same time, it happens. I mean, but I wouldn't change it. That's how we play.

It was a fun game, you know. Like I said, there was a lot of that going on throughout the whole game. I'm just sad that somebody had to make that call towards the end of the game. I felt like if that's the case, if you don't want anybody talking trash from the beginning of the game, just call it, whether it's on me or somebody else.

One tech, you don't lose a game off of one tech. But it definitely was a big call.

Q. A.J., I don't know how much you looked into Monte Morris, looked like he ended up playing well. What did you see on him?
A.J. ENGLISH: I played against him at camp in the summertime. I've been watching him for a long time.

I mean, you know, you get nicks and bruises all the time. I knew he was going to be fine. He's a great player that's going to have a great future. I just hope them the best of luck on their next game.

Q. Jordan, when you got called with that double tech, you had to sit down for a couple minutes. Did you feel it was justified, a momentum swing there?
JORDAN WASHINGTON: I don't think the tech should have been called because me and Jameel McKay is best friends. He went to Indian Hills before me. It was just talk. I don't understand why they gave us a tech in that particular possession.

Q. Jordan, obviously you kind of picked up where you left off in the MAC championship game. You played well today. How do you feel like you did out there today? What kind of kept you focused to play as well as you did today?
JORDAN WASHINGTON: I felt like I could have did more for my team. I tried. We fought hard, we digged deep and we tried. That's all I can say.

THE MODERATOR: We'll dismiss the student-athletes at this time.

We'll now take questions for coach.

Q. I saw when A.J. was being asked about the TU, you seemed to be shaking your head no.
COACH CLUESS: There was talk going on back and forth all game long. The referee is standing there. Both parties were jawing at each other. Tough time to call it. I'm going to leave it at that.

Q. What is it like to go up against a team that kind of plays your style? All those guys who can shoot threes, going up and down quick. How much of a challenge was that to face someone that plays almost the way you do?
COACH CLUESS: We knew it was going to be really challenging. When you play teams of this level, they have guys that are bigger, stronger, faster that can play basketball. Sometimes you can sit there as a coach, you can sit there and dream if we continue to keep winning and making a name for ourselves, maybe someday we're going to get some guys with those kind of bodies playing at Iona.

I love the way the game was played. I think we didn't make shots. Had we made shots, it would have been even more entertaining of a game. I'm proud of my guys' efforts and Iowa State is a terrific team.

Q. You made seven threes today. They almost doubled you up at the three-point line. Was that a battle you had to win to win this game?
COACH CLUESS: We couldn't lose it, let's put it that way. We thought we were going to have to get somewhere 12 or more threes to have a chance to win the game, to be honest with you, okay? We came out really, really, really cold early on. We had a few guys in foul trouble, so I think that hurt us.

I think we pressed at times when we were behind, trying to push it and force some things. When we relaxed a little bit, we got some runs going.

Credit to them, every time we made runs, except the last one which was predicated on people not playing the game, changing the momentum, I think they made big threes every time we made a run at them.

Q. You talked about how proud you are of your guys. This was a team that people didn't think would get here. What are you going to remember about this group?
COACH CLUESS: That they overachieved well beyond their own knowledge right now. I'm going to remember the locker room that was really emotional, really emotional. That shows how much they love and care about each other. That to me made it all worthwhile. They formed those bonds because of their hard work.

They succeeded well above what a lot of us dreamed of that were a part of that group, that watched the injuries, everything that happened throughout the year. That's what makes me so proud of them.

Q. I know you've had a lot of great players. This is it for A.J. What do you think he did today on the big stage?
COACH CLUESS: I thought he played great. I thought early on it was too much, Give the ball to A.J., let's watch him play, rather than other guys participating and playing.

Him and Jordan early in the game established themselves some. There were too many guys not taking a shot, not looking for the other guy. Here, A.J., go make a play, go make a play. I thought the second half we were better and more diversified.

Obviously he's a great player and lifts the level on our team on both ends. Timeouts he's getting on guys. I think we had a three about two minutes to go or something like that, that could have cut it to five had we made it. We unfortunately missed that. Then a couple strange things happened at the end of the game.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, coach.

COACH CLUESS: Thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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