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March 17, 2016

Ben Bentil

Rodney Bullock

Kyron Cartwright

Ed Cooley

Kris Dunn

Raleigh, North Carolina

Providence - 70, USC - 69

THE MODERATOR: We are now ready to begin the Providence portion of the press conference. We'd like to ask Coach Cooley to make an opening statement for us.

ED COOLEY: Great finish. March Madness at its best. Very, very happy for our players. Hard-fought game. Came right down to the wire. Missed shots, missed free throws, but in the end, we prevailed and that's what this month is about, just advance however you can. And I can't tell you how proud I am of these guys here, to fight through foul trouble, Kris being in foul trouble and then turning it on in the end. Rodney making a timely play. I'm very happy for Providence College.

Q. Rodney, can you just describe the last play, how you got open?
RODNEY BULLOCK: Kris and Ben took a lot of the attention away. I guess Drew saw me and made a great play and I just finished it.

Q. Kris, what was going through your mind having to deal with some foul trouble? What did you do to make sure that you stayed in the moment and as productive as you could be when you were on the floor?
KRIS DUNN: Yeah. When I got in foul trouble I knew I had to be a good teammate; I had to switch my roles. Coaching staff and my teammates told me to stay focused and stay in the game. Your time will come. Once I got back in, I just tried to be aggressive.

Q. This is for any of you guys: Coming down the stretch it seemed like a lot of frustration on the court, calls not going your way, that kind of stuff. How do you keep your mind in the game when stuff like that is going on?
KYRON CARTWRIGHT: I mean, it's not the first time we've been in this type of situation, you know. We've been in close games all year, you know. We're very comfortable in that situation just because we've been there before and we just didn't fold under pressure. I'm really happy with the win.

Q. Rodney, could you explain a little more, when you say Drew saw you, where did you come from and did a defender not go with you? How did you get so open?
RODNEY BULLOCK: I was supposed to curl off Kris. I guess both defenders went with Kris. And when I slipped off it, I was wide open under the basket.

Q. Just to follow up with that same question, because it looked like you started to roll under and then back out. Did you just realize that you lost a man? Was that like a delayed part of the play or you saw how it unfolded and backed up?
RODNEY BULLOCK: I feel like I was open and a lot of stuff was going on next to me, so I just called for the ball.

Q. For Ben in the second half, I think they played zone pretty much the whole game, the whole half. Obviously the offense had trouble going against the zone but down the stretch you made some plays. Can you talk about the offense in the second half.
BEN BENTIL: Kris was in foul trouble. I had to step up and Coach said, You need to lead the team until Kris get back on the floor. We tried. It's impossible to keep ourself in the game. And once he came in, he led us and we made the big plays and Rodney made a big-time shot.

Q. Kris, as someone who has been here for a few years what does this win mean to you winning your first tournament win here in Providence?
KRIS DUNN: It means a lot. I know what it's like to be on the other end and the fact that we're advancing is amazing. For me personally because I'm a senior, I wanted to advance and go further. For the team, it's amazing because of how we worked and the fact that we're advancing. Providence College, as a whole, as a community, they've been waiting for a moment like this. Just happy and appreciative to give them something like that because they've been supporting us all year.

Q. Kind of looking a little bit forward, how is it to get a win like this, just for any of the guys, just a close win, moving on to play a tough team?
KYRON CARTWRIGHT: Can you repeat the question one more time.

Q. How is it to get a tough win like this just close down the stretch?
KYRON CARTWRIGHT: It feels good. This game meant a lot to me. I don't know, if my teammates -- just growing up in Southern California, just playing a lot of people that I know. Emotions are heightened, and obviously, we were an emotional team, playing with a lot of energy. Excitement just came out at the end, as could you tell.

THE MODERATOR: Other questions for the student-athletes? All right. Gentlemen, you're excused. Thank you very much. And congratulations.

ED COOLEY: They got to go to study hall.

Q. Ed, can you kind of talk about what this moment means for Rodney in particular, based on what he's had to go through in his first couple years leading into this year for you guys? I know it's just one moment and he had a pretty fine season, but does it mean something extra for him?
ED COOLEY: I'm pretty proud of Rodney. Rodney had some issues his first year. Second year, tore his knee up. Had an up-and-down this year but he really saved his best for tonight. I thought he made a big, big three to put us up, I believe, one late in the game. Came up with a really big deflection, where we got a steal. A big block-out, where -- I'm just happy for him in his perseverance and for him to continue to believe in Providence College, trying to, you know -- it's tough raising these kids because they are young men that make mistakes, we as adults have to give them the opportunity to change, and I'm happy to see that it's worked for them.

Q. On the topic of perseverance, the fact you were able to kind of stick win things even though it seems some frustration was piling up in the last couple minutes, how happy were you with how your guys kept with it in the opening stretch?
ED COOLEY: I still can't believe we won the game. I don't think we played well. We did get frustrated. We were in foul trouble. At the same time I thought the guys were resilient. They played with some poise in our last game against Villanova in the semifinal Big East Championship. I didn't think we had composure. Today I thought we grew up and had great team composure and executed down the stretch when we needed to.

Q. I apologize if this has been asked and answered but the last play and what goes into that? Seemed like you got cut across the grain, and it probably worked out just like you drew it up. But what went into that?
ED COOLEY: I can't take credit for that. The players executed that. That's a play where it's designed where Kris is a focal point and Ben is a focal point, and you take advantage of what the defense gives you. We either wanted a lay-up or curl bank shot, which is designed.

Every day we go through late-game situations: Baseline out of bounds, sideline out of grounds, free-throw situations and I thought it paid off big time today, on this stage to end the game like that. That one shining moment our kids will look forward to the rest of their life.

Q. I'm curious what you call that play, that's number one. And can you talk about winning the first NCAA game in a long time for Providence.
ED COOLEY: We called that play, "Carolina". No, I'm only joking (laughter). No, I can't give you the call on that. We got a game coming up. It's a designed play to get a shot in front of the rim.

But for us to have our first win in, I don't know, 19, 20 years. And as a head coach to get a tournament win, it really means a lot to me. It's special. To have my wife here, my daughter, and my son, for them to share that with me, and for our president A.D., I got the goose bumps, I got tears in my eyes. This is what we grow up as kids thinking about. I'm a 46-year-old kid living a dream every day. You guys are just in the dream, I'm living the dream.

Q. When Kris got called for the fourth foul, it was very emotional on the bench. I think you were down six or seven, and you wiped out the lead pretty quick. Was that the team coming together with adversity there?
ED COOLEY: I'm an emotional coach. I wear it on my sleeve. I have to do a better job handling my emotions. We have great officials in the Tournament, you know. You have to stick up for your players. You're not going to get every call. At the same time I want the players to know we want to fight right to the end. If the official called it, it was probably a foul.

Q. Did you happen to see North Carolina?
ED COOLEY: I've watched -- they're on every day, you know? Great respect for Coach Williams. They got a great team, you know. We clearly got a David-and-Goliath situation. They play really well, you know. We'll have our great fans here, but let's face it, we're playing in their backyard. They're one of the favorites to win a national championship. We'll do everything we can to try to disrupt that, but understand it's a tough, tough task. Anything, as you can see, can happen in March. It's just one possession at a time and hopefully our players are excited and we can move on from there but we're excited to play Carolina.

Q. Coach, you covered Kris's resiliency for a while. Looked like he might not even score double figures but ends up with 16 points and four assists.
ED COOLEY: I'm sitting on this podium because of Kris Dunn. Make no doubt about it, he's been the face of our program the last two years. When he plays well, we're a tough out. He's great offensively and defensively.

I'm proud of him more importantly, Kris will be a graduate in about seven, eight weeks. For him to come back to school and get us to this point is really a credit to the legacy that he's leaving.

I'm really proud of him but more importantly we'll have a graduate in seven weeks walking across the Dunkin' Donuts stage as a Providence College graduate. To hell with basketball, he's going to be a graduate.

THE MODERATOR: Any other questions? All right. Coach, congratulations. Thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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