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March 18, 2016

Chris Mack

James Farr

Remy Abell

Jalen Reynolds

Trevon Bluiett

St. Louis, Missouri

Xavier - 71, Weber State - 53

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Xavier head coach Chris Mack and student-athletes Remy Abell, Trevon Bluiett, James Farr, Jalen Reynolds. Coach, an opening statement.

CHRIS MACK: Coming into the game we had tremendous respect for Weber State. You watch them play on film and it becomes apparent that their front court is a high major front court in terms of their size. Bolomboy is a guy who dealt with double teams all year. He shows athleticism in the first two minutes of the game with the baseline dunk. And our ability to really keep him in check for the most part, assert our will on the glass, to outrebound the team by 16 in a NCAA Tournament game isn't easy to do.

And the other thing that was really, really important coming into this game is being able to chase Jeremy Senglin, not let him catch off staggers, a la Reggie Miller, and this guy to my left, Remy Abell, did a tremendous job. I don't know if Senglin worked harder in his career to get seven points than he did tonight. But you don't do that without great effort, and I'm really proud of this team.

Our seniors especially really stepped up. James Farr to have 15 rebounds in a tournament game. Like I said before, Remy's ability to chase defensively was tremendous. Very fortunate, excited to move on.

Q. Remy, about that defense, Jeremy Senglin averaged about 18 points coming in was held to seven. You always draw the top player as Xavier's best defender on the ball. Talk about your approach how key it was to keep him in check.
REMY ABELL: Like coach said they did a great job preparing us and preparing us to play them. And, like I said, I just want to stay focused, stay locked in. Obviously he's a great player. He averages 18. And, like I said, I just wanted to make it tough on him. And even though I was guarding him, this is a team effort defense. So my teammates did a great job, if I had a lapse of letting them drive, James made a big block. So, like I said, yeah.

Q. James, monster night for you. You played like a senior that didn't want to go home. Will you talk about kind of your mindset heading into this game and how you were able to exploit some opportunities there close to the basket?
JAMES FARR: Well, I think you said it perfectly: I didn't want to go home. I just want to be able to set the tone and have my teammates be ready to set the tone for the first game of the tournament for us. We're glad to get this win but we know we're nowhere near our goal. And we just want to keep getting better every game.

Q. Question for all of you. Curious how Weber State compares to teams that you've played in the Big East just on all levels.
JALEN REYNOLDS: I would say boxing out it kind of compares to Villanova in a way. Obviously Bolomboy being in the paint is a big presence. We want to make sure we keep him off the glass, and to the best of our ability. And that's what we did tonight.

TREVON BLUIETT: They're a pretty good team. They're in our conference, they can probably compete with every team in our conference. They've got two really good guys in Senglin and Bolomboy. And they're pretty physical. And I think they fit well in the league.

Q. Who wins a dunk contest, Jalen Reynolds or the Incredible Hulk?
REMY ABELL: I'll have to go with Jalen. I've never seen him dunk, the Incredible Hulk, yeah, Jay, I've got you.

TREVON BLUIETT: Being a good teammate, I'll have to go with Jalen. If Incredible Hulk could dunk that would probably be impressive. I want to see it with my own eyes.

JAMES FARR: Yeah, I'm going to have to piggyback off of those two and say Jalen. He might be mad at me for a week, so I'll choose Jalen.

Q. How locked into today were you in your own planning? I ask it because it because there was a big upset, a 2-15 on the same court. Did you know about that heading into this game?
TREVON BLUIETT: Yeah, we watched the game earlier and we saw that, so that kind of made is want to be even more locked in because those type of games can be happen. And we changed our defensive strategies a little bit, so we had to be more locked in to that. I think we were pretty focused.

Q. Jalen, every time they came within seven you guys had an answer whether it was a jumper or one of your dunks. Can you talk about that and being able to really stave off anything closer than that gap of seven points?
JALEN REYNOLDS: We just wanted to keep getting stops, stop trading baskets. Them obviously getting the ball inside was our biggest deal. We obviously wanted to trap that and not let him go one or one or get easy buckets. Yeah, they kept going to seven points. We wanted to get stops and keep answering back and making shots.

Q. One of your defining tricks all year has been your ability to get to the free-throw line. Today you only had four free throw attempts, but you were still able to win. Is that something that, going into the Wisconsin game you're going to be more aggressive, attacking the basket, or do you just think it was one of those days you weren't getting the calls?
CHRIS MACK: I would just say that a lot of that had to do with Weber State. They don't get extended at all. And ball screen situations, it might be the only team on a pick-and-roll that defensively doesn't involve a third player. That's why we had the ability at times to get all the way into the lane, we missed a few floaters from three or four feet with our guards. But our bigs, for the majority of the time were able to get behind the role man.

So in answering your question, it's a very difficult team to put fouls on, because, again, they don't get very extended. They play soft on the perimeter. We got to the bonus earlier in the second half than we did in the first half, but yet all the buckets that we seem to score were either step-in 3s or layups at the rim where we didn't get fouled. So I don't think we were unaggressive in any way shape or form. We were going to continue to play the same way offensively. You dictate a little bit by how defensively they play you, and that's what they chose to do and what they've done all year and why they've been a good defensive team.

Q. Chris, did you have a chance to watch any of that first game, and do you have any preliminary thoughts on Wisconsin?
CHRIS MACK: I only watched maybe a couple minutes when I walked out of the tunnel. There's no need for me to watch the game until we advance. So I don't want to get caught up in watching styles of play or plays. We had our own focus with Weber State. I think Tre hit the nail on the head when he said we made a few defensive adjustments. We trapped the post which we rarely do. We had Tre and Kaiser jumping out on ball screens, they've switched all year. I was really proud for these guys being able to make the adjustments that we felt like we needed to make in order to win the game. But, no, I didn't watch any of the game.

Q. Chris, I'm curious, when you saw Michigan State fall, a 2 seed like you guys, how did you use that? Did you remind your players that this is something that can happen, or did you even mention it at all before your game?
CHRIS MACK: They're pretty smart guys. I don't think I have to mention the 2 seed lost. They watched the games. It's why people tune in to the NCAA Tournament, because upsets happen all the time. But I felt like our team, from the very minute we drew Weber State to the moment we watched tape on their personnel to the moment we went over their actions, there wasn't a guy that was yawning, wasn't paying attention. That's how this group has been all year.

I didn't necessarily worry about a let-down. I did worry about Weber State playing at a high level because they won three games in three days. They're the best team in their conference. They had won 26 games coming into the year -- or coming into the tournament. That was our only focus. We can't control anybody else that wins or loses. And we're just very, very happy that we're advancing.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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