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March 19, 2016

Kevin Ollie

Rodney Purvis

Daniel Hamilton

Sterling Gibbs

Des Moines, Iowa

Kansas - 73, UConn - 61

THE MODERATOR: We are joined on the podium by UConn. Coach, your thoughts on the game?

KEVIN OLLIE: First, give an honor to God to coach another game at this great university. It was a game of two halves. I thought be played our best basketball in the second half, but unfortunately we got down and we was telling our guys and I know they was telling themselves that you can't get down by 20 to the No. 1 seed and the talent that Kansas has.

But I was so proud of the guys that they battled back but just wasn't enough. Give credit to Kansas they pressured the basketball from the beginning, took us out of our offense and disrupted or timing. But, you know, at the end of the day I thought our guys battled to the 0's on the clock and I'm very proud of this team. A lot of people had us disqualified after the SMU loss, but these guys stuck together and was able to with win the AAC Tournament and get to this second round.

Very proud of my guys, and I thank the seniors for giving me everything they had, Sterling, Omar, Shonn and Phil, just really appreciate those guys. They have the heart of a champion and they're going to have great lives and great playing careers when it's all said and done after they leave the Storrs campus.

Q. Guys, how tough was it just to fall into that early hole and try to have to battle back from it the entire night?
STERLING GIBBS: It was tough, kinda dug ourselves in the hole first half and they're a good team so it was tough to get out of that hole.

DANIEL HAMILTON: Yeah, it was real tough out there. They denied the pass and they denied us from getting the ball and we kinda got, you know, trying to play one-on-one in the first half.

Can't win like that, so the next half we just tried to guard through it and play together and we fought back, but we can't get down like that to a good team.

RODNEY PURVIS: Just to piggyback on what these guys said. Like I said, we dug ourselves a hole and you can't really do that against maybe the best team in the country, you know. So I was satisfied and happy with our fight in the second half, but I think we should have came out with more intensity in the first half.

Q. Sterling, when you're making a comeback and you get it to 11 and there is 10 to go, did you think you had it and you were going to get it in single digits, did you feel like you had chains there?
STERLING GIBBS: Yeah, yeah, we never stopped thinking that we were going to win the game. We thought we were going to win the game for sure, even when we were down 20. They are just a good team and they were able to withhold the lead.

Q. Sterling, the one year at UConn, what's your take-away from the season, the one year that you spent with this group?
STERLING GIBBS: Man, I think -- --

THE MODERATOR: We'll go on to another question.

Q. Daniel, how tough -- Ellis obviously is a very tough player to guard. How was he able to get free? You had to guard him a few times. How difficult was he?
DANIEL HAMILTON: It was real difficult especially trying to deny because Kansas runs great sets for him, and once he gets open he pretty much finishes out the rim real well, you know. He's been there four years and he know the sets and the different stuff, how to score. He's a real good player. Hats off to him.

Q. Rodney, what changed in the second half for you guys to make you play the way you did?
RODNEY PURVIS: Just your intensity level. We knew our defense was going to get us back in the game. We wasn't really worried about the offensive end. All season we have been feeding into defense all year. We know once we get the stops the offense will take care of itself. We just tried to come out with defensive intensity and see what happened from there.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, gentlemen. We will entertain questions for Coach Ollie.

Q. Coach, in that 19-0 run they went on in the first half what were they doing to cause you guys to have so many problems offensively?
KEVIN OLLIE: I mean, what they weren't doing. They was doing everything possible, controlling the back boards, getting out on the fast break, and their physicality is what's shown to me the biggest thing we have to work on. Their bigs were sealing, getting whatever they wanted and they just took us out of our offense. We gotta get better.

Like I said, I'm very proud of these guys. They kept battling, but that was a great team out there we played and when you spot 'em 20 points or you get in a 19-0 spurt it's hard to dig out of it. We needed to play tougher.

But at the end of the day I want to take my hat off to Kansas. That's a real good team, solid players up and down. They didn't really use their bench. The guys that started played a lot of minutes and they was effective in what they was doing. So they're going to be a very, very tough out of this tournament.

Q. Coach, what will you take way from the season, just the fight that they always showed? What will you take away from it?
KEVIN OLLIE: That was probably the main thing, the fight. You know, just the second touch that we had in our season, a lot of people was giving up on us and they could have easily gave up on themselves.

The coaching staff stayed with those guys and kept believing and for them to battle and get to the position of winning a Championship in the AAC Tournament. I want to thank those guys. It starts with the seniors and all of the other players, just very proud of them. You know, they battled and they was resilient and you know they just kept fighting and that's the one thing I take from them.

We have some great talent coming back. We have a great recruiting class coming in, so we've got to continue to build on this. I'm so glad these guys got the opportunity to taste this tournament, especially the guys that's going to come back. It was a good positive step for us going forward and of course we wanted to continue to play because it's a special group. Unfortunately, that didn't happen but hopefully we can use this pain and not waste this pain that we're going through right now and use it for good, for a great off-season and follow that up with a great season next year.

THE MODERATOR: Any other questions? Thanks, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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