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March 19, 2016

Ben Bentil

Ed Cooley

Kris Dunn

Raleigh, North Carolina

Providence - 66, North Carolina - 85

THE MODERATOR: We're now ready to begin the Providence College press conference. We'll open with an opening statement from Coach Cooley.

ED COOLEY: Well, you know, the other day we sat in here, we were on an incredible high. We knew we had an opportunity to advance and we talked about it. You know, I think today just came down to they played well, we didn't. We didn't make shots. We had some foul trouble.

But overall, you look at the big picture, you hurt for the players. You want to win so bad for them. We've seen these kids grow up, and, you know, to see it end like that. I thought we played really, really hard. I thought we played together. But you got to make shots, you got to make plays. You got to make shots in these tournaments, and we didn't have it.

I thought North Carolina played real well, really well. They played well. They made shots and we didn't. And I think that was the determinant factor of the game.

Just tough to walk away from this. It's tough to see a young man that has grown up in front of my eyes in Kris and what he's meant to our organization, and to see where he was, and now where he's at, and then where he's going. You know, you look at it where, damn, you're like a dad seeing somebody grow up in front of your eyes. I can't tell you how much I love this kid and this team, what they've meant to Providence and what they've meant to me this year. I'm going to really miss them.

Q. This is for Kris: Just how much of a problem was foul trouble in this, you know, taking you guys out of what you wanted to do once Carolina pulled away?
KRIS DUNN: Yeah, we got in foul trouble. I think they took advantage of that. They made a couple of runs. In the first half I thought we withstood it. Once I got in foul trouble, the guys they kept fighting. They kept being resilient. Everybody was making plays. Once Ben had foul trouble, they took another run. We tried to withstand it but they overmatched us.

Q. Despite this loss, you guys did amazingly well defensively frustrating Carolina. Talk about your journey up to this point.
BEN BENTIL: From the beginning of the season Coach always told us, you're always going to be seen as the underdog. So every time we walk in the gym, we got to come with great enthusiasm and just knuckle up and play. So when we walked into the gym, we came to play. We tried to take them out of their plays, and it came down to rebounding, which was what Coach was talking about the whole time in the scout.

KRIS DUNN: I think that's the reason why I came back. I think a lot of people doubted us in the beginning because of how young we were. Like I said, it's been a roller-coaster ride, but it's been the best roller-coaster ride I ever rode.

These guys, every single one of them are like my brothers. They work hard. In the summer they were working hard. You can see it on and off the court the chemistry, we really like one another. That's how we got to this point through the chemistry and bond we have. We always have each other's back.

The fact the coaches liked all of us. Coach Cooley did a great job with us, making sure everybody goes out there and play their game and know their role. As a team, we kind of achieved the accomplishment that we wanted to do, which is get back to the Tournament. The fact that we got past the first round was one of my accomplishments that I wanted to achieve, so I appreciate my teammates getting me through this journey.

Q. Ben, can you talk about their size. Obviously playing in the post that's where you picked up most of your fouls. How difficult was it to defend them in the post?
BEN BENTIL: To be honest, it wasn't difficult. We fronted the post. They just made good plays. At the end of the day, the refs made good calls. We respect it.

The size, it was a problem but it wasn't a problem for us. It was the toughness. They played better today. That's it.

Q. Ben, specifically, facing Brice Johnson, you know, an All-American this year, what was it like facing him out there? I know I saw you guys jawing back and forth with each other. What was going on there?
BEN BENTIL: We was telling each other how -- I was telling him he's a great player. He was telling me I'm a great player. It was just a good matchup. It was unfortunate I couldn't finish the game so the matchup could go on. At the end of the day, I'd take everything I could get. When I was on the court, I enjoyed playing against him.

Q. Kris, that's two games in a row where you did have to battle foul trouble, especially in that first half. Did you have any cheap ones that you just maybe regret or was it just being aggressive?
KRIS DUNN: Yeah, that's where I am as a player. I'm very aggressive on both ends of the floor. Coaching staff told me, always stay who you are and be aggressive.

I definitely got a cheap foul. I think we doubled the post and they threw it to Joel James (sic). I should have let him get the easy basket, but my aggressive play got me the cheap foul and I had to sit out.

THE MODERATOR: All right. Gentlemen, you're excused. Thank you very much. Questions for Coach Cooley.

Q. Coach, when you think back about this team, what's going to be the one thing that sticks out in your mind?
ED COOLEY: We started back in September, and I was talking to Coach Blaney, I was talking to my son, I said, I like this team. There's something about this team that I like. I don't know where we were picked in the league to start. You know, we had a lot of new faces. We had some defections, in my opinion, that helped the team, but at the same time there was something about this group that I liked. I liked the character. I loved how hungry they were to prove people wrong. That's the type of teams I like to coach, and I definitely loved this team.

Q. Kind of the same thing I asked Ben, obviously in the post it's difficult. You don't have a lot of guys that size. Obvious he picked up five fouls trying to hold off quite a few guys.
ED COOLEY: I don't think size bothered us as much this year as we thought it would. I think the foul trouble and our lack of depth kind of hurt us. You know, it's not like we got all of these length guys at the rim. You know, he picked up a couple really tough fouls. I think that changed the entire game, you know. If we're not in foul trouble, I don't know if it will be a different outcome, but it will definitely be a closer game.

Clearly they are two of the better players that were on the floor when they're going at that level, they were probably the two best players on the floor.

Q. Coach Cooley, at one point I heard you tell Dunn, "Do whatever you want. I'm just enjoying watching you." Talk about how it's been watching him this season and what do you expect from him in the future?
ED COOLEY: Well, we're gifted to have a kid like that in our organization. We're a small, great Catholic school that many of you probably think we're in Long Island, not Rhode Island.

But to have him there, and to see how far he came, many of you had an opportunity to see where he is today. You didn't see how he grew, from his leadership, from his -- just his presence, his body, his confidence, his academics. And when somebody's playing like that, I tell him that every game, don't ask me what you want to do. You do what you have to do to lead this team.

So, again, I said it to open up the press conference. Not so much his playing ability, but his ability to change a program, and I think many coaches have had players that they can target that really changed their program, and set it in the right direction and Kris will possibly be that signature player that gets us going in the direction that we want to go.

THE MODERATOR: Other questions for Coach? All right, Coach. Thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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