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March 24, 2016
Kansas - 79, Maryland - 63
Q. When you were guys were starting the second half, you kind of just took control of the game.
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: I think it was the halftime speech. We knew we couldn't come out flat like we'd been doing in previous games. I think our mentality was to keep attacking and being aggressive.
Q. What was the halftime speech?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: Don't come out flat. We can't let a good team like them get momentum right after halftime. We were only up two. So we knew we had to come out and punch them in the face first and get that momentum on our side.
Q. Did you feel like you were ahead quite a bit more than the scoreboard showed coming out of halftime?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: No, we were just happy to be up two. We knew we didn't play well the first half. So we thought we could play way better than what we did. Then we came out and it was being more aggressive.
Q. Was there a specific turning point where you feel like the game broke open for you guys?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: I actually went out because I was cramping, and I missed the little run we went on. So I know Wayne hit a couple of big shots, but I couldn't see it.
Q. Some teams, it feels like they need several things to start going their way before they can get going. Feels like you guys just need a play or two and all of a sudden you guys have all the momentum you need. Is that just the way you guys are built? What do you think that comes from?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: Just what we've been doing all year. Coach talks about you can't let one bad play become another bad play and then another bad play. You've got to make one good play become another good play and another good play.
So we just try to keep that momentum rolling once we get a good offensive possession. We try to turn around and get a good stop and then another good offensive possession, and we try to keep that momentum going.
Q. How do you feel like you guys did guarding Melo?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: We did an okay job. He came off the ball screens, he was kind of killing us. He's a great player. But at the end of the day, we ended up winning the game. I'm happy about that.
Q. They swatted quite a few shots away on the inside. You guys kept going in there. What gave you guys the confidence to keep going in? Was that part of the game plan?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: Just Coach telling us to be aggressive. Every time Frank or me come off a ball screen, he'd be yelling out, get in there, you know, just to try to get in the paint. Because when we get in the paint, we can create for ourselves or make plays for others. That's what we tried to do.
CARLTON BRAGG: Another game coming up Saturday, Nova. We've got to focus. Taking it in right now. We've just got to build on that. We can't rest on that.
Q. Tell me about Perry Ellis' game and what you saw in him. It's like he took control of the offensive game.
CARLTON BRAGG: He did take control. He helped us a lot in scoring when we needed him. We motivated him to go even harder, and he kept getting and-ones and getting a lot of buckets.
Q. Early in this game, it looked like a big-boy game. They seemed to control the paint both ends of the court. Can you talk about that?
CARLTON BRAGG: I don't think they controlled both ends of the court. I think our rebounding, we did really good. We got a lot of stops with them. But it was a challenge, though. And we stepped up.
Q. Not only Perry, but Wayne seemed to really bring their offensive game in the second half to help you guys kind of build on that. Talk about that.
CARLTON BRAGG: It's kind of hard when Perry and Wayne's on -- it's kind of hard for opponents to stop us. And we just bit off their energy. With Frank Mason, Devonte', Svia are coming off the bench, me, Jamari, you know, they just pick us up.
Q. Carlton, you see it night in and night out from Perry, but did he kind of go to a whole new level tonight?
CARLTON BRAGG: Yeah, I think it's the motivation. He keeps getting closer and closer to his goal. Not making it, you know, past the Sweet 16 for him, making it to the Sweet 16 but not making it, I think he's ready. He's going to get it.
Q. You played a lot of minutes today. Just kind of talk about what Coach Self said your role is in this game, just to help the team get in the flow.
CARLTON BRAGG: He told me to help with the rebounds and just stand down, help with the ball screens. He said I can beat the bigs running the floor. I was just trying to play my role.
Q. How difficult was it? Those guys, Trimble and Sulaimon and Layman, they're so good just getting into the paint. What did you guys do differently in the interior?
CARLTON BRAGG: It was a big challenge for me coming off the ball screen, hedging it hard, when to flash it, when not to. But it was a challenge for the guards as well. But you just have to stay down, go over the scouting report, just have to focus in more.
Q. Villanova now, they score a ton of points. What do you know about them?
CARLTON BRAGG: I know they've got a good guard, Jaylen Brunson, you know. They like to press a lot, and they're some tough dudes.
Q. You guys are tough dudes. What's the feeling right now?
CARLTON BRAGG: Just got the win. Just got to build on it, get a little rest.
Q. What's the Final Four? Have you given any thought to what that would be like?
CARLTON BRAGG: I don't really want to talk about it. One step away, but I'm taking it all in, cherishing every moment, you know, just living it.
Q. They've got a nickname for you. How do you feel about that?
PERRY ELLIS: It's something I try to -- I just try to come out and put it all out on the line. Last go-around, just trying to do that every time, every possession, trying to play.
Q. Is it kind of -- everyone else seemed to kind of struggle at beginning of the game. You were scoring the points. Then all of a sudden, Wayne got hot. Did you kind of see there was momentum? Did you kind of feel something was changing, the tide was turning for you guys?
PERRY ELLIS: Definitely. We have a lot of different weapons on this team. It was Wayne that kind of stepped up in that first half, knocking down shots, gave us some momentum.
Q. How frustrating is that, to be on the floor and seeing the shots just aren't falling right now? What do you do to change that?
PERRY ELLIS: It's basketball. Sometimes you miss shots. You just have to make up for it on the defensive side. I feel like we did a great job at that.
Q. Perry, do you remember the Battle 4 Atlantis a few years ago when Villanova nailed the shot at the end? Do you remember playing in that game? It was a semifinal. They got you with a buzzer beater? Do you have any recollection of that at all?
PERRY ELLIS: Yeah, I remember that some, you know. I remember them hitting that shot. Game winner. So it wasn't a great feeling, but it happens.
Q. What was clicking for you and the rest of the guys the second half? First half, looked like they were just controlling the boards, controlling the paint. You kind of kicked it into another gear.
PERRY ELLIS: Rebounding. We did a great job rebounding in the second half. And defense. Defense, ball screens, helping out in the lane and things of that sort.
Q. Talk about Wayne Selden and what it meant to kind of have that performance, too, along with what you were doing out there on the floor.
PERRY ELLIS: Like I said, this team, we have so many different weapons. Wayne stepped up and sparked us, like I said. He did a great job. Just love this team.
Q. Perry, you're one game from the Final Four. That's what you've been saying since Media Day this season. That's your goal. And this is your last chance, and you're one game away from it. Can you describe what it feels like for you right now being this close to reaching your goal?
PERRY ELLIS: It feels great. We're just trying to take it game by game, step by step. We just have to come out and work hard, just be focused.
Q. Perry, you've had a lot of consistent play and a lot of good games. But this is clearly the best game at the most important time. What did it feel like during that run of play when you had it going, doing everything? What's the feeling inside?
PERRY ELLIS: Feels great. I mean, just kind of in the zone and just wanting the ball and just having a lot of confidence and just -- my teammates and coach have a lot of confidence in me also. So it's just a great feeling.
Q. How about in the first half, when things weren't going quite as well? You were in there and you were kind of keeping the team in by being the only one making baskets. Do you have a message for the other guys when you're kind of carrying the load a bit?
PERRY ELLIS: It was just defense. Defense is always the answer. That's what kept us in the game. Just started defending well.
JAMARI TRAYLOR: It's a great opportunity for us. We worked really hard this whole season. And our work is paying off for us. We got to advance to the Elite Eight. I haven't been here since my freshman year. So it's a great feeling. I'm proud of my team but we're definitely not done yet.
Q. It's okay to crack a smile?
JAMARI TRAYLOR: I'm smiling.
Q. Describe Perry tonight.
JAMARI TRAYLOR: Perry was Perry. As he's been playing lately, he's playing so hot. Just being aggressive, getting fouls, knocking down shots. Getting in the lane. I just feel like there wasn't too much he couldn't do this game.
Q. Did anybody fire up the team at halftime?
JAMARI TRAYLOR: Everybody just came in here, we all knew what we had to do. Everybody was talking. Everybody was talking about how we didn't play well, they haven't seen our best shot yet. We just had to be more aggressive out there and play together.
I feel like we did that, made adjustments.
Q. What was the feeling a little early on? You guys have been getting off to fast starts game after game. Seemed like Maryland -- you were always in touch, just a couple baskets or something. Did you feel like that was a key, that you didn't get down eight or ten at that point?
JAMARI TRAYLOR: We just had to just play our game. I feel like the whole time, the first half, they didn't even get our best shot, actually. We were a little sloppy. They were getting a lot of easy shots and opportunities that we normally don't give up.
So we just came in at halftime, saying they didn't get our best shot yet. We're up two. We're kind of like, okay, now we're just going to turn it up a notch. And we did that.
Q. You did turn it up a notch. What's the feeling? You took control of the game in the second half and it was another game that you weren't going to have to sweat out.
JAMARI TRAYLOR: We just had to be more physical. We had to out-rebound them. We did that the second half. We were just more aggressive. We got those guys in foul trouble and just attacked the paint and got fouls some of the time at the end of the game and that's just it.
Q. (Indiscernible) you kind of dominated their big men.
JAMARI TRAYLOR: Definitely, it was something we thought about. I feel like people were just talking about how much better they were than us, and one through five and everything, and I think our guys took that kind of personally and stepped up.
And that's pretty much it. We just had to go out there and be aggressive, stay with our game plan, and we did that.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports