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March 29, 2016

Bryce Drew

Alec Peters

David Skara

New York, New York

Valparaiso - 72, BYU - 70

COACH DREW: This has been a wonderful experience for our program, for our guys. The throw home games we had were sensational. Getting to be in New York City and playing in the Garden, as a coach you're a little worried about focus and things like that, because the guys were having such a great time.

But extremely blessed to have the group that I have, and I thought we were really resilient tonight, especially when BYU made some late runs. Pretty much the whole second half, they were making runs at us. We made some key shots and had some key stops. I thought Vashil had a couple key blocks at the end there. Obviously David's shot was huge, and I thought our team moved the ball well and put them in position to get a good look at it.

Q. David, just touch on your game, first time 15 points all season, and just those plays down the stretch.
DAVID SKARA: We were all excited, getting here at playing on the big stage at Madison Square Garden. I knew getting out there, playing against a good team, putting in maximum effort is was really important, shots that I did.

Q. For both players, I know that you've just come off the court and I'm asking you for a little bit of perspective here, but two weeks ago, it was a pretty tough Selection Sunday for you guys. Can you sort of contrast the disappointment that you guys felt that day with this opportunity you now have to win a postseason title?
ALEC PETERS: We're over it at this point. Right we're playing for an NIT Championship which in my mind is almost better than getting to the first round of the NCAA Tournament and losing. So we're still playing deep into the basketball season. We have a chance of winning our last game which not very many teams get to say.

DAVID SKARA: At the moment when we weren't selected into the NCAA, it was a bit of a disappointment, but once we got here, we are very happy to be here right now.

Q. You had a season-high 20 turnovers the first 28 minutes of the game, and the last 11 and a half, you didn't have any turnovers. What was it about ball control, and how key was it not to turn it over down the stretch?
ALEC PETERS: Start out the game, I think we were going a little too fast on offense and can sometime lead to careless turnovers. And I know both teams had high turnovers and that probably was a result of playing in Madison Square Garden and getting used to the floor.

It was a matter of surviving at the end, and we knew we had to take care of the ball and we knew we had to make plays down the stretch. And when they made that big run, it was because of we were turning the ball over and they were getting easy baskets out in transition.

Q. How big did your eyes get on the final play when you see Shane sprinting down kind of uncovered, and then does your stomach drop when you see him fumbling with the ball?
ALEC PETERS: He recovered it and he kept the ball then he got fouled. I told him he needed to go to the line and make two free lows to make up for it. He made one, got a blocked shot at the end, which I think at the end evens out.

Q. During that stretch where BYU made the run and grabbed the lead, you guys were making those turnovers. What do you guys do to put the brakes on that run and get your legs back under you?
ALEC PETERS: We needed to stop taking such quick shots. On offense, their zone was giving us a little trouble during that run, and I think we were taking some quick shots, and so we needed to move the ball. And I think we got David on an open layup after moving the ball for a while and then we got some open threes out of it. We just need to be more patient on offense instead of letting the zone dictate what we were doing.

Q. Wonder if you can take us through the possession where you made the three, how did that unfold?
DAVID SKARA: I was really fortunate for that ball to come through my hands. I had confidence that Shane would find me. It was a great pass from Shane, and confidence.

Q. Alec, I wanted to ask you a little bit about Shane's game. You take a look at the stat sheet, 3-for-11 is not great, five turnovers is not great but he scored 7 of his last ten in the last six minutes, had a blocked shot on the shot at the end. Can you talk about his contribution and how you saw it?
ALEC PETERS: Well, those 3-for-11 might be tough to look at but those three were probably the three shots that ended their run each time. I think Shane did a great job of when they were making a run, he would come to the basket, dunk on somebody or he would do something to make a highlight and get our crowd back into it.

It may not show it on the stat sheet like today's game, but he's super important both sides of the ball. He's great at attacking the rim, great at elevating. He brought a lot and he answered their runs.

Q. I know it was hard not making the NCAA Tournament, but what was your mind-set coming into the NIT?
COACH DREW: You know, once we got selected to be in the NIT, we were thrilled to get a 1-seed, to get three home games, which was tremendous. We set a record attendance crowd in our last home game and our path and our goal has been to get to New York and to win the NIT.

So our goals shifted to this tournament, and like Alec said, this has been sensational, better than going to the first round and losing it. Making it to New York and playing here in the Garden, the energy here, the people around town. This is going to be a memorable experience that these guys are never going to forget.

Q. What is it about David and these huge games?
COACH DREW: You know, he has a lot of international experience. He has been playing from a young age playing with national teams and those European National team games are very competitive and a lot's on the line for your country.

So I think he plays with a lot of confidence. He plays within himself and he doesn't -- hasn't gotten rattled out there, even though he's only a sophomore.

Q. I'm sure that everyone can see the point of get to go play for the NIT Championship, but being better than losing a first-round game, but this has been an NCAA Tournament where the teams that you were in the running with at the end did well, 11s won games, 10s won games. Don't you feel like this team has shown that if it had been selected, maybe better than just losing a first-round game?
COACH DREW: You know, I think all four teams here, I think several teams in the NIT, just about everyone, if they were given the opportunity, maybe could have done the same thing. There's a lot of really good teams in college basketball and that's why we're just really excited that this tournament is still doing what it's doing and bringing teams here.

It's still a tremendous experience; whichever tournament you're in, it's tremendous experience if you get to advance.

Q. The time-out with 40 seconds left, 68-68, what were you expecting and how did it unfold?
COACH DREW: You know, I was a player, and so I want to give our guys freedom to make plays and I don't want to handcuff them.

So we tried to put them in a situation where they had some freedom out there, and we run an offense a lot of times where a lot of different people can make plays and I thought we got a couple of good penetrations and then had a great pass to hit David, and David was ready to shoot.

Q. How do you feel the way that your team played on defense impacted your performance?
COACH DREW: I thought the beginning of the game was key for us. I thought we were really active with our hands and our feet and we were able to get some deflections and get out in transition, which gave some confidence on the offensive end.

I thought BYU did an excellent job in the second half making adjustments to our defense, but I was really proud of the start that we had, because I think it set a tone for our team and gave us confidence.

Q. Alec has obviously been on this ridiculous run the last eight or nine games. What does it speak to your team that David Skara and Shane Hammink essentially won the last 40 seconds for you?
COACH DREW: Our team is in balance the last two years. We've had multiple guys score, multiple guys step up. Alec, like you say, sensational over the last six weeks. To beat good teams and win games, you have to have other people step up. For Valparaiso Basketball, this is a great stat sheet when you have five guys in double figures.

Q. About Shane, coming up with all these clutch plays, is that something that you expected from him in a game like this or did he show you a little something tonight?
COACH DREW: The last two, three weeks of the season, he went in the starting lineup and he's made some really big plays for us in those games. He had a game-winning shot in one game with literally no time on the clock, and so he has played very well in the last few minutes of games this last stretch.

Q. On your run, how big is this for the Horizon League and some of these smaller leagues that don't get to play sometimes? Have you heard from any other Horizon League coaches the last week or so?
COACH DREW: I've had some texts, phone calls, which shows the class of our profession, of our league. It's definitely something we're proud of. I'm proud for our university. It great for our fans to be able to come to Madison Square Garden and watch Valparaiso Basketball. I think on all fronts, this is a great experience for us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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