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March 31, 2016

Bryce Drew

Vashil Fernandez

Alec Peters

New York, New York

George Washington - 74, Valparaiso - 60

COACH DREW: I told our guys, one game doesn't define your season, and we won 30 games. Sensational run to get here. Unfortunately didn't play as well as we would have liked today. Thought George Washington probably played one of the better games they have all year. Shot the ball very well from the outside and from the free throw line and we just seemed like we couldn't really get a rhythm going for the most part.

But I'm extremely proud of these guys. They have won 58 games in two years, averaged 29 wins, won two conference championships in the NCAA Tournament and NIT runner-up. Couldn't be more proud of them. The best thing about them is they are enjoyable to be around and they win in other areas of the basketball court, they win in the classroom, they win in the community, and as Vashil in his next phase and our other players return, we want them to keep being winners in other ways than just basketball.

Q. Alec, is this almost the worst case imaginable to know that you don't get to play for another eight months, and knowing the low shooting percentage, largest deficit of the year and all those things?
ALEC PETERS: You want to play well and you want to win your last game. Didn't happen. It's going to stick with us throughout the off-season till next season starts.

Q. Can you summarize what emotions you're going through right now?
VASHIL FERNANDEZ: I'm just thankful, first of all, to God for having the opportunity to play another year of college basketball. It really sucks to not go out a champion. We made it this far. But like Coach Bryce said, they were making shots and we weren't. It's tough, but just expecting about that from me (ph) in the future and to see what Valpo basketball can do in the upcoming seasons.

Q. What is special about this team this year? You accomplished a lot, 30 wins, a program record, never being here before. Why did you have this kind of season as a team?
VASHIL FERNANDEZ: Summarize it in one word, unity. The brotherhood we have, the great companionship that we have. We spoke about it a lot, going to Canada, we ended up building a great team bond over the past summer. And just being around these guys is just a great opportunity for me to grow, be around the coaches, spiritually helped me grow, physically helped me grow as a player, as a father, as a husband, as a student athlete. The unit that we have, I think that just summarizes everything about our team, togetherness.

Q. Describe the second half. What didn't work for you guys?
ALEC PETERS: Wasn't going to the basket. We were turning it over in some key stretches and they capitalized on it, and then they made runs we didn't have answers for.

Q. Just overall, what does this whole experience mean for your program? You summarized it's a great experience to be in New York, you lose the game, but still a great steppingstone for the program?
COACH DREW: A spectacular experience. A lot of our guys, they have not been to Manhattan before, so being here has been a great experience. Getting an opportunity to play in Madison Square Garden, something again that they will always remember.

You know, the three home games we had were spectacular, also. We broke an attendance record and I think our alumni and fan base really got energized through this whole run, and so we're excited hopefully for this momentum to carry over into this summer and next fall and next season.

Q. Describe the second half, and again kind of what wasn't working for you guys. Was it them or you?
COACH DREW: I thought it was a bit of both. They are playing excellent right now. They played fantastic against San Diego State two nights ago. Sometimes it's hard to play that well in back-to-back games, and they came out just as hot today. They made a lot of tough shots, made shots as the shot clock was going down. Free throws, again, didn't miss hardly any until the very end they missed a couple. Things were really rolling for them.

I thought when we tied it 24-24, we had a really good stretch there to get back in the game and unfortunately Keith Carter had to come out and lead for the rest of the half. We didn't play with a great pace the last five minutes and it seemed like our pace never really caught in that second half.

Q. How much did Keith Carter's injury affect the game and do you think you would have won if he was healthy?
COACH DREW: Well, we are 0-2 this year when Keith's been out of the game. It happened one time during a conference game and it was basically tied, and we lost by, I think it was ten to 12 on the road. So when he's not (sic) out, it really hurts. He has a really good ability to get in the lane and helps create for other people.

We had that for that first 15 minutes but really missed it. Just didn't have the burst to get by anybody those last 25.

Q. It obviously wasn't the game, but 22-1 in free throw attempts in the second half; is that just a product of not being aggressive enough and going to the basket?
COACH DREW: There was probably multiple factors out there for that. But we've overcome free throw deficits before, so we knew we could do it. We just unfortunately never got that run the second half to get it close enough to put some pressure on them.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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