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December 17, 2016

Dave Rose

Eric Mika

L.J. Rose

Chicago, Illinois

Illinois - 75, BYU - 73

THE MODERATOR: We now welcome BYU to the media room. We'll start this press conference with an opening statement from Coach, followed by questions for the players. Coach, let's start with an opening statement.

COACH ROSE: Well, I thought it was a hard-fought game. I think that the opportunity to come back here and play in the Legends Classic was something that we were really looking forward to, and it's really unfortunate that we had opportunities down the stretch and just didn't make the plays we needed to make, and Illinois seemed to make some big plays. But I think our guys will look back on this, and hopefully we can learn from a few things. We've got a lot of young guys out there, and hopefully we -- there were just opportunities that we kind of missed. I'm excited to move forward, but I think we'll look back on this one and hopefully learn from it.

Q. Eric, what happened that last minute or so? I guess you guys gave up a couple steals that they converted on the other end?
ERIC MIKA: I think we did a good job coming back and fighting and making it into a game. It's just it came down to really one, two, maybe three big-time plays we needed to make. Like Coach said, Illinois just did a good job. They made those hustle plays, the 50-50 balls, and we didn't convert on a couple things that we could have. That's the result.

Q. Eric, how would you describe some of the physicality there in the post from start to finish there?
ERIC MIKA: Yeah, they had some big guys. I mean, between Morgan and Thorne, and then No. 43, I don't know how to pronounce his name, but those three guys come in and they have that rotation where they're all different, but they're all strong, they all can get rebounds. It was definitely, I think, tough getting used to, but we kind of saw how they were calling fouls, and we were able to play through it pretty well.

Q. You guys were down 16 in the first half. What did you think you did to get back in it?
L.J. ROSE: Well, we didn't come ready to play in the beginning. Got a group out there that was ready to compete and they brought us back into the game. They brought life back into the team. Then we fought, but it was a little bit too late. Lot of winning plays that we didn't make, I didn't make. So that's pretty much it.

Q. Dave, what's it going to take for these guys to make some of those winning plays that you saw and you had opportunities to make?
COACH ROSE: Well, it's kind of an abstract thing when you get a group of guys that really believe in each other and believe in themselves. Right now we came off a really good win at Colorado, and so I think with the same kind of athletes, same kind of size, same kind of length, same kind of strength, and we get into this game and that just really, for some reason, surprised us.

They did another -- the first 8, 10, 12 minutes of that game we get down big. We're having a hard time getting offensive rebounds. I mean, defensive rebounds, having a hard time throwing the ball in the post and getting catches. They just kind of throw us out of the way and get a couple offensive rebounds and stick it. Then the guys realized that this is something that we're going to have to deal with.

We should be past that. We should be past that as a group 11 games into the season. I understand they're young guys and a lot of these guys didn't play last year and all those other things, but I believe in this group. I believe that we should play better than we played the first 12, 14 minutes, and better than we did the last couple minutes there when we actually got the game to a winnable spot where it's tied. We get a couple misses. They get both offensive rebounds and they hit a three. It's within a point or two. We get the ball, we fall down and turn it over and they make a play.

Those are things that I think we should be past at this time. When they make the steal out front, that's kind of a mental error, but I understand those things a lot better than some of the things I just talked about. The guys are making big plays on the other team. You didn't make the ball fake and then make the pass. But we did some good things to get it there, and that's what I'll continue to kind of emphasize with these guys. The positive things that we did and hopefully their confidence will start to expand between each other. That's what I think. I think we've got good confidence within ourselves; we need to expand our confidence within each other.

Q. What did you think of your defensive effort? It seemed like they got a lot of shots to beat the shot clock where you defended well for 30 seconds?
COACH ROSE: You know, they did a good job. We had a hard time man-to-man, and their schemes were good. They got us in tough spots where their physicality caused us problems, so we went to the zone and they were really patient in that zone. It worked well for us to start, especially the end of the first half to start the second half. Then they really got confident the later the clock went.

That will be something that we have to get better at. We had a lot of rotations that we were late on late in the shot clock. I think that their patience got us a little bit stagnant where we weren't ready to make that play late on the clock. Plus they've got really good individual guys who are strong, who can make individual offensive plays, and I think we got stung with that a couple times too. Couple times I think we did everything right and they just jumped up and banged the big shot.

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