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March 3, 2017

Barry Hinson

Sean Lloyd

Mike Rodriguez

St. Louis, Missouri - Arch Madness

Southern Illinois - 55

Loyola Chicago - 50

THE MODERATOR: The win today by Southern Illinois will mark their first trip to the semifinals of this tournament since 2006. Salukis back in the semis for the first time since 2006. They will advance and play No. 1 seeded Illinois State at tomorrow's first semifinal game at 2:30.

As mentioned, the victorious Salukis are here. They have a date with the Illinois State Redbirds tomorrow. Sean Lloyd and Mike Rodriguez represent SIU. Barry Hinson in the middle.

BARRY HINSON: Ladies and gentlemen, that's just a classic example how you win a ball game making your free throws down the stretch (laughter). No sarcasm, I guess.

I'll let you guys ask questions. I'm really happy that these two goobers are on my team, and they played well today. I'll tell you everything we talked about going into this game, but I want you to talk to these guys first.

Q. You guys kind of struggled to get off on your offense, but your defense really kept you in the game. Can you talk about the importance of defense coming into this.
THE MODERATOR: Sean first then Mike.

SEAN LLOYD: That was our main goal going into the game. 39.9 is what we wanted to hold the team to, and we did that today.

MIKE RODRIGUEZ: At the end of the day, if you hold teams to 27 percent, you have a really good chance of winning.

Q. As a team, you guys held Milton Doyle to 1 of 9 shooting. What was the preparation to shut him down going into this game? How do you guys feel like you actually achieved that game plan to perfection?
THE MODERATOR: Mike then Sean.

MIKE RODRIGUEZ: Sean, go ahead.

SEAN LLOYD: Just be physical with him, limit his touches, and try to make it hard for him the whole game.

Q. Sean, the loose ball you dove for right in front of Ingram, tell me about that play, what you saw. Did you think you could get there before him and keep the possession for you guys?
SEAN LLOYD: I just wanted to win. You got to make winning plays in order to win.

BARRY HINSON: That's a great answer.

Q. Kind of bouncing off of that, it seemed like both of you guys, the entire team in general, just had a really high energy, high octane game out there. Just in this kind of win-or-go-home type of game, where did you guys find the energy for this one?
THE MODERATOR: Sean, elaborate on that, then we'll go to Mike.

SEAN LLOYD: First we want to do it for our seniors. Want to get far for them. That's who we are. We just play with energy, scrappy team. Oh, man.

Mike, you can go.

MIKE RODRIGUEZ: Just this is a big game. It's either you play hard or you go home. That speaks for itself right there. That's it.

Q. Sean, after you got that loose ball and you saw your coach running toward you, were you concerned you were going to have to catch him? Did you worry about knocking him to the ground? What was kind of going through your mind in that scenario?
SEAN LLOYD: He put his chest out, and I put my chest out too to give him a chest bump.

Q. Guys, can you just talk about a tough way to close the game, but you made enough plays at the end. Do you feel like you shook off the rust a little bit and you're confident you'll play a little better tomorrow?
MIKE RODRIGUEZ: I mean, we just -- I mean, like we was playing -- defensively, the whole game, we played good. Offensively, in the first half, I know we struggled. We were a little stagnant. Tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully, we got defense and offense.

THE MODERATOR: Sean, talk about knocking the rust off.

SEAN LLOYD: As Coach said in the locker room, you're going to have one bad game where you're not going to have offense. So tomorrow we should pick it up.

Q. Sean, it seems like, just as the season of growing older, you've continued to improve and become a better scorer. Would you just mind touching on your development as the season has progressed.
SEAN LLOYD: It all started in the summertime, just getting in the gym late nights, just working, and throughout the season, my confidence kept growing. That's how everything worked out.

Q. Mike, would you mind speaking about Sean, what he's brought to this team this year as a scorer and a contributor.
MIKE RODRIGUEZ: I remember last year when Sean was a freshman, he didn't really play like that. His confidence was really down. I know in the summer, when I used to go to the gym at night, I used to bring him with me all the time.

I told him like it's really up to you. It's how much work you put in. And he put in a lot of work, and he's become a defensive player for us. That's taken his game to the next level. So I'm happy for him.

Q. You guys played two close games against Illinois State. What are you going to need to do tomorrow to get over the hump that you didn't do in those two games?
SEAN LLOYD: Play defense, and we're just going to have to score the ball.

MIKE RODRIGUEZ: Defensively, I think we played them good both times, but our offense didn't click. So tomorrow, if we want to win, we've got to continue the defense, and we have to hit some shots to really win.

Q. You guys had 11 steals today. If you could just address just getting in passing lanes and making it difficult for them to pass in the middle of the basketball court today.
MIKE RODRIGUEZ: Coach has been on me all week, saying like about their guards being comfortable. So I tried to make them as uncomfortable as possible today, and I think I did a pretty good job of that.

Q. Barry, if you'd just talk about O'Brien didn't have the greatest game offensively, but he really helped you out defensively in rebounding and found other ways to impact the game.
BARRY HINSON: I think that's the -- I think that's what we did today. We didn't have one of our better offensive games, but you can look at our stats. We haven't had one of our better offensive games all year long.

So I think you have to give Loyola a lot of credit for how they guarded us. And we came into this game -- I used the analogy of two years ago when Northern Iowa had swept us, and Seth Tuttle had just killed us, and I said, if anybody's going to beat us, it's going to have to be somebody besides Seth Tuttle. Offensively, we're going to have to step up because they're going to do everything they can do to stop Sean O'Brien, and they did.

We're sitting here talking about Sean O'Brien had a difficult day, but he had four assists. I think he had nine rebounds. Nine rebounds, and he had two back-to-back assists for three-point shots that were just incredible, and we put the ball in his hands. The problem with Sean O'Brien today was his back was locking up. We couldn't get him going. He was having spasms. I didn't want to take him out at the end, but we had to. We just had to.

So on both regards on that, we knew they were going to try to take Sean away, and somebody was going to have to step up and make plays. And this tournament, which I've been a part of for 14 years, you have to have great guard play. It always comes down, your guards have to play well. And today I thought our guards played okay. I don't think we played great.

I'll be the first to tell you Michael can play much better than what he did today, and he knows that. Certainly, we did not do what we were supposed to do from the free-throw line. But Sean's right, I tell him, I believe this, I've never been through a tournament and seen a team win the championship that they don't have a game in there where they really struggle. You just have to find a way to get through that.

Today our kids found a way and got through that. There's no stat on here, but we dove on the floor today. We took charges. And Sean Lloyd's play -- Sean Lloyd was -- there was a guy three steps in front of him, and he came up with the ball. And that was the play of -- that was the play.

I know I get passionate. I know I get excited. Shoot, I ran out there like I was coming out of a Pentecostal tent revival. I was fired up. I was fired up for the Lord and fired up for Sean Lloyd. But that was a huge, huge play.

When your guys are willing to do that and if you just sit over there and go, hey, nice dive, that isn't going to work. They give me all they got, and I give them all I got.

Q. Coach, does it seem like, especially with Sean and Thik inside, you held them to better defense inside the three-point line than outside the three-point line. Can you just speak about your interior defense today.
BARRY HINSON: That's all we talked about going into this game. Guys, what are they, eighth in the country? There's 350 Division I programs. They're the eighth best offensive team in the country? I mean, we were scared to death. I mean, somebody said, well, how do you beat somebody three times? How do you beat anybody one time? I mean, they're so good.

And Porter, we knew they'd run zone. We practiced. We knew they'd run the 1-3-1. We worked against it. We knew they'd go all five guards. It was just a daggum tennis match. Give Porter credit. Man, they had us on our heels all day long, back and forth, because they changed things up.

We told them all along, I guaranteed them, if we held them under 39 percent, we would win the game. Man, we tried to give it away at the end, but my guarantee came out right.

Q. Piggy-backing off of that, you guys beat them, what is it, 28-8 points in the paint? Was that a part of the game plan to come in and really stop them from scoring inside?
BARRY HINSON: Well, it was huge, you know, and how we guarded Milton Doyle. We think that everything goes through Milt. We didn't -- we did not do a good job the last time we played these guys. They scored 70 points.

When I came off the floor, I told our guys, I said, we're going to watch film. On Tuesday, we watched film, and I got after them a little bit. I just said, the great thing, the most encouraging thing about the last game is that we did not give great effort. We did not guard in order to win the ball game. And I said, we haven't played our best defense yet. So you'd better do it the first round.

I think they obviously bought in, and we really went hard after them in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I think you saw that that probably played out a little bit today.

Q. You talk about Sean had some big plays. It seemed like everyone out there had big plays. The freshman Cook had a big steal. Armon made a big play. Can you talk about the team effort in there today really trying to get the win?
BARRY HINSON: You just took the words out of my mouth in the locker room. I just went down every one of them and told the specifically what plays they were and how big they were. Leo's play right before the half, big three, fall away three, put you up 23-20. Kind of go in there with a little spark and ready to go. Armon Fletcher, big huge three when we're down, if I'm not mistaken, 15-10. Boy, we're just ugly, ugly on offense. It's ridiculous. And Armon hits the big three.

Jonathan Wiley came in and gave us a spark. Sean's two assists, Thik's dunk. I felt Thik's dunk over on the bench. Everybody had a big play. You know what, guys, you're going to go back, and you're going to look at the tournament, and you look back, and when you have games like this, everybody has to have something in there that they've done where they pick up slack.

Q. Sean Lloyd made 6 of 11. He hasn't finished as well the last couple of games. Barry, why do you think it was today?
BARRY HINSON: You mean that he did finish today?

Q. No, hasn't finished in the last couple games and today --
BARRY HINSON: He doesn't have -- if Sean Lloyd can hold the First Team Milton Doyle to five points, he doesn't have to finish all those shots. That's what I told him today. I said, Sean, I don't care if you score a point. What did he score, 14? He had 14 points today, and he held Milton Doyle to 5 points. I thought he had a hell of a game. 6 for 11 is 54 percent, right? Isn't that right?


BARRY HINSON: Oklahoma State math will kick in on you every once in a while.

Q. Barry, I know you get about five minutes to enjoy this and then start thinking about tomorrow. What adjustments maybe do you need to make from the last time you played ISU, what, a week ago or something like that?
BARRY HINSON: You were in the press room after the game, and I said both teams didn't shoot the ball very well, but both teams didn't shoot the ball very well because both teams guarded their tails off.

So I'm hoping this is a knock down, drag out 12-rounder tomorrow. That's what I anticipate. You know, Illinois State is playing on a lot of emotion right now, and Dan's done a phenomenal job, and I was so proud of him yesterday and happy for him yesterday when I saw the emotion at the Coach of the Year awards. I really felt good for him.

But I just -- I think you're going to see -- I think you're going to see one heck of a game tomorrow.

Q. Barry, what happened to Armon's shoulder, and how is he doing?
BARRY HINSON: Todd, I thought he separated it when he came off there. I don't know. It's not separated. He acted like it was. I'm from Springfield, home of Brad Pitt. He probably had -- we'll have to wait until nominations, but he had a pretty good nomination next year for the academy award, I think. I don't think it quite came out of socket, but they iced him up. He had a lot of Butcher wrap on him, but I think he'll be okay.

We'll do like Eddie Murphy said. We'll roll him around. We'll get him all right, ready to go.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

BARRY HINSON: All right, guys. Thanks for coming.

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