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March 9, 2017

Kevin Ollie

Rodney Purvis

Amida Brimah

Hartford, Connecticut

UConn - 77, USF - 66

THE MODERATOR: Okay. We're joined by Rodney Purvis and Amida Brimah. While we wait for Coach Ollie, we'll take questions from the student-athletes.

Q. Rodney, given that it's getting late, the game's very close. You know your situation, your career is going to end if you lose. What's going through your mind down the stretch when it was really -- you think the game was really on the line?
RODNEY PURVIS: That's definitely not the first thing I'm thinking about is my career coming to an end, so I'm just trying to get a win. That's not even in my mind. I mean, going into the game, we know what is at stake as a team. None of us want our season to end right now, so that was our mindset the entire night. Coming out in the second half, we got off to a little, slow start, but we just got it going.

Q. Rodney, would you say this is the best game of your career, 30 points, no turnovers, 9 from the line?
RODNEY PURVIS: I'm not really sure -- I know I played a pretty good game, but I'm just happy we got the win. I didn't know I had no turnovers, so I appreciate that.

Q. Amida, could you address kind of the same thing? You made a couple big defensive stops towards the end. They got within two several times, including late with Thorpe. What was going through your mind, knowing this could be the last game of your career?
AMIDA BRIMAH: I just -- you know, it was just another free throw. What came to my mind, I just had to knock it or at least make one of the two.

Q. Rodney, how much were you guys feeding off the crowd?
RODNEY PURVIS: My fans are huge for us. Any time it's time to get down and get a big-time stop, to have those -- to hear those guys in the stands going crazy for us is definitely a momentum boost for us, and we're just happy to have the best fans in the world.

Q. Rodney, can you talk about the defense on Thorpe? You obviously made that big block near the end, he fouls out, and you guys go on a 10-1 run to close the game out. Can you talk about how important that sequence was toward the end?
RODNEY PURVIS: Definitely. He definitely kept them in the game. He had some big-time shots, and I knew I was -- well, the coaches was telling me to guard him, so I just had to guard him, and I was just able to work them a little bit. Pick them up a little bit. Get up under him, get some steals and get some blocks. I don't think I had many blocks this season, so I'm excited about the two blocks I had today.

Q. Rodney, what is it about this tournament? I think you're averaging close to 17 points a game in 8 games in the tournament in your career?
RODNEY PURVIS: I think we just locked in as a team. Like I said, the season ending -- coming into the game knowing this could be the last game is definitely not in the back of my mind. I just know what's at stake. We just locked in as a team.

THE MODERATOR: Other questions for the student-athletes?

Q. For Amida, this is a team that you guys beat handily during the regular season. Obviously they played a lot better. Did you see a different team? They hit a lot more shots and seemed to be obviously better than before.
AMIDA BRIMAH: It's March. Every team steps up their game. You can't underestimate any team. I want to give thanks to the fans. They did a great job today, and we appreciate that.

Q. Rodney, you're playing Houston next. What do you remember about the games you played against them during the regular season?
RODNEY PURVIS: Just transition. That's going to huge for us tomorrow, getting back in transition, and getting stops on the defensive end.

I think it will be -- both teams are likely to get up and down, so I think it will be a good up-and-down game tomorrow. The main thing for us is getting rebounds, getting stops, and getting back in transition.

Q. Amida, could you just talk about what your mindset is in this point of the season? Obviously you're a senior. One loss and it's all over. What are you thinking about on the court? What is your mindset as a senior?
AMIDA BRIMAH: I always try to come on the court playing at a level 5. It's tournament time. It's March. You've got to put your intensity higher than you're used to playing during the regular season. I've just to take it one game at a time. That's how I think, one game at a time.

THE MODERATOR: We'll excuse the student-athletes to the locker room.

KEVIN OLLIE: Get off your feet. Make sure you-all get hydrated. See you-all in the morning. Okay?

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Coach Kevin Ollie. If you give an opening statement first.

KEVIN OLLIE: Just happy with the victory. Everybody wants to advance in this tournament. I give credit to USF. They played a great game. Thorpe was tremendous. We got a 14-point lead and kind of got lackluster there and had a couple turnovers. We've just got to learn and grow from it. I think we'll do that and hopefully have a better game execution-wise on the offensive end tomorrow.

If you give turnovers to Houston, that's what they feed off of. We got to make sure we do that and make sure we play with intensity and hopefully come out with a victory tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Ollie?

Q. Kevin, can you talk about Rodney's performance tonight? Obviously a career high in points. He was playing pretty good defense as well there, especially down the stretch. Do you attribute -- I mean, he plays well a lot, but obviously, he's a senior in the tournament. Did he give you the kind of effort you were looking for today?
KEVIN OLLIE: Oh, yeah. Definitely. If anybody follows Purv, he played some of his best basketball in this tournament and in the NCAA Tournament. We had one game last year. We had two games last year. Just did a wonderful job. When we needed a big play, he came up with it. I was so proud of him taking a defensive challenge. That's what we've been trying to get him and convey to him, because he's probably one of the best defensive players laterally moving his feet. He did a great job, took the challenge, and played a wonderful game on the offensive and defensive end. And if he wants to play basketball after this, that's what he's going to have to become. He's going to have to become that great two-way player on the defensive end and the offensive end, you know, just appreciate his effort.

Q. Coach Ollie, I know you touched on in your opening statement about what you need to do differently tomorrow against Houston. You played them twice this season, came out on the losing side both times. What do you think you need to focus on with your team tomorrow?
KEVIN OLLIE: Rebound and transition.

Q. Coach, congratulations on the win, of course. Can you talk a little bit about the confidence level going into tomorrow, tonight, based on purposes and performance and really coming together and meshing well as a team tonight. Do you feel as those your team's performance level tonight will be able to match Houston's aggressiveness tomorrow?
KEVIN OLLIE: We can't play like this and expect to advance. We can't have 16 turnovers. We've got to shoot the ball better. We've got to execute on the offensive end. Because if you want to play good defensive transition, you have to do well in the offensive end. That's offensive rebound and that's playing with more execution.

So, we're going to have to clean those things up. Like our grit. When we need a stop, when we need a big-time defensive effort and defensive plays, our guys stepped up, so I really appreciate that. But we have to play a better game to advance in this tournament.

Q. Kevin, the numbers aside. How important was it to have Jalen out there for as long as he was out there to hold things together?
KEVIN OLLIE: It was great. You know, we got to keep them out there. We don't have too many guys on the bench there, so -- and he's been saying he wants to stay in the game. Because if he sits out too long, his ankle stiffs up, so, it's just good to have him out there. He has to play a better foregame, read pick-and-rolls a little bit better. We'll go back to the hotel and break down his pick-and-roll space and hopefully get that better against Houston.

Q. Was part of the game to attack the basket? You got a lot of foul shots by getting to the basket.
KEVIN OLLIE: You can probably ask any coach in America. That's always the plan to attack the basket, get to the free-throw line. You control the game like that. You can get them in foul trouble. Our biggest foul was against Thorpe. That's taking it at him, getting him in foul trouble, and getting him out of the game. I think the last three minutes gave us a real boost and a real advantage. That's always the top key, attacking on the defensive end and offensive end, and trying to move with purpose and get downhill. Our guys did a real good job of that.

When you get to the free-throw line, you have to convert. I think the only one -- CV had that one for five, but everybody else shot the ball very, very well from the free-throw line, so I'm very proud of that effort.

Q. On three-point shots, how do you defend against Houston?
KEVIN OLLIE: You have to play better pick-and-roll defense and better one-on-one defense, and all five have to control the pick-and-roll. It's not two players. It's not the guy with the ball, not the defensive guy. It's the guy setting the screen. It's everybody low, everybody getting out and playing defense like UConn is able to do, and hopefully we can have them miss some shots.

THE MODERATOR: Coach. Congratulations.

KEVIN OLLIE: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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