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March 10, 2017

Dan Hurley

Hassan Martin

E.C. Matthews

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

RHODE ISLAND 74, St. Bonaventure 63

DAN HURLEY: Obviously thrilled with the win over a team like Bonaventure 11-7 in conference, and with those two tremendous guards, and Denzel Gregg who has developed into a tremendous forward player, and as incredibly as good of coached team as you can play. Obviously the difference in the game was on defense overall. And then, the two guys to my right who kind of came in together, and played I thought a really, really high level today. So great win. And then obviously got to turn the page quickly and get ready for tomorrow.

Q. You guys beat Bonaventure in regular season. How much do you follow --
E.C. MATTHEWS: It was pretty simple with us. We emphasized making winning plays and we made more winning plays than them. We got the results we wanted. It's the same with any other team. We're not really focused on them. It's more about us and the mind-set we have.

HASSAN MARTIN: Just the key was just to be real physical down low and use our depth to an advantage, and just really rebound and defend like we've been doing these past games, and we've been really successful. That's about it.

Q. You only trailed once today for 19 seconds, and you made a three and went on a run after that. Can you speak to the way you responded and took control of the game quickly again?
E.C. MATTHEWS: We've been through a lot this whole season. So I mean, that comes out when a team makes runs or things go bad. We look at each other and we just know we've been there before. We just relax and we believe in each other and trust each other.

Q. When you guys have a size advantage like do you over the Bonnies, how much do you take it upon yourself to sort of be the guy inside in the paint?
HASSAN MARTIN: Just got focus really on catching the ball when they lob it and going up strong to the basket. They didn't have that much size, so when the guys lobbed it, I was just there to finish it.

Q. Kind of just answered it but this was a carbon copy to that first game with Bonaventure in terms of what you guys were able to do inside against them, really for you personally, just having your way in both games what in that matchup, what is it in that matchup that allows you to have that success inside against Bonaventure?
HASSAN MARTIN: Just footwork and technique, the way I feel them up the lane, and just the guard looking for me. They've just got to trust me when they lob it, and I've just got to catch it and finish.

Q. Against Davidson in the regular season, it seems like you did a good job of bottling them up, especially Gibbs and Aldridge, and the second game being closer. What's it going to take tomorrow to have a similar result as far as being able to bottle both of them up?
E.C. MATTHEWS: More winning plays. Davidson is a good team. I'm pretty sure Jack Gibbs and the rest of them are going to fight hard tomorrow. So we're going to have a game plan. We're going to listen to Coach, but our motto is just making winning plays.

Q. What did you guys make of that result of Davidson taking Dayton out, and having to play Davidson for a third time and not having a chance to play Dayton for a third time?
HASSAN MARTIN: Either way, we've got to come out and play no matter who we got. So we've still got the same focus. Davidson is a great team. Just got to come hungrier than them. The way we played these past few games, we've been really successful. Just got to handle adversity well during the game and I think we'll be fine.

E.C. MATTHEWS: What he said.

Q. Did you notice any difference between the St. Bonny you played in January and the St. Bonny you played tonight?
DAN HURLEY: No, you know, we're just probably a little bit healthier. Jarvis -- I don't know if Jarvis played in that game. I can't remember; had so many guys miss games this year. He was able to help us. He only played 16 minutes today.

So probably the one difference in the game is that we're just a lot healthier team, and I think just our depth showed in the game. They were playing freshmen versus we've got men, especially in the front court.

Q. St. Bonaventure is playing a lot of different defenses, switching it up. How did you guys sort of stay focused on what you wanted to do?
DAN HURLEY: You know, we were -- obviously we spent, we didn't practice Sunday or Monday. But then Tuesday and Thursday, we worked on Bonaventure, mostly against the two-three and the one-three-one. And I thought we handled the one-three-one incredibly well today, throwing over the top on the weak side versus their smaller guards matched up with Kuran and Hassan, and we used Wednesday to get ready for UMASS. We spent two of the three prep days getting ready for the Bonnies and their zone.

We turned the ball over, a lot, but I thought we consistently got pretty good shots and shot 55 percent from the field. So I liked how we attacked the zone today; patience.

Q. I'm sure you expected them to make a run coming out of the locker room. They take the lead. When E.C. makes that shot and you guys go off on your own run, can you talk about how big a swing that was there in the game?
DAN HURLEY: I mean, you could almost anticipate what Mark was telling his team right there at the half. They were down six, and they probably in all fairness probably should have been down more like 16 to 18. The free throw line, we had a little flashback to some free throw struggles, and then obviously we missed a couple Bonnies (ph) there, transitioned Jared, missed the layup, missed one or two others.

We knew they were going to come out and surge a little bit because I think they felt fortunate to only be down six. We're a resilient team. Dealt with a lot of stuff the whole year, dealt with the preseason expectations and then just dealt with a couple guys being down for extended periods of time.

You know, so we're resilient and gritty. There was no panic. I was pretty comfortable that we would respond.

Q. Did you feel like you needed this win to keep the at-large bid in play or alive?
DAN HURLEY: I think that that's obviously on the periphery. I think we knew that Bonny's represented a top hundred win for us; neutral site, another top hundred. I think that probably came into the focus as I was walking out on to the court a little bit, because you see Davidson beat Dayton, and Davidson moves into the top hundred. And so now you're accumulating a chance today to pick up three top hundred wins and improve your resumé.

Since we landed here and since we started practicing earlier in the week, all we're thinking about is taking this one step at a time and trying to win a championship, and not put it in the hands of a bunch of people that we've never met.

Q. You were just talking about health and you guys seem like you're hitting your stride at the right time; do you feel like you're hitting your stride at the right time?
DAN HURLEY: Again, I think early in the year, you know, we beat Cincinnati in a high-level, Top-25 matchup with a lot at stake at Mohegan. And you play Duke and you lose to them, and you beat Belmont at home. And then you go out and you play two road games back-to-back that not a lot of people at that time of year are willing to play at Valpo and at Providence.

And at Providence, Hassan, he tears his quad and you see how important he is to us. The guy's a monster. You know, if he was healthy, he would have had a chance to get Player of the Year in the league.

So I think it's as simple as we just got healthier late in the year. After the Fordham game, we hit rock bottom. We had the devastating late loss to Dayton, and bottomed out against Fordham, and just decided at that point, these guys decided they wanted to bear down and have a chance to be great, late.

Q. The combo of Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley are pretty lethal in the league, but you really knocked them out of their comfort zone. How you were you guys able to do that?
DAN HURLEY: We were trying to follow the ball -- we were willing to give up the tough twos, the contested mid-range jumpshots to Andoh and Gregg and Ayeni. We were willing to give those up. Obviously we just wanted the ball out of Adam's hands as much as we could. We were staying a long time on those ball screens, hedging them hard.

Jared Terrell obviously didn't have a great offensive game today, but I mean, he held -- I voted, you know -- I had Matt Mobley as borderline first-teamer in this conference this year. This guy's been amazing. Jared, to hold him to no field goals in the game, that's a major, major effort. Our pregame goal was we felt if those guys didn't combine, we wanted to keep both guys under 30 combined, and we were able to do it.

Q. What's your early impression of the Davidson matchup, and Jack Gibbs, in particular?
DAN HURLEY: It's still fresh in our minds. We know we had to Storm back in the second half to win both games. So they are playing right now with a little bit of that magic. You know, Jack Gibbs and Payton Aldridge are as good of players as you'll have to face in this league.

Bob McKillop is as good a coach as you'll have to face in this league, and they have kind of got that Cinderella feeling right now. You know, we know what they do. They know what we do. It's going to be, I'd imagine, a hard-fought game, semifinal A-10 game.

Q. You've spoken before about seniors, wanting to extend their career when you get into a conference tournament, and it looks like Jack Gibbs is desperately trying to extend his career. What do you do when you face an opponent like that who is talented and also has mind-set right now?
DAN HURLEY: You try to do obviously some of the same things we did with Mobley and Adams. He's so clever. I was able to watch, just waiting for our turn to get out there. I was able to watch what he did down the stretch, and man, that was cold-blooded, what he was doing out there. I mean, he closed in a hostile -- somewhat of a hostile environment versus the best team in the league, and a high-level defensive team.

So we know what we got tomorrow. We've got our hands full. We easily could have been 0-2 versus those guys this year, so our guys and our staff, you know, has as much respect for the challenge with Davidson as we do with anyone we'll play in this league.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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