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March 10, 2017

Kevin Ollie

Rodney Purvis

Jalen Adams

Hartford, Connecticut

UConn - 74, Houston - 65

THE MODERATOR: Okay, UConn is here. We're joined by sophomore, Jalen Adams; senior, Rodney Purvis, head coach, Kevin Ollie. Gentlemen, we'll follow the same format as yesterday. We'll ask Coach Ollie to give an opening statement and.

KEVIN OLLIE: I thought it was a great game. First of all, I just want to thank the crowd. They were awesome. I could feel the energy. I know our players fed off it. In the second half they made their run, and we kept telling our players to resist their runs. And they came out and scored the first six points in the second half, I think, the first seven, and we came back with our 6-0 run. And then we played really disciplined basketball down the stretch. I was very proud of that. We out-rebounded them and we played a great offensive game, sharing the basketball, getting our shots, and I'm very proud of these guys.

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the student-athletes at this time.

Q. Rodney, can you tell us what happened there when you -- the charging call, you were down for a while and back to the locker room. How were you hurt and you were able to bounce back pretty quickly I guess.
RODNEY PURVIS: I kind of just got the wind knocked out of me a little. I told the trainer I needed just some time to catch my breath. It was nothing major, though.

Q. Jalen, it seems like each game, you've gotten a little bit more of your game back. Tonight it looked like the pull-up was there for you that hadn't been there the last few games. Do you feel even though you're not able to rest, that you're actually getting healthier and getting your game back with each day?
JALEN ADAMS: Yeah. I think I'm getting a lot more healthy game by game. I think my teammates are doing a great job being able to present me with some possessions. I think the pull-up is there, but just taking what the defense was giving me.

Q. Did you both just talked a little bit about your offensive execution tonight? That's some of the best ball movement you guys have had all year.
RODNEY PURVIS: Yeah. As far as the offensive end, we knew we had to execute and get good shots. We was giving up good shots for great shots, and the main thing with us was just taking our time and just making the right play.

JALEN ADAMS: Exactly what he said. Just giving up good shots for great shots. People being unselfish and making that extra pass. That's what helped us the most. Just getting it to the lane and kick-out. We knew the defense was going to start getting it, working to get open shots.

Q. Rodney you got down 20-9. What turned it around for you when you went on the big run?
RODNEY PURVIS: Defense. We knew if we got stopped, we was going to be able to get back in the game, stop them in transition. Just try to run them off the three-point line, and we was able to do that on the defensive end. Once we got to the offensive end, we just executed and made the right plays.

Q. I guess one more for Jalen. How important were the contributions of the two freshman tonight, especially in the beginning of the game when you guys were struggling a little bit, they were able to hit shots?
JALEN ADAMS: The freshman stepped up huge for us in the first half and second half. Starting with Vance Jackson, he came in the game and when he got that dunk that helped us get up to the first half lead. And then in the second half. C.V., he stepped up with some huge shots and defensively, his energy led us on the defensive end.

Q. Jalen, at the end of the second half, it looked like you ran to the bench and grabbed your calf. Was that just a cramp? Looked like you got it rubbed a little bit.
JALEN ADAMS: Yes. Just a cramp.

Q. A quick second one. The second half battle between you and Rob Gray. It looked like you guys were matching shot for shot. What did it mean to rise above? Looked like you were more efficient with your shot taking. What did it mean to rise up and match every shot for your team?
JALEN ADAMS: I don't want to get into the one-on-one matchup. As long as our team got the W, I'm happy. I was just taking open shots, my teammates were finding me, and I was able to make great shots.

Q. What did you think about playing Cincinnati again and what do you need to do different in the first two games?
JALEN ADAMS: We're looking forward to the match-up. They got us twice in the regular season, so we're looking forward to it. We know we have to come out with energy, we can't be passive, we have to be aggressive right out of the gate.

RODNEY PURVIS: I just think we have to be tough. That's it.

THE MODERATOR: Take one or two for the student-athletes?

Q. I believe it was you in Houston after the game there, you said you were hoping you would see them again in this tournament. I am just wondering what your feeling was after that game, and what was different tonight, just in terms of playing them?
JALEN ADAMS: I think that loss in Houston hurt us a lot because we worked so hard in the first half, and we just let them out-tough us in the second half. Just to get the W today meant a lot. We knew we were going to get the match-up eventually, and we just came out and corrected the errors we made in Houston.

Q. Can you talk about the crowd again tonight?
RODNEY PURVIS: Yeah. The crowd was amazing tonight. They were a huge part of us making that run in the first half, you know, just bringing that energy really helped us get us over the hill, over the hump.

JALEN ADAMS: The crowd was amazing. It's good to be playing in Hartford for the tournament. They just give us that extra boost to play harder.

THE MODERATOR: We'll excuse the student-athletes to the locker room. And we'll take questions for Coach Ollie.

Q. Kevin, Rodney alluded to it. The 26-6 run at the end of the half. How much did the defense play a role? Looked like it clamped down in that stretch?
KEVIN OLLIE: Yeah. That was everything. Gray got off to a great start. We wanted to make him see all five guys in contested shots, and then we got him off of his game a little bit and was able to rebound. That was our number one key going into the game. Rebounding. Not letting them out-tough on the backboard and then we're going get some opportunities to be very efficient on the offensive end.

I was very proud of the guys stepping up and making the choice to hit all night.

Q. You talked about the discipline your team had. Have you seen that growing as the years have gone along as far as having that poise to close out games?
KEVIN OLLIE: I see it sometimes and then it goes somewhere. I don't know where it goes. I think it goes to East Hartford or something like that. And then it comes back, but you're playing with some guys that's -- you know, you had some injuries, and then you have some young guys stepping into their roles. And then Jalen playing a different role and Kentan coming in.

You know, as the winning -- the poise went, sometimes the poise was there. The thing that I really prided our guys on and admire about them, they always stuck together and that's a beautiful thing. So, we have some ups and downs. People say this about us, say that about it us, but one thing they didn't let it affect their locker room and their bound, so very proud of these guys bond. We wanted to make it to the weekend. We're here at the weekend. Now we got two more games to win and we're not tired.

Q. Kevin, you ended up with 12 assists on 24 baskets, but the first half I think it was 8 out of 12. It seemed like they had a lot of patience tonight and was really moving the ball well?
KEVIN OLLIE: Yeah. They did. We had to do our walk-through through the ballroom and didn't have a lot of time to prepare and do a shoot-around. We seen some things the first game, that we could exploit this game. I think they did a great job executing the game plan. When you get in the post season, it's all about executing, no more excuses. Pretty much preaching to our guys. We can't have excuses anymore.

I think what allowed us to do that is our rebound. If we can rebound, we get to give ourself a chance to get down the court and have the ball move before the defense. I think we did a real good job rebounding. Guys was finding each other. When Jalen gets in that mode, when he got the pull-up game going, we was just trying to flatten the defense out and let him make plays. Rod was phenomenal, once again on the defensive side, he took the challenge, stopping Dotson and Dotson is the one that really killed us back in Houston in that second half. I was proud of Rodney, defensive effort, again, last night with Thorpe and this night with Dotson.

Q. Coach, you had a late game tonight and quick turnaround for a game tomorrow. How do you get your team prepared for that?
KEVIN OLLIE: We deserve this. All of the stuff we've been through this year. I mean those guys are not tired right now. We deserve being here on a weekend. We played hard. We played together and them guys believing over there. So, we're going to go out and go hunting and hopefully we can do it all together and play and share the basketball.

The only thing I'm going to write on the board tomorrow is rebounding. That's pretty much the game. If we don't rebound, we're losing, so, and we're going home. So hopefully they made the choice again and they definitely made the choice tonight.

Q. Coach, what can you say with your young guns, with Christian, Vance and Jalen, they had 47 combined points tonight. Really stepping up in the first half for the freshman and Jalen in the second half.
KEVIN OLLIE: Yeah. I was very proud of them. Once again they started with the defensive end. I think Jalen alluded to it. C.V. was great on the defensive end, stepping up. We was feeding off his energy. And then Vance was making some shots. To come in get 12 points off the bench was huge. I think we got 14 off the bench and he had 12 of them. They had two points off the bench, which was great for us and gave us a great advantage.

The one thing I do like is us getting to the free throw line. Jalen, last game, this game. One of our goals was to get there 22 times. I think we got there 22 times this game and last game we really got there a lot. We want to keep focusing on attacking, attacking, attacking. We can't settle for threes, we can't settle for contested three, especially tomorrow. You didn't do that against Cincinnati. So we want to get that ball inside. That's not just throwing it to the bigs, that's penetrating, kicking and getting it to the rim.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you. Congratulations. We'll see you tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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