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March 12, 2017

Will Wade

JeQuan Lewis

Justin Tillman

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


WILL WADE: Give Rhode Island credit. We fight, we're hard to kill, but we just could never get over the hump. Gave up two big offensive rebounds in the second half that really hurt us from cutting the lead even further.

So obviously disappointed, but proud of the fight that we had. Proud of the regular season that we've had, and you know, hasn't been easy. 26-8's pretty good. We've got to, you know, get back and get ready to go to the Big Show and see if we can make a little noise.

But you know, give Rhode Island credit. They are very physical, they are very long. Their two wings, Terrell, Terrell and Matthews have been phenomenal here in the tournament, and you need your best players to play really well. And our best guys have played well, and their best guys played really, really well today. So give them a ton of credit.

You know, we'll see where we end up and get back and getting to go.

Q. For each of you guys, it was really rough the first, ten, 12 minutes. Was there any lingering effects, heading to overtime last night, did you sense you were a little flat coming out or was it just their interior defense was that good?
JeQUAN LEWIS: I'd say it was a miscommunication on defense. We wasn't doing our normal bumps and communicating well enough, and they were getting some open looks early and knocking down the three ball.

JUSTIN TILLMAN: Same thing, just communication. That's it.

Q. For both of you guys, you forced just six turnovers on them. Does that kind of backfire a little bit for your game plan to have them that controlled in the halfcourt?
JeQUAN LEWIS: Yeah, that starts with the guards, including me. We've got to do a better job of guarding the ball and speeding them up. You know, they were playing comfortable a lot today in the first half. I feel like the last ten minutes when we realized that we were down and had to play catchup; that's when we kind of started turning it up on defense and guarding the ball. But it's going to take 40 minutes if we want to win championships.

Q. How frustrating was it not being able to convert and finish at the rim?
JUSTIN TILLMAN: I think it was really big. It was really frustrating. We just couldn't finish.

Q. Any nerves between now and 6 o'clock, or do you guys feel like regardless of the outcome today, you're in pretty good shape and you made a good case for yourselves.
JeQUAN LEWIS: We're in good shape. We're just going to wait and see who we got, where we go.

Q. Similar question. How frustrating was it not being able to got all those shots go down? Y'all had 23 offensive rebounds I think and 14 second-chance points.
WILL WADE: I mean, you know, it deflates you a little bit. It shouldn't, but it's deflating when we miss so many right there around the rim.

Like I say, give them credit. Iverson is long; Martin. We're usually doing that to everybody else but they are the one team that's as long and as physical as we are.

I think that was a big deal, but they hit six threes in the first half, and we gave them four uncontested threes. I think that was as big a deal as anything is letting them get going. They are like us: They are a real streaky team shooting the ball, and they shot the ball really well this weekend in Pittsburgh.

I think letting those guys get going from three, and our inability to just convert around the rim really ultimately did us in.

Q. What was the mind-set of not starting Justin Tillman in the second half?
WILL WADE: I thought Hamdy played really well, and he was drawing fouls, because he's so physical down there. So I was trying to keep their bigs in foul trouble to start the half, and we made it obviously a big point to throw it inside to start the half.

And so I was trying to get those guys in foul trouble where we could play it out, maybe at a little bit, you know -- play it out against their backups with maybe our starters.

Q. The six turnovers in comparison to the 14 in the regular season what did you see as the difference there?
WILL WADE: I mean, you know, they have got good guards. I thought Dowtin did a really good job tonight. He handled our pressure a lot better. He was a little bit shaky when we played them at their place. I thought he did a good job handling the pressure.

And the couple times, I mean, we were just -- there's three or four steals we had, we were just a step. We were just right there and couldn't really -- couldn't really grab them.

Q. How bad did Matthews hurt you down the stretch? He had a killer three late, right at the buzzer.
WILL WADE: He made big plays. He's the guy they go to late in the game. They have gone to him all year late in the game. Those two wings, him and Terrell, are both big, physical guys, and they are able to rise up and can get their shot off over us. So those guys are good players.

Q. Anything like you can take away from this matchup that you can translate to the NCAA Tournament, teams just as big as Rhode Island?
WILL WADE: It's not just how big they are. It's the length -- I think they are No. 2 in the country in block percentage, in the country, No. 2, right, in the country, in block percentage. I don't know who is No. 1. I don't know if we'll play them.

They present some unique, you know, challenges for your team, and so it's not just the ones that they block. There's so many shots that they affect at the rim where your guards are fading away and you've got to finish. You've got to have tough finishes.

We're typically the team that's able to do that because we're usually long. But that's been our issue both times we've matched up against them. If you don't bury a bunch of threes, it's a tough, tough road to hoe.

Q. First thing you mentioned when you were discussing Rhodey yesterday was the rebounding and you lost that war by 17 last time and you got it this time; was it more chalk it up to misses?
WILL WADE: You get 23 offensive rebounds, looks good on a stat sheet. That's a heck of a lot of misses, you know.

So you know, it was -- our guys did a good job. We went hard to the glass. But we just -- I mean, you've got to convert a few of them, too, but we didn't convert nearly enough of them.

Q. JeQuan mentioned miscommunication on defense. Is that why so many guys were open on the threes early on?
WILL WADE: Yeah, we weren't bumping right in the matchup. We weren't bumping right. We didn't get our bumps right and that ended up leaving some guys -- leaving some guys open.

But they had a good plan. They knew where our weak spot was in the zone and they went right to it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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