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March 16, 2017

Mitch Henderson

Steven Cook

Spencer Weisz

Devin Cannady

Buffalo, New York

Notre Dame - 60, Princeton - 58

THE MODERATOR: Joined by Princeton University head coach, Mitch Henderson, Devin Cannady, Steven Cook, and Spencer Weisz. We'll open with a statement and open up to questions for student-athletes.

MITCH HENDERSON: First, congratulations to Notre Dame. We had a shot. We weren't that sharp tonight. Really, for us, it was such an enjoyable team to coach, and I have to thank our seniors in particular, Steve and Spencer, for their leadership. We lost two guys early in the season. Right now, this one hurts. When you're in the locker room afterwards, it feels -- it's really hard to say the proper thank you, because it feels like good-bye.

But we're here because of these guys, and they made us a championship team again, and we're thankful for that, and that they represented both Princeton basketball and Princeton University in a first-class way, and I'm proud of that.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach, we'll take question just for Devin, Steven and Spencer. Raise your and and we'll come across the aisle.

Q. Devin on that last shot, did it feel good coming out of your hand, and did you think it had a chance to go in?
DEVIN CANNADY: I thought the shot was going in.

Q. Talk about some of the plays you made down the stretch and with an 11-point lead. About 8 minutes to go, what was your mind set being able to get back in the game.
STEVEN COOK: You know, in a situation like that, you're trying to do everything you can and claw back. I thought we really weren't sharp for the majority of the game. We've been playing a lot better for the majority of the year, and at the end, we started to get back to our old ways and get some stops and make some shots, but, you know, sometimes you fall short.

Q. Spencer, for you guys to shoot 8 for 31 from three and still be in this game with a chance to win in this game. What did you have to do well to sort of stay close?
SPENCER WEISZ: Just bring toughness. I think it showed in the first half. They definitely out-toughed us on everything, offensive rebounds, just getting loose balls. Then the second half, we kind of adjusted and we asked ourselves, what do we want to make of this game? We came out, clawed back, and it all started, you know, on the defensive end for us. We didn't hit as many shots as we would have liked, but we gave ourselves a shot at the end.

Q. For Steve and Spencer, just perspective on the run here, this year in the final season.
STEVEN COOK: What was the question?

Q. Ending your career with a run like in this season.
STEVEN COOK: You know, I think this year has been amazing for us. You know, accomplishing 16-0 in the Ivy League. You know, sort of getting the program back to the NCAA Tournament, back to winning ways, and accomplishing everything we set out to do. It's been an amazing season, and I've done it with people I consider my family. And, you know, it's emotional for it to come to an end, but I'm going to cherish everything I put into it, everything that came up, because I put everything into this program, and into these four years.

SPENCER WEISZ: I'm just so proud of the team we became. Early on, we had rough matches certainly, guys went down. People stepped up, goals changed, nonetheless, we were committed to our goals and it showed. We had a great run. We hadn't lost in a while. I'm sure people might -- it hurts for us right now, certainly, and, you know, you want to go out with a win and a deep tournament run, but nonetheless, we gave it our all, proud of the guys. It's been an unbelievable year. It's been an unbelievable four years, and we couldn't have asked for anything more.

Q. Devin, you told us you thought the shot was going in. Can you take us through the play, getting the ball, what your thoughts were?
DEVIN CANNADY: Yes. They missed the free throw. He came down the floor, I kind of sent him a brush screen and both of the guys went with him. I got my feet set, ball came in my shot pocket. I looked at the rim, and when the ball left my hand, I thought it was good. It didn't go in and that's what happens when you take those shots. It either does or doesn't. In this case it didn't and the rest is --

Q. For any of you three guy, last few years, the Ivy has really increased its successes playing against three, fours and fives in the NCAA tournament. How much of the gap now do you guys think you cut into to?
SPENCER WEISZ: I think it shows. Every year, when the brackets come out, I'm sure people are always looking at the Ivy League, who's representing and what match-up they have, because at the end of the day, we feel we feel we can compete with anyone. It's a testament to our league, testament to the players. I'm looking forward to the growth of the league, and, hopefully, its recognition. I think the Ivy League tournament certainly helps get us on a national stage right before Selection show. There's a bright future, I think, ahead for the Ivy League in general.

THE MODERATOR: Devin, Steven, Spencer, thank you for your time. Congrats on a great season.

THE MODERATOR: We'll take follow-up questions for Coach Henderson at this time. Right down here, front left here.

A. Coach, the final shot by Devin at the end, what did you see from your perspective and what did you see out of Notre Dame and the ability to defend three-point shots?

MITCH HENDERSON: I thought that shot's gone in an awful lot for us, Devin's shot. It was a great look for us. I think we tried to get to the rim, but I thought Notre Dame, they're smart, they're tough. They don't really put anybody on the floor that doesn't have a ton of experience. And I thought that was the story of the game, was they had a lot more experience in this moment, and it showed. And we got -- this team has been punched in the face a little bit throughout the course of the season, but they always respond. I've been on teams where that doesn't happen. They did a great job but I was pleased with the chances that we had.

Q. Seems like your defense sparked late. Talk about the late run and impact of the defense?
MITCH HENDERSON: Yeah. Finally, right, Bill? We got going defensively and a team that doesn't turn the ball over, they still only had six turnovers. They do a really good job. You watch them on tape and it's a patient slow team. In the game, it's even slower. It forces you to get out of your comfort zone, and it really challenges all of the principles that you have defensively.

I thought we settled in. We didn't play a great game offensively, but I thought we really gave ourselves a chance to win the game on the defensive end during that run.

Q. Where do you see the Ivies now in the national landscape? The league itself has really grown up and really re-established itself the last five or six years, winning games, being competitive against good teams. Do you only see that improving?
MITCH HENDERSON: Yes, yes. You know, there's Ivy League people here in the room, and if you ask all of the coaches in the league, the answer to that question is, you know, this comes as no surprise to all of us. Recruiting -- it starts with recruiting, and the message that these kids are hearing and understanding is, why wouldn't I go to a high-level institution and further myself in all parts of my life and take that opportunity and then play on the national stage, too.

Because that's what these guys are doing. And we sell that. It's not for everybody. But we sell it, and then they get here and I think they commit to playing team basketball. All of the teams in the league, the coaching, it's team. What you see now is a product of three, four months of having to run through the league. It's not the least bit surprising to me that we're here and the talent level in the league is very high, an the coaching is very high. So, we had a really good shot today. I felt good about it.

Q. Going back to their perimeter defense, they were 5 for 17 in the first half from three. That's maybe more, a lot of threes. Did you think -- what do you think you needed to do? Did you need to go to the rim a little more, did you --
MITCH HENDERSON: I thought we were a little impatient. But the looks we got were good. 10 of those 17 were wide open, and just didn't go in. It went in on Wednesday, and they went in this morning, and they didn't go in during the game.

And then people have had the same plan against us for a while. Like I said, we haven't lost in a long time. This game looks very similar to some of the games we've had recently and we've been able to get through it. I thought Colson really changed things for us. Two fouls towards the end of the game hurt us, they really hurt.

Q. Mitch, considering some of that you just said about the shots not going in and being open, do you sense this was a little bit of a missed opportunity today?
MITCH HENDERSON: You know, that may be, but that sort of smacks of being bitter, and I want to give recognition to this group. We're here because of them, and I'm so proud of the way that they responded and gave ourselves chances to win. That's all you can ask for. So, no, we'll talk -- this will hurt, but then we're going to get together and celebrate what the season was.

Q. In the first half, Notre Dame shot five threes, in the second half, they shot 11. Was there an effort to make them shoot more three-pointers? Because their percentage did drop. Is that part of your defensive scheme?
MITCH HENDERSON: We were hopeful. It's a little bit like looking in the mirror. They made a lot of threes and shot them well. Our objective was try to get them to put it on the floor. I thought we were double-teaming Colson, and they kicked it to Farrell and he made two threes. And we've had a lot of success with our double-teams and that hurt. We made an adjustment, and it got us a little less aggressive. Those are key. Those still have to go in, and they went in, and that changed the course of the game, I think.

Q. Coach, you talked a little bit about your seniors, but could you just go a little bit more into detail about what it's been like to see them grow through this process at Princeton?
MITCH HENDERSON: Yeah. They looked just like my freshman did four years ago. What you see now is a responsibility, and, you know, the one thing that's wild is once they figure it out and they are exactly where you want them, they graduate.

I'm going to miss them all so much, and in particular, these two guys. Spencer has allowed us to play a certain way, and we're very difficult to guard. And then Steve, we were just in the locker room, and some of his teammates were saying some incredible things about him. He truly makes you want to be a better person when you're around him. He's academic All American, our first since 1998, and he certainly deserves every bit of that recognition.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, congrats on a terrific season.

MITCH HENDERSON: Thanks, guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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