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March 16, 2017

T.J. Otzelberger

Reed Tellinghuisen

Michael Orris

Mike Daum

Salt Lake City, Utah

Gonzaga - 66 South Dakota State - 46

COACH T.J. OTZELBERGER: First of all, I'm really proud of our team. I thought that we talked a lot this week about the competitive spirit that we needed to have and come out in this game and I think our guys showed a lot of character in how they competed from start to finish.

Gonzaga is an outstanding basketball team. We have tremendous respect for them. They did a great job tonight. They're a really good team. But more than what these stats say and more than what the win or the loss says, I just can't say enough of how proud I am of our group and how they've competed the last month and a half of this season and through that game today.

Q. Could you talk about what the stretch run has meant to you guys and what it would mean to both of you as a team moving forward into next year?
MIKE DAUM: It meant the most to us. We've obviously been through a lot of ups and downs this season, but the resiliency of this team is off the charts and how we stuck together. It makes that stretch really special for us, really emotional for us as we go through it.

REED TELLINGHUISEN: When you go through adversity with guys like you have on your team, Michael, Mike, all those guys, all my teammates are great guys. It means a lot. We build such close relationships fighting through that stuff. And we're going to carry those relationships throughout our whole lives.

Q. The offensive numbers, how much of it was you guys missing the shots, how much was their defense?
REED TELLINGHUISEN: Gonzaga is a great defensive team. I shot 1 for 10 from three tonight. That's not good at all. You've got to give them credit. They held us to 31 percent the whole game, and that's got to be close to the lowest we've been held all year. You've got to give credit where credit is due. They did a great job tonight.

Q. They didn't take their first lead until late in the first half. What was working defensively for you guys early on and into the latter portion of that first half?
MIKE DAUM: We were doing a good job of packing it in and forcing them to shoot the 3-pointers they probably didn't want to shoot. We got them to a point where they had to hoist something up. And our defensive rebounding was really good at that time. We were able to get a good push-out on the offensive end, too, coming from those defensive rebounds.

Q. You guys are up by 6, 8 points in the first half, were you ever wondering like why aren't we up by 18? It looked like you were controlling things. I wanted to know, you had Williams on you most of the game, what was that experience?
MICHAEL ORRIS: Yeah, I mean we came out strong. Did exactly what we wanted to do, executed offensively and defensively, defensively, especially. It does feel like we had a bigger lead at a lot of points in the game, like you said. But we just kept fighting. We didn't go into halftime with the lead we wanted. We knew we were right there and if we kept executing the game plan we'd be right there. Credit to them, they hit shots down the stretch, got some stops. They're a good team.

MIKE DAUM: With Williams guarding me, we had a feeling they were going to put him on me instead of Karnowski. It was different. It really wasn't different. I've seen all different types of defense this year. The offense just tried to keep me on the move around. I just tried to get open as much as I could.

Q. Michael, as a senior, what did this whole thing mean to you, because this was your last chance to get to the Big Dance and you guys got here, it had to be pretty incredible.
MICHAEL ORRIS: It means the world to me. It's exactly what me and Coach T.J. talked about the first time we talked, and exactly what I wanted for my life and for my last season. And to achieve it with these guys and the group of guys and coaches and players around me, it's unbelievable. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Q. Just curious as you end your career, your time you spent with South Dakota State relative to your other stops. It seemed like you have such a family atmosphere with this team comparatively speaking.
MICHAEL ORRIS: Yeah. I think this team doesn't match up with anyone I've been a part of, quite honestly. It doesn't even come close. And they were good guys. I have lifelong friends from both stops that I went to, but these guys and what we did this year and the bond that we have is something incredibly special that you just don't see in college basketball very often.

Q. You get to the line only two times. As a team they only shoot 11. Obviously the referees don't factor in. Do you feel like the game was called different than in the Summit League and you didn't get the calls you get in the regular season?
MIKE DAUM: It was probably a little more physical, but we were prepared for that. And you can never complain about the refs. It comes down to how hard your team plays, how hard you rebound. No complaints there. They did their job, and we just tried to get through it no matter what.

Q. Is this one of those games where you guys -- you had a great game plan, clearly. Your defense was almost like the perfect storm. You held Gonzaga to 66 points. That's a game you could have won. How frustrating is it to not make shots?
REED TELLINGHUISEN: Yeah, it really did boil down to that. And like I said before, you've got to give credit where credit is due. They had hands up every time we were taking shots. They did a good job of being physical with us, and not letting us have open cuts. Credit to them. They did a great job tonight.

MIKE DAUM: I have to say the same thing. They did a good job on defense. They made shots when they needed to make shots. They got boards when they needed to get boards. So credit to them.

Q. Fair to say Gonzaga just is able to kind of do some things physically that the teams you faced in the Summit League can't. Trying to get passes into the post, they're a little bit longer and quicker, you guys maybe did the same things as before but you just couldn't get away with it against a team like this.
COACH T.J. OTZELBERGER: Yeah, there's a reason why by all the analytical measures they're the second-best defensive team in the country. They have great length, athleticism, they have physical size. They do a great job protecting the rim and guarding the three-point line. They make it really tough on you.

Defensively being in that game and us trying to score against them, and we definitely felt like that presence was there from start to finish.

Q. Daum hit a three-point dagger, 22:19, silenced their crowd. And the next six possessions for your folks, turnover, missed shot, two missed free throws, turnover, missed shot, shot clock violation, halftime. Could you talk about that period, how critical it was for the final outcome?
COACH T.J. OTZELBERGER: You think we can rewind and get a do-over on that period, first?

We knew -- we talked about at some point they were going to go on a run. And we didn't want to make that -- have that be because of what we did. We knew they were a very good team. We knew they were going to get going in transition, and we didn't want our shot selection or turnovers to help ignite that for them.

Obviously at the free throw line we've been a team that cashed in all year. We weren't able to be successful that way, and tried to use time outs and manufacture that, because we felt they had a push right before half. But again, hats off to them, they're a phenomenal team, very well coached team. And we knew at some point they were going to have runs, and we had to do the best we could to neutralize them.

Q. How big is this, coming from where you were a couple of months ago, granted not happy with the loss, but you made it to the Big Dance, moving forward with this program and team, most of the guys coming back, how important is the whole experience?
COACH T.J. OTZELBERGER: I think it's huge. When you look at -- it's sad to say good-bye to our seniors in that locker room. But when you talk about this year's team, for me obviously it's my first season as a head coach, so it will always be special. But even more than that, obviously basketball games are important, but the life lessons they learned, the character they showed, how they can bind together as a team when their back was against the wall, what they've done moving forward as a group, and then the fight that they showed out there, it's -- to me it's the most remarkable team I've been around in terms of togetherness, competitive spirit.

And I can't say enough about the pride I take in coaching those young men and what South Dakota State basketball stands for today and as we move forward is something really special and it's an honor to be a part of it.

Q. You mentioned yesterday no moral victories. You held Gonzaga to its second-lowest point total of the season. Daum held his own against Karnowski. What about the defensive effort impressed you the most? It seemed like they had trouble all game long, even though they ended up winning by 20.
COACH T.J. OTZELBERGER: For the most part when we were able to get better shots and we got our defense set in transition we were able to be successful. I think our guys were stubborn in sticking with the game plan we had employed. Obviously they're a huge team physically. And you have to figure out how do you want to protect the paint. I thought the focus our guys showed was critical. And there's something about sports where you just have a look in your eye and you look at your opponent and say, You're going to be in for a fight tonight and I think our guys did that from start to finish.

We can talk about the numbers, our SID Andrew Sogn is in the back, was filling me in that this is one of two times they've been under 40 percent from the field, one of two times they've been under 70 points, lowest assist numbers they've had. Those numbers don't matter and you can't measure the heart our guys had to compete out there, those numbers don't do that justice.

Q. Along that same lines, as well as you did play for the first 15 minutes, were you surprised to look up at the board -- I guess if you played that well normally you'd be up by a ton.
COACH T.J. OTZELBERGER: Yeah, we needed to cash in on a few more of those opportunities. We kind of controlled the tempo and the flow of the game. And there was a couple of possessions we probably didn't get the best shot at a time we needed it. And then there was some plays that we just didn't finish at times.

So you felt like in the game that we had a little bit of a cushion and then that quickly went away. Yeah, we would like to have created a little more separation and put some pressure on them. They did an unbelievable job continuing to adjust and prevent us from doing that as well.

Q. This is probably a litmus test for Mike going up against some elite big men, and finding out how he stacks up. What do you think he learned from this game? How did he hold up and what can he take going forward?
COACH T.J. OTZELBERGER: Mike has been a player that through his career -- his recruiting story has been well documented, he was under the radar. Obviously red shirts, and what we've seen from Mike over a period of time is how he continues to improve and grow and add so much to his game. Sometimes the phenomenal performances we have we forget he's a sophomore.

I watched a tremendous amount of film from last year to see what he can do, and he's continued to take steps forward in his arsenal and what he has offensively.

Obviously today wasn't his best game. Certainly their length, athleticism, and physicality had something to do with that. But what I know about Mike Daum is how he was raised is he rolls up his sleeves every day and comes to work and wants to get better and gets lost in the process. And I know he will continue to do that as we move forward and continue to build on this. So really excited about his future.

Q. Coach Few used the term in the second half, elite-level rim protection. And I think at halftime you felt someone like a Howell was poised for a big game in the second half. There were so many layups it seemed like in the second half, do you believe that that rim protection that Coach Few talked about really, really disrupted shots that appeared to be somewhat easy?
COACH T.J. OTZELBERGER: Absolutely. They had phenomenal rim protection. On the perimeter they were switching so many screens and trying to get us out of position. At halftime what they were going to make us do is challenge them at the rim, and we were going to have to finish plays. And they do have elite rim protection, across the board from Williams, Karnowski, Collins and Tillie have athleticism. We had opportunities to finish plays. Unfortunately we didn't convert.

But as they adjusted in the game, we knew they were really guarding that three-point line, so we were going to have to get to the paint and finish. Unfortunately we weren't able to finish more plays because they are such a great defensive team.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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