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March 16, 2017

Bryce Drew

Nolan Cressler

Luke Kornet

Salt Lake City, Utah

Northwestern - 68 Vanderbilt - 66

COACH BRYCE DREW: I can't talk enough about these two guys next to me and the other guys in the locker room. Anytime a new coach comes in and there's a coaching change, it's a lot on the players. And I couldn't ask for two better seniors that have stood with me throughout the season, that have battled adversity, and have led our team and represented Vanderbilt in an unbelievable way. And so I'm just appreciative of these two guys and what they've done for our program.

As far as the game, it was kind of a tale of what our season was like. Had some adversity early, but the guys never quit. And we kind of caught stride in the second half, came back and took the lead twice and had a great opportunity to win this game. Such a competitive game, it boils down sometimes to a couple of inches here and there. And that couple is maybe a couple more inches a different way we're up here celebrating.

Q. I saw right after Matt committed the foul you went up and patted him on the head and hugged him. What was the sentiment in the locker room? Obviously he had a good game aside from that.
LUKE KORNET: He made a mistake at the end, yeah, I mean I'm not sure what happened. He's the type of person that he feels some blame for it. The second half, we had no chance if he didn't make some of the shots that he did. I just wanted to let him know that, we're with him no matter what. Every single one of us and what our team is, I'm going to make mistakes and everybody is going to be around me and supporting me and vice versa. That was just how it was.

Q. Seemed like you guys were a little sluggish in the first half. Was not playing for several days affected you?
NOLAN CRESSLER: I don't think so. I think we had time to recover from the SEC tournament. Might have just been nerves coming into the game. But I think we fought back it's kind of what we did all year.

Q. Defensively you guys locked them down better in the second half. What adjustment did you make? What changed the second half defensively?
NOLAN CRESSLER: I think we just made some switch-ups with our lineups. I went to the floor for a little bit. And I think we just started getting stops. Things started going our way. And we were rebounding, weren't giving many second-chance points. And we clawed back and not the result we were hoping for. It's what we did all year. We fought.

Q. From being in the locker room it seems pretty obvious that Matthew didn't know that you were ahead at that point when he committed the foul. Behind closed doors did he elaborate at all on his mistake there and maybe what he was thinking at the time?
COACH BRYCE DREW: You know, from day one, we teach our guys that we're a team. And one play at the end or one or two plays at the end doesn't lose a game for us. There's plays throughout the whole game that coaches can call better, that players can play better, we've had that pattern through the whole year with our guys. I'll talk to Matt more in depth at some point. He's down about it.

It could have been a miscommunication. He looked over at me before. But one play doesn't lose the game for you. And I'm proud of the guys fighting back and being in that situation. Without him we're not even close to being in that situation at the end.

Q. McIntosh scored 25 on you guys today. What made it so hard to cover him?
COACH BRYCE DREW: A lot of people had a hard time covering him all year. He does a great job in making it in the lane or a 13-, 14-, 15-foot floater. I thought today he shot the 3 pretty well. He hasn't shot it that well through the year. When he started making 3's his confidence building and he took that to two-pointers in the second half.

Q. I don't think you had any time outs left. Had you had one, I don't know if you were the one that calls it after a make? Would you have? And secondly, but what do you say to a player who is involved in that kind of moment, maybe a week from now or whatever?
COACH BRYCE DREW: You know, we have unbelievable kids in that locker room that are there for each other. And I think the support and the love he gets from his teammates is going to be plenty. But again, how we're built is one or two plays don't define a whole game. Everyone in that locker room could have done something better to not be in that situation. We're thankful for Riley's play. He made a great 3 and great pass to Roberson for a layup. We're proud of what they did. And again, we're there for each other.

COACH BRYCE DREW: If we had one, it would have mattered on if the defense for them was set. We had a certain play called and they did a good job taking it away.

Q. For follow-up, he's obviously had a roller coaster type year, talking about Matt, can you talk about where he is in terms of maturity, and where he is from earlier in the season?
COACH BRYCE DREW: I look at his stat line, and again, without him, we were struggling to score. He had some unbelievable shots in the second half to bring us back in the game. He had a couple of things not go his way early on, and I think that's a sign of his growth and maturity, that it didn't affect the rest of his game. And I think our team, again, has been in that process with him. They've been there for him. They've encouraged him. I'm proud of him. His 22 points speaks of his maturity throughout the year.

Q. You guys were actually plus five with Luke in the game. How tough was it to close it out without him on both ends of the court?
COACH BRYCE DREW: He's a huge part of what we do on both ends, our defensive scheme is built around him. A lot goes through him. Anytime we sub him out of the game, it definitely can affect our team in not a good way. And in the end if we had him it may have changed something we would have run at the end of the game with his size and ability to shoot at the end.

Q. I think you're the first Vanderbilt coach to ever go to the NCAA in your first season. I'm not positive. Can you talk a little about the season and some of the things that went well and some things you wish you could have done better and looking forward some?
COACH BRYCE DREW: You know, I think how we played the last three or four weeks, I wish we could have done that back in November. That would have been great. But part is the journey and the process and the growth and the togetherness of our team. And even though coaches and players have only known each other for nine -- 11 months, something there -- it's been a great relationship that we've had, especially over this last month. And I think the whole team sees where we were to where we are now. We don't want the season to end. I think that's a good sign it's been a great experience for everybody.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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