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March 17, 2017

Dan Hurley

Kuran Iverson

Jared Terrell

Hassan Martin

Jeff Dowtin

E.C. Matthews

Sacramento, California

Rhode Island - 84, Creighton - 72

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, Rhode Island. Coach Hurley, give us your analysis of what happened out there today.

DAN HURLEY: Obviously, thrilled to come out of here with a win against a program of the caliber of Creighton. One of the very best coaches in college and obviously a high-level players. Our goal going in, obviously, was to try to take away the three-point line as much as we could, force them into two's and make them uncomfortable on offense. That was our plan. Another goal we had defensively was to try to keep that dynamic combo of Marcus Foster and Thomas to 25 points or less, and that was obviously a big factor in the game, holding those guys, you know, to the numbers they had.

But that win was about these guys to my right. These guys were awesome. We really showed our depth and really just wore on them with our defensive intensity and play making.

Q. Congrats. Jared, I watched you skip off there a little bit and you guys posed for a photo. Seems like you did all the little things down the stretch, got stops, second chances and do you guys always make free throws like you did and chase loose balls the way you did?
JARED TERRELL: I thought we were locked in defensively and we were confident going to the line and being able to knock down our free throws, sticking on our principles on defense and rebounding very well. I'm just glad we came out with the win.

Q. Hassan, you were matched up with Patton who is probably a future lottery pick. He fouled out, didn't shoot well, didn't score many points. What can you say about dominating a guy like that who is probably going to be playing in the NBA next year?
HASSAN MARTIN: Feels great, you know, he's a great player. My mindset was to be physical with him. He's not that strong of a guy, but he's tall. So I had to push him off the block and box him out real hard and that's what I did and got him in foul trouble and he fouled out.

Q. Dan, given how long it's been since the school has been here, your first appearance, given the trouble with the free throw shooting how shocked are you to see these numbers?
DAN HURLEY: Justice there, you know. I've taken a lot of flack for our free throw shooting and on the overnight as a coach I finally figured out how to teach it. Tongue in cheek obviously. This is great for these guys. These guys committed to this program on a plan, kind of like a dream of what we could accomplish as they got older. We feel like maybe we could have been in this position last year if the guy to my right didn't get hurt and a guy couple more spots over to my right didn't get hurt.

This is so amazing for the players, for the school, for our fans who have suffered for many years and for the state. It's such a great state with great people, a beautiful place to live. We're just so happy to bring a shine to Rhode Island right now. Obviously, these guys are high-level players to my right and now they get the chance to perform on a national stage and show people how good they are.

Q. E.C., it looked like the team picked up where you left off after the A-10 Tournament. How did it feel to you guys?
E.C. MATTHEWS: We did what we needed to do. The coaches assigned us a great game plan going into the game. We just wanted to slow them down to the amount of threes they was making and we wanted to get the ball and push it. We were making shots beyond the arc that made us even better because we're playing great defense and feeding off that. Just came down to making more winning plays.

Q. Kuran, you made a three with 5 minutes to go, looked into the crowd, gave 'em a sign. You looked confident there. How has this team been able to carry that over the last nine games playing so confidently, whether it's a conference tournament or the NCAA Tournament.
KURAN IVERSON: I have a lot of good players on my team. I didn't think I was going to have a good offensive night I thought I was going to have a good defensive night. But once I made that shot I kept telling myself the next one is going to be in, and I am going to make the next one. I was trying to do whatever it takes to help my team, and I guess it worked.

Q. Dan, I saw your brothers in the crowd. I'm not sure if your dad was here, but it feels like this team was built in the image you grew up with, physical, tough, defensive-minded group. Is that a fair assessment?
DAN HURLEY: I think we're built in the image of my family. Obviously, we're all very intense, very passionate about basketball, very passionate about helping young people develop and I think we also -- this team reflects a little bit of the city I grew up in, Jersey City, hard-nosed group of guys that plays as hard as any team in the country and these guys are high-level players, too. When you add high-level players and then they play with grit, real, true grit you have a chance to have something really great.

Q. Jeff, 23 points in your first NCAA Tournament game. Did you feel any jitters or you were ready to go tonight?
JEFF DOWTIN: I felt a couple of jitters in the first couple minutes of the game, but once I was able to get my confidence up, get a rhythm going, everything else settled in and my teammates told me keep playing the same way you've been playing the rest of the year and after that I was good to go.

Q. Coach, initial thoughts on Oregon next.
DAN HURLEY: You know what? To be honest with you, we have a couple coaches on staff here that were at the earlier game. We were so locked in on Creighton. We didn't get ahead of ourselves. We knew how great of a team they are. We wanted to show them the respect they deserve with our preparation. Obviously, we're going to hustle now and I'm going to lean on brother Bob for a little Pac-12 intel. They played them very well at Oregon and played them really well in the first half in particular in the Pac-12 tournament. Bob is here and now it becomes -- it was type of a vacation-type trip for him, and now it becomes a working trip for Bob. I don't know if he's allowed to unofficially join our staff. Gotta check with compliance.

Q. Hassan, have you thought about what this moment means for Rhode Island, for this program and you guys leaving your mark on this program going into the future? Also, how special was it to see everybody do the little things and knock down the free throws when it mattered?
HASSAN MARTIN: Honestly, it feels like I'm dreaming. This is what I've asked for when I first got here and it took three, four years. But to finally just be here to experience this is amazing. The way we're playing is outstanding. I couldn't be more proud of my team and my coaches for getting us prepared; and, like I said, my team is real confident no matter who we face and I'm having fun. These guys are having fun, and I wouldn't want to do this with any other group of guys or coaches. I'm real excited for this, for Rhode Island.

Q. Coach, you guys have defended the 3-ball well all season, second in the country three-point percentage, you held Creighton to 30%. How satisfying is it to win on something you've been doing all year, defending the three? How do you get guys to buy into that, it's not a real -- in this day and age with the 3-ball being so important, how did you get them to buy into it and how satisfying is it to hold your own?
DAN HURLEY: We do close-out drills ad nauseam. These guys don't like it. They don't like starting practice with two-line close-out, three or four row to communicate. They don't love those drills. They probably ask themselves why they're doing it, 99 straight practices during the course of the season.

But we work a lot on close-out technique. We work on scrambling, rotating and we knew we had to get great contests today. I think what's unique about our defense is that we do a really good job of contesting the three-point line, but also contesting the front of the rim, just because of the way that our guys compete and rotate and just keep scrambling and they never stop playing.

Q. Kuran, I think you played in a game at Memphis in the NCAA Tournament for maybe two minutes. How does it feel to get back here and play a lot more minutes?
KURAN IVERSON: Them two minutes, I enjoyed them. I had 2 points as well. Getting here is exciting and I want to keep going. Especially for these guys. They put together something special and I joined and I want to contribute to the team.

Q. Jared, you played well against Matt Mobley in the conference tournament, St. Bonaventure and Marcus Foster struggled today. Is there anything you try to do in common when you're playing against a high-scoring guard?
JARED TERRELL: Pressure and contain, know my spots, when to be aggressive and watching the film before the game and have a good idea of what he likes to do, his tendencies, know his moves and stay in be front of him.

Q. Coach, it's been 18 years, obviously, and long-time coming. 3,000 miles way, what does it feel like to see a crowd like that from Rhode Island representing here?
DAN HURLEY: I thought it was amazing. Across the bench it was amazing that they were there and we could see 'em and they were loud, and it was, like, you know, the emotion from them was -- it almost felt like 18 years worth of excitement, you know, and they really inspired the guys. This team has developed such a freight connection over the last month or so with our fans because of the way we won home games down the stretch.

Kind of running through that A-10 Tournament and getting out here, it's like -- now it's like this program with the run we've been on has made that connection with our fans and it's exciting.

THE MODERATOR: E.C., it looked like you went off for treatment either early or sort of like the 13-minute mark of the second half you went to the locker room. What was going on there?

E.C. MATTHEWS: I was stiff. My right knee got stiff on me and I wanted to go back and the trainer stretched me out and readjusted my brace and got back out there. So nothing serious.

THE MODERATOR: Okay, gentlemen, thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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