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March 17, 2017

Bruce Weber

Wesley Iwundu

D.J. Johnson

Sacramento, California

Cincinnati - 75, Kansas State - 61

THE MODERATOR: Okay, our student-athletes are Wesley Iwundu and D.J. Johnson and the head Coach of the Wildcats, Bruce Weber. Coach, your impressions of the game tonight?

BRUCE WEBER: Obviously, we're have disappointed that it came to an end. Cincinnati brought their "A" game and they played at a high level. I didn't think we had -- we didn't play our best game. There is no doubt. Some of that's them, the way they played. They made some shots, obviously 62%, we gave up too many points in the paint. The game was opposite of what happened the other night when we played Wake when we had all the points in the paint and shot 66%.

I thought we had to be a good defensive team tonight if we were going to have a chance because I know their defense is good. If we let them get going like they did, it would be a struggle for us.

Couldn't be more proud of the seniors. Wes was the one guy tonight that played at a high level. The last month, five weeks or so, Wes has been big-time for us. Can't say enough about him and his improvement, things he's done.

D.J., fighting through all what he's gone through. I know today he didn't quite play his best but couldn't be more proud of what he's done to fight through injuries and surgeries and all that stuff.

Carlbe has been great for us, being a great teammate along with Austin Budke and Zach. Sad that it's over, but gotta give credit to Cincinnati. They played at a high level.

Q. Coach, Mick Cronin mentioned that they wanted to focus on their low post play. Talk about when you doubled they were able to dish and the troubles that you did have defending them down low?
BRUCE WEBER: Well, right away off the bat we took jump shots and they got layups. We talked about coming and doubling early. We probably weren't quite in sync. We came early. They made a couple of dishes, got easy hoops, got feeling good and made three or four shot clock plays. But you see Clark and Washington with 15, 16. Obviously Troy played at a high, high level for them.

Like I said, they played at a high level, made a lot of big plays, got the ball where it needed to go. Every time we made a run to put a little pressure on them it seemed like they stepped up, made the play, or we missed a layup or maybe tried to go too fast and make a tough play. They were good tonight. There is no doubt about that.

Q. Wesley, you play with three fouls there and had to get taken out toward the end of the first half. Talk about the frustration that you must have been feeling at that point to not get things going and having to sit?
WESLEY IWUNDU: In a game like this, I want to be in the game. I definitely feel like those three fouls affected the game. I could have helped the team out so much more in the first half when they went on that little run or whatever. Things could have probably been different.

They seen some things that I didn't agree with, the refs. But it is what it is. Cincinnati was the better team and they came out with the win.

Q. Wes, did you feel like they were targeting you? Coach said they wanted to make you beat 'em from the perimeter. Did you sense that?
WESLEY IWUNDU: They can say whatever they want to. I still scored the ball. I just felt like the fouls called on me in the first half changed a lot of things and I wasn't able to defend how I wanted to defend in the second half, afraid of picking up the fourth foul and possibly coming back out of the game, hurting the team even more. But, you know, I guess they had a game plan. But it is what it is, man. It wasn't nothing.

Q. Coach, how difficult of a situation it was for you to have to juggle the foul trouble with Wes? That's not something that you have had to deal with him.
BRUCE WEBER: We were struggling. He got two and we've done it lately not with him but other guys to give 'em a shot and you hope that he can be smart and obviously to their credit they kept -- they did in the second half, too. They tried to iso and get Wes in those one-on-one situations and he got a quick third foul.

He was the one that gave us athleticism. He got the ball in the paint, making the plays and playing at a high level. You can look at the box score. We really didn't have anybody else step up tonight. So we needed him in the game, and if you could have kept it at 6 or 8 at halftime, could have been a different game because now you're fighting back. But, again, they seemed to make every play and they got it where they wanted to and we just didn't have enough to combat that.

Q. Coach, starting three sophomores your first guy off the bench is a redshirt freshman. This speaks well for the future of this program, having this experience with such a young group of players coming up.
BRUCE WEBER: Yes, well, one I'm glad they had the opportunity to play in the tournament. This is a special experience. It's what you hope for every student-athlete. I really think they should expand the tournament. I've said that for a long time, and it's not about coaches. It's about the student-athletes and having this experience. You look at the NIT, the high majors that didn't get in the NCAA and they're at home, losing home games and it means too much. I wish you could expand it.

But I'm glad these guys got this opportunity, for D.J. to come back after hurting his foot three years ago and for Wes to stay the course and really help us and get better and better and the things he did and Carlbe, also, willing us to get in.

For the young guys, it's a great experience and that's what I told 'em after. You got a taste of it. Now you want more. You've got to get better. Obviously, we faced a team that won 30 games now. They were a little bit better, a little more physical. They made the plays. Like I said, I think we caught their "A" game. We didn't need their "A" game. That would have been nice. Maybe they miss a couple of shots.

They played at a high level, but it was great experience for our guys. To be part of this and like I've said all along, can't be more thrilled about the group and proud of them. They fought through a lot of different things and stayed the course and we had a great finish to the season.

Q. What did it mean to bring this program back to the NCAA Tournament after all you went through?
WESLEY IWUNDU: It meant a lot. I wanted to go out on a note like this, being in the NCAA Tournament for one last time. Great accomplishment not making it the past two years to get back here and even win a game and played hard against Cincinnati. Wish it could have been different, but I do feel like the future is bright. Got a lot of good players coming back next year and also with a coach like Coach Weber, the sky is the limit. Feel good about this situation going forward.

D.J. JOHNSON: Same. Just wanted to get my team back to the tournament and put on for the university.

THE MODERATOR: Okay, gentlemen. Thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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