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March 18, 2017

Leonard Hamilton

Terance Mann

Michael Ojo

Orlando, Florida

Xavier - 91, Florida State - 66

THE MODERATOR: We'll ask Coach Hamilton to make an opening statement.

LEONARD HAMILTON: I got to give Xavier a lot of credit because the things that have been good to us all year in terms of getting deflections and steals and forcing turnovers, they executed so well in the half-court, they didn't turn the ball over. We missed a lot of that.

We've been a very inconsistent three-point shooting team this year, and obviously they knew that, and they packed it in, and we determined that if we were going to win the game, we were going to have hit from the perimeter, and they did a very good job of denying, of packing it in, and causing us to have to take the perimeter shots. Obviously, tonight, we were 4-for-21. We didn't shoot very well both nights here.

This team has always been able to find a way to win in spite of maybe some of our shortcomings, and today it kind of caught up with us. I thought they did a very good job of minimizing their turnovers, being very patient executing on the offensive end. Obviously, they shot the ball extremely well from the perimeter. You have to give them a lot of credit for doing what they had to do on a big stage like this to win the game.

Q. This could be for both you guys: You faced zone defenses before this year and have won games. Was this just a matter of you not making shots? Did they do anything special with the zone that you weren't expecting?
TERANCE MANN: Yeah, we just didn't hit shots, and we weren't able to get downhill to the basket. You know, it's hard to create energy when you're not hitting the three ball and you see them hitting the three ball.

MICHAEL OJO: Their zone defense is really good, like Coach said. They were able to pack it in. They didn't want us to drive and get in the lane. Our guys did a very good job driving in there sometimes and trying to make plays. We missed some wide open shots. It's not necessarily about their zone. We had some lapses on defense, too, as well.

Q. Terrence, I'm sure on the scouting report you didn't think Xavier would be shooting from three the way they did tonight. Did you feel like the defense was lacking, or did you feel they hit some tough shots?
TERANCE MANN: No, they just hit some tough threes. They were able to get in the paint and create for each other and have standing wide open threes they hit. I don't know what they shot, but they shot really well from three.

Q. Michael, obviously, a tough loss tonight, but what can you say about your final senior season and just the year that you guys had, going 18-0 at home, getting 12 wins over top-50 opponents. What can you say about this year?
MICHAEL OJO: First, I'm thankful to God giving me this opportunity to come back, like I said. Last year, the unfortunate thing happened, I had my injury. I was able to come back this year and play another year.

I'm thankful to FSU, to my coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to play basketball at FSU. I'm proud of my teammates, thankful to them, too, as well, just helping me, giving me this chance to make the Tournament, just to experience what it feels like to play in the Tournament.

Q. Terrence, obviously, last year's team was supposed to make this tournament. They didn't. What did it mean for this year's team to get to the round of 32 for the first time since 2012?
TERANCE MANN: It's an amazing feeling. You grow up dreaming about this opportunity. So it was amazing to see everyone happy when our name came up for the first time. Everyone was thinking first time in the Tournament. So it was a good experience.

Q. Terrence, in your wildest nightmare scenario, did you ever envision the game unfolding the way it did today?
TERANCE MANN: No, you never envision losing before games. But they played hard, and that's what happened.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys. Questions for Coach Hamilton.

Q. Leonard, I know they're a difficult team to prepare for because of all the sets they run and things like that. Did they do anything differently, or was it difficult to prepare for them in a short amount of time?
LEONARD HAMILTON: I think it's a combination of both. They are a team that really, they've done a good job of executing the offense. They run a ton of sets.

Tonight I thought we got exposed with our big guys getting back screened and not being prepared to get those -- the scheme that they had with cutting to the bucket. That was something that these guys had not been exposed to all year.

But I think, more than anything else, we've always tried to minimize the effectiveness of zone defense against us all year long, and we've always found a way to hit just enough threes, enough perimeter shots to kind of keep people at bay.

Tonight they did a very good job of really, really clogging up the lane, which really gave us no other opportunity other than to force some shots or to take the perimeter shots.

We had great looks. We had uncontested wide open threes that we normally shoot the normal percentage, normal 34, 35, 36 percent, just enough to keep us at bay, to keep people from being able to pack it in. Tonight it was one of those nights where we just couldn't buy it in.

And I thought they got energized -- they're a really good three-point shooting team, and they got more energized, and it seemed like it kind of deflated our kids when we didn't connect on those three-pointers.

Q. Coach, despite the loss tonight, you still had obviously a very successful season. Could you take us into your locker room. What was the message to your team after this one?
LEONARD HAMILTON: I did. I thought we had a great season. Every team has some weaknesses and some shortcomings and some strengths. I thought we did a very good job all year long of playing to our strengths, getting out in transition, getting some deflections, some steals. I thought that tonight we met a team that really took advantage of the things that we were -- areas where we were weak.

I thought we learned a lot. I thought this team was very connected. There were times I thought they were growing with the relationships, and I think it makes you feel that the future is very bright for these guys that are returning.

So I'm very proud of the effort that these guys gave. We had some amazing wins. Obviously, we played extremely well at home. But I thought that there were times where we were put in this type of stage and type of arena that some of our inexperience showed. I thought there were some times where we were very tentative. And I think a lot of it is because we have been a very average-at-best perimeter-shooting team, and we've had to execute in so many other areas. Tonight I thought it caught up with us against a team that really shot well from the perimeter and we shot poorly. Defensively, I thought it really, really took the starch out of our kids.

But to look back at the season, to see what we've been able to accomplish, I'm very proud of these guys and how they've hung in against some extremely good competition.

Q. Obviously, as the season goes on, the competition gets tougher, but what happened down the stretch? You started off 18-2, finished off the last 15 games going 8-7.
LEONARD HAMILTON: I thought we played against some very good competition. The ACC is a very, very competitive league. When you play people, especially the second time around, they're very, very prepared, and they are improving as well.

I don't think it was anything negative on our team. I just think in the ACC you have people that are capable of playing at a very high level, and we got caught with some people playing very well. We lost to Duke. We lost on the road. We lost to a very good Notre Dame team on the road. But I thought we fought back and won some good games on the road. I think it's a combination of playing against some high-level competition, and that's what happens when you're in a league like the ACC.

Q. Coach, you said that you ran into a team that took advantage of areas where you felt your team was weak. Specifically, which area are you talking about? Is it perimeter shooting?
LEONARD HAMILTON: Perimeter shooting. We had a very difficult time matching their accuracy from the perimeter. Sometimes a team will shoot what they normally shoot when they even get wide open looks. Today they shot exceptionally well. First half they shot 70 percent. Second half, for a team, they shot a little over 60-something percent. A lot of times people will shoot at the level that they normally shoot on a regular basis. Today they shot exceptionally well, and I thought we shot exceptionally poor.

Q. As a followup to that, is this your biggest game disappointment as a coach?
LEONARD HAMILTON: Not necessarily. I'm not disappointed. I'm proud of what we've been able to accomplish. That's the nature of the game of basketball. You're going to always have a game where you're not at our best and a team's at their best. It's hard sometimes to overcome that. But overall, you've got to give Xavier credit because they got into that magic level, that emotional frame of mind you have to be in that allows you to be at that peak and play sometimes even better than you normally do, and I thought they were able to get themselves in that mindset tonight.

I thought that our kids were not quite as sharp, and you've got to give them credit for going out and playing the type of game that really kept us at bay. Not turning the ball over, being patient on the offensive end, and then knocking down the threes when they had them.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach Hamilton.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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