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March 18, 2017

Steve Prohm

Deonte Burton

Matt Thomas

Monte Morris

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Purdue - 80, Iowa State - 76

THE MODERATOR: Joined by Iowa State Head Coach, Steve Prohm, and Iowa State student-athletes, Monte Morris, who had 18 points, Matt Thomas, who had 20, and Milwaukee native Deonte Burton, who had 25. We'll have an opening statement from the Coach, and then questions for the student-athletes.

Coach, please.

COACH PROHM: First off, just want to congratulate Purdue and Coach Painter and their team on advancing to the Sweet 16 in today's victory. Good luck to them going forward.

You know, just the biggest thing today, on days like this, is you're just disappointed it ends. The last thing I told the guys in the locker room, the last six, seven weeks of the season we were playing as good as anybody in the country. These guys were a ton of fun to be around. We changed as a team. We grew as a team. And the hardest thing to do right now is say goodbye, because you're saying goodbye to the winningest senior class in the history of the school.

They've done amazing things on and off the floor. That's the toughest part, that you know at some point, you've got to say goodbye to these guys. I was hoping I would get to coach them a couple more weeks. It wasn't in the cards. It wasn't in the plans.

And so I wish these guys well and they know I'll always be there for them.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach.

Questions for the student-athletes, please.

Q. Deonte, the missed free throw with 11 seconds left and the long rebound, was that just simply a matter of it was too deep a rebound?
DEONTE BURTON: No. I didn't box him out enough. I should have pushed him further out and then tried to get the rebound.

Q. Deonte, what about your game today? You looked like you were a man on a mission, that you were playing for your life out there and putting the team on your back and doing everything possible to not let the season end tonight.
DEONTE BURTON: We were playing for our lives. It was a win-or-go-home game. I didn't want to go home. I tried to put everything I could into the game tonight.

THE MODERATOR: Monte, at a time like this I know it's very difficult but you've had such a great career. There any sort of perspective or what do you take away from the season and your career?

MONTE MORRIS: I just took away from this season that it's going to be ups and downs in life and sometimes you don't know why, but, you know, I'm in reference to this season. We had some low times this season where people didn't think or believe we would be here this far. Going forward just when adversity hits you in life, you got to persevere and answer with no hostility and be, you know, successful and that's what this team did.

I take my hat off to everyone of my teammates because we stuck together and made it this far. It was a long journey and I wouldn't change nothing or a group of guys or coaching staff to play with.

THE MODERATOR: Matt, you're from Onalaska, Wisconsin. To be in your home state and play as well as you did, can you talk just talk about the emotions of the evening?

MATT THOMAS: It was cool for me, cool for our other three guys from Milwaukee being back home. Down the road, 10, 15 years be able to reflect and understand, you know, how special these four years was, especially this one year as a senior and all the things we did and what we accomplished as a team. It's tough right now to step back and see that, but I love these guys and I wouldn't want to go out with a better group.

Q. For anybody, what was the difference from the first 30 minutes to the last ten?
MATT THOMAS: I just think it was our sense of urgency. We're a resilient group. We play with a lot of grit and toughness. For whatever reason we didn't come out necessarily ready to go in the first half. But you know, we had been in that situation before and that's what we talked about at halftime, and once we got on that run, you know, we made things happen and we made it interesting. We just were one or two plays short of capping that win off.

THE MODERATOR: Anything else for the student-athletes? Thank you, guys.

Questions for Coach, please.

Q. Coach, could you talk about what Deonte was able to do defensively on Caleb Swanigan tonight?
COACH PROHM: I mean, he just competed the second half. I mean he just competed. He's a tough kid. Really our best -- Solomon is a good post defender. Deonte is probably our best at times, majority of the time. He's so strong, his lower body is so strong and athletic. He can front and still be able to get a deflection or steal or kind of sneak around there in the post.

Second half he was a lot more better and engaged on the defensive end.

Q. Steve, can you speak a little bit on what the senior class has accomplished and what it means for the program moving forward without them?
COACH PROHM: Yeah. These seniors have been amazing. I've talked about them a lot. I've been very open about that, about, you know, what they've meant to this program. I asked them beginning of the year, you know, nobody really knew what this team was going to be like. We lost a lot of really good players from last year's team and we had some holes and some uncertainty with some new guys coming in.

I challenged them leave your jersey in a better place. Then I internally said hey, we got to get back to the NCAA Tournament, hopefully we can win a championship and then hopefully we can get back to another Sweet 16 and see what happens.

This senior class went to four straight NCAA Tournaments. Only ten programs in the country have been to six straight or more. They've won 20 or more games every season. I think only like 13 BCS level schools have done that six straight years. Three Big 12 Tournament titles. And then you're saying goodbye to two of the best 3-point shooters to ever come through here. And then, you know, with all respect to Jamaal Tinsley and Hornacek, probably the best point guard ever come through this school.

They did it the right way and they represented the program the right way and everything you heard about them was the good, you know. They weren't ever in the news for anything else but how they represented this program on and off the floor.

And so I think this is just a special program where you have to continue to recruit guys that can do that. If you're going to play at Iowa State and in certain other programs in the country, you got to be a great player and you got to have great character and toughness, but you got to be able to impact people. You got to be able to interact with the community, interact with the alumni, be ready to take pictures, shake hands, because that's part of it with the fan base and the passion these people have.

Those guys embraced it. It's the toughest thing about ending is, you know, I love Monte Morris, I love Naz Long, I love Matt Thomas and Darrell, too. It's just tough to say goodbye to those guys because those shoes are going to be extremely hard to fill. But everywhere I've been the next guy comes along and that's my staff's job to do is to continue to recruit the next guy. And I told them in the locker room over the last couple weeks, I've heard from "Ian," from "Eja", from Melvin, I've heard from Fred, I've heard from Fizer, Jamaal Tinsley the other day, and that's when you know you have a real program where the alumni and the former players are following everything you do, and you can't let those guys down.

And these seniors didn't.

Q. Coach, were you impressed by the way that Purdue was able to weather the storm when you guys came back and took the lead? As many fans as you brought out here to Milwaukee, that Purdue in kind of a road environment for them was able to restabilize themselves and retake control.
COACH PROHM: We got the lead 73-71, I think with Deonte's free throws, and I'll have to look at the tape to see how Thompson got the open 3 put that thing went (indicating) all the way around, hit the backboard and then back in to go up 1.

I can't remember what we did on the offensive end. They came back. They've got some guys and went up 3, and then I think that's when I called timeout and that was probably -- I should have let those guys play in space again. I think that's what we did in the second half, we got to spread you out. Kind of how we used to play earlier in the season, 5 out and looking to drive them.

I think we just kind of got caught up in a pick-and-roll situation and ended up turning it over, but we still had a chance. We didn't rebound that ball at the end. But you know, game like this you can look back at a lot of difficult things.

THE MODERATOR: Anything else for Coach? Thank you.


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