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March 23, 2017

Mark Few

Jordan Mathews

Johnathan Williams

Przemek Karnowski

San Jose, California

Gonzaga - 61, West Virginia - 58

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Gonzaga head coach Mark Few and student-athletes Johnathan Williams, Jordan Mathews and Przemek Karnowski. Coach, an opening statement.

COACH FEW: Hey, that was just an absolute war. Rock fight. However you want to describe it. I mean, those are two really, really tough teams, two really physical teams that laid it out there on the line. And there were big shots being made right and left and fortunately we made the two big plays at the end.

And all year we've been banking on our defense, our defense, our defense. Our defense stepped up and got it done there at the end. So we are absolutely elated to continue to be playing, and we're 40 minutes away from a Final Four, which was something we set our sights on at the start of the year.


Q. Coach, I wanted to ask to you about what Jordan has brought to you guys this season and his shot?
COACH FEW: That, I call him Big Shot Bob because I'm so old that whatever the heck his name was that made all the shots back in the day in the NBA finals. He's Big Shot Bob for us. He's not afraid.

We're trying to go offense and defense with him. And I kept telling the staff we've got to get him back in; he's going to make a big shot. He's going to make a big shot. We just didn't want him to get his fourth foul there. We got the opportunity to throw him in on offense and to his credit, I mean, he stepped up and did it.

He's made so many sacrifices to give up what he had to come to a team, he's given up minutes. He's given up shots. He's given up probably a little bit less of a role than what he had. But he wanted to win. He wanted to win at the highest level and be a part of a real team. And we both delivered on what we were supposed to. So pretty cool.

Q. Mark, so much made of their full-court press. Did you feel like your team handled it pretty well? And the flipside of that is they're pretty tough in the half court as well, aren't they?
COACH FEW: Yeah. Yeah. I thought we handled the press probably as well as you could. We had a couple of foot faults. Those frustrate me because we work on those daily. And we work on them all year. And at times I think my words fall on deaf ears as I'm trying to prepare them for something like this.

But by and large these guys, I mean, handle it very, very well. And we talked all week about their half-court defense and just how stout it is and just how difficult it is to run sets or plays. And so we just kind of had to rely on our feel and let these guys play through things.

Q. Jordan, of course you played a lot of time at Cal. What does it mean for you to come back here in the Bay Area and be in the position now where you guys can advance to the Final Four and back on home turf?
JORDAN MATHEWS: It means a lot. These past couple of weeks I've really cherished my time at GU with these guys. And just being able to play for a Final Four is something you grow up watching, you grow up watching March Madness and Sweet 16 games, and to have that opportunity to be 40 minutes away with this group, with this university is very special.

Q. Jordan, talk about the 3 that you hit?
JORDAN MATHEWS: I came back in. Tommy told me not to foul, and we were on offense. I'm not going to foul anybody. But Nigel made a great play. I think part blocked a put-back attempt which led to the break. I just let it go. I just didn't think about it. I just shot it and I didn't see it go in but I heard it. So just happy it went down.

Q. Like you said earlier, 40 minutes away from a Final Four. What would it mean for you to finally get that monkey off your back?
COACH FEW: First of all, I don't know that I have a monkey on my back. I certainly don't wake up with one or walk around with one. So I don't think these guys think I have one. I don't think my wife thinks I have one or anybody in my family, close friends. Fishing buddies never talk about it. So those are the only people that really matter to me.

So it would be phenomenal to get these guys, this team that I love deeply, the experience to go to a Final Four. It would be phenomenal to give that satisfaction to all the players that I've been so lucky to coach, and to give it to a university that has treated me so incredibly well, and to Spokane who has just been an unbelievable community for us to have our program. But it's not about me and my monkeys and my dogs and my cats; it's about them.

Q. Mark, what did you see from your vantage point on their last possession, including a couple extra shots? What did you see from your vantage point?
COACH FEW: I thought we did a great job. We went -- they subbed and we were switching 1 through 4. They subbed shooters. We switched 1 through 5. That's something that we've been pretty darn good at this year. I thought Zach Collins did an amazing job because we put him in kind of a tough position. He's not maybe quite as comfortable doing that.

And then the guys -- they knew they could not give up a 3 there. It was disappointing we didn't dig out any of those rebounds, but at the same time we flooded out to those shooters after the rebounds. Usually after you give up an offensive rebound, that kick-out 3 is what kills you. And I just vividly remember our guys racing out to the 3 line right when the West Virginia kid got the offensive rebound.

They did a great job. Carter was really, he wanted to take it. He was going to take a step back and he's dangerous out to about 40 feet. So we have a bunch of experience guarding that. There's Jared Brownridge in our league shoots those deep like that. And kids at BYU shoot them deep like that. So I think it helped a little bit in that regard.

Q. Coach, how concerned were you as the foul totals mounted for your players? And how do you feel about how tightly it was called tonight?
COACH FEW: Hey, I was very, very concerned, especially in the first half, we were shuffling through some lineups that, quite frankly, we haven't played all year. And then mildly concerned as it got deeper.

When Nigel got his fourth that was deeply concerning especially with time to go. But Silas and Jordan -- and I thought Josh Perkins managed just a heck of a game at the point position. I mean, he got through that game under heavy, heavy heated pressure with only one turnover, which is not easy.

We were conversing with the officials quite often. And I mean it's a hard game. They're a very difficult team to officiate. And we are, too. We're physical and we vertically contest and we're good at vertically contesting going straight up around the rim. And I thought they did a really, really good job, and I would have said that win or lose. I thought it was a fair game. It was tough -- a lot of collisions, a lot of stuff going on throughout that game.

Q. Jordan, Jevon Carter had been their guy in the game and at the end you get the last word hitting the final 3. What was that like for you?
JORDAN MATHEWS: It was just a big shot. Just happy that we got the win. I mean, he made big shots throughout the half. So it wasn't one of those things where it was, like, oh, I got the big shot over you. Gonzaga won. That's all that really matters.

Q. Was the explanation on the late delay an inadvertent whistle?
COACH FEW: Yeah, it was an inadvertent whistle. Evidently he had possession right as he was going out of bounds but the whistle happened as he was going out of bounds. I don't know who he ended up throwing it into. Come on, don't let J3 and Przemy off the hook here. They've been prepared this moment with speech classes for three years.

Q. What do you attribute to the defense that held them to I think 26.7 percent from the field?
PRZEMEK KARNOWSKI: Can you say that question again? I couldn't hear that.

Q. Your defense I think limited them to 26.7 --
PRZEMEK KARNOWSKI: Like Coach said, we've been defending really well the entire season. I'm looking right now, we held them to 26 percent from the field for the game. So I thought it was huge for us.

Just being able to switch from man to zone and back and forth, I thought that kind of gave them a little bit of problems. So I thought just kind of when they were penetrating we were getting those kind of holding calls and all those kind of calls. I thought going to zone was a really good idea.

Q. Przem, did you ever think, especially late in the game, did you ever think that it could be the end of your career happening right now?
PRZEMEK KARNOWSKI: No, I was the one actually telling them when they were shooting free throws to keep playing, because the game is not over. And I didn't think about that during the game, you know. It's all about living in the moment and we still had a chance to win. Jordan came big and it was huge for us to just be able to stick with our plan and be in the game and come back.

Q. Przem, you guys at this point have played in a lot of NCAA games over the time you've been here. How does that help you in a late, tight game like tonight? And how do you think maybe the Elite Eight experience will be different than it was a couple of years ago because of that?
PRZEMEK KARNOWSKI: I think just playing in any game in the NCAA Tournament, that gives you a lot of experience. And now we're three games deep in the tournament this year. So I think that's going to help us in the next game, especially, to just kind of stay with it, like I said, and stick with our plan, because whenever we stick to our details and we're dialed in, doing the stuff that coaches tell us to do in the pregame, I think it really helps us to kind of be as efficient on defense as we can be.

Q. Przem, it looked like second half you were a little more assertive on the offensive end. And I'm wondering is that something -- did anyone talk to you about that at halftime or was it going through your head at halftime or did it just develop that way?
PRZEMEK KARNOWSKI: I just tried to take advantage. When I scored that first back-to-the-basket move I saw they didn't really dig or double. So I tried to take advantage of that. And I'm glad my teammates trusted me and they delivered the ball to me and I was able to get those points and help the team.

Q. Jordan, you obviously started out slowly and you looked like you were frustrated at times. How did you sort of fight through that and make big shots in the first half?
JORDAN MATHEWS: I wasn't really frustrated. It's just the type of game. It's not something you come across. We had never come across that throughout the season. It wasn't frustration. It was more like, I don't know, confusion, trying to figure it out. But just staying the course and just rallying around our guys and just thinking about the defensive end, help my offense in the end.

COACH FEW: Hang on, J3, unbelievable game by you today especially in the first half. None of us could score or do anything, but you were kind of able to -- talk about breaking down the pressure as a 4 man when our guards have been bringing it up all year.

PRZEMEK KARNOWSKI: How hard was it for you?

JOHNATHAN WILLIAMS: It was pretty hard. But I worked on it during the whole week, and the coaches gave me the game plan, and I tried to do the best I can to not turn the ball over, that's all.

COACH FEW: Nice, God bless you.


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