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March 1, 2018

Marty Simmons

Ryan Taylor

Duane Gibson

St. Louis, Missouri - Arch Madness

Northern Iowa - 60, Evansville - 50

THE MODERATOR: Evansville Aces are up next. Ryan Taylor and Duane Gibson represent the student-athletes. Head Coach Marty Simmons will open up with a statement on the game.

MARTY SIMMONS: Tough game for us. Give Northern Iowa credit. I thought they really defended us well, which they're pretty good at that anyway. I just felt like their physicality, we didn't respond to that in the proper way. Certainly not how we wanted our season to come to an end.

I'm really proud of our team and our players. Like pretty much every team in the country, we've had to battle through some adversity, and I'm just real appreciative that our guys continued to come to practice with good attitude and work, and I'm thankful for that.

Q. Ryan, what did you kind of see as maybe the biggest things tonight that you can really get going?
RYAN TAYLOR: I don't understand the question. I'm sorry.

Q. The biggest things that kind of kept you from getting going tonight?
RYAN TAYLOR: Oh, okay. Yeah, they play a really good defense. The best defense I've ran into all year. As you could see, I only had two points. So they played really good defense.

Q. Ryan, just what did Brown's defense on you, how did he approach you differently than he did the last two teams?
RYAN TAYLOR: He was guarding, not letting me touch the ball, making sure everybody else scored, that kind of thing. They didn't switch as much -- they did do some switches throughout the game, but they didn't switch as much, and he was more focused on taking me away, and he did a really, really good job of it.

Q. Duane, I know you haven't had long to process it, but after your final game of your career, just what's kind of running through your head?
DUANE GIBSON: I don't know. Just a lot of flashbacks right now. All this stuff is going by so fast, and I'm just -- I'm just trying to think of all the good times right now and not dwell on it so much and just be appreciative of the career I had.

Q. Marty just talked about Isaiah Brown's defense on Ryan. I mean, that was really the story of the game, don't you think?
MARTY SIMMONS: Yeah, Brown's a longer, really good athlete, and I thought he competed really hard. Just watching the film from our second game, they did some switching with everybody except Koch and Rhodes, and that's how we prepared, and at times they switched with Brown, and other times they didn't. They kept us off balance.

I think more than anything just I thought he gave great effort. He's a good athlete. He's long, and we didn't screen. I think that physicality part of just being better at screening.

Q. What did you think were some other kind of keys to the game?
MARTY SIMMONS: Well, in the first half, we felt like the glass, we let them get a couple on the glass. We went underneath a couple ball screens that we didn't feel like we should have. Overall, probably didn't play quite, quite good enough to win defensively, but it certainly was admirable. I thought our guys gave a lot of effort there.

Just offensively, just Gibson was the only guy that really looked to attack off the dribble, and we really challenged our guys until very late in the game. We really challenged our guys against their switching to look to be more aggressive off the dribble. We just didn't do a good job of it.

Q. Marty, can you speak to Dru Smith's night and just the way he finished the season for you after the injury he battled.
MARTY SIMMONS: Yeah, he's going to be off here for an extended time. He played Saturday, did not practice Sunday or Monday, practiced 30 minutes on Tuesday and about 30 again on Wednesday. He's one of the toughest young men that I've ever coached in that his ability to play through pain. He's ruptured his plantar fascia, and he's out there playing.

It was unfortunate that he wasn't on one of the all-conference teams. I'm not sure if he didn't play enough conference games or what, but he certainly, in my opinion, merited that honor. I think at one time he was leading the league in assists, leading the league in steals, and when you look at his offensive numbers, they're off the charts. He's just a real coachable kid, loves to play the game, got a high basketball IQ. I think you'll see him make another jump from his sophomore year to his junior year, just like you did, from his freshman to sophomore. He really loves to play.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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