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March 2, 2018

Greg Lansing

Jordan Barnes

Brandon Murphy

St. Louis, Missouri - Arch Madness

Illinois State - 77, Indiana State - 70

THE MODERATOR: Indiana State Sycamores are with us now. Greg Lansing is the head coach. Jordan Barnes and Brandon Murphy are the student-athletes.

GREG LANSING: First, just want to congratulate Illinois State and Dan. I know they battled through some different things this year, just like everybody did, but their three guys tonight were terrific. They were ready to go. I know we have a lot of respect for them, and we were ready to go as well.

I don't think we played particularly well, but any time the shots don't go in, you kind of feel like that. But I also -- the game was a little bit a microcosm of the season, just the inconsistencies and some of the things we're trying to do defensively to take things away.

Yarbrough is a ton. He's a difficult guard. We've got to do it and try to follow the game plan as best we can. And then the offensive end, you only have seven turnovers and still score 70 points. Well, when you shoot so poorly, everything looks ugly when the shots aren't going in.

But I commend, especially these two guys up here, for their competitive nature, how hard they played, how they've stuck with it. Came through last week the way we did. You know, we always stuck together. The guys always stuck together. They pull for each other. They fought together. We got better in practice even throughout the year. I love what we have coming back, starting with the guy to my left. He should have been a first-teamer.

I want to thank our seniors. It's just a disappointing way to go out.

Q. This is go with both Jordan and Brandon: It just seemed like the boulder was getting pushed uphill all night and you guys couldn't get it over the top. How frustrating was it to go through that? You were able to come back several times, but just illustrate your frustration in having to continue to come back and wipe out deficits.
THE MODERATOR: Jordan, you're first. Then Brandon, please.

JORDAN BARNES: It's tough not seeing shots go in the basket. We've got to find other ways to get it done on the other end, on the defensive end. It's most definitely tough, but I feel for these seniors.

BRANDON MURPHY: Yeah, just piggy-backing off J.B., It's real tough, especially seeing Brenton Scott not hitting any shots. I just commend Illinois State for doing what they did. They came out, they were ready. Like I said, we were ready too, but the shots weren't falling. When the shots aren't falling, it dictates on defense a little bit.

I didn't think we played too bad on defense. It's just the offense wasn't really clicking in the beginning.

Q. Jordan, it seemed like at many points in the game tonight, you guys could have taken control of the game. They gave you guys some opportunities. Can you talk about how this is a learning experience in the tournament setting, you can take this and move forward into next year.
JORDAN BARNES: We can always learn from this. There were times when we couldn't get over the hump and we just needed that one defensive stop or that one bucket on the offensive end, but that all comes down to leadership. I mean, I've got to do a better job of that, and I can carry it on to next year.

Q. For both Jordan and Brandon: From a teammate perspective, to watch Brenton to go through what he went through tonight. You don't expect anybody to go 0 for 14. How did that feel from a teammate perspective to watch him struggle? What were you guys going through watching him try to get going?
BRANDON MURPHY: We tried to get him going because we knew eventually the shot was going to fall. I told him to drive to the hole and dump it down, because when they in the zone, they were helping up so high. I told him to drive to the hole to get points easily. You may get fouled or you may not. I know in the beginning he was forcing a lot of shots. That's when me and J.B. told him to drive to the hole.

JORDAN BARNES: I feel for B. Scott. He puts in a lot of work in the gym. It's tough seeing him go through what he went through tonight because just how much work he puts in and how many shots he gets up a day. So it's kind of tough for him.

Q. This one is just for you, Brandon: Can you kind of illustrate what you're going through right now with this being your last game and what emotions you're going through.
BRANDON MURPHY: Truth be told, I'm just kind of lost right now because I really didn't have it in my plan to lose. I was planning on playing all the way to Sunday. I even told my family at home we're going to win it. I had that much confidence. I just don't know.

Played hard, we just couldn't come up with the win. I hope everybody take this as a learning experience and move on to the next year because I know about the guys that come in the locker room crying and do the things that we've been doing for the past three, four years. So hopefully, the younger guys are taking this up, and they're going to move on to next year and win it.

Q. Greg, similar question that I asked the players: As a coach, when Brenton is struggling as badly as he is, you know, what goes through your mind both from an emotional perspective watching a senior struggle, but also from a strategic perspective because it's hard to tell him not to shoot. Obviously, you compromise your own offense if he's not in the game. What were you going through as a coach watching that?
GREG LANSING: Throughout Brenton's career, he's been guilty of taking a bad shot or forcing some here or there. I really think he had a lot of good shots tonight. Maybe a couple could have been a little better, but I'm just thinking the next one's going to go, the next one's going to go, the next one's going to go. Even to the last one to tie it, I thought that was going to drop right in the middle.

Really frustrating. I think, like J.B. said, he works every day. I mean, he'll be in the gym tomorrow morning shooting. That's the type of guy this kid is. So people don't know that. They can at times get frustrated with some of the shots he takes or some of the way he plays, but he works like crazy on his game and on his craft.

And like I told him, there's been nobody I've bumped more heads with more times than Brenton Scott, but I'm proud of the person he's become. I'm proud of the leadership that he's done and just how good a teammate he became because that wasn't always the case. This was a tough one for him, and he's going to beat himself up for it, but he left his mark. He left his mark, and I commend him for it.

Q. Coach, kind of the same thing I asked Jordan: How frustrating is it when it seems like Illinois State kind of gave you a chance to grab hold of the game, and you just weren't able to do it.
GREG LANSING: You've got to make your own breaks too. Those guys are so good, especially the three that hurt us. Milik is such a tough matchup. I wish he was a senior. So good with the ball and making the right plays and getting Keyshawn in there and Keyshawn making plays for him tonight. Fayne just doing what he does. There's no better threesome probably in the league.

We made our mistakes, but you do that against a really talented team too, and I think we shoot 34 percent for the game and they shoot right at 50. Your defense is a little better and a couple shots go in, it could have easily gone the other way. But commend those guys.

Q. Milik only played six minutes in the first half, and you guys were able to get the lead there a little bit at the end, but then they kind of came back. In the big picture, how important was that in the game, not being able to get a lead with him on the bench for them?
GREG LANSING: Guys always do that. We had trouble with Qiydar and guys in and out. That's why I hate the rule like that. The officials have a tough job, but you want your best players on the floor and playing and seeing who's the best team and that kind of thing. We had some difficult lineups in there ourselves a lot of times.

He just, when he gets it going -- and we don't have a guy like some of these other teams in the league do that's a really good matchup. We've got to try to switch it up, what we're doing. He is so good. Milik does it to the best defenders in the league too. It's not just that. And when you put Keyshawn out there making shots and running the show and being a leader and you put Fayne around the basket, they're difficult to defend.

Q. Kind of along the same lines, Greg, even when Milik, obviously, had unfavorable matchups, especially when Qiydar was in foul trouble, but is he equally dangerous feeding the ball out of, when the double-team comes, he was able to get Ndiaye a couple times in the second half. He's a dangerous scorer, but as a distributor, how good is he?
GREG LANSING: He's not a good passer, he's a great passer. He will pick you apart and kill you. The thing I commend him on is he makes the right play. He's not going to force up a bad shot when the right play is to give it up, a LeBron James-type thing. People say, you need to take this shot or do that. Milik makes the right play virtually all the time.

Q. When you look at this team going forward, and I know it's pretty quickly after this one, but what are you looking at that you're hopeful about, and what do you feel needs to be addressed a little bit?
GREG LANSING: Well, you don't want to talk in front of the senior group, but I'm tired of the losing. That's not what this program's about. Just winning to stay out of the play-in game. That's not what I want.

I've got to do better. I really like what we have coming back, what we have sitting there at home with Christian and Cooper and what we have coming in with the recruiting class. Have to add another piece or two here and there because there's some -- I think there's three teams in the league, including those guys, that have basically everybody coming back.

So it's not going to be easy, but we need to get back where we belong, and that's contending for championships in the regular season and for trying to get to Sunday to win a tournament championship.

Q. Illinois State is going to the semifinal for the third time in four years. When observing them as a team, as a unit, what are some of the things you hope your players can like take away from how they operate that you hope they can apply moving forward that can put themselves in a position to maybe get further down Arch Madness?
GREG LANSING: Well, we've been there in our past too. And I think our guys, smart guys, learn from all the good teams. Learn from Loyola, a champion in the regular season and how they go about things and how they compete and play unselfishly and play together. It was a crime that these guys weren't in the NCAA Tournament last year. I mean, it's -- I can't imagine dealing with that. And still got a good group. Those guys, they lost plenty, but when you add Milik, it's a pretty good addition to it.

I think our guys need to learn from all the teams who are contending. Watch when they play on Sunday. Wish you were there, but what I told them, we have to give to contending for a championship starting in the spring. This off-season needs to be one that can propel us to contending for a championship.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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