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March 7, 2018

Matt McCall

C.J. Anderson

Carl Pierre

Washington, D.C.

UMASS 69, La Salle 67

MATT McCALL: Extremely proud of our team. I thought it was a game where there was just an enormous amount of adversity, foul trouble, and our guys really, really battled through it. And even late in the game there, having an opportunity up one with the ball twice underneath an out-of-bounds and was trying to use Unique a little bit there as a decoy on a lob play. But give La Salle credit; they defended well both times and still found a way to get a stop.

Malik really anchors our defense a lot at the 5-spot, and you know, him being out the at the game there late, you like him out on the floor, so we went with five guards and Ray Miller did an unbelievable job loading up on Pookie Powell there and made them take a really, really challenge, difficult shot.

But proud of our team. Proud of this group. I said to the locker room, it was pretty evident after the game, you know, during the game, that C.J. Anderson didn't want his clothe career to end, and he played with a vengeance today. Just really proud of everyone.

Luwane was on the bench there for a large portion of the second half, and we found a way to score and get points. You know, I thought we were getting pretty stagnant will offensively in the first half. I thought we were settling too much.

And C.J. did an unbelievable job in the second half getting down in the lane and creating plays and creating offense for us.

Q. Carl, you had the sequence where you had the block and then had a couple of baskets shortly after that, right after Luwane picked up his fourth foul. Was this one of those situations where a guy gets into a foul situation and everybody raises their game because of it?
CARL PIERRE: For sure. I think we just like to -- we preach just having the next man up, everyone's got to be ready. Before every game we tell every person to be ready and I think today was a game where that really was emphasized. Had a few guys with foul trouble, and I think everyone just stepped up their game and played with an intensity that we really needed to pull it out.

Q. Coach just mentioned, you trying to get the most out of every last moment of your career. You've been down the stretch more aggressive. Does it feel like you're trying to not leave anything on the table?
C.J. ANDERSON: That's exactly what's going on. It's been a long, long journey so far, but I mean, we have so much left in our team to keep winning, keep playing, keep battling. So I mean, I just preach to God, man, we're ready. We just celebrate it. We just won a good game. That's one. It's time to get back to the boards and get ready for the next one.

Q. Carl, as a freshman, what do you think of your first experience of the postseason in college?
CARL PIERRE: I've been very excited to play in the postseason. It's been a really fun experience, high-level basketball. This is definitely what I signed up for and I'm really excited to play as much as I have been, and I've just been trying to get out there and play with an edge, every play, every possession.

Q. For both of you guys, given some of the close games that you guys have been in down the stretch, did that kind of help you to be sort of in the right mindset for postseason play?
C. J. ANDERSON: Most definitely. I feel like the changing point for us in the game was we got into it when we were trying to decide if we were going to go man or zone, and you know, we were sort of going back at each other, you know, arguing a little bit.

Then we came into the time-out, we talked about it and as soon as we got out of the huddle, a Carl came up to me, like, "Yo, C, I got you: And I got you too, my bad. I feel like that was I changing point because you know when it comes to pest season play, it's all about facing adversity and it's all about overcoming it, and I feel like that was big for us.

Q. Did you guys feel like this first win is getting over that first hump for you to make a deep run here in the tournament?
CARL PIERRE: I wouldn't consider it getting over a hump or anything, because I was confident with my team from jump. We know what we're capable of. We can play with just about anyone as long as we're locked in and we play with intensity, and I feel like this first game is just a testament to that.

Q. You have struggled to score sometimes with Pippen. What CHANGED?
MATT McCALL: We kept the ball in C.J.'s hands in an enormous amount there, and he was attacking and kept getting down in the lane.

I thought Malik was aggressive. We got him some post touches in there and Malik has really, really improved. He's day guy that's gotten better each and every day. We feel comfortable as a team rolling it into them and letting him work and going in there and scoring.

I thought it was a huge play. We ran a little action there and we put Carl in a pick-and-roll with the ball in his hands, and he made a great play got right to the elbow for a pull-up jumper late in the game. I thought that was a huge play for us, as well.

As long as we're playing the game unselfish, as long as the ball is moving, you know, we didn't have a high number of assists. I thought we had way too many turnovers tonight but as long as we're playing the game unselfishly, you know, we're going to get open looks.

Q. Did the George Mason game help prepare you guys for that stretch without Pip? Looked like you didn't flinch and were comfortable with different guys taking the aggression.
MATT McCALL: Yeah, you know, I think the whole season's prepared you for this. I mean, there's been times where he's been out on the floor. There's been times where he hasn't been out on the floor, and again, I said it on the radio before the game, I'll say it again, I said it after the Duquesne game, you know, C.J. Anderson is playing his best basketball of his UMASS career. I wasn't here for the first three years of it, but I guarantee you, that's the case and really, started there kind of late in the season and was terrific at George Mason, as well.

So you know, I think even when Pip came back in the game, he deferred a little bit. He kept giving the ball back to C.J. and we kind of played him off the ball and listen, Pip wants to win, as well. He's not concerned or consumed right now with shooting and scoring. He wants us to advance in this tournament.

Q. You played Mason twice this year and went to over time twice and lost twice. Now I have 18 hours to prepare to play them in a building about two miles from their campus. Assuming it goes done to the wire, which I assume it will, what do you think is going to be the X-factor or what will fans tuning in look for to see who will come out ahead?
MATT McCALL: Is it only two miles? I think it's a bit further. Two miles is the Washington Monument.

Listen, we were in two battles with them. The first game we were a completely different team. We had Rashaan Holloway, we had Chris Baldwin that first time we played him. The second time we played them, we didn't have Pipkins. I think both games are different. You know, and our guys are excited to play. You know, neither one of those games is going to have any impact on this game.

We've got to go out and execute and we've got to follow the game plan and would he have got to get back tonight and get some rest and watch fell many as a staff and find different ways to attack them that worked the last time. Maybe we need to adjust some things this time and we've got to go out and play.

But those two games, you know, they are not going to have an impact on this game here. They have got a terrific team. They have had a great year. You know, Coach Paulson has done an unbelievable job putting them in position to be in the top half of the league here and we're excited. We are excited to continue to play and our guys, they will be ready to go.

Q. You mentioned you'll watch some film tonight. Specifically, with such a tight turnaround, can you share exactly what to might and tomorrow morning will look like for you?
MATT McCALL: Yeah, I think, what time is the game, 2:30? So, you know, it will be a late night for me. Our players will get back. Our staff does an unbelievable job of scouting, so our assistant coaches have already prepared the scout for this game. George Mason didn't play today, so it's not like you're going to watch that game film.

We'll get back to the hotel. We'll show the guys a look of things we did well in the game, things we didn't do well the last time we played them and both times we've played them and where we need to get better, and then our guys will get rest. They will get treatment. We'll be up watching tape and then tomorrow morning will be a walk-through, no shootaround. We'll be walking through some stuff in the hotel. Got to go out and play.

This time of year, it always boils down to -- advancing in the tournament comes down to playing inspired, playing really, really hard. Doing the little things in the game because you're not always going it make shots. We made ten threes tonight. I don't know if you can make ten threes tomorrow night. If we don't, we've got to get ourselves second-chance opportunities, get to the backboard and really guard.

I thought late in the game, the last time we played them, we did a pretty good job keeping the ball out of Otis Livingston's hand and we ended up fouling a three-point shooter by the logo. So we've got to look at some of that stuff and see how we can continue to be aggressive with him.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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