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March 8, 2018

Mike Rhoades

Jonathan Williams

Washington, D.C.

VCU 77, Dayton 72

MIKE RHOADES: Well, it was a great game. Just really proud of our guys. It was a team win without a doubt. So many guys had so many different ways they contributed on both ends of the floor. I was really proud.

I thought the spirit of our team the last few minutes of the game, even though we were down, sort of told the story to me. The guys, they believe they are going to win. I told them in the one time-out at the end, get three stops and we'll win the game, and it was maybe the three best stops of the season and two of our shot clock violations, our defense won it for us down the stretch. Really proud of our guys. Great effort led by our seniors, Justin and Johnny, and I thought Johnny had a great floor game that really helped us.

Q. How much do you think the crowd impacted the last few minutes for you guys? Looked like half the house was VCU.
MIKE RHOADES: Yeah, might even have been more. You see all that black and gold, our guys even talked about it before the game when they came in the locker room for the last time about, hey, everybody is still here and everybody's got our backs. Really appreciative is the word I will always use around here, that Ram nation, no matter what, has these guys' back. They cheer for these guys all the time. They care about how we do things, and it was pretty awesome. Down the stretch, they got nice and loud. That was huge. That's a great advantage to have.

Q. Johnny, that final play there, what's going through your mind as you're spinning through the lane and coach, what's going through your mind, it's a tough shot, but it goes in.
JONATHAN WILLIAMS: We just basically wanted to get a ball screen at the top so we can get a switch, and basically just wanted to be one-on-one with Justin in the post. When I was looking for him to pass it to him, they did a good job of fronting it, so I couldn't give them the ball. So I had a 4-man on me, so I knew I could get by him and get to the rim, so that's why I did it.

MIKE RHOADES: He does a great job getting downhill, as we call it and when he keeps his balance, he finds a way to score, he can really finish the ball with his left hand and that's what you saw. He's been doing that for quite some time. I've been watching him since junior high and he always finishes that way.

Q. Johnny, it looked like early in the second half, I thought maybe coach was bringing in Malik, and it looked like maybe you called that off, and you said you were staying in. I don't know if that's true but it just seems like you really wanted this one. Can you just talk about how important it is to just kind of play for your life?
JONATHAN WILLIAMS: I know what you're talking about, but that was kind of like, I think Issac got like two fouls in a row, and I was like, I'm tired, but I know I can fight through it. So just having Malik get IV because we're going to need him down the stretch to guard Darrell Davis. He's a really good defender. He's long, active when he's on defense. So I just was basically have Malik go in and Malik could defend, as well, and he could knock down a long ball.

Q. What happened on that play where you and Landers cracked heads together and then how did you feel after?
JONATHAN WILLIAMS: He was just trying to get the ball. He didn't mean to head-but me or nothing like that.

MIKE RHOADES: For him as a big man as a freshman, as he plays behind one of the best players in the league who can play a lot of minutes and then when teams try to go small against us, that sort of limits his minutes a little bit more, but when he has an unbelievable attitude, and he wants to -- you see him on the bench, he's moving, he's jumping up-and-down. He's locked in.

So you know if you throw him in there, you know what you're going to get and he's only going to get better and better and he has a bright future for us. He gave us great minutes in the first half and even the second half, and throws his body after the ball.

Q. In that first half, kind of got physical, how do you guide the kids to stay aggressive but not go over that line, especially when there's a couple times it seems like the officials were kind of looking to get control.
MIKE RHOADES: It's a fine line. You don't want them to lose their swag or their aggressiveness, but no matter what, you can't do something that hurts your team. You know, they got offset in technicals and that could put you on the bench if you're in foul trouble.

So play the game, is what I tell the guys. Just play the game, and unfortunately, you see a little bit more of that, we talk about it all the time. It's about your team, every action you have out there has got to be to be about your team and we sort of cut it, when we brought our guys over together, no more of that stuff. You've got to get through the talk. You've got to play the game and I thought our guys did a good job of that.

Q. Coach talked about stops at the end of the game. 72-70, Dayton runs a double screen, Mike'l Simms comes out and knocks away an entry pass. How big was that play?
MIKE RHOADES: Huge. Huge. We blew the play up which was great but now you have a little guy and a big guy. Ke'l is pretty strong and he's a tough kid. So he was going to just -- he fought like crazy. We had a little bit of -- we had some good back side help, but that is a mismatch. You have to scrap that out this time of the year and we did that. That was big. That was big for Ke'l. Ke'l is a tough kid, so he wasn't going to quit on the play, that's for sure.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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