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March 8, 2018

Dave Paulsen

Javon Greene

Otis Livingston II

Washington, D.C.

George Mason 80, UMASS 75

DAVE PAULSEN: That was a great win for our guys. I'm really, really proud of them. You know, really gritty, gutty performance. I thought UMASS played really, really well, and they made shots and I think with the exception of the first couple minutes, I think they were pretty well contested shots. They really competed and did a great job.

But I like the way our guys buckled down. We were down 16 maybe at the under 12-minute media time-out and said, we can't panic. We had a little too much panic our eyes but at the same time we have to have a greater sense of urgency on the defensive end, and I think we did that.

These two guys obviously did a great job but I think really the story of the day was the play of Greg Calixte and AJ Wilson, tandem, I think they combined for 12 offensive rebounds. We had 20 offensive rebounds and 26 second-chance points and that kept us alive. Then we knocked down free throws and obviously oh piss, 14-for-14 is not bad there.

I thought Javon, in addition to making some really good plays offensively, really, and you look, Pipkins is at 31, but I thought Javon's defense down the stretch on Pipkins was really, really good.

Q. Javon, down the stretch, you know Pipkins wants to take the shot, tie the game. Take us through what your defensive mentality is against him, given the night he was having.
JAVON GREENE: Yeah, Pipkins is a great player and Coach just told us, he's switching every screen, so I trusted my teammates and they communicated with me well. I played to my best ability and he's hitting shots, and you know, we just played -- we just ended the game well.

Q. Did you know that you might guard Pipkins down the stretch coming into the game, and if so, how do you prepare to guard a guy like that?
JAVON GREENE: Well, gin, but you know, I was just prepared for every situation, and my time has come and I just had to guard him and play, you know, not let him score easy buckets and make all his buckets tough, and that's what I did.

Q. Otis, what did you see in the defense that allowed you to attack the inner paint a little wit and get to the line so many times there in the second half?
OTIS LIVINGSTON II: Yeah, I just didn't want to settle for shots. I just wanted to be aggressive. I knew that they were in the bonus. So any foul call was semi to the line, so I was trying to be aggressive, just attack the rim.

Q. What were you thinking when you picked up your third foul there?
OTIS LIVINGSTON II: Yeah, I don't know, I was disappointed in the call, you know. I think it was I foul. But I just have to keep my cool, keep my patience. I think Coach took me out and just stay cool, you know, trust in my teammates on the floor. You know, and they did a good job.

Then I knew that when I came back, I couldn't pick up another foul.

Q. In this tournament, obviously because of the way it is, you win and you almost immediately have to think of what's next. You guys have played Saint Joe's on two buzzer-beaters this year. What are your thoughts going into tomorrow?
OTIS LIVINGSTON II: Yeah, they are a good team with great players. It's going to be a tough game. We just have to rest up, you know, and see our trainer, you know, make sure that we're fresh for tomorrow and pay attention to the scouting report that the coaches are going to put together for us.

Q. You guys have been involved in a lot of very close games of late. How are those situations helping you now in the tournament in another obviously close game today?
OTIS LIVINGSTON II: Yeah, it's just something that we're comfortable with, having close games in the regular season, so when it's time for this type of format, you know, we are really comfortable in those close, tight games down the stretch.

Q. You've battled back from a lot of big did he have fits this season. Do you think that helped you early on tonight?
OTIS LIVINGSTON II: Oh, yeah, for sure. We didn't panic. We just trusted in the process, trusted in our coaches and what they were telling us to do, and it paid off for us.

Q. I'll ask you the same thing. Obviously Saint Joseph's is tomorrow. How do you prepare for a team that you've gone down to the last second shot with twice in the regular season? Is that a confidence builder or does it make you wary because you have to go a full 40?
DAVE PAULSEN: Well, I think with this league, always, historically, but certainly this year, you know, every single game is a grind-it-out game. Now obviously ours with Saint Joe's were buzzer beaters but they are all coming down to the wire and they are all going to come down to one or two possessions but what we try to tell our guy s is in a 140-, 150- possession game, every possession has meaning and has significance.

So we've just got to really be locked in in terms of what we did well that had success against Saint Joe, but also, you know, what we have to improve upon, and that's been our theme with our guys. Let's make a one percent improvement every day, and if we can do that, then we can keep trying to make a run one game at a time.

Q. What was your plan to guard Pipkins? Was it to start with Justin on him?
DAVE PAULSEN: Yeah, Justin got the assignment. Justin picked up two quick falls. Javon came if there. I got a little upset, shall we say, early on, when two consecutive times Justin gave Pipkins space and Javon gave him space, and I think from that point on, pretty much everything that he got was earned. He's a heck of a player.

But I thought we made him become a driver, you know, and early on, probably had three or four threes in the first eight minutes, and we made him become a driver, and certainly he's good at that but I thought our help defense was pretty good. We forced him into some turnovers at some pretty key junctures.

Q. How would you describe the growth and maturity some of these young guys that we saw, really make a difference tonight in the tournament? A lot of freshmen and sophomores.
DAVE PAULSEN: I think, really, Javon, you know, was in double figures. He guarded Pipkins. Goanar, you know, just does so many good, intelligent smart things. And then really, the real bonus was the play of AJ Wilson and Greg Calixte. So I thought all four of those guys just did a great job and they have improved.

You know, early on, Goanar was pretty savvy and was ready for the bright lights, and the other three guys, quite frankly, weren't, and that's to be expected. But they have really embraced working hard and all they care about is their teammates. It's fun to watch their maturation.

Q. Obviously you get to Sunday, you might worry about tired legs, but in these early games, is it a benefit time to maybe get one game in, as opposed to sitting on a bye or even a double-bye?
DAVE PAULSEN: I'll tell you tomorrow about 4:30. You know, I don't know. The one thing I've learned is when you coach 18-, 19-, 20-year-old males, you can't draw any conclusions or parallels because you never know what the heck they are going to do.

But I do think to win a game like this, to get some confidence, to get used to the tournament atmosphere, I think it's a positive.

Q. What did you say to your young team early to settle them down when they were down by 14?
DAVE PAULSEN: You know, I said, everyone, including me, okay, because I got so upset at a couple of our defensive lapses and our lack of like running good offense; so everyone here, including me, guys, we cannot panic, okay. But every guy has got to commit to have a greater sense of urgency. You know, the two are not contradictory.

I thought we didn't have the urgency on the defensive end and that led to panic and rushed shots on the offensive end. When we got that balance correct, you know, I thought we didn't turn the ball over, but running better offense, we got closer to the basket. We got offensive rebounds. We got to the foul line. Early on, we were just living and dying with jumpshots.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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