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March 11, 2018

Dan Hurley

EC Matthews

Washington, D.C.

Davidson 58, University of Rhode Island 57

DAN HURLEY: Obviously hard-fought, disappointing, disappointing result there. You know, getting that four-point lead, kind of walk them down and wore them out with our defense in that second half, obviously it was an intense game, low-scoring game. Both teams I thought guarded real well. I'm not sure how many field goals they had in the last ten minutes, 12 minutes, eight minutes, but having that four-point lead makes it just hurt.

Obviously they were struggling to score a field goal, and the two -- just those two fouls at the three, after E.C.'s 3, to put us up four, just kind of not having the discipline -- you know, not having the discipline, or, I guess, the foul on Jarvis on Gudmundsson on the wild skip pass, and then the off-the-ball foul I guess on Jeff there, when they were struggling to score a field goal, were just critical plays in the game.

You know, so putting them in the free throw line at those spots, those spots hurt. You know, last four minutes in a championship game is usually about who is going to make the last basket and Kellan Grady delivered the tournament-winning shot, big-time player.

Credit Davidson. They are a classy program. Great coach. Love those players. Couldn't have more respect for the way they play, the way they carry themselves. You know, so if you are going to lose to anyone in this league, you know, I guess Davidson, or Bonny's; we've been the three best teams in the league, but a tough loss.

Q. You feel behind and sort of came all the way back. How were you feeling at that point once you took the lead?
E.C. MATTHEWS: Coach told us it's a long game and we were getting tired and we were hitting shots. I just think they trusted themselves a little bit. Davidson trusted themselves a little bit more than we did and we made silly fouls, and you know, they won.

Q. What was the play call isolation right-to-left, I think they took away your left and wanted to force you right. What was the play call and secondary play call on that sequence?
E.C. MATTHEWS: I don't remember. Coach going to help me out.

DAN HURLEY: It was a screen to screener action for him to try to catch it. Am I allowed to answer?

You know, we had a lot of guys struggling offensively out there. E.C. was the one guy, obviously, that had it going for us. You know, so we tried to run some screen to screener, and they did a good job of taking it away. You know, threw it to Jeff, and Jeff probably should have gone downhill and tried to get something at the paint.

Q. What's the approach going to be for you guys moving forward and trying to move on from this?
E.C. MATTHEWS: It's kind of hard to think about that right now but I'm proud of my guys. Coach is proud of us. We've still got games to play and that's the good part. We are going to take this one on the chin. Davidson, you know, shout-out to them. They played harder than us, and we're going to move forward but very proud of my guys and the coaches and our school.

Q. These three games in particular, how difficult was it -- how hard did it feel being the top seed in having these teams come at you the way they did?
E.C. MATTHEWS: I mean, that's what we wanted. We work hard for this. It's very hard to repeat; we knew that. We accepted the challenges. We just came up short.

But like I said, we don't have regrets about this whole season or the games we played and lost. You know, like I said, I'm very proud of my teams, Coach Hurley, the whole school, everybody.

Q. I know your college career isn't over quite yet. As a senior, wonder if you can look back and give me any of your legacy -- before you guys got here, I think you went well over a decade without making the tourney and now you've made back-to-back I think. Any thoughts on the legacy or senior class?
E.C. MATTHEWS: This guy right here, man, he found me. He came down to the Peach down in Atlanta and he found me. I'm like, "What, Rhode Island? Coach Hurley?" I didn't really know so much. He talked about this a long time ago before anybody even thought about it. So like I said, I love this guy. I love our school, and like I said, we got more games to play and hopefully we can make a run in the Dance.

Q. They were able to get back in transition, defend the rim, also made a lot of shots. You couldn't get out on the break. Talk about the lack of transition points and how that impacted the game?
DAN HURLEY: Yeah, I mean, they literally sent nobody to the offensive glass. They had six offensive rebounds. It's just hard to run on them. Plus, it's tiring to guard them, you know, because you have to chase them. You have to chase them around the court for two hours, you know, and it's just they do a great job of getting back. Because the only offensive rebounds that they really get are the long ones off of threes.

You know, again, we just didn't have enough guys I think have good offensive games, and then, you know, the free throw line came back to haunt us. In a game that you lose by one -- and then again, putting them on a foul line in a championship game it's about scoring buckets at the end to win a championship. On the foul line in a championship game in the last four minutes, you know, it's about scoring buckets at the end. To win a championship, off-the-ball fouls, you can't commit those, or they just can't happen, not in a championship game.

Q. Obviously you wanted to win this game but for the A-10 to get three teams into the NCAA Tournament, likely, what does that mean for the league?
DAN HURLEY: Well, I guess it's what the league -- I didn't -- that wasn't what I wanted when I woke up. I guess the league is probably happy, and I'm happy for Davidson. Listen, their non-conference, they had a very difficult non-conference schedule. You know, it took Kellan Grady a little while to start playing like a first-team all conference level player, so he took kind of the whole non-conference slate, which was a very, very difficult schedule that they had, and so obviously their non-conference put them in -- it gave them no chance to get an at-large, but they have played like an NCAA Tournament team the entire conference play, and you know, they have got a chance, whoever is going to draw them, is not going to want to see their name next to them, you know, at 6 o'clock today.

Q. What did it mean to you to look up and see so many URI fans over the weekend? Seemed like you had the best support of any team here.
DAN HURLEY: Yeah, the growth, the fans deserved the -- listen, we didn't deserve it any more than Davidson did in terms of the teams. Davidson obviously earned it and beat us but just our fans, the way they showed up, the way they showed up the whole year in the Orion Center and the records that we've broken in attendance and just the way that the fan base has grown is just something you're so proud of.

Even as brutal as that was to take, just walking off the court, it's hard not to just be so proud of the players and the program and the fans and how it's grown and you know, now they will follow us to, you know, wherever we get sent at 6 o'clock.

Q. I would imagine incoming into this game, if I had told it you was going to be played in the 50s and sort of be a fistfight the way it was, you would have liked your chances.
DAN HURLEY: Yeah, we've shown the versatility this year, like yesterday, to win a high-scoring one. If you would have said to me that we were going to keep them to six made threes, and that three of them were going to come from Pritchett, you know, and then Aldridge would score 13 and not make a three, I would have felt pretty good about our chances.

Again it was just they are a better defensive team -- they are a better defensive team than they are given credit for. They are a tougher team than I think they have been in the past. They made some 50/50 plays on balls today and some really hard-nosed plays and -- but yeah, up four, I felt like we were going to walk them down in the second half. We did, we just couldn't make that extra basket.

Again, when they were struggling to make a field goal, I don't know how many field goals they scored in the last ten minutes of the game -- one? One field goal in the last ten minutes of the game, it's hard to accept, I guess, those four free throws in the last three-plus minutes, so that's one that's going to sting because we guarded the heck out of them and our guys fought their hearts out.

Q. You guys won the first 13 games in conference play, but now you've dropped three of the last five and four of the last eight. Are you at all concerned about your team's recent performance heading into the Tournament?
DAN HURLEY: No. We've played -- we've had an amazing season. We had a meltdown in our last game. We wrapped up our conference in game 16, and you know, we obviously -- Davidson is a good team. Bonny's on the road, Davidson there, Davidson here today; had late leads and just didn't close the games out.

But they are an NCAA-calibre team. St. Bonny's is an NCAA-calibre team. You have to be able to finish games. If anything my concern would be just finishing and just a little bit of the free throw lack of confidence at the line, is not who we have been and it showed up a little late in the season. That's a little concerning.

Q. Just curious if you were aware of the impact this result might have on your brother, Bobby's team. If so, your thoughts on that.
DAN HURLEY: Yeah, well, I think you're aware, you're aware of bracketology in the summer. You're aware -- you're aware of everything.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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