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March 11, 2018

Bob McKillop

Kellan Grady

Peyton Aldridge

Rusty Reigel

Washington, D.C.

Davidson 58, University of Rhode Island 57

BOB McKILLOP: The game is clearly a statement about how strong this conference is. Rhode Island is going to give people a lot of problems in the NCAA Tournament. They are as tenacious and tough a defensive team as I've seen in a long time, other than Virginia. They are just superb.

I thought our guys showed great toughness to be able to build a lead and then have it evaporate and then be able to come back and take the game. I was particularly pleased with our defensive effort. That's as good a defense as we've played all year long.

Q. You went something like 12 minutes without making a field goal. How were you able to come back from that and still pull out a win?
BOB McKILLOP: Foul shots win games. We were a very good foul-shooting team, and I thought we did that very well today. It wasn't as if we didn't get good shots. I thought we got great shots, but they played even better defense on those shots.

John had a layup; Kellan had a layup; John had a layup; Kellan had a layup, and they blocked them. I think they only wound up with four blocks, but boy, they changed a lot of our shots at the rim and we don't rebound the ball very well on the offensive glass, so we're getting one look at it.

And then of course, we had some turnovers that just was part their defense and part us making poor decisions.

Q. Yesterday you took more threes than twos, and today you took 50 field goal attempts, and only 18 were 3-pointers. Do you feel like Rhode Island had you a little bit out of your game plan on the offensive side?
BOB McKILLOP: They have done that to use three games this year, three games last year, two games the year before. They historically have run off off the three-point line and they do a marvelous job.

Those guys they are very good basketball players. They would be incredible defensive backs. Their break on the ball is super, just outstanding break on the ball. They get us off the line. What happened was they got us off the line and it opened up the driving lines. Kellan has a drive to the basket. John has a drive to the basket and they break on the ball and recovering, you saw what happened.

Q. Seemed like towards the end of the first half their plan was basically don't let you touch the ball and smother you if you got it. Was there an adjustment you made in the second half to try to get yourself some better looks?
PEYTON ALDRIGE: Know, we just wanted to stick to our offense. They were playing aggressive on me and I was just looking to help people as much as I could, setting screens, ball screens away, and my teammates also did a good job of setting screens for me to be able to get open and get those catches.

Q. What was the impact of your team's transition defense? They were not able to get easy baskets.
KELLAN GRADY: Yeah that was definitely a pivotal part of our scouting report was making sure we kept them out of transition. Like Coach McKillop said, their break on the ball is like no other, so we tried to eliminate live ball turnovers and if we did have any, we were -- you know, we made a big emphasis to get back on defense, load up, find shooters in transition and try to stop the ball. I think we did a good job of that.

Q. So your name is going to be called tonight on the selection show. Has that sunk in yet, that you're going to the NCAA Tournament?
RUSTY REIGEL: I'd say right now, we're still kind of celebrating the win we just got, but I think it's definitely in the back of our minds and going to be in the front very soon. Knowing the coach and the staff we have, we're going to be preparing for whoever we're going to be matched up with tomorrow, and that's going to be fun.

Peyton and I made it our freshman year, and getting that experience again is best thing we could possibly have. I'm so happy for all the young guys, too, that they get to do it and we're all looking forward to it.

Q. Obviously you guys winning probably steals a bid from somebody else on the bubble. Is that something you're aware of and does that make it any sweeter knowing that you guys are in and somebody else may be isn't?
PEYTON ALDRIGE: We really weren't thinking about that. We were just thinking of focus on this game, and we knew if we won we were getting in. We were just really focusing on that. We just wanted to go out there and have fun playing with each other, and that's what we did today and we were able to come away with the win.

Q. Seems like your eyes light up when you get an isolation look, ball in your hands. How good does it feel for your team to trust you in those situations because they clearly look for you to put the ball in the bucket?
KELLAN GRADY: It's an unbelievable feeling and I am just fortunate to be an a team where my teammates believe in me, our coaches believe in me and our assistants believe in me.

We went to a play we've run frequently and we've had a lot of success with this year and having everyone on your back supporting you, believing in you, it gives you a lot more confidence and I believe that I think if I had an empty baseline I could convert or make a play for somebody else and fortunately, we came up successful on that possession.

Q. Having played in the league all year, did you feel like this was a league that maybe deserved more than one or more than two NCAA teams?
PEYTON ALDRIGE: Yeah, definitely competing every night, we know it's a tough league. Anybody can win on any given night, and really beat up on each other. I mean, there's a lot of talent in this league and hopefully we'll get multiple teams into the NCAA Tournament.

Q. There's a couple McKillops on the staff and a Reigel. A lot of teams preach they are one big family, but what is it like to have family on the staff?
RUSTY REIGEL: It's funny, sometimes my brother and I will get into it a little bit more than I would with another assistant coach. He'll whisper something in my ear during practice, and I'm not sure I like it, but I move on pretty quickly.

Actually, it's been awesome. It's been amazing being able to communicate with him and kind of work through different things that you may not have in the same relationship with another assistant coach. It's a different experience for sure but I think everybody would say that all the coaches, the assistant coaches are kind of like big brothers to every one of us and it's pretty cool.

Q. Your team went about 12 minutes-ish without making a field goal and then you hit the game -- wound up being the game-winner, to then break that field goal drought. Take me through that final play.
KELLAN GRADY: Yeah, I mean, going through a 12- or 13-minute drought without a field goal was obviously a bit frustrating, but we kept saying in the time-outs and the media time-outs, that we were going to stick to our secondary, our flow, our motion offense because we've had success with it and we got to the championship game because of it and we trust in each other and trusted in what we've done all year.

And fortunately with a minute left we were able to score and break that drought. They had tremendous momentum those last three minutes. I think they went on a 7-0 or 9-0 run, so to be able to get over that hump, and then credit to our defense, we got three straight pivotal stops and we were victorious.

Q. Looked like you really stumped E.C. Matthews on that last play for Rhode Island, getting the ball out of his hands. How did you defend him there?
KELLAN GRADY: The goal was to try to keep him from getting to his left hand. He's a tremendous player; when he's on his left hand, he's about as good as it gets in this league. He wanted to send it to his right hand and hope that that's where our help defense was go going to be, and fortunately that's exactly what happened. We made him give it up. Jeff Dowtin's fadeaway three was a very difficult shot that we were confident that we could get the rebound.

Q. That 2-3 matchup first half was effective and put them on their heels. Is that something that's a common thread in your defensive scheme? How effective do you think it is?
BOB McKILLOP: We started using it thanks to one of our assistants Kevin Kuwik who did the scout for this game. Kevin is sensational and we put it in when we are in Hawai'i in December, used it against Akron. And I'm the kind of coach that when a team makes a three, get out of the zone, and we go out, we play Akron, they made like five threes in the first four or five minutes but we stayed in the zone. He convinced me; that's how powerful he was in his conviction.

We stayed in it and it became better and better as the season progressed. It keeps you out of foul trouble, it gives a different look, it breaks rhythm, and yes you have to be able to live with threes. I thought it was a pivotal part of our plan tonight.

Q. I believe Kishawn came into this game 0-of-8 from behind the arc in the month of March, so how on earth was he able to be so successful, and for a guy who recruits internationally was the 20-minute drive to Mooresville the easiest drive of your career?
BOB McKILLOP: If you ever saw him shoot in practice, we have these shooting drills. He is spot-on. He doesn't miss. He's got the prettiest-looking jumpshot, but when he missed a lot of his jumpshots, it was because of a lack of balance. He has a tendency sometimes to stand up right and not be balanced.

So we showed some clips this morning to him privately about shots he made, and it was only about ten clips and one of our assistant coaches, Ryan Mee, put it together, and we showed it to Kishawn and sure enough he goes outs and misses I think the first one and then he misses a layup, and the layup was the kind you have nightmares about.

I don't know if you guys have might nightmares. I have nightmares about the end of semester and I haven't been to class yet -- you have that one? (Laughter) I also have a run-out layup and I miss it. Well, Kishawn had that run-out layup, and he missed it. I was just shocked that we'd had success -- and of course he makes the three and he got a little bit hungry when he took the third one and finally made the third in the second half.

I think it's a tribute to him and his willingness to fight through the struggles of going 0-8.

What was the second part of the question?

Q. And the drive 20 minutes away?
BOB McKILLOP: Yeah, he was an easy recruit. I said yes for him. I'm serious. (Laughter) So you said Yes, Kishawn? You said yes? That was the conversations on the phone (chuckling).

Q. You guys got off to a slow start to the year, started 5-7, was there one game that you can point out in your schedule where you feel like you turned the corner --
BOB McKILLOP: Yeah, Saint Louis, first game of the new year, we had just gotten slapped around by Richmond. They played a great game. They just completely slapped us around. We had come out of Hawai'i, lost two-out-of-three in Hawai'i. We played some pretty darned good teams, Nevada, Virginia, North Carolina, that's not chopped liver.

And I Pomeroy, is that one of the ratings? I think had credited the fact we go to Hawai'i, come back across the country; go to Nevada, come back across the country; play a neutral site, Carolina, at Virginia. So we played a pretty tough schedule.

But in the Saint Louis game, at halftime, we were down and we just had nothing, and we just turned it around in the second half, and it was at that point, that was a defining moment for our team and then we went on the road to play at VCU about three weeks ago and beat them and had kind of a convincing victory, and again, a defining moment.

So we've had some defining moments. I would say those are the two pivotal ones.

Q. How hard is it -- your guys share the game well, but you also give them a lot of offensive freedom to score when they get a good look. How hard is it to mesh those concepts, particularly with young players?
BOB McKILLOP: The greatest strategy we use offensively is make the other team defend you. We have got our guys convinced that if they make their cuts, they make their reads, they pass the ball, they hit the open man, they are going to -- the defender is going to stand up, turn his head, stop talking, lose sight, and unfortunately the three D's: Decisions, discipline and details sometimes escape.

So we made a concerted effort to tell our players: No shortcuts. Because in a tournament like this shortcuts can develop because fatigued, because of the pressure of the moment, because the pressure of the defense, and I thought our guys were great tonight with not taking shortcuts.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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