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March 15, 2018

Jacob Evans

Kyle Washington

Gary Clark

Nashville, Tennessee

THE MODERATOR: The University of Cincinnati Bearcats are the No. 2 seed in the South Region. They're the American Athletic Conference regular season and tournament champions. They'll play No. 15 seeded Georgia State. Friday's first game at 1:00. The contact is Andre Foushee.

Questions for the three gentlemen from Cincinnati.

Q. Gary, you guys are ranked ninth in the country in blocks. How critical do you think that is to your defense and is it something that's just innate in you guys, or is it something that you really try to focus on?
GARY CLARK: I think we really focus on it. Our big guys definitely take pride in blocking shots. Kyle is always yelling at the guards not to foul low because it takes away a block. Some of them are easier blocks that we probably could get if they don't foul. It's one of those things if our guards get beat, we've got to be help and ready to rotate and block shots.

Q. For Kyle and Gary, Mick mentioned yesterday that you guys thought about the loss to UCLA last year all summer and all season long. Was he overstating the case? How much have you thought about that? How much of a motivation is that now?
KYLE WASHINGTON: That's definitely a correct assessment. We were very disappointed about that, but I think with our loss and the defeat that we felt over the summer, I think it taught us how to win. I thought it taught us how to prevail. It brought us together. It made us a more cohesive unit. I'm excited for this year and we're just going to keep on playing together.

GARY CLARK: I agree. Definitely, it takes a while to get rid of that one. To play so well, the first half and then to run out of gas the second half, I think like Kyle said, it really taught us how to win as a unit.

A lot of guys that was on that team are still here, so it always plays in the back of our heads. As we get ready for the tournament to start again, we're just going to keep pushing.

Q. Jacob, couple years ago, you had a coming out party versus St. Joe's. What do you look forward to coming to this tournament? For the other two, Kyle and Gary, this is your last time around. What also do you look forward to in this last tournament that we're going to be in?
JACOB EVANS: I just look forward to coming out here, playing with these two, their last go-round. I want to make it special for them. I know how much it means to them if we have a nice run in this tournament.

Also, I want to send them out the right way, especially Gary, he's been here for four years, has had an awesome career. Kyle has changed the vibe around our program and has us in a positive mood all the time.

KYLE WASHINGTON: Just to have fun, but to win at the same time, I think those two ideas need to go hand in hand. It's a huge stage, and you want to execute and make sure you move on to the next round. You should have fun with it too.

Like I said before, who gets a chance to do this every day? We're extremely blessed. Going off of what Jacob said also, we want to go out the right way. We put a lot into it and all three of us have put a lot into it. All the guys in the locker room have put a lot into it. That's what we want to do.

GARY CLARK: Going off what both of them said, you want to go out the right way. Definitely, each year was a different letdown as far as, you know, freshman year, how we went down. Just so on each year.

To have this kind of unit going into it this year, really confident, excited. You've got to have fun with it for sure, and we're definitely blessed to have this opportunity. Me, for myself, being able to make it every year, I still see friends at other institutions that have never gone. They've just been able to fill out a bracket.

To be a part of it, guys texting you and family members texting you, telling you they're rooting for you, you've got to feel good to be able to get to this every year. For us, we want to not just get here, but go further.

Q. Gary and Kyle, just a follow-up what you said before about learning how to win from the UCLA loss, what kind of things did you learn about winning? What's different? Can you be more specific about what you learned?
KYLE WASHINGTON: I think that UCLA loss taught us something different about winning. I think a lot of the disappointment that we saw last year -- I mean, we went 30-6, so people might ask what disappointment.

We wanted to check off some benchmarks that we did do this year in terms of winning the conference outright during the regular season but then winning the conference tournament. I thought the loss to SMU in the championship of the conference tournament taught us something. And then not getting the outright conference title during the regular season taught us something.

Every different type of failure, this translates to different messages in life too. When you fail in something in life, you learn from that or it's going to happen again.

I think not just one thing in the UCLA game, but across that whole year last year, we learned how to become -- how to win.

GARY CLARK: I agree. You think back to our losses last year, a lot of them were down to the last play or malfunction somewhere and this year we've been able to execute down the stretch, not to give up easy buckets and foul or turnovers.

This year, we've been able to stay on the throttle on teams at times when we really are pouring it on. I think what Kyle said, every loss last year, we looked at ourselves and watched film and realized things we have to do to change to win, come out victorious instead of losing.

Q. The AAC conference tournament and the NCAA tournament, does that put you on two different sets of routines you'd have to have on a normal basis? That's the first question.
Second is probably for you, Jacob. How do you block out social media during this time, or do you read it and sort of go through it, but when everybody's asking you to do or score a certain amount of points in order to be successful, how do you answer that or how do you deal with it?

KYLE WASHINGTON: What's your first question again, Terry?

Q. About routines. Do you have to continue the same routines in the conference tournament?
KYLE WASHINGTON: I don't think you should change up your routine. From personal experience, this is my fourth tournament. I don't think you should change up routines. I think that will kind of psych your mind out.

I'm going to go off of the message that I sent earlier about having fun. You have to have fun with this game, else you're going to get burnt out and you're going to think of other negative, you know, thoughts.

And that's not what you should do. You should go into the game saying, this is a better -- this is a bigger game on a bigger stage, but it's basketball at the end of the day. So I think that's what you should go -- your mindset going into it.

JACOB EVANS: To answer your question, social media, I'm a young kid so of course I read it. But I don't let it get to me, like whatever they say. I'm having a bad game, I try to stay confident in myself. I know my teammates have my back so I never try to get down on myself no matter what they're saying on social media.

I know what it takes to win. This is my third year here and I've won a pretty good number of games here so I think I know what I'm supposed to do on the court.

Q. Jacob, you and the team as a whole, the last few games, obviously you're winning, but the offense hasn't been quite in sync. The shooting percentages are down. You, yourself, not scoring like usual. How do you guys get that back? Is there anything you specifically or the team have been working on? How important is that to get that back?
JACOB EVANS: We're back to the basics, taking our time, shot preps. Just making sure we're reading the defense the right way. Trying to stay away from hard, contested shots and just moving the ball. We have enough talent on this team to when we share the ball, then we can score.

I feel like we've gotten back to that these last couple of days in practice and we're just going forward. Also remain confident in ourselves.

Q. Gary, so earlier this week, Coach Ron Hunter of Georgia State said they're eating at Ruth's Chris, we're eating at Wendy's. They're staying at Hyatt, we're staying at Comfort Inn. Is it strange to see how the perception around this program has changed over the last four years?
GARY CLARK: Since I've been here, we've always been blue collar. I've never had Ruth's Chris. So I'm not sure where that came from. But, you know, we're the Bearcats. All year, every year I've been here, we've always been the other end of that perception.

So it's different for me to hear it, but kind of as a unit, we just, we don't pay attention to that kind of stuff. We focus on our tasks every game and go out and just dominate, suffocate teams and just try to come out victorious.

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much. Best of luck.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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