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March 15, 2018
Rhode Island - 83, Oklahoma - 78
DAN HURLEY: Obviously, just a thrilling game to be a part of, really, the Thursday tip-off at kind of High Noon, CBS, Reggie Miller, Kevin Harlan, Big 12 Oklahoma, big Power Five school with one of the most ballyhooed players in the country this year.
Such an exciting match-up, a thrilling game. Obviously, we had our chance at the end of regulation, but we showed the character of these guys, the character of the program by the way we responded in overtime and made big free throws and put the game away. So it's about surviving and advancing, and what an exciting game to be part of.
Q. Cyril, you're a 55 percent free throw shooter in your career. You stepped to the line four times in the last minute and hit four free throws. What was going through your mind?
CYRIL LANGEVINE: I knew once I hit the free throws, the four three throws, I knew that would seal the game. So I went to the line with confidence and made the four free throws.
Q. E.C., you've talked a lot about Coach recruiting you and talking about this stage. What did it feel like to sort of live that dream today and hit some big shots on the big stage?
E.C. MATTHEWS: It's what you dream about when you're a little kid playing basketball outside, waking up early in the morning. To do it in the biggest stage, you know, it's an honor. Just to be a part of making big shots for my teammates, it doesn't get better than that.
Q. Congratulations. Talk a little bit about what you wanted to do with Trae Young today and how you were able to do it for extended periods?
FATTS RUSSELL: First, I want to say Trae Young's a very good player. But we just tried to like contain them the whole time. We didn't want to change our style of play and not be aggressive against him just because of who he is. We just tried to contain him and it worked, so --
Q. Fatts, you were put in in the second half, they needed you on offense. At one point you're averaging one point per minute. Can you walk me through that?
FATTS RUSSELL: I just try to get in and give the team whatever they need. We have a lot of great seniors on this team, so my role hasn't been as big as I may have wanted it to be. I try to make an impact every time I get in the game for my teammates.
Q. E.C., there's probably other teams that you've played on here where you get two chances to win at the end of regular nation, it rims out, and maybe overtime it doesn't go your way. Why is this group so different this year?
E.C. MATTHEWS: We're old. Old as hell. That means we're wise. We played in a lot of games, been in a lot of tough games. We was very resilient. Coach Hurley was calm, that meant we were calm. We had to make shots. Like I said, we made big shots.
Q. Fatts, you never know in the flow of a game how much opportunity you're going to get especially as a freshman. When you did get those opportunities, what gives you the confidence. You're checking maybe the guy who's the National Player of the Year out there.
FATTS RUSSELL: Coach has a lot of confidence in me. Every time I get in the game, he doesn't tell me not to be myself. They tell me to be myself. My self is confidence. That's really where the confidence comes from Coach and my teammates.
Q. E.C., how much does it help when you have been here before, when you've been on this stage?
E.C. MATTHEWS: It helps a lot. Older guys, you know, we tend to win games. You know, we got a lot of talent coming off the bench and younger guys stepping up. It makes it even better. It was just a great win. It was a lot of fun.
Q. Cyril, obviously everyone remembers the way you played against Oregon in the NCAAs. How nice was it to be back out on the Court on the biggest stage in the NCAAs and perform the way you did again?
CYRIL LANGEVINE: It feels great to be back, you know? It's March Madness, so you got to come out and give it your all. That's what I did tonight. Hopefully we can keep advancing.
Q. With all due respect, did you three guys say that Coach Hurley was calm? Have you met him?
CYRIL LANGEVINE: Oh, we know!
Q. Would one you say something besides laughing?
E.C. MATTHEWS: He's a pretty animated guy. You know, like, his demeanor what he was saying in time-out, was calm. We got the message, so we were calm, so --
Q. E.C., you just mentioned about his demeanor in time-outs. What was the message at the end of regulation? What was the message going into overtime from Coach Hurley during those time-outs, after they've tied the game and sent it to O.T.?
E.C. MATTHEWS: I knew we had another five to play. We felt confident. We thought we could still win the game. Like I said, we was very focused. We was locked in. We stick to the game plan. Like I said, we had to make big shots down the stretch and we did that.
Q. E.C., last year, when you guys were here, you shot the ball from three very well in the three games in the NCAA Tournament. First half, they weren't necessarily falling. What changed in the second half in overtime?
E.C. MATTHEWS: Just keep shooting. We got a lot of shooters. It's hard for us to miss it and stop shooting. So just keep shooting the ball, you know, after a while it tends to go in and I think that really opened up the floor for players to make plays.
Q. It takes guts to stick with a freshman when he gets a hot hand going into the game as big as this. Is that because you know the kid or you had a hot hand?
DAN HURLEY: You know, if he wasn't on such a senior-laden team, especially at the guard spot, you know, I think he would have been up for Rookie of the Year in our conference, and he would have been one of the best freshman guards in the country.
When E.C. Matthews was hurt in our nonconference at schedule, some of our biggest wins of the year, Seton Hall at Barclay's without E.C. or Cyril, and Providence at home without E.C. and Cyril, he was electrifying and put on similar performances. Today we had text message exchanges, last night. He's a competitive kid. What I told him last year, I told him when I recruited him: The only point guard I saw better than him at the Peach Jam last year was Trae Young, and he told me I was wrong about that and he was going to prove me wrong today, and he put on a show.
Q. Dan, your mom and dad were behind the bench there. What does it mean to have them there, and did you talk to your dad before the game? Did he give you any tips are before the game?
DAN HURLEY: They drove up, they drove halfway, kind of like we did with the bus. They drove halfway. It's always thrilling and emotional with me to coach with my dad there, my mother there, but also with my wife, Andrea there, and my two sons, Danny and Andrew. We create such a family atmosphere around our program, that, you know, just such a great feeling.
Q. I think Trae had four or five shots in the first half. Were you pleased with that element, the way you limited shots? You got more the longer the game went, but you really seemed to limit his attempts.
DAN HURLEY: He's was obviously 4 for 4. Our goal going into the game, it wasn't necessarily to try to keep him under a certain scoring number. It was about field goal attempts. And through regulation, our goal was to keep them to 15 shots or less. It felt like if we could funnel the ball to those others enough that we'd have a great chance to win.
We only ended up taking 18 shots with the extra five minutes. We knew he would make incredibly tough shots. The kid has no weakness and it's going to be an amazing NBA career ahead for him. It was a pleasure to -- I played against Allen Iverson and Ray Allen in college, and Alonzo Mourning. It's a pleasure to be on the court with a guy that good and that great and compete against him. But I'm proud of the way our guys rose to the challenge.
Q. Dan, you see the two shots at the end of regulation right in front of your bench. You now you have to win five more to win this one. Could you take us inside your huddle, what you were saying to the guys, and what they were saying to each other?
DAN HURLEY: There was a lot of wry smiles, Stan was hitting his leg. Dowtin was kind of rolling his eyes. There was no panic. It's amazing to play in this tournament. The atmosphere was so great in here, playing Oklahoma against Trae Young, again, you know, on this huge stage.
I mean, the guys looked like they were excited to play five more minutes. I mean, we were having a great time out there. And we've won a lot this year. We've only lost seven games. Five of those games were games we could have won. You know, so we're used to winning and we expected to win coming out of overtime.
Q. Dan, what did it mean for you to see E.C. hit those big shots there in a huge game?
DAN HURLEY: That was everything to me. You know, it's like when the one, you know, going right, you know, went up in the air, it's almost like you're saying to the basketball gods like, please take care of this guy. Everything he's been through with the injuries and, you know, the heart that that kid has, and the relationship that he has with all of the coaches, players, just how we've all kind of grown together.
And for him to have that moment that he just deserves more than any college player in the country, you know? It just -- that's like heartwarming right there. It's beyond even feeling good about winning. It's just he deserved that.
Q. What does it mean to represent the Atlantic 10 Conference amongst such like powerhouse programs from like bigger conferences here on a national stage?
DAN HURLEY: I mean, it's great for our league. We have a great conference. Bonnie's the other day, with the great win. Davidson, really since conference play, has played like a NCAA Tournament team, year in and year out. It's a great conference. We always show well in the NCAA Tournament. We're 2-0 right now in the conference.
It's a rugged league that's built to play these rugged, tough games, you know? And it's an underrated league, and we wish we could get more respect, and, hopefully, if we keep winning, that will keep happening for our league.
Q. Dan, we've talked a lot about firsts this year for this group. You're the first URI coach to win an NCAA game in multiple tournaments. Your thought on that accomplishment?
DAN HURLEY: E.C., Jared, Terrell, Jarvis, Garrett. They're responsible for this. Hassan Martin, Kuran Iverson. These guys are responsible for the historic season, the support from Thorr Bjorn and the way he's putting -- and Dave Dooley, the way they've grown the program and given us the resources to take it to another level.
It's a reflection on the fan base, and that was an amazing crowd today in Pittsburgh for us, just to see this thing kind of grow to what it's become. It all emanates from those guys. This is about them and what they've been able to do in building this special thing.
Q. Danny, does Young's quickness with the ball remind you of anything in your family?
DAN HURLEY: Yeah. You know, this -- I think he had No. 11 on out there, so that was a little eerie. I don't think Bob could shoot like that. No. The way he sees the floor, the way he's -- just with how daring he is. He just never stops coming at you. His facial expression rarely changes, you know?
I made the big mistake of watching their early season games first. I watched that Wichita State game first, and I didn't sleep for a day and a half. But, yeah. You're watching one of the -- you know, I coached the J.R. Smiths and Tristan Thompsons as a high school coach, and he's as special as anyone I've ever been on the court with.
Q. You mentioned watching them early in the season. How much did they change from when they were early in the season until now?
DAN HURLEY: They obviously were making more shots, you know, around Trae earlier in the season. You know, 4 for 20 from three. Obviously, we were trying to just stretch out that ball screens, and hold the lane off of the one or two nonshooters that they kind of had in the game, you know, at all times.
It was hard to -- it was hard to leave James or McGusty on those ball screen rolls. But sometimes their threes and four, when Manek wasn't in there, we were able to kind of string him out in ball screens and then hold the paint with the roller off of the one or two nonshooters that you had in the game, so I think, just a lack of shooting allows you to kind of gang up on Trae.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports