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March 15, 2018

Trae Young

Lon Kruger

Jamuni McNeace

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Rhode Island - 83, Oklahoma - 78

LON KRUGER: Obviously a hard fought game with the guys on both sides. The other guys really battled it and other guys late there did a good job of getting stops and getting it into overtime.

Of course, when you don't win a game any time, it's disappointing, but when it's the last game of the year of the NCAA Tournament, obviously it makes it a little more difficult. The guys battled a lot of things on the year, and at this point, when it comes to an end, congratulations to Coach Hurley and their club. I thought they had a fantastic season and did things they needed to do in overtime to win the game today.

Q. Trae, just your thoughts on the way this game ended, and the season ended for you guys?
TRAE YOUNG: I mean, it's tough. You never want it to end. I'm proud of my team the way we fought. We were down 7 with about 2 minutes left, and the way we fought back and got back into the game and forced it into overtime was just effort, and I'm proud of my team to even getting to that point. We fought hard to the end. And that's a good Rhode Island team we played today. They did a good job executing their stuff.

Q. Trae, if you could just summarize this season in a few word, how would you even explain it?
TRAE YOUNG: I summarize this season as just different. I mean, this -- I mean, this season was a roller coaster. I mean, starting off hot, cooling down, winning a few games, and going back to losing. It's a roller coaster. It's definitely tough. Like I say, you never want it to end, but this is the biggest day in college basketball.

Like I said, any team's capable of winning games. We were capable of winning that game. Rhode Island was capable. Every team is capable of winning games in this tournament and we just came up a little bit short.

Q. Trae, they did a good job not letting you shoot a lot. I think you had four or five shots in the first half.

Q. What were they doing to not let you shoot much in the first half and then you got more attempts later.
TRAE YOUNG: I think they did a good job closing in and guys in my face. When they were doing that, I was just trying to find my teammates, trying to get my teammates involved and stuff like that. Picked up two calls and two offensive fouls, but, I mean, that's how it is. I just had to get everybody involved.

Q. Trae, you don't show a lot of emotion. What was it like for you back in that locker room after you walked in with your teammates?
TRAE YOUNG: I was just trying to pick everybody's heads up. This is a young group, a young team. Only one senior, I wanted to thank Khadeem for all he did this year for me, for this team. He's one of our biggest leaders on our team, and I'm proud of the way he handled himself this year. This team's going to be -- this team is young.

I mean, this is a good experience from last year, only winning 11 games to coming to the NCAA Tournament is a big jump. So I can't wait to see the jump from now to next year.

Q. Trae, what will go into your decision-making process of whether you want to play more college basketball or try for the NBA?
TRAE YOUNG: Right now, I'm not worried about that. Right now my main focus is my teammates. Those are my brothers, and those are the people I care about most right now. It's tough after a loss to think of anything else besides that. But when you get back to me later this week, I'll sit down with my family and we'll discuss that. But right now that's not my main focus. My main focus is my teammates.

Q. Trae, how have you changed with how you respond to losses? Because I remember a year ago or two years ago after the state championship and how tough that was for you?
TRAE YOUNG: Yeah. I hate losing. I hate losing, that's not in my DNA, losing. I tried -- I left everything I could, and I know my teammates did as well -- everything they could on that floor. But I've had to mature, like I said, all season.

This is all the process. This is all -- this is a chapter in my book. This season, that chapter is closed now. They got to move on to, I mean, whatever's next. Whatever's next for me. And, I mean, this is just all of the process and I matured a lot.

Q. Jamuni, can you talk about the damage Christian did inside, Kristian Doolittle. No one outside of Trae was hitting three-pointers. You guys had a lot of efficiency from the paint. What were you guys doing to make that work?
JAMUNI MCNEACE: Me and 'Doo were trying to crash the boards and get second shots. We weren't making all the threes in the game so we were just pounding inside a little bit.

Q. Lon, was today just sort of the story of the season the last couple of months? If everybody's -- I think you went 1 for 11 from three-point range outside of Trae. Hard for you guys to win shooting like that?
LON KRUGER: These two more years have been pretty closely -- success has been pretty closely tied to making shots, and I guess today would represent that. I thought, again, the fight defensively, the fight on the boards and all that was good. Still didn't make shots that we needed to to create a little bit of a gap.

Q. In overtime, you fought back to get it into overtime. You got a lead in overtime, but you don't get anything going offensively. I don't think you made a basket until the game was sort of out of hand. What happened to your offense in overtime where you stagnated?
LON KRUGER: We had back-to-back empty possessions during that time which you can't afford to do in overtime. Turned it over a couple of times, couple of tough threes. Didn't have the positions that you have to have for sure.

Q. Lon, what did you see from your guys' defense? Was there anything in particular that gave you guys fits or was it more about not making shots?
LON KRUGER: About our defense or their defense?

Q. Their defense.
LON KRUGER: They're good defensively. They take a lot of pride in their defense all year long. Coach Hurley does a great job. They have athletic, rangy guys on the perimeter that fight hard. So they're good defensively.

Q. Did you think Trae held up pretty well in terms of maintaining his composure and decision making, slot section, that type of thing. How did you evaluate that?
LON KRUGER: He's had an interesting year, probably as interesting as anyone can have. He battled well all year long. I think today we got it going downhill a little bit in the second half, had some good opportunities, and obviously a couple fouls in the first half kind of set him back a little bit. But he battled well. He's fought well all year.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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