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March 15, 2018

Justin Cousin

Mike Jones

Christian Bradford

Randy Phillips

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Villanova - 87, Radford - 61

COACH JONES: I'm just here so I don't get fined. I always wanted to do that, man. I always wanted to do that.

First of all, all praise and glory goes to God. You know, he blessed me with being a part of this team of young men. It's just been the most fun year I've had in coaching. I've been in it probably 20 -- since 1990. I can't do the math, but, man, I've had fun.

And some years -- we went to the Final Four one year, we had played in two games in one day, but at Georgia, but never had more fun with a group of individuals in a group -- in a team like I've had this year. And obviously, disappointing that we didn't play better today, and that we didn't win the game, but a lot of that credit goes to Jay Wright, tremendous coach, Hall of Fame coach. They have a great team and hope that we can say that we lost to the National Champions.

But really proud of this group and proud of what they've accomplished. They've done things that will leave probably the best legacy of any seniors in the history of Radford basketball at the Division 1 level, and I'm very proud of them for that.

Q. I was going to ask the coach, but the same question applies. It was something to see at the end of the game when your coach called you guys over and the crowd, your crowd, was going nuts. That was quite a scene. Can you guys talk about what it meant to be here, what that moment?
RANDY PHILLIPS: That moment kind of meant a lot for us and for them, because like they know -- they kind of know that was kind of the history of what we did. But the fact that they traveled this far just to watch us play in this tournament, just to be a part of something that we built, it was big for us. I know I just grabbed the coach and started crying immediately as soon as they started going crazy. I know it was overwhelming for me.

Q. Justin, Christian, you want to answer that too?
JUSTIN COUSIN: It's been a while since Radford has been on the stage. Like, the people, alum, current students now, they just mean so much. I think it meant just as much to them as it did for us, for them to see us on this stage. And they were happy for us, and I mean they've been rocking with us the whole season pretty much, so it was a good feeling for all of us.

CHRISTIAN BRADFORD: Just to reiterate what they said, it was just a great feeling. Them guys, they supported us throughout the whole season, and it was special for us to have such a great crowd travel all of the way to Pittsburgh from Radford.

Q. You know, 16s have never won, and Villanova is obviously very good. Is there a point midway through the first half and they're up 20-something, we thought maybe this is worse than maybe we thought it would be?
RANDY PHILLIPS: No, we've been down 20 before and it came back, the game going into overtime, we still lost. But we know, any deficit, as long as we put our hard hat on, we can climb back from. It wasn't a thought at all.

JUSTIN COUSIN: You have to tip your hat to your opponent sometimes. Made a lot of shots that were contested. It was a great ball club. We got to take a chance sometime. But we knew what we were capable of from tip to the final horn, so we never really quit.

CHRISTIAN BRADFORD: I mean, yeah, like Justin said, they're a good team. They are a number 1 seed for a reason. But this team right here is special, we're battle-tested. We're a championship team for a reason. We never thought in our mind that we couldn't come back.

Q. Justin, what did it mean for you for your senior year to be able to go through the last few weeks and all of the things that happened?
JUSTIN COUSIN: It meant the world to me, especially with these guys, man. I'm kind of seen as the old head on the team, I'm a fifth year guy, and I kept telling these guys you all keep me young, man. And, I mean, I'm just so appreciative of every last one of them from the freshmen till these guys. They came in the last two years, and we just been the best of brothers throughout this season. And it's a brotherhood that will last a lifetime and I'm thankful for that.

Q. Randy, I'm sure you guys have dreamed of playing in an NCAA Tournament for a while. What has these last two weeks been like as an experience for you finishing your career like this?
RANDY PHILLIPS: I've had the best time of my life. These last two weeks have been number one for me. Every day, every moment. I have been smiling every day. I don't think I quit smiling yet, since I started crying out there a couple minutes ago.

JUSTIN COUSIN: We're talking, more than usual.

RANDY PHILLIPS: I'm excited. I'm excited.

Q. Mike, when Justin was answering, you seem to show a little emotion there. What about him, maybe him in particular and some of the other guys? He went through quite a bit this year and his role changed, I think, and how did he persevere through that?
COACH JONES: Every time, you know, we're talking as a team, and I'll say what happened a few years ago, and I'll say, Cous, you were here for that? And he'll say, yeah, I was here. And we'll say what about that year?

So it's a joke that he's been here so long. His dad was a great player at Radford. He's a legacy kid. He came in, now he's got bragging rights over his dad because he won a championship this year, and he'll have that for the rest of his life. What touched me, something we've been talking about as a team for so long, brotherhood for life. Blood, sweat and tears all season long. A long season, a lot of doubters, and for those guys to not only rise above expectations, but also meet their potential that they saw in themselves, so that was a lot of fun.

Q. Mike, I guess the same question for you. It just felt like at the end like it was a lot of class that you guys showed, and you and your fans, and it was something to see that moment when you called your team over.
COACH JONES: Yeah, it was spur of the moment. I looked at them. They didn't get a chance to cheer victory but at least they got a chance to cheer these young men. They got a great group of young men. Through the tournament, people got to learn a little bit more about them, but we got to be with them every day.

And our fans learned over the course of the season how special they were. Celebrating that championship on our home court, that was a special moment. This was a special moment. So, you know, I think we energized our alumni. We energized our University. We energized our city, and it was because we had a special group of young men that came together and had a special season. We wanted to honor them and thank them for their support.

Q. I suppose I should have ask you one question about the game, the Villanova game?
COACH JONES: You don't have to.

Q. Villanova came in, leading scorer in the country, can beat you in a bunch of ways. How difficult is it to slow down a team like that defensively.
COACH JONES: I said it for a long time. Jay Wright, I've known him for a long time since I been in this business. A terrific coach. Certainly going to be a Hall of Fame coach. His teams always super-prepared. They play extremely hard, and they are talented.

You know, a couple of those guys will probably be in the NBA one of these days soon and they make shots. Bridges is 6'7", 6'8". We can get there and put our hand up, but he's jumping over us and shooting above us. There's not much we can do but make them work. Sometimes I think we didn't necessarily play Radford basketball for stretches of the game, but a lot had to do with them, in how well they did and how well-coached they are.

Q. Coach, I just wanted to ask you, what do you feel you learned about yourself and about your team throughout this great run that you guys had this year?
COACH JONES: Yes. Good question. You know, I'm not that complicated a person. You know, I -- my faith in God is strong. It's getting stronger and stronger every day. And I know if I put him first, that everything else will be taken care of. And I learned that for myself this year.

All I do is show up, and if I get knocked down, I get up. That's who I am. My guys, I try to impart that to them, that regardless of who believes in you and who doesn't, you know, what happens in a situation, whether it's good for you or not, you know, life is a lot harder than basketball, and you've got to be able to, you know, handle all of this adversity and go on.

And that's the thing that I learned about these guys is that they are tough enough to handle adversity. They are tough enough to go through stretches where we don't score for a long time and still believe they can win the game. They are tough enough that if they fail the test or do poorly on the paper, that they're going to come back and still have a chance to have a good semester.

Those things important not for now. This four-year fantasy world being in college where you get in trouble and Coach comes to talk to you, or in the real world we get in trouble and police come and talk you to, we want these guys to be prepared to handle the situation. I think they're tough enough to handle it.

Obviously there's growth to be gained. I've seen toughness, emotional toughness, mental toughness and physical toughness throughout the year.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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