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March 16, 2018

Billy Kennedy

Robert Williams

Tyler Davis

Admon Gilder

Charlotte, North Carolina

Texas A&M - 73

Providence - 69

BILL KENNEDY: Good to win a hard fought, physical game against a well-coached team like Providence. I thought we played through our post guys and did a good job of getting it inside and did a good job of rebounding for the most part. And I thought Admon Gilder the first half was tremendous. When we really struggled scoring, he made some big plays for us posting up and scoring in a variety of ways.

THE MODERATOR: Questions now raise your hand.

Q. Both you guys, Tyler and Admon, you missed your first ten shots. You go 633 without scoring. How good was the defense intensity there to keep yourself in the game when you weren't scoring a basket?
ADMON GILDER: We put our heads on playing defense. Coach Kennedy tells us everyday that's where we're the best. Having the bigs, Tyler and Robert, with the shot-blocking ability they have and the keeping the guards out of the lane. Just we just kept on fighting and that's what we did today.

TYLER DAVIS: We just played defense, man we played hard. You know it's going to be stretches where they make their runs offensively. We hang our hat on defense. That's what we've done all year.

Q. Admon, you're usually pretty businesslike. When you hit that 3 late, that was a little bit of draining there, can you tell me what went through your mind there?
ADMON GILDER: I new it was a gig shot. TJ drove in the lane, does a great job of getting in the lane. Once I fit the 3, I felt good and all the emotion came out of me, so --

Q. This is for Robert and Tyler, just the importance of rebounding the way you did, how much of an advantage is that in any game you play, much less against a team that maybe doesn't have your size?

ROBERT WILLIAMS: It's something we take pride in every game. Our coaches stress to us before the game, the other team emphasize hitting us, boxing us out. We wanted to guard them and show them and be more aggressive doing what they do.

TYLER DAVIS: We're out there doing our jobs. We know we have the advantage inside most games, so this is just another game where we came out and gave a hundred percent effort on the glass.

Q. Robert, what were you thinking on the dunk like you tried to size up a highlight reel moment and late in the game?
ROBERT WILLIAMS: Actually wanted to go through my legs, but I thought the Coach would take me out.

KENNY WILLIAMS: He can't go between his legs, believe me.

ROBERT WILLIAMS: I thought he was going to take me out. Highlight moment, like you said, to create memories.

THE MODERATOR: Other questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Admon, how about TJ, especially in the second half where he was scoreless in the first, this guy has so much confidence. How big was he in the second half with 15 after the break?
ADMON GILDER: He did a really great job of keeping his composure. He kind of struggled a little bit, and in the second half he got it going for us inside the lane. He started hitting the 3s. He started running our team like we know he's capable of doing.

Q. Talked about rebounding, you two out-rebounded their whole team. You couldn't have even thought that would happen before the game started.
TYLER DAVIS: We got a lot of help from our guards, too. Our guards put bodies on the outside so we can play one-on-one on the inside. It was really a team effort. We were able to snag a couple boards.

Q. Robert and Tyler, Providence does a decent percentage of its scoring slash to the basket with the ball. Your size seemed to really be a counter on it.
Are you the kind of team that you know neutralizes teams that go to the basket?

ROBERT WILLIAMS: We're the type of team that tries to execute the Coach's game plan and scout. We figured Providence is a slashing team. They play small, try to take advantage of the bigs so me and Tyler had to move our feet, get dirty with the guards, I guess you can say that, any way to help our team win.

TYLER DAVIS: Just doing our job. Rob got it.

Q. Admon, I'm curious, first half 33 percent, second half 68 percent. Any difference? What led to that difference?
ADMON GILDER: Came out and played hard. We was up by one at the halftime. We know we said in the locker room, Coach said to keep your foot on the gas. We're here to have fun and enjoy the experience.

THE MODERATOR: Other questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Admon, Coach already talked about what you did in the first half, you know, especially offensively kind of brought you guys back into the game. Did you feel like that needed to be done with the start that you guys got off to?
ADMON GILDER: You can say that, but like I say, I said, we said we had the size advantage and luckily I got going in the paint. That's something you don't see everyday. Like I said, we execute the game plan and got it done.

Q. Admon, I know that you talked a little bit about how Starks played today. But generally speaking, the way that he's come along during the season to be the guy he was today, can you describe what you see in the way that he's developed?
ADMON GILDER: He's developed like extremely -- I know everyday -- he's one of our hardest workers. He's in the gym every day, putting up shots, working out before and after practice. I'm not surprised of what he's accomplishing right now. I think he has more to come. And so as long as he keep his composure, keep his mind right, he's going to be a great player.

THE MODERATOR: One more question for the student-athletes.

Q. Tyler or Admon or Robert, whoever wants to take it. I'm curious, can you talk about what the -- I guess for lack ever a better word -- the mood or atmosphere was like in the locker room halftime. Surely you don't feel like you didn't play well, yet when you go in with a lead after the slow start that you had.
TYLER DAVIS: We just stressed staying together. We know there's going to be ups and downs in the game, but at halftime we knew we had to stay together, talk things out, what do we see on the court, and come out and win the first five minutes of the second half.

ROBERT WILLIAMS: I say a lot of reassurance, just letting your teammates know and coaches know we're supposed to be here, we deserve to be here and we have a mission and go out and destroy the second half.

THE MODERATOR: Admon, Tyler and Robert, good jobs. You guys head back to the locker room, which is still open. We'll take questions for Coach Kennedy.

Q. You guys were tied I think 50 all with 9 minutes left, went on a 12-2 run during a critical sequence. What went right for you guys when you finally wrestled some control away?
BILL KENNEDY: I thought we made some blocks and shots and got some run outs. We were able to get some easy baskets in transition to play. Tyler got -- the intentional foul was a big play that separated us in that possession but I thought we did a better job of getting stops and breaking. Look at Diallo and Bullock, they both had 22 and 21 points at that position, they started making 3s. We had to start switching ball screens late and, I thought that helped us. Robert switched out. We blocked some shots on the mismatches when they went one-on-one and that broke us open, broke the game open with some freelance plays.

Q. Billy, when you weren't scoring, 633 without a point and missed your first ten shots, how good were you defensively? Can you just speak to that stretch where you guys didn't get down on the defensive end?
BILL KENNEDY: We started out the game in zone, something we haven't done all year, just to try to throw something at them a little bit different. They were prepared for it. But I thought we got the ball inside, we just missed some shots. I thought Tyler had some opportunities around the basket with his jump hook. If we can get him one-on-one on the block, most times we're going to live with that.

I thought we had some good looks. We just didn't score. That's what I told the guys at half, guys, we missed shots, we got the ball where we wanted to. As long as we keep taking care of the ball and keep going inside out, we'll be right to break the game open, and fortunately we were able to do that.

THE MODERATOR: Other questions for Coach.

Q. Coach, can you just talk about what Admon meant to you defensively when you're playing man-to-man. When Chandler was in there, he's got Diallo, and when he wasn't, he's covering Cartwright. Those are two completely different type players. He's covering them both.
BILL KENNEDY: Yeah, he was tremendous. I think. I think having a week to rest his knee some and get him up close -- he's almost a hundred percent healthy. That's it. He played the whole game, and coaches kept saying do we want to give him a break. I said no, we're going to go as long as we have to go with him. He's played 40-minute games for us in the past last year and he plays both ends of the floor, and that was critical for us in winning this game.

Q. Billy, I'm curious when you went man what your defensive focus was. Was it Cartwright? He never really seemed to get going.
BILL KENNEDY: Well, it was Diallo and Bullock were our game plan to matchup with them the right way, and early on we didn't switch ball screens. I think when we did start switching ball screens, it kept Cartwright in front of us and I think we blocked the shot, one of his shots in the lane was big. And then Robert Williams guarding Bullock did some good things late and sort of getting out on him quicker and blocked some shots for us. It was big for us.

Q. Billy, how big was the early Starks 3 kind of got him going and I think you had three straight possessions with an assist in there, then made a layup. How important were the first few minutes of the second half for him?
BILL KENNEDY: We've learned you got to take the good with the bad with him, you know, because as a freshman he can get streaky and offensively be dominant, and then he can try to do too much at times, which I thought he was right on the edge of doing too much part for me, but we got him out of the game and recomposed and our guys did a good job of lifting him and standing together and act encouraging him through times where he got frustrated, he thought he got fouled a few times and got frustrated. His play in going downhill he's really hard to stop once he gets going.

Q. Coach, in terms of the way that that front line works, I mean you were talking about it a little bit yesterday that 6' 9", 6'10", 6'10", how unique a thing do you think you have here and how big a difference did it make?
BILL KENNEDY: Well, obviously when it's good defensively it's really good for us, and I thought we did a good job. Robert was more active offensively than he's been in a awhile. He's raised his game up a level, knowing he's got to play more aggressive this week. And first five minutes of the game, he got the ball twice and he missed shots, but he was aggressive going to the basket. When he's aggressive like that, he's as good as anybody in the country and that was big for us.

THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for Coach Kennedy? Okay. Thank you, Coach.


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