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March 17, 2018

E.C. Matthews

Jarvis Garrett

Stanford Robinson

Jared Terrell

Andre Berry

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Duke -87, Rhode Island - 62

COACH HURLEY: Yeah. Obviously, a difficult loss for -- a difficult loss for us, for this group. For, I guess, in a game like that, for a group that's done so much, historic season, done so much for this University, so much for this program, so much for each other in their careers, not to mention myself.

But credit Duke, they played an A-plus game. They looked like an NBA team out there with their size and length, and our guys fought. We just, you know, couldn't find enough ways to score, and couldn't find enough ways to stop a team that probably, you know, started five first-round picks.

And, you know, our guys did what they did. They fought, and just an amazing group to coach, going to miss them so much. They built something special here. They got a legacy that will go for beyond, you know, losing in the round of 32 to Duke. What they've done has been amazing, proud to have coached them.

Q. E.C., you had a chance to walk off the court, your arm around Dan Hurley, what has your relationship meant to you. You guys have been so close these five years.
E.C. MATTHEWS: This is my guy. I know we're not the same color, but he's definitely my father. Just trying to walk off the court the right way. Things didn't go our way, but just what we've done. When we both came here, him coaching me as a player. We picked this program off the ground. We was fine for about five years. We landed and we just wanted to walk off the court the right way. You know I love this guy.

Q. Andre, three-year player, maybe a little different path for you than the other four seniors. What does it mean to you that you were able to start the season and be a big part of the team?
ANDRE BERRY: It means a lot. Shows my last two years, Coach trusted me. The players gained trusted in me, and it means a lot. And happy to have had the opportunity to play on the biggest stage and play the game with these guys this season, and I'm just happy I'm thankful for the opportunity.

Q. Jared, how tough was it going up against Duke's size and height together and how did that give you guys some trouble?
JARED TERRELL: They just played the zone so high. Hard to catch a wind because they played so far off the line. It's difficult. You didn't want to shoot a three or possession. We just tried to get to the middle and show corners and in the corners it was just tough getting over their big guys.

Q. Stan, you've guarded bigger guys than you all season. Where would you say that Marvin Bagley ranks among the match-ups that you've had this year?
STANFORD ROBINSON: Number 1. That's it. Number 1.

Q. Dan, just in preparing for Duke, you know, obviously with their physical abilities being what they are, how did you guys maybe attempt over the last day or so, to simulate their size, their length, and prepare to work against it?
COACH HURLEY: Yeah. It was -- I don't know, what would be the nearest NBA team that we could have brought in to, I guess, get in the zone for us yesterday.

With the one-day prep, you know, we probably could have had a week prep. It was just -- I think a tough match-up for us. If that's a 2 seed, just looking at all of the 1s and 2s, you know, I wish we would have had a shot at one of the other seven 1s and 2s. They played an A-plus game. They were locked in, you know? To go -- to make ten threes, and several of them were pretty contested -- and you know, then to have the inside game with Carter and Bagley and bringing Baldwin off the bench.

So they have the inside game, the three-point game and then the length of that zone was really -- it had us -- we were just spooked. Any time we got into the high post or tried to attack the rim, they had length at the rim. They had length around the three-point line. Just -- there wasn't a whole lot out there. We would have needed a much -- we would have needed a C-plus game from them to -- just to have a chance today to be competitive.

Those guys, that was the best display of basketball I've seen played against one of my Rhode Island teams in six years. Those guys were -- they were locked in today.

Q. When you have a team with that type of size that plays the defense and rebounds the way it does, how much harder does it make it when they start hitting the threes, especially as you said, contested threes?
COACH HURLEY: You know, the plan was to try to double-team Bagley. The problem with him, he moves like a guard. So he's into his move before the trap could even get there. And then -- and then Grayson Allen, how quickly he gets that ball out of his hand. You have guys like Trent and Allen, you know, spotting up on the perimeter around that type of dominant inside presence.

Just, I mean, maybe if we were -- it's just a bad match-up for us. We're not a zone team. We are a man team. We've been a man team the whole year, you know, and just one of those things where a superior opponent played an A-plus game and we never got a sniff.

Q. Dan, when you looked back on these five seniors, will there be a particular moment that sticks out in your memory or was it more about the relationships you've forged with them?
COACH HURLEY: Yeah. Not one moment. Can't be one, just because we've been through so much together. These guys came in when we were bad -- bad 7-24 -- or whatever they were the year before I got here. So they came in on a basement level program with not a whole lot going on.

So it's just, really -- it's just the years together, so many memories, so many games, you know, so many practices, so many trips. Just to come in again at the bottom, and then, you know, win championships with these guys and get to the tournament two years in a row and win a game in the tournament. And just so much runs through your mind because it's -- we're all family, too.

You know, it's like there's some programs they could talk about family, they put their hands in and they say family on three, and it's fake. Not with us. And I just wish that we had a chance -- I wish they would have played worse. Wish we would have played better. Wish we could have gone out with a little more honor in our last game with those five games.

In a couple hours, we'll move past that and just be thinking about all of the great times with them, because that's what they deserved to be remembered for, not this game.

Q. Dan, considering where you started from here, these last two years being what they've been, how much more growth is possible in this program? What do you see as the ceiling for Rhode Island going forward?
COACH HURLEY: We've had -- obviously with Fatts, Jeff Dowtin and Cyril, are a couple of the best young players in our league, the top 25 recruiting class, top 30 recruiting class coming in. So the personnel will, I think, at some point, you know, in the next year or two, be -- and a lot of what we have coming in is size. And, you know, tremendous talent like the guys who were just on this dais.

But there's a whole lot more room for this program to grow around these players, and that's absolutely essential if the University, and if the athletic department, our fans, want us to be able to get beyond this point as a program. You know, the investment's going to have to increase. But that's like that with any program that's trying to get better. You know, you have to rely on your expectations with your investment, and these players, you know, deserve to operate at the highest level of our league, if you want to stay there.

Q. All of the Duke games you've seen over the years, what is it about them? How do they ramp it up? How do they get to the A-plus game this time of year?
COACH HURLEY: I think we have a couple things going against us. Number 1, when I saw Duke in our bracket, the exhilaration -- I had the Arizona State, and then I had us, and then you see Oklahoma, and think, wow, Trae Young. Then you see Duke. I've watched enough Duke games and know enough about their personnel and Coach K.

I think there were some things probably working against us in terms of this game. I don't think you ever want to play Duke in the round of 32 after what happened to them last year, 2 versus South Carolina, right? I believe that was a round of 32 game. So I knew they were going to be laser-focused and locked in, and I knew they'd have a healthy respect for just how tough our team was, how competitive our team was.

Film doesn't lie. We drew one bad film for staff to see in preparation for us the whole game. That was the St. Joe's game. So, I think the draw wasn't a great draw for us in the second round. That's not to say any of those other games would have -- would have gone, that we would have definitely advanced. But, man, that looked like -- they played and looked like an NBA team out there, and there just wasn't a whole lot that we could do about it today.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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