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March 18, 2018

Bruce Weber

Xavier Sneed

Barry Brown Jr.

Charlotte, North Carolina

Kansas State - 50

UMBC - 43

BRUCE WEBER: You know, can't say enough about our guys. Just so proud of them. I know it was an ugly win and probably hard to watch, but they're perseverance we talked about, their courage, and just it's gutsy. We just kept saying we weren't scoring, but we kept guarding, we're still winning. And I don't know if we lost of the lead the whole second half, but, you know, we talked about being the best defensive team in the tournament. I guess 59-43 are pretty good numbers against two really high-powered offensive teams. And then down the stretch, we didn't have many big plays during the game, but down the stretch obviously Xavier made some big plays, the tip on, the pull up jumper. Kam had a little jumper. Barry made a big pull-up jumper. Mark got a layup, several blocks down the stretch. You know, Xavier had some steals. The steal was probably the big thing. I think it was one and Xavier cut the middle, got the steal, drove down and got the dunk, got the 3, and I don't know, they might only scored one basket after that.

You know, I just, again, go back to their character, their courage and persistence and they bought in, they care about each other, and, you know, couldn't be more proud we're going to the Sweet 16.

THE MODERATOR: Questions first for Xavier and Barry.

Q. Barry, have you ever been in that hard of a fought game?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: I mean, yeah, I've been in some tough games where maybe we didn't come out the second half and execute like we did, but I think with our guys the experience of having those losses, those tough losses, prepared us for this moment right here, and were able to buckle down, stay poised and make the big plays in the end.

Q. The stats show that the defense was key, but there were probably have dozen times, maybe more, where they came down with a chance to take the lead and they never did. You guys really shut them down in critical moments. Talk about that.
BARRY BROWN, JR.: Well, I mean, we had a great scouting report knowing what they did, and I think all the coaches collaborated on it. I think Cielo (phonetic) took the head on it. We all bought in and we all watched our matchups and watched improvement, everyone because we knew we'd be switching a lot this game. Down the stretch, I mean we buckled down and got some stops. They had most opportunities, like you said, to take the lead and we were able to fly around. Even when things broke down, we flew them down and contested every shot and boxed out.

Q. X, the steal and dunk, did that kind feel like the break-through moment when you guys shook it loose and finally felt like were you getting control of it?
XAVIER SNEED: Definitely. Got the steal and dunk, like you said, and just gave us a lot of energy and that boost to show us we could win this game, and we pulled through and got the win.

Q. Barry, I'm just wondering if you can talk about -- if you could go through the challenge that Lyles presented. And you have to feel pretty happy with how you contained him defensively today.
BARRY BROWN, JR.: Yeah. Like I said, we all watched our matchups and I knew that was going to be my matchup for most of the game. I watched him. As soon as I found out we were going to play them, I started watching at 1:00 a.m., seeing what he did and seeing what he liked to pick his shots and how the team gets him open: He's a good player, a plethora of moves and ways of scores and get to the basket and ways to get his shot off. But I mean, it wasn't just me, like I said, we did a lot of switching. My teammates contained him as well. We had each other's back when he got into the lane, didn't let him really get going all game.

Q. X, if you can believe this, a lot of us never had a dunk in this crowd. Can you walk us through kind of the process of how you know it's going to come off and finishing that process.
XAVIER SNEED: I'm always crushing the glass. Somebody didn't box me up. I saw the shot go up and did the play with the rest of it.

Q. Barry, this is, you know, two games in three days and you have shut down a couple of the most dynamic scorers that you're going to find in the tournament. Can you describe the feeling of satisfaction you have when you do something like this, you know, is it a point of pride?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: I mean, I take a lot of pride in my defense personally. My coaches know that. They trust me and my teammates trust me to guard the best guard on each team every game, night in, night out. I mean, I guess they see the work I put in and the watching the film on them and stuff like that. Plus the scouting report we're going to have every time to let me know some of the other stuff that they do. And I mean it's a credit to my coaches and teammates for having my back and trust me to guard the best player.

Q. (Inaudible)
BARRY BROWN, JR.: When I get it, I'm happy. I hold them to 4 of 15, I think that's pretty good. Like I said, my teammates have my back. It wasn't just me, really all of us containing him and stopping him in the lane when he got to the lane. He hit some big shots down the stretch. For the most part we contained him enough to the to let him score in bunches.

Q. Both players, can you just describe the feeling of knowing you've gotten this far and going to the Sweet 16 and also how did Coach Weber hair get to be like it is?
BRUCE WEBER: It's real.

XAVIER SNEED: I'm still taking it all in right now to be in the Sweet 16. It's been a long time since we've been there, first time under Coach Weber here. Just a great feeling.

BARRY BROWN, JR.: I mean, hats off to Coach, man, hats off to our whole coaching staff and all the players, all the hard work we put. Been a long time coming, and I'm just taking it all in like X said. And it's surreal to be in a position that we are, but I mean with the work we put in, we deserve it and we're going to show what we can do.

THE MODERATOR: Take credit for his hair.

BARRY BROWN, JR.: We had a little pool party in the locker room (laughter).

Q. Barry, when you were having the defensive moment with Maura when he started hitting 3s, you ended up coming with a steal that led to kind of a momentum change. Can you tell me about the excitement when you get a change like that, what takes place in your mind?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: I'm not really sure exactly what play, but I mean just getting the steal, I know he was hitting a few 3s kind of in the same spot almost and they kind of had the momentum, but getting it still, kind of shifted the momentum. I remember kind of going back and forth with each other a little bit. At that time I kind of knew we kind of had them a little bit. We were flying around and I think it was frustrating them.

THE MODERATOR: Two more questions.

Q. Barry, what was the problem with your offense? I mean you didn't shoot real well. Was it them or were you guys just cold tonight?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: I think we were a little bit cold tonight. They had a great defensive scheme for us, but I think it was execution and just being -- have a little bit too many jitters, kind of playing me ball, 1 on 1 and not executing like the Coach drew the plays up. Over the course of the game, we started buying in a little bit more and staying poised, control ourselves and executing.

THE MODERATOR: One more question for the student-athletes. Anyone interested? Okay, guys, thanks. Head back to the locker room. Congratulations, keep it going. Good luck to you. Questions for Coach.

Q. When we talked to you yesterday, I don't know how much you had seen UMBC or broke them down or talked to your players about them. What did you have to say to them kind of to make sure they knew they were playing an opponent that was dangerous and could get after them a little bit, one they hadn't heard of maybe before?
BRUCE WEBER: I think if it didn't get their attention that they beat Virginia by 20, the number 1 team in the ACC, in the conference, that they won the conference and the tournament that had the most teams in the tournament, it had to catch their attention. I told you guys yesterday, I called them back about midnight and we had a little meeting and I just said guys, one, I joked, I told you Virginia wasn't very good; and then, two, I said this other team is really good and -- I thought we forced some things early, they jumped on us, 7-0, guys trying to make plays, you know. It was a big game for our guys and, you know, then we settled down and grinded it out. We got lots of stops after that 7-0 run. Finally got the lead. Kept the lead at halftime. All we talked about at halftime was positive energy, you know, stay the course, keep doing what we do, we got to keep guarding. And then -- in the huddles I kept saying somebody step up and make a play. And you know Xavier stealing the dunk, the tip dunk. Kam hit the little pull up, Barry hit a pull up. Cartier got a steal. And Mak blocked a couple shots in that stretch, and there was a lot of big plays, and, you know, they're good kids. They really care. They want to do well and they just stayed the course, and you can't be more proud of them.

Q. Bruce, Barry clearly does not like to talk about himself and his performance. So could you please speak to the effort that he turned in and how he ought to feel about it?
BRUCE WEBER: Yeah. I said since the beginning of the season, he's if not the best defensive player -- Carter is really good at West Virginia in the Big 12. You know, maybe one of the best in the country. He takes a lot of pride in it. He's got a lot of confidence. When he was a freshman, I said who is going to be our defensive stopper? I would hoping some of the older guys would step, you know, up and Barry said I am. He's taken on that role. He got crocked a little bit when he was young. But now he studies the game. To do what he did to Marcus Foster the overnight is -- it takes energy, it takes courage, but it also takes being a student of the game. And he knew where he was going.

You know, Lyles is so dynamic, can score in a lot of ways. Got him on the 3. The other part with Barry he was so tired. He was so, so tired and he kept fighting it. And we were asking him to make plays on offense, make his free throws, guard the best guys. You know, he just grinded it out, gutted it out, and, you know, he's been our leader. When you have great leadership and guys that care, it makes it so easy for the coaches.

Q. Coach, every time we ask something like this, you always praise the players and talk about it's for them. I know that's sincere. I'll try it one more time. For you what does this win mean?
BRUCE WEBER: Again, I'm happy for these guys because they worked so hard. I threw this at them way back in April last spring. I said guys, we won a game. The next step is to get to the Sweet 16. I threw it at them a couple weeks ago. Again, just put that little vision in there. You know, just obviously we didn't think 16 was going to make -- beat a 1. You thought it would be a little different situation, but we just said we could write history tonight. No 9 has ever beaten a 16 to go to the Sweet 16, so we wrote our own history tonight. They wrote history the other day. And, you know, our staff an unbelievable job. I challenge them. I've told you guys my most -- one of my most disappointing losses was LaSalle for Rodney, for Shane, all those guys, I didn't think they prepared, I didn't think we did as good a job as we would should. We had our chances down the stretch, but it was so disappointing and I just -- I challenged our coaches. They were up till 6:00 yesterday morning. I went to bed about 4:00, tried to go to bed at 4:00. And they did a great job and Barry talked about it. They buy into the scouting report, they believe our coaches. They all had part of it.

So, between the coaches, the players, it's just a nice reward and for our fans, too. It's great. They all -- always talk about Jacob Pullen going to the Sweet 16. We got another group that did it without our best player, and I think you talk about that. That's pretty good that they were able to do that.

Q. Coach, was there any point in the second half when you felt the pressure was getting to your guys, because this was a team that wouldn't go away. Did you feel like they were feeling a little bit of the pressure of the world against them?
BRUCE WEBER: Big thing we tried to do, stay in the huddle, stay confident and poised. No matter how dumb we played or how bad we played, I just kept saying we're fine guys, we're still winning, keep guarding and somebody step up and make some plays and we did down the stretch and we didn't execute a whole bunch.

You know, the thing you guys, you got to realize, in less than a week we had to change schemes that we've run for five months. And Xavier sometimes he'll look at me, I'll call something. He goes, "Coach, I don't know." So in the middle of the play I have to yell something else. Even today we stayed at shoot-around about an hour and a half because they kept saying, "Coach, I got to know the out-of-bounds plays, I got to know this." Even the other guys, not only Xavier but now you put Kam, Cardy, and Barry together, they haven't run all the stuff. So, sometimes we looked a little ugly but they found a way to win.

Q. Coach, you talked about the unpredictability of a 16 beating a 1. Obviously that's never happened before this weekend. This will be the first regional ever where there's no top 4 seeds in Atlanta next weekend.
BRUCE WEBER: Is that where we're going?

Q. Yes. From that standpoint --
BRUCE WEBER: I haven't looked at it. I'm being honest.

Q. From that standpoint, what is it about this tournament that just lends to this or the sort of unpredictability?
BRUCE WEBER: We told the guys before, look at today alone, Michigan State, North Carolina at home, basically at home losing today. You know, just shows the balance in the tournament, the vulnerability ability of every team. You got to come to play. You got to stay away from injuries. Obviously Virginia gets an injury, Purdue has and injury, we have an injury. So many injuries down the stretch here. It's what makes March Madness special and it kills the coaches because it's so hard and you think you have a great team. Matchups are important. Making the plays, having the right mojo at the right time. And, you know, again, why does everyone watch it? It's March Madness and you never know what's going to happen.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you.

BRUCE WEBER: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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