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March 18, 2018

Leonard Hamilton

Terance Mann

P.J. Savoy

Trent Forrest

Nashville, Tennessee

Florida State - 75, Xavier - 70

THE MODERATOR: The victorious Florida State Seminoles are first up. They represent the ACC. They are the No. 9 seed in the west and they are going west to Los Angeles to play Gonzaga in the Sweet 16.

The student-athletes up here are Trent Forrest, Terance Mann and P.J. Savoy. The head coach is Leonard Hamilton. We'll have him start off with a statement, and then we'll have questions for all four gentlemen from Florida State.

Leonard, please.

LEONARD HAMILTON: Xavier's a really, really good basketball team. They're well coached, they're extremely talented. They shoot well from the free throw line. They shoot well from the 3. They are extremely physical.

They defend, they changed their defenses and they gave us a lot of challenges throughout the game.

But I was especially proud of our players, because the body language, the mannerisms, their level of communication, when they came out of the -- with each timeout, they never showed any lack of confidence that we couldn't win the basketball game.

As a matter of fact, during those moments where it appeared to be more challenging, they were challenging each other, in an extremely aggressive way, and in each other's face with a lot more determined attitude.

I think our poise down the stretch and our determined attitude and, obviously, the leadership that Phil and Trent and Terance gave us, and even P.J. came and made some big shots for us down the stretch there. Everybody contributed.

They have this saying that they're 18 strong, and I thought each time we came to those moments where we were -- there was a timeout, I could hear all of them getting closer and closer together.

In closing, I think that the challenge that we faced last year obviously was a time of learning and growing. We probably were a lot more talented than we were last year. But the challenges that we had to endure, I thought we gained wisdom from. As a result of the wisdom we had last year, we're more focused and I thought that pulled us through today because of the wisdom we gained from the challenges we had to overcome last year.

Q. P.J., on your go-ahead 3, it looked like you hesitated for a second. Could you maybe take us through that sequence there?
P.J. SAVOY: When Trent had threw me the ball, I was -- I did hesitate just to see what the defender was going to do, and I seen he backed up and let it fly.

Q. Trent, what's that feeling like when you see that ball go in and all of a sudden now you have a lead over No. 1 seed with a minute left?
TRENT FORREST: It means with a lot. We just kind of credited the defense, really, being able to get stops and being able to get out. I feel like that just transitioned right into our offense being able to get stops.

Q. Leonard, can you describe this tournament as a whole? There have been so many upsets and it seems like this is such a wide open field this year.
LEONARD HAMILTON: I think what you see happening in college basketball, it's almost like a revolution. And what happens is you start categorizing people by the reputation that their players get going into college. But in reality, kids are playing basketball all over the country and teams are getting better.

Just because maybe they might not be in one particular conference or maybe they're not considered to be one of the more traditional rich schools, people are playing basketball. And I really don't think at this level that you can really call them as much upsets as it's just what they call March Madness.

See, sometimes the team that's the most talented might not necessarily win the game. It's the team that's playing well at that particular time.

I can't say that we maybe are extremely -- are much better than Xavier, but we were much better than Xavier in the last two and a half minutes of the game. Sometimes when the games are close, that's all that's important.

I think that's what you see happening there. There are teams that find a way in that moment to get that message and emotional challenge or advantage and they make plays, and that's why I think the NCAA tournament is the greatest sporting event in -- of all sports.

Q. Terance, your coach wasn't sure you'd be able to play today when we talked to him yesterday. What was the healing process for you? Was there ever a chance you weren't going to play?
LEONARD HAMILTON: I didn't know that Terance -- I had put my starting lineup in, and I didn't have any idea that Terance would be able to play. But I noticed he started riding the bicycle and warming up, I could see in his eyes he wanted to be with his teammates.

After I put the lineup in, he said, Coach, I think I can go.

And I asked him, I said, Are you sure?

He said, Yes, I'm sure.

I didn't -- I went out on the court and I found out that he was going to be able to play maybe two minutes before I walked out of the locker room.

TERANCE MANN: Yeah, I just did a lot of stretching, a lot of ice, stayed off of it. I honestly didn't know if I'd have been ready and I saw it in my teammates, I wanted to be with them, like he said, and I wanted to play. So I just played on it and I got through it.

Q. For the players, as the game tightened up at the end, did you sense that Xavier was tightening up as well? Did you sense anything with the way they played?
P.J. SAVOY: I mean, I feel like everybody on the court tightened up. It's just the instincts of basketball. When the game gets close, everybody wants to win. So that's just the nature of the game.

TERANCE MANN: Yeah, like what he said. Everyone was out there, tightened up. We knew the game was getting close. They sensed that we was coming back. They missed a couple shots and they took good ones. But, you know, we ended up getting the rebound headed our way and doing what we had to do.

TRENT FORREST: I mean, they kind of said it all. Just at that time, it was just two good teams playing really good basketball and I kind of feel, like Coach Hamilton said, at that time we were playing a little bit better than them and were able to get the stops that we needed.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, congratulations.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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