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March 22, 2018

Billy Kennedy

Tyler Davis

Admon Gilder

Los Angeles, California

Michigan - 99, Texas A&M - 72

THE MODERATOR: Coach, an opening statement?

BILLY KENNEDY: Felt like we ran into a buzz saw. I felt like Michigan, the first eight to ten minutes, played about as well as anybody we played against this year. They looked like that's how they played in the Big Ten tournament, more so than they played their last two games.

You've got to give them a lot of credit. It seemed like everything they shot went in.

Q. Obviously coming off a tremendous high of a big win by a big margin, and in the first half the script kind of flips a little bit, what did that feel like to be out there in the middle of that buzz saw, as your coach put it?
TYLER DAVIS: I mean, when you're playing, you just don't have a choice but to keep fighting through it and keep grinding. That's what Coach did a great job of. He was just telling us we have time and we've just got to come together and keep our heads up high and play defense.

ADMON GILDER: Yeah, picking up on what Tyler said, our main objective was after every media cut it down a little shorter.

Give them credit, again. They were able to make shots. So it was just their day today.

Q. Admon, how frustrating did that have to be for you guys in that Michigan seemingly couldn't miss from beyond the arc, at least in that first half?
ADMON GILDER: It was kind of hard to see because I was just wondering when they were going to miss. So when they were able to hit the three ball so well, it kind of opened up their driving lanes, and they were able to get in the lane.

So, again, we came out in the second half and gave ourselves an opportunity, but they came out and played hard as well. So we couldn't get to that point where we could come back.

Q. In the first half they're hitting threes. In the second half they're driving to the basket. Was it they just had something different for each defense that you tried, the zone, man-to-man?
BILLY KENNEDY: Well, we turned the ball over five times in the first eight minutes, and they had 15 transition points in the first half. That was big. The turnovers hurt us. We had some good shots the first three or four minutes of the game, and we didn't make them, and it led to transition baskets.

The threes, when they're making threes and your guys start pressing, they try to do too much sometimes. We tried to go one-on-one because we started pressing because we were looking at the scoreboard, and we were down by so many. It makes it hard when they keep making threes.

They're a very good team, obviously. Can't take anything away from them.

Q. What does that feel like for you to have gone from such a tremendous win over North Carolina by a big margin, and then in the first half it does kind of -- the reverse happens?
BILLY KENNEDY: Well, that's the nature of this game, the nature of this tournament. You can be high one minute and low the next. I thought our guys fought hard.

I just thought Michigan was the better team today. Again, when they're making threes like that, they're going to be a tough out for anybody. Defensively they guarded us the first eight minutes as well as anybody also. So we got beaten by a very good team.

Q. All year you've played ball screens pretty well. Today it looked like you all came out and were switching most of them with four, if not five, guys. What was the thought process going in, and how did you make some adjustments throughout the game?
BILLY KENNEDY: Well, our game plan was to switch the ball screens and make them take tough twos and take away the three-point line. It wasn't the threes in the half court that hurt us, it was the threes in transition off of our turnovers or off of our long missed shots. I don't know the exact, but they seemed to make a lot of threes in transition. The corner threes hurt us, and that's the mark of a really good team that takes advantage of what you give them.

But we did want them to switch and make tough twos, and unfortunately, it didn't work.

Q. In the second half, did it surprise you that they were able to dribble drive like they did? Were they getting the mismatches that they needed to to be able to do that?
BILLY KENNEDY: In the second half, we were playing catch-up the whole game. We were having to press and go out on the floor and guard them. That's when they were at their best. Because you can't help off of three-point shooters as well as they were shooting it. You can't help off of three-point shooters. They ended up making tough twos, which was part of our game plan.

But we only turned the ball over four times in the second half, and one of them was late. Other than that, we played them fairly even in the second half. But you can't spot a team 20 points and expect to catch up on a really good team.

Q. Coach, you made mention of the defense Michigan was playing in the first eight minutes. You said they played you as well as anybody has. Overall, what were they doing so well inside? I know Tyler still finished with 24 points. But it seemed like they were doing a pretty good job of keeping him and Rob, at least, limited.
BILLY KENNEDY: It looked like they played basically one-on-one in the post. The officials let them bang, and they did a good job of walling up and making Tyler miss some tough shots. But we had five -- T.J. Starks had five turnovers in the first half, and we kind of live and die with how he's playing. As a freshman, they did a really good job of taking him away off the ball screen and making him make tough plays, and that put us in a tough position again being down so many going into the second half.

Q. After the first half you had against North Carolina, did you use that, or did you use it at halftime to think that you could get back into the game in the second half?
BILLY KENNEDY: Well, it was very similar, just the roles were reversed. We were down big, and we were having to press up on them, and you saw what they were able to do. The same thing happened to us against North Carolina. When they started pressing us, we got easy baskets and we got some one-on-one baskets around the goal. Neither one of us -- we're not wired to catch up that big when you play traditional bigs, and to play the way we play, it's hard to come back. That's why I used two timeouts fairly quick. I haven't called two timeouts in the first half all year.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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