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March 27, 2018

Aric Holman

Ben Howland

New York, New York

Penn State 75, Mississippi State 60

HEAD COACH BEN HOWLAND: We really came out and got off to a horrible start. We haven't been down that big at halftime the whole year. Credit Penn State for a lot of it, and you know, I just don't know if it was anxiety, playing the Garden, I mean, what it was. But that's not the same team that just beat Louisville at Louisville, the play we played in those first, ten, 12 minutes of game, and really got behind.

I thought that, you know, Carr showed why he is, you know, considered one of the best players in the country. He really controlled things for them. Stevens was terrific, and it's a tough way to finish your season because I felt really good about our season this year and what our players accomplished. Really proud of them. Proud of the 25 wins; that they helped this program, putting it back in the right direction.

Excited about our future. For our nucleus that returns, this is an important lesson for us. I'm very excited about these young kids. I'm a team that we have high expectations for in the future and excited about the young men we have in our program.

Q. Overall, your thoughts on the game tonight? I know it was disappointing, but the experience of being here at the Garden and playing at the NIT.
ARIC HOLMAN: Obviously I agree with Coach. We came out flat tonight. I would blame that on me and some other guys for the leadership, just getting us prepared. We thought we were very prepared and I would just say, it was a great experience playing in the NIT, showing how competitive and how trustworthy, I guess, my teammates are to each other and to this program.

You know, so like Coach Howland said, it was a bad way to end it, but you know, isn't an L. This is a learning experience, and we're going to improve and get ready for next year.

Q. Is there anything you can pinpoint exactly from where it goes from 9-9 and they scored like 21 straight points?
HEAD COACH BEN HOWLAND: First of all, we were really impatient. Once we started falling behind, we got anxious and we were shooting quick, bad shots and it just like snowballed. You know, we didn't have the ball moving at all in the first half from side to side. It was the -- you know, I thought icing the screens may have bothered us a little bit.

We had turnovers. We had a lot of self-inflicted turnovers in transition. We got sped up, playing too fast. Not being in control.

Q. They don't seem to be very somber about this; I think the anticipation for next year. Seems like they are ready to get back to work and get ready for next year.
HEAD COACH BEN HOWLAND: Yeah, you know what, this experience, first of all, being in the NIT was really good for us. You know, we got three opportunities to get wins and we got the opportunity to come here to New York. This is an experience that many of these kids have never had before.

Obviously, No. 1, being in New York City, and No. 2, playing in the Garden. I thought maybe we were a little awestruck with that. The blue line being out there, everybody wants to play behind the blue line. And it's not that line; it's the white line, and we saw that today at the shootaround.

But this will be a growing experience that will help this team as we return a lot of these kids for next year, and I think they are excited. I think they really like each other and love each other and play for one another. That's why it's so frustrating that we're finishing the season feeling this hallow about how we played. We played so much better here, especially the latter half of our season, after starting 2-5 in the conference. I feel really good about these kids and where we're headed. Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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