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November 19, 2018

Brad Underwood

Trent Frazier

Giorgi Bezhanishvili

Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

Gonzaga - 84, Illinois - 78

MEGAN GODFREY: We'll take questions for the players first.

Q. Giorgi, as Trent was going off in that second half just what was going through your guys' heads?
GIORGI BEZHANISHVILI: Oh, at the halftime Trent said we have to turn up, I had to turn up, and I was waiting on that moment from Trent. And then he just started going, he just started to heat up, he was on fire, and we just said hey, give Trent the ball, make him do his thing and he was hitting threes, he was on fire, and we were excited for him but unfortunately we lost the game.

Q. Trent, the game seemed to be slipping away a little bit and in the first half maybe getting some rust out or whatever, but what were you feeling, and what did you think tonight showed?
TRENT FRAZIER: I would say me last year that wouldn't have happened. I kind of, I was letting those shots get to me but the coaching staff and my teammates helped me get through that first half of just missing shots. And just I decided to do things where I could help my teammates like getting rebounds, getting assists, just doing other things instead of scoring. But second half I found my rhythm.

Q. Trent -- actually Giorgi, answer this one first and then Trent. What combinations of Illini guys were most effective tonight?
GIORGI BEZHANISHVILI: All combinations. All combinations. With coach whatever lineup coach puts in, that's the best lineup, I feel like. And you guys saw it, we were down, we came back, everybody was fighting, everybody played for each other, that's what we are about, we are every day guy. I feel like every lineup was the lineup that should be in the game.

TRENT FRAZIER: Oh, yeah, piggyback off that. Whoever coach put out there that's the guys he trusts at that time. Doesn't matter from walk-ons to starters, we're going to do what we do, whether it's rebounding, getting to the line, just doing our principles and doing them, playing your role. And so combinations, I don't really look at that. Whoever he puts out is going to play hard, doesn't matter.

Q. Trent, can you talk about when you started to feel it and when you kind of thought, hey, we're back in this game?
TRENT FRAZIER: I started feeling it, we started getting a few stops, I seen a few balls go in, obviously I got going. But I didn't think the offense was our problem tonight. We could score easily on anybody. Down the stretch we didn't get enough stops and I think that was the problem. We kept fouling and so we kept putting them to the free-throw line where they kept getting free points. So I think that's where we beat ourself up right there.

Q. Trent, what did you think of the atmosphere tonight and the electricity in the Arena?
TRENT FRAZIER: Felt like State Farm in here tonight. These Illini fans are amazing. It doesn't matter, we're in Maui they're going to be here. It doesn't matter where we're at in the country, we have a strong supporting cast and it's a blessing to have so many, so much orange up there in the stands to come support us, play all the way down in Maui. And I think that's just the greatest feeling, just to play out there and play so hard for them. But we came up short, but we got a game in 15 hours, so we're not going to let that game bother us. We're just going to prepare for tomorrow.

GIORGI BEZHANISHVILI: Yesterday the coaches meeting or whatever, I think it was Gonzaga coach who was talking about they have Top-5 fan base in the nation. I can say probably we have the Top-5 fan base in the nation, just from this game. And then the game before. So I think we have Top-5 fan base in the nation. They're just great. A lot of teams don't have it and we really appreciate it.

Q. Given that atmosphere do you feel like you're fighting for respect, and how are you battling that? Y'all played hard tonight, but obviously the Zags were seen as the top billing for the night, but it felt like you were playing with a chip on your shoulder, how does that feel to kind of really try to establish that culture for your team and to really kind of get that respect that you all think you deserve?
TRENT FRAZIER: Being a sophomore I'm used to this. It's like that in State Farm every night. We have 15,000 people in there screaming and yelling, rooting for us. It doesn't matter we're down 30 or up 30, it's still a packed house. So to have so many, so much orange up there in the stands, it's incredible. Like you said I think we have the best supporting cast in the country and I wouldn't want to play for any other school.

Q. For both you guys, how do you turn this into something? How do you turn this into tomorrow, the next day, being able to close out a win?
TRENT FRAZIER: We go win tomorrow. We forget about this game. This game's over with, we're going to start preparing for tomorrow and we're just going to go out there, same energy, same intensity, go out there and try to get a W.

GIORGI BEZHANISHVILI: Coach talks about light switch mentality. We forget about it, this is over now, we have to think about next game, get the next win, that's our goal, we go step by step. So that light switch mentality we forget this game and we go to the next one.

MEGAN GODFREY: We'll take questions for coach now.

Q. What would you like to say about the defensive intensity that manifested that comeback?
BRAD UNDERWOOD: I think there were some positives. I was really pleased the first half. I thought the first half we were sensational. I thought the second half we got complacent and sloppy and Gonzaga does what they do. You look at their numbers, what they have done to opponents in the second half, that's all we spent a lot of time this week talking about that. And it was foul, foul, foul, foul, foul. And again give them credit, it's what they do. They just slaughter people at the free-throw line and we didn't help that. I do think the changes our, little three quarter court press, our little half court 1-3-1 seemed to disrupt the rhythm. We had two or three stops and we felt like we could really turn them over. We felt like that was something that would be a positive. We turned it over 14 times the first half. The second half they just came in a different method with our a, little more of our zone.

Q. On that point, Gonzaga entered with I think the 8th best offensive turnover percentage in the country. They do not turn it over regularly. How much of that, what you were able to do to them especially in the first half, is the by product of Killian Tillie not being involved?
BRAD UNDERWOOD: That's a great question. I don't know. I think it's more they had, I think Perkins was eight and a half to one assist to turnovers coming in. He had 25 assists or 26 and three turnovers. We turned a senior elite point guard over, I don't know what did we turn him, seven times? I'll take that every single night. We were turning a high major elite point guard on a top-5 team over seven times. Now he got his. He got his assists, but the thing was that number became half their team assists and that's something that we strive for a lot. But again give them credit. I haven't seen them play enough with Tillie to know what dimension he gives them. I know this, there's not a better defensive player in the country in my opinion than the Clarke kid. And he's sensational. We tried everything we could do to get him out of the action and to get him as far away from it, and he's a terrific shot blocker, we were effective early, we did exactly what we wanted to do early, which is go right at him. And Giorgi put a couple fouls on him and but he was, he impacted the game a great deal in the second half.

Q. What do you make of the plus minus figures that you get in this box score? You get Ayo's minus twenty. Alan Griffin is plus seven. Does that mean anything?
BRAD UNDERWOOD: Those fluctuate from game to game. We pay a lot of attention to it. And Ayo had a tough night early. He got going, he, he'll bounce back, he's a really, really good player and just had a tough night. And I'm really proud of Alan. That's a young man that missed a game, missed our first game of the year due to injury and has bounced back and sort of getting his feet wet a little bit and to see him step up, we know he's an elite shooter. And but to make some plays defensively was, I'm really excited about that.

Q. Did you not like the matchups with Kipper? Did you not like something that you were seeing specifically?
BRAD UNDERWOOD: No. Kipper just played in foul trouble tonight. Kipper was in no flow, no rhythm. He had two fouls in the first two minutes and then picked up a third. And we like that small lineup. You start looking at our rebound totals, Aaron had to know and Da'Monte had nine. Those guys go chase a lot of balls. And it wasn't anything that happened with Kipper tonight other than just some foul trouble and we got in a pretty good groove with some other guys.

Q. Last game you didn't have full team. Didn't have Frazier and obviously you had a fantastic second half. What do you think your team showed and how do they translate this into tomorrow and the next day?
BRAD UNDERWOOD: We're going to see. That's the great challenge. We have got a mantra that we use that's all over our locker room, every day guys and tomorrow's another day. We do this every day. We practice -- I try to be the most consistent head coach in the country in what we do in practice every single day. It doesn't fluctuate. We're going to go two and a half to three hours and we're going to go. And we're going to tape on the day of the game and we're going to work so there's no surprise. And we know that whether it's this tournament or it's a post-season tournament or it's the NCAA tournament you got quick turns, this is no shock. And we practice in the morning so we get done at night, we practice 7 o'clock every morning. So quick turn and we'll throw it up and go against a very, very good team, against a team that's extremely well coached.

Q. What did Giorgi show you again against high major competition tonight?
BRAD UNDERWOOD: That's really good player. He's really a good player. And I think once he -- I was disappointed in his four turnovers the first half. Couple of them were really sloppy. He got a little bit tired, a little bit fatigued and missed a couple chippies that he usually makes. But he's got unbelievable footwork, he's a great pivot guy. I would like to see him get fouled more with some of those and that. We have all seen him knock down threes, which he's done very, very consistently and I thought he took a bad one late I didn't want, but I didn't want to -- I'm not going to handcuff him because's very good player and he's extremely high IQ and he's got a bright future.

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