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March 7, 2019

Greg Lansing

Tyreke Key

Emondre Rickman

St. Louis, Missouri - Arch Madness

Valparaiso - 77, Indiana State - 55

THE MODERATOR: The Indiana State Sycamores are with us. Head coach Greg Lansing is here, Tyreke Key, Emondre Rickman. Greg, please.

GREG LANSING: Give credit to Valpo. Very disappointed in our effort after the first 15, 16 minutes. We'd given up 21 points in the first 16:30, and then like 15 in the last 3:30. I thought the game was won right there. Really disappointed in the competitiveness level of our guys.

Any time you don't win a National Championship or conference championship or some kind of tourney championship, your last game comes in a loss. When you put everything you got into it, it's a pretty emotional time, and I think we put a lot into it, but we don't put enough into it. That's why we are where we are right now.

It's disappointing, and things got to change. They've got to change with me and how I'm leading this team and how I'm leading the program, and it will get done.

Q. Tyreke, team's up nine, six minutes to go in the first half. Obviously, it went wrong after that. From your perspective, what do you think Valpo did to get themselves back on track, and what did you guys fail to do to keep yourself on track?
TYREKE KEY: They were just pushing the ball. We couldn't keep the ball in front after we made that run, and that's what killed us for the rest of the game is not keeping the ball in front of us.

Q. Emondre, it was still close at halftime. How disappointing is it that a push at the start at the second half, and it's a 50-50 game? How hard is it to kind of process that you guys weren't able to get the push that you needed?
EMONDRE RICKMAN: It is very hard considering what we just did, especially when it came down to just keeping the ball in front of us.

Q. Tyreke, obviously, a solid game for you. What do you take from this contest that you can then apply next year?
TYREKE KEY: Always improvement to be done. Just trying to -- next year I'm going to try better on my part getting more guys in the gym with me. Just staying locked in, and that's really about it.

Q. Tyreke, can you talk about the influence that Javon Freeman has on Valpo. He forced some turnovers in the first half, and after that it was hard for you guys to get some offense going.
TYREKE KEY: We just made stupid errors. There at the half, before the half ended, they just made a simple steal, and it kind of swung the game a little bit. It came down to just little mistakes that hurt us.

Q. Emondre, I know this is probably a tough time for you, especially as a senior, but can you just describe kind of your emotion right now and what you're feeling.
EMONDRE RICKMAN: I mean, it's tough. It's a little heartbreaking to come out and lose on the first night, but I felt like, me as well as my team, we fought hard, not hard enough, but we fought hard, and I know that next year they're going to fight even harder to do better than what we have been.

Q. Greg, from your perspective, up nine, six minutes to go in the first half, where do you think it flipped at that point?
GREG LANSING: We had some turnovers and fouls. Turnovers and fouls. And I thought they got easy transition baskets and attacked us off our turnovers or maybe a quick shot. It's been a product all year, Todd, of our poor offense, whether it be a turnover or quick shooting, dribbling too much and taking a tough shot and not getting back in transition. Our transition defense has not been very good. It starts with communication and an effort thing getting back.

But right there, that was a big swing. We had a lot of momentum after Christian dove and made that effort play and got to Tyreke in transition. Then after that, it was pretty one sided. Valpo handled us pretty good after that.

They only made three threes, and the key to our scouting report was keep them out of the paint. 38 points in the paint. They just dominated us in there off the drive. They dominated us in there with bigs. We weren't tough enough to stop them.

Q. Greg, the fifth straight losing season for this program. From your perspective, you mentioned things have to change. What's your feeling here? Is it frustration, disappointment? What are you dealing with?
GREG LANSING: Yeah, it's all that, you know. And I know going into this year I had higher expectations than this. Certainly even without getting two players after the Hawaii tournament, and we were never consistent. Never got consistent. Didn't win two in a row the whole conference season and had some bad losses where we didn't compete at a high enough level.

There's things that have to change, things that I have to do better for sure. I told the guys, you know, looking at -- I think we have enough talent in here to win the thing, but we're not near tough enough, not near hard enough to play against on a consistent basis. Our offense dictates our defense way too much. I got to be harder on them. I got to be harder on them in the off-season. These guys have to be harder on each other. Truth has to be told. Have to hold each other accountable and with a good group of guys. We've been a quiet group of guys.

I do certainly like what we have coming back, but it needs to be a difficult off-season.

Q. Greg, you mentioned the returners next year. With a loss like this, maybe on a positive note, how do you kind of help use this as an experience to turn things around?
GREG LANSING: There's nothing positive. I'm sick, you know. Sick. And if they're not sick, then there's something wrong. Whether it be a loss during the season or a loss to end the season, I've been in a coaching family my entire life, that doesn't sit well. I've allowed us to not have the success that we've had previously in the last few years, and I got to be better. We got to do better because I'm tired of it. Really am tired of it. Indiana State deserves better, and our community deserves better, and we've got to do better.

Q. Greg, that competitive feeling that you're searching for, it was sort of evident in the beginning of the second half when the game was still there to be had, and it just wasn't taken. What steps do you take with these players that are coming back to create that kind of competitive fire that you're looking for, the kind of toughness that you've been seeking?
GREG LANSING: Really challenge them. Really challenge them. I've been thinking about a lot of different things, even in the second half of the season when we're not doing as well as we need to, whether it be travel. These guys don't talk to each other. They're on cell phones. They're sleeping. They've got headphones on. I've never been around a quieter locker room before games, at halftime, and after games.

You know them, they're great guys, but we need to -- they need to get after each other better. I need to get after them and challenge them better. When you go through adversity and tough times and you do that in every game, we've given in too much, flat out. We gave in tonight too much. And in our losses we've given in too much. When things are good, it's easy when things are good and everybody's playing and shots are going. But we have to be a tougher team, a tougher team to play against because it's such a good league and everyone fights you so hard, nothing's going to be easy.

Got to challenge the guys to put more into it. I know this guy puts a lot into it. He's going to have to challenge the guys to put more into it, and we're going to have to hold him accountable.

Q. Tyreke, you've had a statistically successful season this year, and you guys have all talked about change a lot. What is the one thing that you would like to change about your own personal game coming into next season?
TYREKE KEY: Just being more of a leader, and communication is probably the biggest thing I've got to work on and defense. I'm really going to work on that off-season. Those are really the biggest things. Just stay in the gym, and communication is really what I've got to work on.

Q. Tyreke, it hurts after a season-ending loss. It always does. Usually, that hurt fades a little bit as you move on into a few days. How does this team kind of remember the hurt and remember the feeling you guys have now to try to create that hunger, that drive that you guys seek to kind of fuel yourselves to get better next year?
TYREKE KEY: Like you said, we've got to look at this as look out to next year to make us more hungrier, make us fight each other more in practice. Just got to look at it as a thing, just make you want to fight harder.

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much for your time. Good luck in the future.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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