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March 7, 2019

Walter McCarty

K.J. Riley

Marty Hill

St. Louis, Missouri - Arch Madness

Illinois State - 65, Evansville - 60

THE MODERATOR: Evansville Aces are here. Head coach Walter McCarty is surrounded by student-athletes K.J. Riley and Marty Hill.

WALTER McCARTY: I thought we came out and played a really hard-fought game. I thought folks were really about winning. I thought our guys played really tough. Played about as good as we could play. I thought we had opportunities to win this ball game.

We usually shoot a little better than that. We had a lot of good looks. I thought our game plan was really good. I thought our guys did a good job of following the game plan and putting our team in a position to win the game. Get a couple of unlucky bounces and they come up with it, and they're able to make some plays.

But I thought we played really well, about as good as we could play. We just didn't make enough shots. I thought, if we made some shots, things would have been more different.

Q. Walter, just what was the game plan, and like what did you feel you guys did the best at?
WALTER McCARTY: I thought we made things really tough for Yarbrough, for Fayne, and for the guards. I thought our guards did a good job of keeping our guys off the three-point line and really putting the ball on the floor. I thought we did as good as we could do with Fayne. Fayne is a really good low-post player. I thought we did just about as good as we could with him.

Yarbrough made some tough shots down at the end. He banked one in. We just wanted to make things tough for them. We wanted to make them beat us in the half-court. I thought we did a good job of really playing them well. Playing them well, and I thought offensively we got any shot we wanted to get. Unfortunately, some didn't go in. We go 7 for 25 from behind the arc, and they were all good looks, but I don't recall any of them being bad shots, shots that we normally take.

So three or four more of those go in, it's a different ball game. That's just the way it is sometimes.

Q. K.J., I guess, just what did you feel was kind of the difference in this game?
K.J. RILEY: Like Coach said, missed opportunities. We missed a lot of threes. They made a lot of tough shots. So Fayne and Yarbrough, they're very good players. I think we just played well. We played well. It just didn't go our way.

Q. How do you feel for your seniors, like Marty and D.C.?
K.J. RILEY: I wanted to win it for them. We deserved it. It just didn't happen.

Q. Marty, how are you feeling right now?
MARTY HILL: It's definitely tough, knowing that that's going to be my first and last conference tournament game. But I just think I'm just the type of person I try not to get too high, not to get too low. I just keep a positive mindset, and these guys, they're going to be great next year.

Coach McCarty, he's doing a great job with us. He puts us in position to win each and every game. So I'm not worried about these guys. They're going to come back next year even better, but just for myself, just keeping a positive mindset and seeing what the future has for me.

Q. K.J., one of the best in the nation drawing fouls. Milik had four. Did you get a chance at the four-minute mark to maybe drive on him and draw that fifth. How important was that to draw his fifth, or was that not part of the game plan the last couple minutes?
K.J. RILEY: Yeah, we tried to get him in foul trouble. He's very good. If we get him out of the game, we felt like we had a great chance to win.

Q. Coach, what's your kind of message to the seniors after a season like this, where this game is kind of -- you know, it kind of seemed like it reflected the season a little bit, just not enough in the tank?
WALTER McCARTY: I just told them I really appreciated their efforts this season. Despite our record, it was a fun year. It was never a bad day coming in to work. These guys really worked hard every single day, and I thought we had a lot of fun, but I thought we got better each and every game of the season.

It's tough coming in, you have a new coach, new system, new style, and I'm asking you to do different things and probably teaching you a totally different way of playing. These guys were all on board. These guys never held any grudges. They never -- they came to work every single day.

So we enjoyed it. I had fun coaching each and every one of them. They're all very coachable, and they all tried to do everything we asked them to do. They were fun to be around. They were really fun to be around. So we really appreciate their efforts, and hopefully this was a great experience for them.

Q. For you personally, what did you learn just most, I guess, about your first year as a head coach?
WALTER McCARTY: Well, our guys, we've got a really resilient bunch, guys who play the right way and goes who want to be coached and guys who will fight. Always from a game management standpoint, you always learn stuff, but I was very fortunate to have Todd Lickliter, Matthew Graves, Terrence Commodore, Logan Baumann, guys who have been around big-time basketball who help prepare and make sure we're doing everything the right way and putting our guys in position to succeed.

So I'm not sure if I learned anything. I've been in basketball a long time at every level. So all the things that I have learned, I try to instill them somehow with these guys.

But I think we're building the right way. I think we're doing the right thing. Our guys play really hard every single night and battled and fought. We had a chance in pretty much every game this season, so tremendous credit to them. It was a fun year. No regrets. Every day was a fun day.

Q. Just another one for Marty. I guess you kind of look back on this year and just your two years as an Ace, what do you think you'll kind of most remember about your time here with this program?
MARTY HILL: I think just fighting through adversity, just taking whatever life throws at you. You know, last year, I didn't expect to get another year back, and it turned up that I have one year this year, it just taught me to take care of what's in front of me and cherish every moment of whatever it is that you have. I'm just thankful, even though things could be different, I'm thankful for Coach McCarty and his staff and my teammates for just giving me the opportunity to play with them and be coachable.

I'm just really thankful because a lot of people don't get this opportunity to play at this level and play basketball. Just taking that away from it and just thanking God for everything that He's given me. So that's really what I take away from it, just moving forward, I'm staying positive no matter what is thrown at you.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen. Congratulations on your season. Good luck in the future.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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