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March 13, 2019

Bob Huggins

Lamont West

Jordan McCabe

Jermaine Haley

Kansas City, Missouri

West Virginia 72, Oklahoma 71

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by the Mountaineers from West Virginia, Coach Bob Huggins. Our student-athletes are Jordan McCabe, Jermaine Haley and Lamont West. We will go directly to questions for our three student-athletes. Then welcome back for Coach Huggins.

Q. What's the feeling like for this team having gone through what all you've gone through this year and come down here and keep the season going another day?
LAMONT WEST: I just think that our goal was to come out here and play hard, and we wanted to give it all we got because we didn't want to go home early. I feel like it's the start of a new season even though it's the tournament or whatever we came out here and we knew it was 0-0. We just wanted to come out here and play as hard as we can.

JORDAN McCABE: We have been talking about it since mid-season, where we were in the standings and everything like that. We knew our only chance to make the postseason or the NCAA Tournament was going to be this tournament right here. We came in knowing that we had nothing to lose, so that meant we should play as hard or harder than everybody else in this tournament, so it was good to see us doing that out there today.

Q. What's going through your guys' mind when they were going through that review? Did you see it on the floor that his foot was on the line, or did you have to wait like everybody else?
JERMAINE HALEY: I'm going to be honest. I thought we were only up 2 points, so I don't know if you guys seen me in the end. I was on the ground thinking that we lost. Luck was on our side. He had his foot on the line and even if the game went into overtime we would have been prepared to play another couple minutes.

LAMONT WEST: I didn't want to foul him. I had my hand in there and I was thinking of practice. I can't let him shoot it, but we've been jumping at those puff fakes all day. I knew he was going to do something so I just had to stay on the ground and he hit it. I was nervous. I thought we was going to overtime, honestly.

Q. Jermaine, you guys sorta spurted away 10 minutes to go or so in the game, took command and sorta took control. What happened midway through the second half that allowed you guys to get control of that game?
JERMAINE HALEY: I think rebounding the ball. We outrebounded them by 10, and staying aggressive in the second half. We had a couple of mental errors not getting back on defense in the first half, and I think we cleaned them up in the second half.

Q. Lamont, the last few weeks it seems like guys like Jordan, Jermaine and Derek have carried the load on offense. They weren't hitting the first half and things were going well for you. Did you feel when you saw things weren't going well for them that maybe there was added pressure on you that you needed to do something?
LAMONT WEST: No, I didn't really feel like it was pressure. I feel like since I'm one of the older people on the team I feel like I've got a certain responsibility and I wanted to keep them in the game and keep everybody involved. I didn't want to do anything different. I just wanted to tell them to keep their head up and stay in the game and stuff like that, especially DC because he had no fouls. I just wanted to keep everybody's head locked in.

Q. Next opponent, Texas Tech, what's the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of that team?
LAMONT WEST: We owe Texas Tech.

JORDAN McCABE: Texas Tech is a very good team. We know obviously from the regular season what they did to us at home where we thought we had a chance to win the game. We went to their place and it kinda got out of control. So the biggest thing is we're a completely different team from when we were playing in Lubbock. I think all the guys in the locker room know that and just like going in this first game against Oklahoma our mindset was it is a new season. We've kinda been waiting for it because we've gotten better each and every day since we've got things figured out as a team. With Texas Tech obviously a really good team. We're going to go in there and compete just like we did tonight.

Q. Lamont, what was your response?
LAMONT WEST: We owe them.

Q. Own or owe them?
LAMONT WEST: We owe them. They beat us last time.

Q. And Jermaine, playing in that west Texas area, is there anything special for you about playing a west Texas team?
JERMAINE HALEY: No, it's just another game.

Q. You guys shot thirty 3-pointers tonight. What was it that made you want to keep shooting from outside so much?
LAMONT WEST: Honestly, we only supposed to shoot about 20 a game. So we might get in trouble for that. But, no, I feel like the coaches have a lot of confidence in us to make a lot of shots and they was open, so we was just takin' them.

THE MODERATOR: Guys, congratulations. Thank you. Questions for Coach?

Q. Bob, that ending got to bring up memories of the last time you played Oklahoma in the tournament, the Buddy Hield game.

First thing I did was look over and see if Fran Fraschilla jumped up on the table and screaming, healed! Healed! Ripping his shirt open, a real non-biased announcer. That's what we like.

Q. Bob, Culver was in foul trouble most of the game and yet you still won. How satisfying was it to win knowing you can get very little out of him tonight?
BOB HUGGINS: Those other two guys, Andrew just started playing basketball. So he's going to make some mistakes and we realize that. Logan has been in the program. This is his fourth year. I thought he did a really good job on trying to stay in front of him. That was really good to see.

I mean, obviously we gotta have some confidence in them, because we're going to play 'em. They gotta play. We want to I think at Baylor and those guys played a lot of minutes. Derek was in foul trouble there as well.

Q. Coach, what did you think of your defense, final few minutes of the game, particularly that steal by Brandon Knapper that led to do a Derek Culver put back that put you up by three?
BOB HUGGINS: Well, we're getting better. They've been looking at a little bit of film of kinda what we did before, where we made every pass hard and we had good ball pressure. You've got to understand these guys really are just -- they played half of a year. Because they didn't really play when those other guys were around. They played a little but they didn't play very much. And Derek didn't play at all the first semester of the school.

They're having fun. They're having fun and they're playing hard. They're excited about playing together, and they're trying to do the things that we ask them to do that we had other guys do. I think when you're playing four freshmen like we are if they continue to get better I think it bodes well for the following years.

Q. Coach, next opponent, Texas Tech, what comes to your mind when you think about that match-up?
BOB HUGGINS: Well, they're really good. What do they got the number one ranked defense in the country, something like that. Culver is the Player of the Year in the league, so obviously they're very talented. I think Chris is the two-time Coach of the Year in the league. So they've got a lot of components. We're just going to play hard and see what happens. We played them really well in Morgantown. It was a really close game. Hopefully it's a real close game tomorrow.

Q. Lamont talked about owing Texas Tech. Is it easy for you guys to get past a game like that when it's possibly fresh in their minds?
BOB HUGGINS: I don't know what Lamont thinks, man? Why do you ask me what Lamont thinks? I don't know if Lamont knows what Lamont thinks. I don't know.

Q. Coach, obviously with the season that you've had this year, how does it feel to come into the conference tournament and get a win?
BOB HUGGINS: Well, it feels good anytime you win, I think. I think when you've done this as long as I have and as long as Lon has, winning is a kind of a relief and losing is like a near-death experience, you know? I'm relieved.

Q. Coach, a lot has been made about your young players stepping up, but at times tonight the veterans like Logan and Lamont carried you. Can you explain your thoughts on how those three including Chase played tonight?
BOB HUGGINS: I thought they played well. I thought they played hard. We went through a spell, which is uncharacteristic of us. I didn't think we played very hard and we had some breakdowns. They scored 24 points in the paint the first half and that's unacceptable and that's pretty much what we talked about at halftime was making sure we get back and find a man.

They're getting better, you know. It's a learning, and growing experience, I think. Somebody asked me why is Jordan playing better? He's not looking over his shoulder now, not looking to see who is behind him to come in. You've got to play with confidence, and he's always had confidence. But he went through a tough spell where he just didn't make any shots and turned it over too much and couldn't find his man, you know? He can find his man now. I keep telling him it's the one with the different color shirt on.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you so much. Congratulations.

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