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March 14, 2019

Brian Gregory

David Collins

Memphis, Tennessee

UConn, 80 - USF, 73

COACH BRIAN GREGORY: Give UConn a lot of credit in terms of their first half. Their run, and their transition offense really put us in a bind. We are on our heels in transition. They made some threes in that, which kind of set the tone for the first half.

I thought in the second half we played a lot better, just couldn't get that lead under 10 until the last four minutes. Our guys, as they've done all year-long, continued to fight the whole game, just didn't make enough baskets to cut into that lead earlier in the second half.

Defensively, we didn't play as well as we need to play to beat a team that is as explosive offensively at the guard spot as they are. A big key for us was to do a good job on Carlton because he's been playing so well. We got him in foul trouble and we kind of eliminated him from the game. But, you know, they're a different team when Jalen Adams plays because he creates shots for other people and he's able to make shots.

We weren't as aggressive as we needed to be in the first half, so played better in the second half, but in this league, against that type of competition, not good enough.

Q. Coach Gregory, UConn was 0 of 15 in that game and then they go on that huge run. What was the difference between those two games?
COACH BRIAN GREGORY: We were very good defensively and they missed some open shots, so we had them off rhythm a little bit. When you've got a team that can shoot the ball, if you give them some open ones and they get it going, they start making some tough ones and that's what we did. Tarin Smith got them going early. We let Vital get loose a bit as well. They made some tough ones that were contested. They are a good shooting team that can really get going at times, volatile scores in Vital and Adams, and that is what you saw today.

Q. David, after being down big in the first half, what does it say about the resiliency of your team to come back and make it close in the second half?
DAVID COLLINS: That is one trait that we have, we always fight, that is what we are going to do to carry on, that is our identity.

Q. Can you talk about the success of the season and where you started from the beginning of the year till now?
COACH BRIAN GREGORY: We are disappointed right now. We wanted to do another thing that had never been done in our program and that's winning this tournament. We've never done it. So our guys had an opportunity to do that. When you have an opportunity like that and you don't make the most of it, it's disappointing. And you're in the midst of the season and you want to keep winning and you want to win games and all those different things.

But if you told me that this program and we'd have this type of success at this point, little less than two years ago when we took over the job, I didn't think we'd be here, you know. A lot of credit goes to the guys and a lot of credit goes to my staff. We talk about recruiting and developing because that's how you build a program. And in two recruiting classes, we have two guys that have made the all-freshman team, two guys have made all-league defense, defensive player of the year, and freshman of the year. That is recruiting and developing and bringing in guys that want to be developed and want to work so the future is bright.

At the same time, we live in a "now" society, so we wanted more right, and we didn't play well enough today to do that. But, at the same time, as I said, the building process is never a linear line, where you just, everything builds on top. There's peaks and valleys to it, and you have to stay consistent and resilient, and our guys have proven that all year-long that they have done that. We're going to be able to use some of the disappointments and adversity that we are facing right now in order to build.

You look at UConn and what they did today. Tarin Smith led them off and he's a fifth-year senior. Jalen Adams is a senior, and those two guys dominated the game. And, again, you have to get to that point where you are playing upper-classman, and they have been through this stuff before. And we're just not quite there yet, you know.

At the same time -- again, I'm not going to lie, we're disappointed in that. But not discouraged and there's a big difference between the two.

Q. Coach, you have often described Laquincy as a rhythm player and missing out on the last two games was hard for him. Did he get back in that rhythm today?
COACH BRIAN GREGORY: I thought he was better. He was better. You can see out there he is not at 100 percent. I thought there were times where he had 7 assists, David had 4 assists. You saw a little bit of what we were before he got hurt in the first Central Florida game. So, again, the rest definitely helped him. But because of that out of rhythm, that we are not able defensively to play the same way we were playing before in terms of our initial pick-up and stopping their break in the back court as opposed to when they're in their front court. So it's - you've got to pick it up in some other areas and just not quite able to do that today.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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