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March 14, 2019

Penny Hardaway

Kyvon Davenport

Jeremiah Martin

Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, 83 - Tulane, 68

COACH PENNY HARDAWAY: Well, it was one of those games where Tulane to us had nothing to lose because they didn't win a game in conference, so we knew they had a week to prepare for us. We knew they were going to have something going with Jeremiah where they were going to try to make someone else beat them. And we prepared really well for them and got into the game, started off slow. Kind of pushed away and then kind of got lax, and being up 20 and -- just went away from our game plan. Luckily for us, we got the game back under control and was able to pull a win out.

Q. This question is for the coach. Going into the game, was there any specific plan as far as minute distribution? And as several guys went over 20 minutes tonight, did it exceed what you thought you had to play guys into the second half?
COACH PENNY HARDAWAY: Well, we felt like we had to do what we had to do to win the game. Because if you lose this game, trying to manage minutes, then you don't play tomorrow anyway. It is what it is. It is an early enough game for the guys to get hydrated, get off their feet, and be ready for tomorrow's game, even though it's an early game. We would have loved for everybody to have played under 20 minutes. I mean, we are not disrespecting Tulane. We felt like if we came out and took care of our business in the first five to ten minutes that we could push the game away. But we could never push the game away, so that's why the starters had to play so many minutes.

Q. What did you see from the sideline that allowed their defense to slow you down a little bit in the second half?
COACH PENNY HARDAWAY: All they did was load up on Jeremiah, and it was up to him to make the right decisions and for the others to capitalize on those double teams. Every time he got the ball -- we're going to watch on film -- people were open, they just have to make plays. We had a lot of turnovers in the second half as well. When you give that ball to those guys, they've to make plays. We should be used to this by now.

Q. Was that something you planned on or was that more of a result that he took what the game gave him?
COACH PENNY HARDAWAY: Yeah. Mike came out and played phenomenal, his best game of the year. 13 rebounds is his high on the year, 14 points. I might have sat him too long trying to get Isaiah Maurice going because we're going to need both guys for the entire tournament, but he played a phenomenal game.

Q. How important was it for you guys, not just today but for the rest of this week, to get Kyvon, get Mike, get guys like that going, how important will that be moving forward?
JEREMIAH MARTIN: It's been important all year. The one thing Coach said, we're going to need everybody. So everybody he put in, we will need from the guys on the bench that don't even play. So it's great when you get production around the boy because he's only going to make stress less on the people that need to make plays.

Q. Yesterday, I wonder if you felt snubbed about not winning Conference Player of the Year?
JEREMIAH MARTIN: No, I didn't feel like I did enough. It is out of my control. I will play hard every game.

Q. Did you tell Tyler coming off the bench that he had the green light?
COACH PENNY HARDAWAY: Tyler does have the green light. We want him to understand time and score for sure, but we want him to always have confidence that he can take -- because he feels he can make any shot that he takes. We want him to stay smart about what he does and give him that green light for sure. He needs to look for his shot because he's a weapon. He's going to a draw double team pretty much like -- or definitely a face card like Jeremiah does. And that helps us out. That helps us really spread the floor, because when he comes on they have to really respect that. He does have that green light.

Q. Looking ahead to UCF, what challenges does it bring, trying to prepare for a team for a third time in a season and what kind do you expect from them in this game?
COACH PENNY HARDAWAY: Yeah, we felt like, you know, in both games, we had a good game plan, so we feel they will make adjustments on what we did to them to affect them. Here, we had a really good game and beat them by 20 down there and went to the wire. They have a really good team. They might be the hottest team in our league right now, the way they finished the season and put themselves in the top 25.

The challenges are going to be that this is the third time. The things that we were successful at, they've had a chance to work on them. Because out of us and Tulane, they probably figure Memphis will probably win that game, so they've had a lot of time to prepare. And then they watched us today, so they're going to make some more minor adjustments. We will have to be hitting on all cylinders tomorrow.

Q. Obviously, physically, it's tough to possibly have to play four games in four days, but how do you prepare for a game every day like that if you had to play four games in four days, how tough?
JEREMIAH MARTIN: We just day to day with it. We are taking every game one at a time. We are not looking past the game that we have right in front of us. We know that we are up for four games, but we are taking it one game at a time.

Q. Kyvon?
JEREMIAH MARTIN: He says the same thing.

COACH PENNY HARDAWAY: Honestly, with us as coaches, we are always brainstorming and we will take each game, like Jeremiah said, one by one. And we've already played these teams, so we know what they're going to run. Even though they had a week to make some wrinkles, there's only so many changes you're going to make right before the conference tournament. We're familiar, so mentally, we have got to get ready -- we know they're going to do something to take Jeremiah out of the game. Physically, we have to get rest and hydrate for sure.

Q. Coach, this is your first conference game, what jitters -- you said you had no nerves all year. What jitters did you have coming into the game and what did you think about the ovation when you walked on the court?
COACH PENNY HARDAWAY: I was shocked. That was great. They showed the appreciation and it shocked me. It was a warm welcome. It got my juices flowing when I got that ovation. That ovation to me -- we know how serious this is for you guys and we are here to support you. First part of the question?

Oh, no butterflies today. I feel like when it is this time of year, that's when I really -- I look forward to this time of year. I try to stay as calm as I can because I feel like I have to think the game out, the entire game. I haven't got any butterflies yet. They weren't there today.

Q. Penny, Kyvon held you guys through in the second half, how was he able to keep you guys going and keeping that lead?
COACH PENNY HARDAWAY: He made some big shots, made big plays, penetrated. They had a five-man guard on him and he was too quick for that. There was not enough spacing for Kyvon to get going. We didn't really recognize just to get spacing and allow him to work more because he could have done more things. But the things he did in the second half was basically knock down his jump shot and then he took advantage of his speed against the five man and made plays because they tried to take Jeremiah out of the game.

KYVON DAVENPORT: Yeah. They was taking Jeremiah out of the game, so like Coach said, they had a five man, so it was basically about making plays on him. So just driving past and knocking down open shots, I can help out the team.

Q. Penny, the whole city and the fan base have been talking about this tournament and maybe winning four games in four days for a while. How do you -- it sounds like you have got these guys focussing on one game at a time. Has that been something you have struggled with, keeping them focussed? How do you keep what the noise that is going on here playing the tournament in the city from your locker room, basically?
COACH PENNY HARDAWAY: I think the Tulane game to me was a trap game because everybody was saying you're going to win when you guys play UCF, and that's when you get into trouble. More so towards that game, they know UCF is ranked top 25 team. We played them twice and we know how good they are. We're not going to come into the game complacent against those guys even though we didn't today. But hearing that about Tulane could get you to fall asleep a bit. But UCF, you don't need much to get up for those guys. You know that they are good, if you don't come to play, they will blow you out.

Q. Coach, the Memphis uniforms, was that we're going to do that because it works so well with the enthusiasm the last time you wore them out?
COACH PENNY HARDAWAY: We kind of talked about that. We wanted to wear them as much as we could. After today we might fall to the away team uniforms because of the bracket how it falls. And this will be the only time that we would have been able to wear them the way the bracket goes.

Q. (Indiscernible).
COACH PENNY HARDAWAY: Yes. That's Nike. That's Nike family around the country that we wear those shirts. That was all about Nike. That wasn't our own doing. Nike gives all the teams. They had the same ones on and their colors are jut -- it is about family with us as well.

Q. Jeremiah, you and Mike were in sync in the first half. What were you seeing with him and his presence inside especially earlier in the game?
JEREMIAH MARTIN: The coach tells me every day -- like before the game, he told me to be looking out for the team to be trying some different stuff. And Mike was in the right place at the right time. The coach always tell them, you will be open. He trusted what coach said and trusted the guy playing because we knew he was going to be open.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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