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March 14, 2019

Richard Pitino

Jordan Murphy

Dupree McBrayer

United Center-Chicago, Ill.

Minnesota - 77, Penn State - 72 (OT)

RICHARD PITINO: Obviously really proud of our guys. Got stops when we needed to get stops. We finally started rebounding the ball well. We did a really good job on Stevens down low. And then these guys right here made some huge plays.

So very proud of the fight, the toughness that we showed the last couple minutes there.

Q. Dupree, did Coach surprise you there?
DUPREE McBRAYER: Yeah, he called me "old guard," and my heart jumped.

Q. Dupree, can you take us through the run at the end of the game to get it tied? What was your team's mindset going into those final three, four minutes?
DUPREE McBRAYER: We were a little quiet in the huddles, and then I think Murph stepped up and spoke, and then I followed behind him, and then plays just started traping at each other, and we got a little bit of energy and was able to come back.

Q. Murph, you said something in the huddle. What did you say to spark that?
JORDAN MURPHY: I think I told the guys that we were pretty much acting like we were down 20 when we were only down four or six, and we needed more energy and we needed more life. And that was something that sparked our guys to stay confident, and plays just started happening.

Q. Dupree, Coach kind of jumped behind you when you were doing an interview after the game. Just talk about what it meant for him and the whole team to be behind you after everything you've been through.
DUPREE McBRAYER: I would say Coach P and my team has been there for me from the beginning. They flew out to my mom's funeral. They didn't have to do that. But Coach P never gave up on me. Of course I was playing bad, he could have made some changes, but he stuck with me. So that shows his commitment to believing in me.

Q. Jordan, can you talk about the physicality of that second half with the game going down to the wire? A lot of bodies hitting the floor on both ends. What was that like inside?
JORDAN MURPHY: Yeah, the refs were really letting us play, letting us be physical and not really calling a lot of fouls down the stretch, which was a good thing. They let the game flow and let us decide the game.

I thought it was a really physical battle, and both teams played really hard. And obviously it gets a little rough down there, and just being able to finish and finish around the basket. But I think Amir and Dupree did a good job both. Yeah.

Q. How key was the defense by the guards down the stretch, kind of doubling down and getting a lot of deflections to get you out on the run?
RICHARD PITINO: Huge. Stevens is a very, very talented player. I thought Gabe, Dupree, and Amir bothering those guys all got crucial steals. We needed to do that. They make it hard to double big to big, but we had to come off some of those guards because Stevens is unstoppable down there.

Q. Coach, what I talked to Dupree about, after the game, showing a lot of emotion for him, being happy for him. When this team went through that earlier in the season, that was kind of the first adversity and you've been through a lot of that this year. How has that been for the seniors to get you through it?
RICHARD PITINO: Yeah, what's been awesome about Dupree is he goes through losing his mother. He's been appreciative of everything, and then to see just kind of the way that he was maturely able to move on, like I wouldn't be able to do that in college, and honor his mother the right way. I mean, you know she's watching, she's proud of him.

I look at him on Senior Night, and he's in front of all of our fans, and he's enthusiastic, he's not afraid to show it. Even tonight, he turned to me and said, You need to relax. And I looked at him, and I was like, You relax.

But he was right, I needed to relax. But that's confidence. And when we have a relationship like that, it's very, very strong. He's a special kid.

Q. In the first half it seemed like you were a little bit unsatisfied with some of the energy. What do you think was lacking? And then kind of Amir in the first half, too --
RICHARD PITINO: Yeah, you know, we really were. We were zombies. We were walking around. Every huddle was like me trying to get them going, and then Murph was really speaking, but the rest of them were very, very quiet. I thought we were close to breaking through, but we needed something to happen.

That middle part of the second half, it was able to get the emotion going, and then all of a sudden the light came on and those guys were really, really talking in huddles.

Q. Just on the floor tonight with Dupree, it seemed like some of his shots late sparked the team and he was one of your more efficient scorers on the night. How big was that?
RICHARD PITINO: Yeah, he made that and-one, which was a huge play. That was a physical play, made a big three. He made some big steals. He was awesome down the stretch. That's what a senior captain is all about.

Q. Been like that all year for Amir when you need him, he can come up big. Obviously he didn't start off the game very well, but he figured out a way to get involved.
RICHARD PITINO: 40-minute game, he made big plays down the stretch when we needed him to, five assists, two steals, huge steals. Came down and rebounding a couple balls and then made some big free throws. Yeah, he wasn't great offensively scoring the ball early, but he did a lot of things that were terrific.

Q. To see a guy who even when he's having a quiet game like that, you just kind of are waiting for him to do something big like what he did at the end?
RICHARD PITINO: I kept telling him, You did this versus Maryland. You weren't really going, all of a sudden you exploded offensively. It'll come. It'll come. Be patient, be confident. And he did that.

Q. Coming into the game, you talked about --
RICHARD PITINO: No, you have to ask do I think we're in the NCAA Tournament.

Q. You have to let me get to it. Before the game you thought you were in. What do you think now?
RICHARD PITINO: Well, truthfully, I felt like we were in, but you know, there's so many variables, as we all know, as it unfolds, and you know, the biggest thing you've got to do to stop all that, you keep looking at, oh, we need them to lose, we need this team to lose. We can't have an upset.

But at the end of the day, hey, just shut up and go win the game, right? Proud of the guys for doing that. Absolutely believe that to have five new guys, to have the adversity we dealt with, with Eric Curry getting hurt, it's special, and I definitely think we're in.

So Sunday will be fun, but we've got to move on, and we've got to try to beat a really good Purdue team.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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