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March 15, 2019

Frank Martin

Chris Silva

Tre Campbell

St. Louis, Missouri

Auburn-73, South Carolina-64

THE MODERATOR: We are ready to get started with South Carolina. We will take some opening comments on the game from Coach Martin.

FRANK MARTIN: A lot of credit to those kids from Auburn. They played really hard. They came off a real physical game against Missouri yesterday and were real good defensively today.

Our guys, I can't ask our guys to give more than what they've given this year. Forget about how hard it is to play, winning games and all that stuff, just from continuing to deal with adversity after adversity, to have the spirit to come back the next day and do more. It's been a real fun group to be around.

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Tre and Chris.

Q. Chris, you had seen these guys before, but it's been a while. Did they do something with their speed, extra pass, trying to get the three-pointers open?
CHRIS SILVA: They drove the ball downhill to force us to help. When we helped, that opens up the three-point line.

Q. Chris, AJ wasn't as well as you remember him coming off that injury. What was it like trying to fight down the stretch without him again today? What was different today as opposed to the first game?
CHRIS SILVA: Nothing really. We really gave everything we had. It was good to have AJ out there with us fighting. That was a good feeling. But other than that, I guess we didn't guard the ball very well, hold the ball.

Q. Tre, when Auburn is shooting threes like that, how much pressure does it put on you guys?
TRE CAMPBELL: Yeah, when they hitting threes like that, we definitely got to come down and score the next play. That didn't happen today.

Q. Chris, looking back at what you've done in your four years at South Carolina, what would you want to be remembered for? How much do you owe to Coach Martin and that staff?
CHRIS SILVA: I want to be remembered as the hardest (indiscernible) player. I owe Coach Martin everything. Me coming in as a kid, teaching me how to be a man. I learned a lot as a basketball player, playing inside and outside, thinking the game instead of just playing full energy.

Everybody saw when I came as a freshman, as a senior, the change that happened during these four years. I really owe it all to coach.

THE MODERATOR: We'll excuse the student-athletes and continue with questions for Coach Martin.

Q. When you played them earlier in the year, they hit some threes. Obviously that's a big part of their game plan. How difficult was it to try to get to that extra pass?
FRANK MARTIN: Maybe you guys went to a different game than I was at last time we played. I hear the questions you guys been asking them. I think we won 82-80 or something like that, 83-80. I think that was the final score. Maybe I was in a different game.

Auburn shoots threes. It's what they do. Not like they shot a hundred of them. They set a record for the most made threes in the history of the SEC. We made some defensive mistakes in the first half and gave them some threes in a segment of the game where we were up four and they bang, bang, bang. It was because of our bad offense. I just had a bad lineup in the game. That's what they do.

We fought. The difference, you guys asked the kids, I'm going to tell you what the difference is. We made threes last time we played from our guard spot. Chris didn't shoot five for whatever from the foul line. He made all his free throws. We missed three front ends of one-on-one coming down the stretch.

I thought we fought Auburn. We out-rebounded them. Jared Harper is Jared Harper. No surprise. He's not scared to get his nose dirty. Smallest guy on the court, shoots 16 free throws, six defensive rebounds. Those are stats that tell you he's going to get his nose dirty. Credit him.

We didn't score enough. You're not going to beat Auburn 52-50. Not going to happen. You got to score, and we didn't score.

Q. I know in the locker room Chris was saying he feels there's a lot of things he could have done better. With his numbers and everything, do you feel he could have played any better today?
FRANK MARTIN: You look at the stat line, he looks pretty good. Could have been a lot better. Last time we played, he scored 32. Why? Because he made his free throws. He didn't make them today. This is not the moment to worry about Chris playing good, playing bad. Chris leaves it on the court every time we play. If it wasn't for him, this team, it would have been hard for this team to overcome all the adversity.

There's stuff that we don't hide. At least I don't hide. I don't know how other coaches operate. All the adversity that this team's been through, I want to say it was after the Ole Miss game, Chris hurt his right wrist. Didn't miss a second. But that wrist was killing him. It's been killing him since.

You say, He made his threes. I understand. He's been playing with a bad wrist, his shooting wrist.

AJ turns his ankle. I couldn't believe he was cleared, that he recovered the way he did. We're practicing at home on Wednesday. He plants his foot to cut, he rolls his other ankle. He rolled his right ankle in practice on a fluke. Stepped on a wet spot. When the shoe slid, caught the court that was dry. Rolled it. It's just unbelievable.

So this is not the moment to say whether he played good, bad, indifferent, whatever. Chris leaves it on the court every time he plays for us.

Q. I know it's hard to reflect on a season after a basketball game. With this group that started 5-7, could have gone the other way. To see your team fight to put themselves in a position to have a double bye, what gives you confidence they'll be better moving forward?
FRANK MARTIN: They've helped me grow as a human being, not just a coach. There's teams that as a season goes on, you just want it to get over with because it's not fun to be there every day. These guys made it fun every single day. They never paid attention to somebody being hurt, having feelings hurt, a loss. They kept coming back.

As a coach, when you get around young people that have that resiliency, it makes you understand how important it is that you don't get caught up in adversity or negativity. They helped me tremendously. This team has been a whole lot of fun to show up every single day to practice and help them.

Q. The NIT, if they call, is that an opportunity you want for this team?
FRANK MARTIN: Yeah, I mean, I enjoy being at practice with these guys. I enjoy competing with them. Coaching them has been a whole lot of fun.

I get it. I understand the non-conference record. I get all that. I understand. This is what I don't comprehend, maybe I'm not very intelligent, I apologize because I'm not one of the smarter guys around. I got to work real hard to make decisions.

One, two and three in our league are national championship good. I think Auburn is Final Four good. We're the fourth place team in this league. You mean to tell me there's that big a differential with who we are as a team and those guys that are national championship good? We just played one of the top 15 teams in the country without our leading scoring guard. The guard that leads us in scoring didn't play. Played limited. We're right there. We just didn't score enough.

But if they call, I'd love the opportunity to run another ball practice.

Q. Do you feel like your team has done enough to earn a bid into the NIT or NCAA tournament if they do call?
FRANK MARTIN: I would hope so. I don't control that. I don't control that. I tried to explain to you guys back home my frustration as to what our numbers look like compared to the other teams that were being argued to get in. You got to win at the end of the day to get into the NCAA tournament. We didn't win enough to get into the NCAA tournament.

Now, are we an NCAA tournament team today? I say yes. But the bottom line is we didn't win enough to get into the NCAA tournament. By me saying that we are doesn't mean we belong. I'm just saying we're good enough to be in that. We didn't do enough early in the year to put ourselves in that situation.

But I think we got a good team. I think you ask anybody in our league that's competed against us for the last two months, they'll tell you we're worthy of a post-season opportunity.

Q. Shot 13 free throws in the first half, five in the second half. Was that your team not being aggressive as you wanted?
FRANK MARTIN: They were in zone. They were in zone. They were in zone late in the first half. They played that zone the majority of the second half. That's when not having AJ hurts us. He's the one guard that has some size, that can get shots over the zone, and can drive the zone.

That was the biggest challenge. The zone kind of spreads out and gets on you. You have to drive the zone. We couldn't drive the zone. That's not something that Tre is great at. Not something Hassani is great at. Keyshawn is still trying to figure out how to do some of those things. It put tremendous pressure on our guards to make plays off the bounce, and we just couldn't drive the ball. That was the difference.

First half they were man. We got it inside. We got offensive rebounds. We got to the line. In the second half they went zone and we just couldn't do anything. Our guards never shot a free throw in the second half, I don't believe.


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