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March 20, 2019

Zylan Cheatham

Luguentz Dort

Bobby Hurley

Dayton, Ohio

Arizona State - 74, St. John's - 65

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley and student-athletes Luguentz Dort and Zylan Cheatham.

COACH HURLEY: I really love how we started the game and really took control of the game. And I thought our defense was very good. We mixed our defenses up some, and our zone was pretty effective in the first half. And we played well on the offensive end, 14 of 26 at halftime from the field.

So played clean on that end of the floor and it was nice to have that margin.

And in the second half, in order to continue to play in this tournament we understand that we gotta take care of the ball better. But they have good athletes and they never gave in and very instinctive players and really good basketball team.

So it's exciting to get this win and happy for our guys, happy for our seniors. And so it's going to be exciting now heading to Tulsa.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Luguentz and Zylan.

Q. Talk about the nasty fall you took in the second half and did it affect your play from that point on?
LUGUENTZ DORT: I was just going to go get the rebound. He didn't do it on purpose. He went up for the ball and I went a little higher than him. And I just fell.

COACH HURLEY: You looked surprised.

LUGUENTZ DORT: I hit my knee and my butt a little bit, and just had to walk through it. And I was fine.

Q. Just the decision to play zone and how you think that went. Seemed like early on you had them really off balance with your defense. (Indiscernible) going zone. They struggled early on. Could you talk about that?
LUGUENTZ DORT: Our scouting, we knew they were a good team going one-on-one. And I just felt like by going on the zone, it was kind of hard for them to get involved, like, to play and beat us one-on-one because we had to help.

Q. Not only playing in your first NCAA Tournament game and winning your first NCAA Tournament game, Coach said that was, for him, in coaching this game, one of the more meaningful parts of it. Just you guys getting the opportunity what was it like for you?
LUGUENTZ DORT: It was just great. We knew that at the beginning of this year we knew that we wanted to do something special. And getting some good wins like this, coming into the tournament getting some tough wins like this, it's just great for us.

ZYLAN CHEATHAM: First of all, just being out there was just a privilege for me. It was unbelievable environment, unbelievable event. And as far as just getting a win, I'm going to say that was for the city. I've witnessed ASU go through so much in this tournament.

And to be a part of the shift in coaches is just an unbelievable experience for me.

Q. Not being selected into the round of 64, but the First Four, do you come into this with a chip on your shoulder?
ZYLAN CHEATHAM: I think we keep a chip on our shoulder naturally, regardless. But we were utmost grateful just to be selected at that point. I'm not sure if you've seen our video, but it was a lot of stress and just anxiety not really knowing if we were going to get in.

So to be selected regardless of where it was at, we were just grateful for it.

Q. Do you feel like you've kind of got the monkey off your back? This team won a postseason game now. It's been a while since this school won a postseason game.
ZYLAN CHEATHAM: I'm going to say we didn't pack for just one game. We're really locked in. We're really focused. And obviously this is a big step in the right direction. But we're not content by any means. We're hungry for more. We want to take this season as far as it can go.

COACH HURLEY: He had to chase Shamorie Ponds around all night.

Q. Were you surprised that you had issues rebounding with a team that you definitely had a clear height advantage against?
ZYLAN CHEATHAM: Yeah, but I mean, I can't have unbelievable rebounding games every game. You just gotta take what you can get. Our guards, I want to say Rob had six defensive rebounds at half. So that just shows that our guards are coming in there and cleaning up.

And I think I did a really good job boxing out and keeping my men off the glass. I'm not really too concerned with numbers as long as my team gets the rebound and we can go.

Q. Early on you were scoring from the mid post. You guys are getting the ball inside pretty consistently with a sharp focus on that. Can you just talk about taking advantage of that against an undersized team?
ZYLAN CHEATHAM: In these tournaments, in these games, you've got to exploit mismatches by any means, whether that's guard play or big play. In this game, it just happened to be with us, me or Mello and De'Quon. We did a good job getting in post position. We knew they were going to be a smaller lineup we tried to take advantage of it.

I missed some chippies. We all missed some chippies. That was the point of emphasis going into this game. And I think we executed it pretty well.

Q. Zylan, at the end of the game you embraced Coach Hurley's brother. What's your relationship with Danny Hurley and how cool was it to see him support his brother tonight?
ZYLAN CHEATHAM: Honestly I thought it was Bobby, to be honest. (Laughter) No, I'm just joking. It was my first time personally meeting him. Obviously I've watched him since Rhode Island at UConn this year. And he's an unbelievable guy. And anybody that's family to my coach is family to me.

I just wanted to do a good job and embracing him and pretty much letting him know we appreciate the support flying out here. He didn't have to do that.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.

Q. You called Remy Martin a warrior lately. Would you put Lu in that category?
COACH HURLEY: He's a freshman and for him to deliver that type of performance is pretty special. Just alone for the amount of energy he expends on defense. He had some tough assignments tonight and really chasing Shamorie Ponds. And then being able to make the plays he made on the offensive end just shows how elite he is a player. And I'm glad he has the opportunity to show the country that on this type of stage.

Q. You didn't have the size last year. With Z and Dort and some of those guys in order to create the rebounding edge you were tonight and that physical edge, what did it say to have those guys tonight in order to have that strength and play --
COACH HURLEY: I think it's just -- you could run offense through Zylan and even Romello White early, and we were able to take advantage of the paint some, more so early in the game than as the game wore on.

But it established a focus of getting the ball inside. And then Lu is just a big guard that can move so well. And he's pretty nasty on defense. When you have a guy like that, you could put him on any of the top perimeter players on a team and he's going to make them work for everything.

Q. Coach, your brother is often coaching at the same time as you, but tonight he obviously came out to support you. What does it mean to you have him show up and support you in this moment?
COACH HURLEY: We're so close. And we talk so much. And I'm sure he is very familiar with our team and our players. And just getting a chance to spend time with him this afternoon a little bit, it just means everything that he took the time out.

And he's recruiting as his season's end, and trying to rebuild UConn basketball and he's going to be a major success there. But just looking over to him, I got a little strength. I usually only have my wife behind the bench to look at for strength in some tough moments, but it was nice to have more reinforcements.

And to get a chance to see Dan after the game was awesome. I was able to watch his Creighton game a few years ago in the NCAA Tournament. And it was -- I was just so proud of watching him do his thing out there on the basketball court.

Q. What about Remy's status? Obviously he was not quite the same. We know he's been struggling with the groin. How healthy do you think he was today? And it seemed to affect your guys' play when he wasn't in the game.
COACH HURLEY: As we had control of the game I tried to get him in and out of the game as I needed because the last thing I wanted to do was give him a chance to reinjure himself and reaggravate that injury. So I thought he moved fairly well at times. He didn't get any reps in practice for a couple of days until the day before. So I'm sure that that had some impact.

But he's one of the toughest kids I've ever been around. And he's going to -- he'll tell me he's getting close to 100 percent. I don't know if he's being completely truthful when he says that, though.

Q. Insult or compliment that one of your players confused you for your brother?
COACH HURLEY: Our mannerisms are very much the same, especially on the sideline. And I make those guys watch UConn basketball and Rhode Island basketball. Last year I had them watch how hard Rhode Island defended to try to get us to defend as hard as Rhode Island did.

And they love the handshake line with Syracuse earlier in the year, when my brother had the exchange with his player and then quickly got back to business and shook Coach Boeheim's hand. It was one of their favorite moments, our guys. I may not have directly answered that. But that's what I've got.

Q. Are you looking forward to getting a chance to play Buffalo and Oats?
COACH HURLEY: It's more for me -- I said it after the game, I love coaching these guys. They're such a fun group to coach and they have a bunch of winners. And just we don't want the journey to end. And that's what it's about this time of year. You just gotta -- you've got to keep making plays and attack each game.

And I haven't really had time to think about how I'm going to feel on Friday. But Nate and I speak, and we both agreed that we're really good friends, and we both helped each other tremendously in our careers, but that's probably not going to matter a whole lot on Friday.

Q. When you and Nate know each other so well, what does that do in terms of the gamesmanship or just the X/O component of a game like this?
COACH HURLEY: We have a tendency to watch our teams more when we can, and we're both really busy with our own seasons. But Nate's only a notch behind how I watch UConn. I watch just about every UConn game. I try to watch Buffalo when I can and root for him.

But there are some elements of offense that I did at Buffalo with Nate and there are a lot of other things I've done since I've gotten here. So there's been some change in what we do at that end of the floor. I just know for sure watching Nate Oats teams, they take on his character and his personality by how hard-nosed he is and how fiery he is. And his kids play extremely hard and they have a chip on their shoulder. The whole mid-major thing, I think they're tired of that. So it's going to be a heck of a game.

Q. 21 turnovers tonight. What needs to be done to cut down on that number as the competition increases?
COACH HURLEY: I think we were a little uncharacteristic with just being slightly careless and we had the big lead. And give St. John's credit for just never giving in and really battling through that game and trying to generate those turnovers. It's what they do very well.

And so maybe not having Remy as good as he normally would be against pressure, he would just like dribble through everything. And we may not necessarily have that luxury tonight. So we'll look at all the turnovers and try and make some adjustments.


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