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March 21, 2019

Eric Musselman

Jazz Johnson

Cody Martin

Tre'Shawn Thurman

Des Moines, Iowa

Florida 70, Nevada 61

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by the Wolf Pack of Nevada.

ERIC MUSSELMAN: I give Florida a lot of credit. I thought they played really hard, controlled the pace of the game in that first half. We missed some crucial free throws down the stretch. Guys had a good year, but we weren't good enough today.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for our student-athletes?

Q. Cody, this game looked similar to the games against Texas and Cincinnati. You guys got into a big hole then made that push. Why were you not able to get over the hump like you were then?
CODY MARTIN: We just didn't get the stops we needed. Like he said, we missed a lot of crucial free throws we needed. But realistically the problem was we didn't start off in the first half and that seems to be what we do all the time and this time we just couldn't get over the hump. A good team slows the pace down and unfortunately this time it didn't work.

Q. Cody, you mentioned pace and Florida had the reputation of being slower than you guys. Was there anything they did that surprised you, any frustration, or were you prepared for that?
CODY MARTIN: We're always prepared because our coaching staff does a great job of making sure we know them better than anybody and at the beginning of the game in the first half we were moving the ball really well and that's on me. I'm the point guard who has no assists. I mean, I got to do a better job of moving the ball. We had four assists as a team to their 10. I mean, that's on me that I gotta control the pace better and control the tempo, make sure we get our teammates involved. I didn't do a good job of that. Nothing surprised us, honestly. We knew what they were going to do and unfortunately we had a lot of mental breakdowns. Like he said, didn't make free throws and just didn't get off to a good start and tried to come back as usual and it just didn't work.

Q. Tre'Shawn, you guys seemed like you were able to speed them up over the 12, 14 minutes. What did you do to be able to get back in the game and get back in transition offensively?
TRE'SHAWN THURMAN: We made an adjustment to trap them when they had the ball. He's a good point guard and we had to pick randomly to trap him at random times.

Q. Seniors, how would you like to be remembered? And Tre'Shawn, being from Omaha, did you have a big fan following here tonight?
TRE'SHAWN THURMAN: Just a hard-playing dude, I guess, gave 'em my all. Every time I stepped on the court I gave 'em my all. I cared about this team and I cared about winning. As a senior that's what you're supposed to do. You're supposed to come out and play and put your heart on the line for the guys in the jersey next to you. You're supposed to care and I cared and I cared about the Nevada fan base and I cared enough about my teammates to play every game I could. The following was great to see, I guess.

CODY MARTIN: I mean, I hope on our way out people understand and think that we represented our community and Nevada the best that we could and not only on the court but off court, having character guys, being good kids, you know, putting other people first besides ourselves. I hope people understand how much work we put in and how much we sacrificed to get to this point, and there is a lot of people that helped us get to this point. Unfortunately we didn't get as far as we wanted to, and at the end of the day I'm not satisfied with how it ended. But I'm really glad we got to go this far with this group of guys. I had a lot of fun throughout the season. Couldn't ask for a better team. Couldn't ask for a better coaching staff. They gave me everything. I just want them to know that, you know, as a team and as a whole we tried to represented Nevada the best we could.

Q. Jazz, how would you describe this season? I know you guys came in with a lot of goals and you were able to achieve a lot of them but not all of them. How would you sum up this year?
JAZZ JOHNSON: It was a learning experience especially for a guy like me who has never been here. I had the opportunity to learn from a lot of good players. I never thought I would meet guys like this and I'm blessed to have the ability to learn from these guys and from this coaching staff. I know, like I said, it's a big learning experience and we all got a lot better this season. Like Cody said, we didn't get as far as we wanted. But we made a lot of memories and we will be brothers forever.

Q. Coach, what did you notice in the first half that gave your guys a bit of trouble? Take us through the first few moments of the second half where a bit of a run came and then Florida started to go back on their march?
ERIC MUSSELMAN: Yeah, we just didn't make a lot of shots. Some guys that normally score the ball for us had off nights and when you shoot some of the percentages that we did, you're going to struggle and not win games. So we tried to junk it up defensively and our guys executed that defensive game plan great to try to speed 'em up. We had 'em on their heels a little bit and a couple of calls happened and momentum shifted and changed and we got beat by a team that outplayed us tonight.

Q. Cody, nutty things happen in this tournament every year, but given the season you had this finish really doesn't seem to fit. I wonder if you find it especially shocking that it ended like this?
CODY MARTIN: I would say more irritating than anything just because there was a lot of goals that we wanted to accomplish that we didn't meet. You kinda just gotta live with that. But, I mean, at this point it is what it is. You can't really dwell on it. I know our team and our coaching staff put in a lot of time, a lot of preparation to even get to this point. But it just sucks that it got cut short. You know, you wish you had possessions back. You can't get that done. At the end of the day, you know, you can sit there and, I mean, I hope we can all say that we left it all out there on the line and gave 110%. If that isn't the case then that's an issue and it is what it is. I'm proud of our guys. I'm proud of how they fought. I'm proud of how we fought. I wished we would have started off a little bit better, but like Coach said they just happened to outplay us.

Q. Coach, I know it's hard to sum up a six-month season as we all sit here and I know you think it's a special group and I was wondering if you could tell us right now what you think of this group?
ERIC MUSSELMAN: Twenty one teams I think that have been to three straight NCAA Tournaments and you can look up the names of the programs of the 21 and we've come a long way in a short amount of time, and I'm proud to coach these guys. Things weren't going well. We struggled and they fought back and got within a possession of the game, and I'm proud to coach these guys. We got a lot of guys in that locker room that are really hurting, a lot of guys that are tough-minded people and they will be successful in life because of their toughness and competitive nature. I think a lot of these seniors have won a lot of games for our program and given our fans a lot of good times and tonight we came up short. So it hurts and stings.

Q. Cody, can you take us through your day? We heard you were getting a couple of IVs. You guys had 5 assists last game and 4 assists in the game before that. What happened to you guys the last couple of weeks?
CODY MARTIN: I think we got stagnant as a group, including myself. We have to try to make sure our team is involved and for me to have 0 assists is kinda ridiculous and I don't look at stats and stuff like that, but when I look at that, it's irritating. I don't know what I had the game before or the game before that. I don't look at stuff like that, but if it's like that, it's irritating. I don't really like to talk about it because I feel like it's making excuses. So, yeah, I got some IVs. I just wasn't really feeling well. We just didn't play well enough.

Q. Coach, you guys came into the season with a lot of expectations and you did a lot of great things, winning 29 games. How do you think you will think about this season over the off-season in what you were able to accomplish and how you fell short in reaching your goals?
ERIC MUSSELMAN: I think our record is going to go down as one of the best in school history. Tonight it hurts. It will hurt tomorrow and a week from now. But to have 29 wins and whatever, 29-5 whatever it is, we had a really good year. We didn't advance in the tournament and there are a lot of good teams that won't advance either and there are a lot of really good programs that aren't in this tournament that have great facilities, that have great budgets, that have great everything. It's hard to make this tournament. It's hard to make this tournament back-to-back years as an at-large, and we've done that. Now I've got to get with Jazz and some of the sit-out guys and look forward to next year. I look forward to coaching those guys and start working with them and working on depth charts tonight for next year.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen. Best of luck in the future!

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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