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March 22, 2019

Mfiondu Kabengele

Terance Mann

Trent Forrest

Hartford, Connecticut

Q. Talk about facing Ja Morant. Have you watched him at all? What kind of challenges does that represent?
TERANCE MANN: He's a good player, we're just going try to contain him as best we can. He's a good passer also. He likes to find his teammates. So we just try to get in the way of that, stick to our principles, and things should fall in place.

TRENT FORREST: Kind of what Terance said, just kind try to disrupt him as much as you can. It's kind of hard to stop a player who likes to pass and get the ball to his teammates because you never know what he's going to attack or pass. Probably just disrupt his rhythm is the biggest thing for us.

Q. You guys obviously have a big size advantage, but that's not uncommon. You're larger than a lot of teams on the wings and especially in the middle. How do you best take advantage of that? Obviously you'd love to dominate the glass. They're small but not as small as some teams you played.
MFIONDU KABENGELE: We recognize our size is going to be a advantage. It's important to stay consistent through the first half. We know they going to very energized. We have to keep chipping away and wear them down with our length and our depth and continue to be aggressive on the glass, just wear them down. With our guards being as disruptive as much as possible, getting on transition. I feel like we'll chip away and be victorious.

TRENT FORREST: Yeah. Just try our best to use that to our advantage as we did that pretty much all season, just with smaller teams. Just like Fi said, just chip away at it the whole game, stick our game plan. Make them see bodies, make them go around our length and size. I feel like we just need to use that to our advantage.

TERANCE MANN: I agree. Just being consistent, I think, with our length and athleticism throughout the whole game and especially sticking to our defensive principles to try to disrupt them.

Q. You guys obviously faced Zion this year, too, and that was a huge challenge. What do you compare this challenge with Morant like to facing him?
TERANCE MANN: I would say they're both great players in what they do. Zion is very athletic, Ja Morant is very athletic. We've been facing great players all year especially throughout the ACC. Both guys are different, so our coaches have a great came plan for us. Try and stay in front of them and contain them, and I think we'll just do a good job of that.

Q. For any of the players, I know your teammate had a tragic loss yesterday. I'm wondering how he's doing and how you guys are helping Phil sort of get through a tough time?
TRENT FORREST: I mean, it's hard any time when you lose a parent. I mean, he's been doing pretty good. I mean, we've all been there for him since it happened, and we're just helping him get through it and giving him his space, his time that he needs, and just be there for him when he needs it.


Q. Throw you one more at you on Ja Morant, because he's obviously been such a big story. I'm sure you watched tape. Can you sort of appreciate his game yesterday? I mean, in other words, do you sort of sit back and say, this is kind of fun. Or is it too much, like man, we got to deal with this guy? Can you sort of step back from a fan's point of view and appreciate his game for the sort of spectacular plays that he makes?
TERANCE MANN: I mean, yeah. He had a triple-double, and that doesn't happen often in college basketball. So, I mean, you could appreciate the triple-double that he had, but also facing him next also is in your head, trying to figure out how you're going to cut that down and not let him have the type of game that he had yesterday. But like I said, you know, we're just going to use our athleticism, be lengthy, be smart on our defensive end and try to disrupt it.

TRENT FORREST: Yeah. I mean, what he's been doing as a season -- as a fan, I mean, all you can do is respect it honestly. As Terance said, it doesn't happen when you see triple-doubles in college. I mean, I feel from a fan's perspective, you definitely have to respect what he did all season. Just going into tomorrow, we just have to be locked in, and it's going to be tough stopping him because he's such a good player.

Q. I was just curious, obviously a lot of questions about Ja, but what do you think you guys bring to table in a game like this knowing that the Sweet 16 is right in front of you?
MFIONDU KABENGELE: I think with our team, obviously our quality of our depth, our length, but more especially our intelligence. I feel like we're one of the smarter teams in this conference. I feel that goes underrated, and I feel like our decision-making and our game plan preparation is very excellent. Our coaching staff does a great job. Players do a great job of adjustment, especially in the Vermont game. It was tied and you know, we were able to regroup. And seeing where we could have made mistakes and what we could improve on, and especially in the second half, I give credit to the our mindset and our intelligence. I feel like with this team our overall mental preparation, our game intelligence, and basketball IQ, it is something we will bring to the table.

TRENT FORREST: Definitely our athleticism, our length, our size, so I would say that definitely. And another thing going along with the IQ is our experience. I mean, I feel like from top to bottom, we have a lot of guys that's been here. We understand what's at stake. We understand how to win these tough games. I mean, yesterday it seemed like they had a pretty good crowd. So just being able to manage their crowd, manage the emotions of the game, just for the whole 40 minutes, that experience, I feel is going to be an advantage for us as well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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