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March 22, 2019

Bruce Weber

Barry Brown Jr.

Kamau Stokes

San Jose, California

UC Irvine - 70, Kansas State - 64

MODERATOR: We welcome Kansas State to the dais, head coach Bruce Weber, Barry Brown, Jr., Kamau Stokes. We'll have opening statement from the coach.

BRUCE WEBER: You know, obviously it's a really sad day, mainly because of these guys and Dean Wade, to be the last time you have a chance to coach them, to be in the locker room with them. Such a special group, and they've done everything we've asked as players, as people, and they're unbelievable representatives of Kansas State University. And can't be more proud.

Obviously, you know, we had the -- we've celebrated a lot here the last three years, winning the game three years ago, advancing last year, getting to the Elite Eight, this year winning a championship, having a special season.

Obviously today you gotta -- hats off to Irvine. We knew they'd be tough. They had depth. They played their butts off, and they made some big plays, big shots when it counted, and Coach does a great job there, and we knew it would be a difficult game.

Hoped a couple of plays, couple shots might go our way. Probably turned it over way too much, and maybe that's probably -- didn't study it real closely, but probably the difference in the game, not taking care of the basketball.

MODERATOR: Questions for the players.

Q. Barry, how difficult was it for you to get in a rhythm after being on the bench so much in the first half and the turnover in the final minute? What did you see on that play?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: It was tough, man. Just trying to go out there and do whatever I could to help my team will our way to a win. I was trying to, I don't know, get my shots going early a little bit, see what was up. Some rattled in and out, made one, missed a few. Last play, when I'm dribbling down, I wanted to penetrate, but then I saw three guys, and I thought Cartwright was going to come up, but he didn't, and I kind of made the wrong pass. I didn't read it right. I should have just dribbled it out. Just made the wrong read in a crucial part of the game. Definitely on me. Should have been better.

Q. For either one of you, was there anything about Irvine that surprised you, and just what sort of are the emotions for you guys at this point?
KAMAU STOKES: I mean, nothing surprised me. They're a good team. That's why they got to the tournament. So it wasn't surprising at all. We knew it was going to be tough. And like Coach said, they made plays at the right times.

Q. Obviously you guys had a lot of high hopes heading into this tournament. You had a really good season. What are the emotions like knowing that's over now?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: Just sad, man. We wanted to do something really special. We did something special in our regular season, and we wanted to kind of carry that momentum over to this tournament, and just didn't execute, didn't hit some shots, didn't guard the right way we should have. I mean, we just weren't able to come up with the win, bottom line.

Q. For Barry and Kam, in all your senior videos you guys talk so much about carrying the program forward. I know it's tough to think about that right now, but how important that is to you guys that this program continues to move forward?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: It's super important, man. We tried to turn it around a little bit, and I think we all did some -- I mean, not just the seniors, but everyone on the team this year and last year did some special things to kind of change the narrative of our school and our program.

So, I mean, it's definitely going to be important for those guys to continue that on. I talked to some of them after the game in the locker room, just told them, I mean, it's their time, they gotta step up and be those leaders and gotta continue this legacy that we're trying to leave.

MODERATOR: Any additional questions for the student-athletes? Questions for Coach Weber.

Q. Just wondering not having Dean Wade out there how much of a difference did that make today?
BRUCE WEBER: I mean, if you studied or watched us, obviously it's a huge difference. But no excuses. We won without him early in the season. We won without him last year, and you know, it's just so sad, and I just -- you know, I don't understand it, but for him to two years in a row to have injuries, not be able to play in the tournament when you're such a good kid, quality person, he's worked so hard, it's really, really sad.

But hopefully -- there's always a reason for something, and it'll help make him tougher. And I just -- all three of these guys you can't say enough about. And Dean's future, I hope he can get healthy, stay healthy and be a productive NBA player down the road. And these other guys -- I told them the most important thing, all of those guys are going to be great people, great citizens, great representatives of Kansas State. And I know they're family guys. They do things the right way. So we're very, very proud to be associated with them.

Q. The drive at the end of the first half, missed your last 11 shots or whatever it was. What went into that, and were you tempted at all to put Barry back in?
BRUCE WEBER: I thought as long as we were staying ahead we could stay without him, because he gets that quick third one or something. The two fouls he got were casual -- I don't want to say casual, just kind of happenstance fouls, trying to get -- reaching in behind something. And you just didn't want -- we were ahead. Obviously that three at the end of the half was huge. You know, they went zone, went box and one. We had some shots. We didn't probably execute those. We talked all week, we knew when they played us last year, they had to play zone. They couldn't -- I guess he didn't think he could stop us, when they've had some other games they've had to play zone against some bigger teams or higher level teams.

So we knew they'd play zone, and I was just hoping, I told them to attack with confidence, not to act like we've never been there, because we've played against a bunch of people, bunch of zones. But obviously we just didn't get enough -- you know, you keep that thing at five or seven, obviously it would have been a big difference maker, but we didn't.

Credit to them. They got some toughness. They're older. I think -- I don't know a whole lot about West Coast basketball, but he's gotta be one of the best coaches out here, and he's gotta have one of the best teams one of the most experienced, toughest teams. And you admire them and respect them and appreciate what they did.

Q. Coach, a similar question to you as them. I know you just finished this game 20 minutes ago, but when did the conversation from those players turn into talk of the young guys about it being their program now and moving it forward?
BRUCE WEBER: After the game you think the guys, the whole team, obviously the seniors, you know, including the three that have been very important, Pierson Mcatee, Patrick Muldoon. Our seniors have been great walk-ons, great leaders, our managers, the GAs, the guys that are going to be gone.

But now I just hope the younger guys understand, I hope they understand how hard those guys have worked and what they've done to give us success and a chance to be a contender in the Big 12 and be somebody that gets to the NCAA Tournament.

You know, you still got three guys that played a bunch of minutes the last two years, Mak, Xavier, Mak had a huge game, 14 and 12. Just wish -- a couple of turnovers here and there. I thought he got fouled on the jump ball, but they saw it a different way. You know, Xavier obviously has been very good. Carti, you know, it's really a miracle, but he's in foul trouble, too, but a miracle what he's done. He really shouldn't even be playing, to be honest. Doctors, he had the okay coming early, coming back early, and he wanted to help us. He had some casual fouls which hurt us, but when you look at the plus-minus, he's plus 13 in there. So it would have been nice to have him and Barry a little more on the court, but it didn't happen.

Every game is different. Ball bounces different ways, calls go different ways, and, you know, to their credit they made the plays that make a difference.

MODERATOR: I think we're good. Thanks, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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