home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 30, 2019

Chris Beard

Tariq Owens

Norense Odiase

Matt Mooney

Brandone Francis

Anaheim, California

Texas Tech 75, Gonzaga 69

THE MODERATOR: Welcome Texas Tech, head coach Chris Beard, student-athletes Brandone Francis, Matt Mooney, Norense Odiase and Tariq Owens. We will open it up with a statement from Coach.

CHRIS BEARD: I just want to congratulate Gonzaga on another championship season. They were everything we thought they would be. In the first half especially I felt like I was coaching a game that I've watched on TV for all these years, you know, the high-quality offense, the defense that was so hard to score against and I thought in the second half we relaxed and played a little bit. We have a lot of respect for their program. Their coach had some very nice things to say about our team and we don't take those things for granted. We're trying to build a program at Tech like a Gonzaga. This is our third year. We're starting to show some consistency but we have such a high opinion of them. I want to congratulate them. In terms of our team, Wes just asked me who did you want to take the press conference. This is easy, how about our four seniors? The backbone of our team. Norense and Brandone, a big part of our success. Tariq and Matt as grad transfers buying into our culture so quickly. It's like they've been here for their whole careers. I've always loved our seniors, but never been more proud than the four guys to my left right now. They're really the story of Tech basketball this year. I'm glad I get to coach 'em again. The Final Four is awesome and all that, but the most cool thing is I get to coach these guys again. We get to get after it again in practice and travel and spend time together. That's going to be a special week for us.

Q. Brandone and Matt, a lot of people believed this would be a low-scoring and slow game, but it was actually very fast-paced. How did you use tempo to your advantage?
BRANDONE FRANCIS: I think Gonzaga made us play like that. They were shooting open threes in transition and that's not how be play. We were trying to stay to their pace, but I feel like in the second half we slowed the pace down a little bit and played to our game and I'm just glad we came out with a victory.

MATT MOONEY: I think, you know, they got us playing their type of basketball in the first half and at halftime we just wanted to slow it down a little bit. We don't want to play slow, you know, but we want to control the tempo and take shots and play March basketball. In the second half we were able to do that.

CHRIS BEARD: Thank you for saying that, Matt. The slow stuff is killing us in recruiting.

MATT MOONEY: We don't play slow. Just win.

Q. Tariq, that was a pivotal sequence where you had the block in the corner and then saved the ball in bounds. Can you talk about how that play developed?
TARIQ OWENS: Coming down court, I mean, you know, Rui, I knew he was their best player and that was my assignment at the time and coming down court I knew they were going to be looking for him and when Josh Perkins drove I stepped in to help and I still knew where Rui was at and I knew I had to get out there because he was shooting it. Kinda not a smart play. I made the play but as soon as I seen him catch it I left my feet. Sometimes doesn't work out but, you know, I had to because I had to get there and it just worked out.

Q. Tariq and Matt, I know you guys take some pride in being grinders, having a little bit of an edge. What does this say about people like that who might not, you know, being on the cover of "Sports Illustrated" every week?
TARIQ OWENS: It says a lot. It just goes to show hard work pays off. This is my fifth year in college. Your hard work all of the time doesn't pay off right then and there; but, you know, I believe myself and Matt included we stayed the course and kept working at it and working at it and we got a program where everybody was grinders, especially our head coach who believed in us and was willing to push us and push us to the next level that he knew we had. So, you know, that just speaks to this program.

MATT MOONEY: Yeah, I just, you know, it's cliche, but hard work pays off. For believers, you reap when you sow. They didn't pick us to win the 12 or to be here right now, but we keep believing in each other and we're going to keep doing it.

Q. Matt, when can you tell that your defense has gotten a team out of its comfort zone, especially the way it looked in these two games here in Anaheim?
MATT MOONEY: You know, the last game we could tell earlier, Gonzaga, they were scoring. We were going blow-for-blow. So it was harder to tell tonight, but we separated it at the end and we were getting rebounds and stops when we needed to. They're a really high-powered offensive team, so I guess it was harder to tell tonight. But we made some shots, too.

Q. Matt, talk about that inbounds pass. Were you trying to bait the defensive or get Josh Perkins to swipe at the ball?
MATT MOONEY: The one where he hit my arm? I was just trying to, I'll be honest, I was trying to get it to Davide Moretti because he's the best free throw shooters in the country. I trust all these guys even though B doesn't think I trust him, I trust him, too. I was trying to get it to Davide Moretti and Perkins reached his hand in and tried to grab the ball while I had the ball.

I don't know why they're laughing. Tried to grab the ball while I had it out of bounds and hit my arm and the ref saw it and made a good call and I never seen that happen before.

CHRIS BEARD: This is why we call you the professor, man. I like it, though. (Laughter.)

Q. Norense, this is the first time Texas Tech will be in the Final Four. What's it mean for you to be on this historic team?
NORENSE ODIASE: It's huge, for our program, for our city, for us personally, for our family, our friends, it's huge. Everything we worked for starting off in the summer the workouts, the retreat, the battles we've been through, the struggles, man. It's huge. It means the world to work so hard and it pay off. It definitely hasn't hit me. Hasn't hit us. I don't think, yet. But it's huge for all of us and we're just so excited that we get to play with each other again.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen. Questions for Coach?

Q. Coach, when you're standing up on that ladder, waving that net over your head what does that feel like?
CHRIS BEARD: Man, it's just undescribable. It really is. Growing up my whole life watching these press conferences, games, and all that, and the guy that always gets there and says undescribable, and I'm like, oh, give us something better than that. But I don't have anything better. It's undescribable. I think a lot about those four seniors, great leadership on this year's team and I think about all the guys that came before us, seeing Coach Gerald Myers as happy as he is, a great Texas Tech coach and great AD and I think about everybody else but myself in those moments.

Q. Coach, I wanted to ask the affect that you think Bobby Knight had on this.
CHRIS BEARD: I mean, I wouldn't trade my time with Coach Knight and Pat for anything. It was like getting a Ph.D. in coaching every day. Learned so much from those guys, a lot of things that they probably don't even realize that I learned from them.

One of many things is just the idea of preparation. I've always thought we were guys that worked hard and loved our players, but those years with Coach and Pat just the idea of preparation. That was a big key to today's game. I thought the guys executed a scouting report. Gonzaga is really good. They're going to make you look like you didn't have a scouting report, but I promise you we did. We won just enough possessions with things we wanted to get done and a lot of that comes from Coach and Pat.

Q. Congratulations. I asked those guys that, and I know you've talked about it a lot, but would you trade in some grinders for, you know, the three top McDonald's All-Americans? Seems like you might be more comfortable with this kind of player?
CHRIS BEARD: It's like when I go to Grandy's, do I want double mashed potatoes or mashed potatoes and corn? I want both. So we would love to have All-Americans and turn 'em into grinders. I think they could play more games like today.

I'll say this about our guys: Kind of the story, not 5-star guys, but really good players. We've got the MVP of the Big 12 conference. Matt, Moro and Tariq were on the All-Tournament team. And our journey has been special, but there have been a few pivotal parts, our closed door scrimmage we can't talk about was against Houston and Coach Sampson has been to Final Fours and won championships and he grabbed me and he goes, Chris, you guys are really good, your new pieces, you guys are really good and you can compete for a 12 championship. You hear that and then we went to play Duke in Madison Square Garden, and right after the game in the handshake line and in the hallway Coach K had some great things about our team. What a heavyweight battle. You guys are really good. Good luck this season. Then he wrote me a letter and then we played Memphis and Miami and Rick Pitino was at the game and he talked to our players in the locker room after the game and he said, I've had teams less talented than you guys make it to the Final Four. It's about the intangibles and the things you guys stand for. Bill Self in our league thought we were good enough to make a run in this tournament.

We don't mind the underdog chip on the shoulder part of our story, but I think you disrespect our players a little bit. We got really good college players and I think we're one of the best teams in the country this year.

Q. You opened in zone the second half, played three, four possessions, what was the thinking behind that? Does sometimes a little bit of zone throw a team out of rhythm. I think they shot 50% in the first half against you.
CHRIS BEARD: Both our bigs had two fouls. Coach normally goes right threw plays second half. It's a crazy stat. It's what he normally does and just wanted to protect our players a little bit. When you play against these Hall of Fame coaches they score like 60 or 70% on ATOs, first play of the half. So why not throw a punch. Sometimes when you throw punches you leave yourself open to get hit, but they're probably going to score anyway. He's over there drawing up something great. I've never minded taking chances against really good coaches and players. Some games where we think we can maybe beat somebody possession after possession we don't do that, but that was not our thought with Gonzaga. We knew we would have to play almost a perfect game to beat 'em and in a lot of ways we did.

Q. How many deflections did you have today? I know you chart those. How do you coach that because you guys are awfully good at harassing and digging out those balls like most teams aren't?
CHRIS BEARD: Normally I would know right after the game win or lose, but today was a little different. We celebrated going to the Final Four. Texas Tech is going to the Final Four. Texas Tech is going to the Final Four. Some of you look surprised. I haven't seen the clipboard yet, but the way we emphasize it. Busy on the ball. Today was an interior post play from Gonzaga. Post defense isn't the big guy guarding the post, it's perimeter deflection, making it hard on the passer and just from a naked eye I think we did an okay job on that today, not great.

Q. First of all, Coach, congrats on punching your ticket to the Final Four. Kind of have a two-part question.
CHRIS BEARD: Right on, man, right on.

Q. This was such a physical and intense game. Do you encourage your players to be more physical in the theory that the refs will not call as much in these March Madness games; and also, everyone wants to know what will the next episode of Fireside Chat look like? Will you go live from Minneapolis?
CHRIS BEARD: I got ADD man, so I got to go one at a time. The first one was about officials and physical play in the tournament? We try to help our players. We explain to them these are the best refs in the game. They're not going to get anything if you want to get fouled you better go get it. We learned that firsthand against Villanova last year. We basically tell our guys you have to make real plays. They're not going to bail you out in games like this. We study NCAA Tournament championship games and show our guys. I do think the officiating is different in March. These are the best of the best in my opinion that advance in the tournament. What was the second part?

Q. Fireside Chat?
CHRIS BEARD: Yeah, yeah, Fireside Chat. I'm not sure. Andy is not here. Andy Katz. He got us to do the double bonus one, so I think we will probably have the seniors on the next Fireside Chat. Thanks for asking about that.

Q. Coach, one of the first things Jarrett said after the game was he wants to get in and look at the film to see what he could do differently with his shot and a couple of other things. What can you say about the sophomore, the consistency he's had and the growth that he's had from last season to this season?
CHRIS BEARD: That's just him. It not kinda sounds like, um, maybe not the full truth, but it is. The guy loves basketball. He's got a laptop or an iPad, one of those, he sits two seats in front of me to my left every plane trip and it's real, man. Doesn't matter if it's a late, late Big 12 game and we're on that plane at midnight coming back or doesn't matter if we won a big game or last a game. Doesn't matter. He's on that iPad watching the game, and he watches it himself first and then he will come in the next day and get the clips with the assistant coaches. It's real. He's a student of the game.

Q. You said you called Matt the Professor? Why is that? Why is he the guy you trust to inbound the ball in those key situations?
CHRIS BEARD: Like the best quality in somebody is always like their weakness, too. I've never met Michael Jordan. I shook his hand one time in Vegas, but they say the most competitive person ever that's what's great about him, and sometimes that may be a weakness sometimes. This is Matt. He overthinks things. He's a perfectionist. The great thing about him is he is detailed oriented and he's got a little bit of stubbornness to him. He thinks he's the best player in the country but all the great ones do.

On the flip side it can get annoying from time to time. So Moro gave him the nickname Professor. All right, Professor. You're right on everything. Those guys have a special relationship. That would be a great question for Moro in Minneapolis, why he named Matt Mooney the Professor.

Q. Why do you trust him to inbounds the ball?
CHRIS BEARD: I just trust him. He's got big-time nerves. You can't rattle him. He's a confident guy. Just trust him.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, anything to close out?

CHRIS BEARD: Texas Tech is going to the Final Four!

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297