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March 5, 2020

Greg Lansing

Jordan Barnes

Christian Williams

Tyreke Key

St. Louis, Missouri - Arch Madness

THE MODERATOR: 3:00 to 3:15 features the No. 3 seed Indiana State Sycamores. They'll play the team that just left here, No. 6 Missouri State. The game is 8:30 Friday night. Jordan Barnes, Christian Williams, Tyreke Key represent the student-athletes. Greg Lansing is the head coach in the middle.

GREG LANSING: Just excited to be here. Been part of a lot of conference tournaments. There's nothing better than Arch Madness. It takes a backseat to no conference tournament, and I know this one, maybe in particular, compared to all the other ones I've been in, I think everyone going into it is thinking they've got a chance, and they do have a chance. It's going to be some great games for the fans. I know our fans are excited. I know these guys are excited.

I really like our group of guys. I mean, I've never enjoyed a team as much as I have this group, and large in part to the guys that are up here. I'll throw Bronson in there, too, as the third senior. But being able to go through J.B.'s four years and being able to bring him back here with the outstanding year that he had. Christian here, again, being rewarded All-Defensive Team after fighting injuries, and Tyreke just continues to show that he's one of the best players in the league as well.

So we're excited. A lot of credit goes to these guys up here for leading us, and just keep staying with our young guys and continue to get them developed because I think we have improved throughout the year. It's a good time to do it going into the tournament.

Q. Greg, it's really the first period of time you get any rest. How did you handle that aspect of this week, especially playing the late game tomorrow night? What was your approach with the team in terms of getting them some legs?
GREG LANSING: We had to take two days off just because of the compliance and stuff and how we had practiced leading up to it. So Sunday -- these guys got Sunday and Monday off. The coaching staff all went recruiting, but then got right back in, and we didn't do -- probably right at an hour on the floor on Wednesday. That was all about us, nothing other than talking about Missouri State in the last two days, is going to be Missouri State prep.

Again, not a lot of time on the floor. I think that's one thing this group has been mature about. We've been able to not practice long and heavy and pounding on each other because these guys are focused. Christian's had hip injuries. You've got Bronson and Jake and J.B. and Tyreke both log a lot of minutes and beat up. So we really have been erring on the side of fresh legs and then being locked in and getting the work done when we go in there.

Q. Tyreke, Christian, J.B., you guys can all weigh in on this. One of the things I don't think we talked about too much this year is how good this team has been with taking care of the ball. You guys have good turnover numbers. What's been the key in that this year in terms of being reliable and not turning the ball over?
THE MODERATOR: Tyreke, we'll start with you and come this way; Christian and Jordan next.

TYREKE KEY: It just comes down to executing. It's what we do every day in practice, practice not turning the ball over for one. At this point in the season, you can't make mistakes like that. We know that, and it comes down to executing. That's really about it.

CHRISTIAN WILLIAMS: Just like he said, we've been executing really well, but we have a really good court with our guards, and we're really well experienced. So I think that's the biggest reason to why we take care of the ball.

JORDAN BARNES: I agree with what both of those guys said. We have too many good guards that can take care of the ball, and with that being said, we shouldn't be turning the ball over as much. I feel like that plays a part into it too.

Q. For Tyreke and Christian, I'm going to make it awkward now. I want to get your thoughts on Jordan and what he means to your team. Try to put that into words.
CHRISTIAN WILLIAMS: He's big for us. His first couple years, he kind of had to score the ball a little bit more. Just from watching him from the year that I sat out, he's really made a big jump to really taking ownership of the team and really leading the team and making sure the team's doing everything they can. He's really done a good job of making sure everybody's in the right spot at the right time, and I think that's just really helped us out along the way.

TYREKE KEY: Like C. Will said, he's our leader. He makes us go. Whatever he says, we'll do. He's our leader, a great guy, great communicator, and he's just a great leader.

Q. Coach, ever since you guys beat Missouri State, the past month, they've just been kind of playing a little better. Is it as easy as they're just playing hard or what are you seeing on film?
GREG LANSING: It's about all Dana said, just play hard. I think you get that way as a coach. You hope you don't have to coach effort. I think they started getting ripe a little bit in the second half. When we were down there, we had the lead at half. They came back and took a lead, but then we won the game. But they've been pretty darn good since then.

There's a reason they were picked to win the league, talented across the board. These guys, I think like us, they're defending better. As towards this last month, I think that's one thing both teams have done. And they're killers on the offensive boards. I think they've averaged 14-plus over the last six games. So just an awfully talented team, awfully talented group.

Q. With Ross Owens, just he's a walk-on player, but just kind of what are you noticing from him that the rest of the team might be feeding off of?
GREG LANSING: Wondering why he didn't get a scholarship earlier, that's what I was wondering. I've got a strong affinity for walk-ons because throughout my coaching career, there have been some special guys that have played important roles and even tournament championship teams.

But he plays at both ends. You have to guard him. He can shoot the three. He's a good-sized, basically a guard, a stronger guard. He guarded all three of these guys at different times, and they can switch with him. But he's a tough competitor and really brings something to that team, I know, with how hard he played.

Q. Jordan, wanted to ask you about your hunger -- not for toasted ravioli, but hunger to win the tournament. You're back home senior year. Can you just put it in your own words?
JORDAN BARNES: I would just say everybody has the hunger to come out and win this tournament, especially in St. Louis when it's one and done. For me, it's being back in St. Louis with these guys, especially the younger guys we have, bringing them along with me and just showing them how hard it is to actually win this tournament and the feeling that you get after winning it.

Q. Greg, I wanted to give you a chance to expound on the turnover thing I was talking to the players about, and I wanted to expound on that a little bit. Tre and Jake, their handles and their ability to handle the ball as well, what influence has that had on the turnover numbers that you guys have had?
GREG LANSING: The whole reason is, I think like Christian said, is these guys up here. They've got the ball in their hands a lot, and we take care of it. One thing these guys do is they work on their craft a lot. So they're logging a lot of time in the gym where they work on their ball handling and whatnot, but it's something these guys take personal. I would venture to guess that might be the first stat a couple of these guys look at is how many turnovers did I have after the game? You give them all the credit for taking. They know the importance of valuing the possession and of the skill that they have with it.

So it's been a big part of our team. Our turnovers have really come from the interior guys the majority of the time. They'll get a couple. We'll get charges, offensive fouls or those things. But Jake and Tre's skill level is good. They can both handling the ball. They can both pass the ball. That's only going to get better.

Q. Speaking of which, how is Jake doing? He had back spasms in the last game. What's his condition?
GREG LANSING: Better today. He's logging a lot of time with Connor and doing absolutely everything he can to be as ready as he can. It's been bothering him for a couple weeks, and he's gutted it out. He's a tough dude. He'll give us everything he's got. Whatever that is, we don't know right now.

Q. For the players, you guys can weigh in on this. Both matchups occurred at times during the season where both teams were in different states of mind, so to speak. You guys caught them at a good time. They came to Terre Haute and caught you guys before you started playing better. How much can you derive from both of those matchups that apply to tomorrow night? Is there much that matters? What translates?
THE MODERATOR: Jordan, you're first this time followed by Christian and Tyreke.

JORDAN BARNES: I would say, like you said, they caught us at a good time, we caught them at a good time. With that being said, it's just one game. We've got to play them again. I feel like it will be a better matchup with both of us playing as well as we can.

CHRISTIAN WILLIAMS: I think with the first two games that we played, there's takeaways from both of those games because the games were kind of different. Just looking at how both of these teams won. So I think just going back and looking at the film and seeing how both games were won by each team and just making those corrections will be big. And going into this game, we know how talented and everything that they are. So just pay attention to the details and try to get everything correct.

TYREKE KEY: Like he said, we've both seen each other, so it's really going to come down to who executes the most and who comes the most prepared.

Q. Coach, I wanted to ask you about Jordan as well. Can you describe, especially for the St. Louis fans coming to the games that might not have gotten to see you play Jordan, can you describe his role on the offense?
GREG LANSING: Since he's gotten on campus, he's been important to everything we're doing. This year in particular, he's taken it upon himself wanting to be the best point guard in the league, and I think he is. He's playing both ends. With his stature earlier in his career, some people might be able to take advantage of that because of his size, but he takes that personally. He's a tremendous competitor, has always worked at his game and taken his leadership to another level this year.

Q. The clock is ticking. I'll just ask Tyreke this because I think I asked these guys this over the weekend. You guys beat every team in the league this year. What does that do, what does that matter for this tournament overall in terms of the confidence you guys have to win it?
TYREKE KEY: Man, just we know we can beat everybody. So that's the mindset we're going to go into. We've seen everybody, and we've seen how we played every game. We're very capable.

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much for your time and best of luck.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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