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March 11, 2020

Jim Larranaga

DJ Vasiljevic

Chris Lykes

Greensboro, North Carolina

Clemson - 69, Miami - 64

JIM LARRANAGA: Well, I thought it was a very hard-fought contest. Both teams played very well, especially in the first half where neither one of us could get anything going offensively. We were hoping that we could continue to play that kind of defense in the second half, but Clemson got it rolling. They had no free throws at halftime, and they made 18 of 19 in the second half, so obviously that's the biggest difference in the game.

Q. Chris, how restricted were you by wearing the mask today?
CHRIS LYKES: I put the mask on, and I got cleared to play, so I was able to get out there and play on the court. Once I'm out there, it's no restrictions, it's no complaints. I've just got to do what I know I can do, and my teammates did a good job of getting me in rhythm early and just telling me keep going.

Q. Jim, that last minute, were you flashing back to any other kinds of incredible rallies, the way you turned them over twice on inbounds and had chances to get within one possession?
JIM LARRANAGA: This season I have witnessed more crazy endings in our league and in other leagues than I've ever seen before. One crazy ending was Duke at Carolina. They have to miss a free throw, they come up with it, they make an incredible shot. Louisiana Tech was at Western Kentucky, and Louisiana Tech was up I believe it was seven with 10 seconds to go, and Western Kentucky tied the game.

So, so many things can happen in a very short period of time. We put Anthony Walker in the game because he's such a good athlete. We were hoping he could bother the inbounds pass, which he did. Sam Waardenburg stole it, got it to Anthony inside, and he got fouled, but he really had a chance to get a three-point play with us down four. And I know he's heartbroken right now because he missed the shot and missed the two free throws, but when you're asked to come into a game with 10 seconds to go or 14 seconds to go and help us make some miraculous comeback, it's very, very hard to do that.

So he gets a lot of credit for stepping up and helping us in that situation.

Q. What have your seniors meant to you? I know you guys have had a lot of ups and downs this year, but seeing D.J., I know how it is to end a season like that, but he's had a tremendous contribution to the Miami program.
JIM LARRANAGA: Well, the first is if you looked at our team before the season and you anticipated that a guy like Keith Stone could end up being a major factor for us at both ends of the court, and when he first becomes eligible and we win five in a row, we think we're heading really in the right direction because he improved our defense tremendously. But then he got hurt on the road at Clemson. We win in overtime, but he got hurt, he ended up having surgery the next week, and we were back to square one.

He came back, helped us in February, in March, and I think it's very difficult when a guy is a fifth-year senior trying to acclimate himself to a new coach, a new program. But he could not have been a better teammate nor better young man to coach.

D.J. Vasiljevic on the other hand has been with us for so long and has done so many great things on the court, off the court. He's a great role model for our program. He's the number two all-time leading three-point shot maker. He's in the top 20 in the ACC in shot-making from three. He is as hard a worker as you'll find in college, and he's a limited athlete. He doesn't think so, but he's not the run and jump athlete that some of guys in the ACC are. And yet he's been able to compete at such a high level because of his work ethic, his intelligence, his basketball IQ, and he's also on the ACC all-academic team. He's already graduated. He's working on his master's degree, and I couldn't be more proud of the contribution he's made and the kind of young man he is and how enjoyable it was to be with him for four years.

Q. When you talk about the young pieces with this team that you bring back, what excites you most, and then I know you have a transfer that sat out this year that's developing, a big that would have really helped this year. Just your thoughts there.
JIM LARRANAGA: Yeah, with Keith moving on, we bring in Nysier Brooks, a transfer from Cincinnati, who possesses a lot of the same qualities as Keith. He's a heck of a defender. He's a terrific rebounder and shot blocker. He gives us a presence inside. Rodney Miller was really the only guy that could play with his back to the basket this year, adding Nys Brooks, we've got another guy, and that will give us a much different look going into a game. So as you see, Clemson shot 19 free throws, we shot seven. Just couldn't go inside, get inside their defense well enough. And hopefully those things will change next season.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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