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December 1, 2020

Shaka Smart

Matt Coleman

Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Texas Longhorns

Postgame Press Conference

Texas - 66, Indiana - 44

THE MODERATOR: We'll start with an opening statement from coach.

SHAKA SMART: Good team win. I thought the best part about this game was the way that we had a lot of guys step up and play with a lot of aggressiveness and a lot of togetherness even though we had a ton of foul trouble. For Greg Brown only to be able to play 12, 13 minutes, Kai Jones only 13 minutes, Jericho was limited in terms of his playing time. For guys like Royce Hamm and Brock Cunningham to step up, that's what a team's about. Obviously we set a tone on the defensive end. We really challenged the guys on that after the Davidson game. I didn't think we played poorly on defense in the Davidson game, but I thought our one-on-one defense was not good enough and we did a much better job today.

Q. Just more detail about Brock and Royce. You mentioned the foul trouble, but what was it that allowed those guys to come in and just have a lot of success? I know heading into this game you probably told those front court guys this is going to be a heck of a challenge and a lot of those guys had to deal with some fouls, yet Brock and Royce came in and really gave you some steady minutes.

SHAKA SMART: Well, probably the biggest area where we need to improve on defense is fouling less. But at the same time, we need and want to play with a level of aggressiveness so if that means we foul sometimes, that's something that we can work on and get better at, but the aggressiveness has to be there. Yeah, absolutely, our goal was to keep Jackson Davis and Thompson combined under 24 points. They got 21. We knew that they were going to go in there early and often. Those guys both played really well yesterday. Again, Royce Hamm, I thought really gave us a huge lift by going to the post. And we talk about on defense dancing in the post and I thought he did a great job of just having active feet. Brock Cunningham, I can't wait to watch the hustle plays that he had today, man. I just, that's one of my most favorite things to do is just watch those plays because they're winning plays and they're completely selfless plays.

Q. Continuing on Brock for a second, where do you see him continuing to develop the most? His stat line today was pretty phenomenal. Where do you see his growth through this off-season?

SHAKA SMART: Oh, it's just, he impacts winning. He makes winning plays. He does whatever you need him to play. He can play different positions. He can guard different positions. He's at his best when he's just super aggressive, not really worried about what might or might not happen, just attacking. Those two threes he made, I've never seen a guy make a three and then chase after the ball so much like it's going to be a miss. But that's his mentality and the fact that he got so many deflections he had his hands on the basketball, four assists, 11 rebounds, is huge.

Q. Early in the second half it kind of looked like Indiana was threatening a little bit. It looked like you all were looking for a spark from somewhere and Matt really stepped up and it looked like he was playing under control. He had a little pep in his step. How important was he today, especially with a lot of guys in foul trouble and some other guys their shots weren't really falling?

SHAKA SMART: Matt was really big. I'm really hard on Matt and I'm always on him. I was on him in the first half about a couple plays, but he's done a great job of playing with a level of desperation like you should have as a senior guard, and knowing that these opportunities are few and far between and it's on us to make the most of them. So he did a nice job giving us a lift at the start of the half, a huge deflection to go the other way and score two points, which is how we want to be and how we want to play.

Q. What do you think it says about your team's defensive capability that you can crack the whip on them and you have gotten two of the top-3 defensive games that you've had since you've been here so far?

SHAKA SMART: Well, we got capable guys. I think if we can continue to, if we can improve defending without fouling, we can be even better. But I told the guys yesterday after the game, I didn't think we necessarily led with our defense. Now, Davidson deserves a lot of credit for how they scored the ball, but today we led with our defense and that's what our identity has to be.

Q. I wanted to ask you about Greg Brown. The education of a freshman when you're dealing with a tournament like this, no exhibition games, he had one sequence where he had a great reverse layup, air balled a three, but then came right down and drew a charge like in about a 30-second span, it seemed like. How are you bringing along a freshman in this current time in a tournament like this, trying to build something with them?

SHAKA SMART: Well, the first thing is, is him learning all the little things that go into winning. You mentioned the charge. Making the plays on the defensive end that he needs to make to match the intensity level of all of the guys around him. He's learning. He's gotten better on the offensive end. It's still a work in progress from the standpoint of just understanding the reads at this level. I think in high school he was so good he could just make his mind up prematurely and say, Okay, when I get the ball, I'm going to drive. At this level you can't necessarily do that. When you drive you've got to know, okay, they're helping. I got to kick to this guy or I got to get to two feet so it's not a charge. He's learning and his best basketball's ahead of him. He's a better shooter than he's shooting right now, but that's typical of freshmen, just needs to get into a rhythm and step into his shot the right way and he'll start making more.

Q. Haven't seen you smiling like that in a while. What did you think about just the flow of the game and how you guys were able to turn the defense into some really offensive chances today.

MATT COLEMAN: I think we just, we owned and we learned from yesterday guarding Davidson. They're a well coached, well offensively team and we just wanted to carry over -- there was a couple things that we knew Indiana wanted to do, play through their bigs, high pick and roll, short roll, and then they had a good guard in Al Durham and we just wanted to make it tough for all of them and we just carried that over for 40 minutes and the rest took care of itself.

Q. Shaka's message for awhile now has been kind of winning is in the details. Is today an example of that where you guys win by 22, you shoot under 40 percent, but you win by 22, because I think you finished plus-19 in rebounding, you're 15-19 from the foul line. Was it really in the details today?

MATT COLEMAN: Yeah, I mean, I just think we took, we owned, we took it personal of matching the intensity of Indiana and just being mature. They came off a great win yesterday and we came off a win.

Q. I think there was one sequence late in the first half, I think Brock came up with a steal and ended up throwing it up the floor to you. You pull up and hit a three, it put you guys up 11 or 12. Describe his performance and also Royce's performance, those guys coming off the bench and giving you some big minutes.

MATT COLEMAN: Brock's performance, it's in our DNA, but Brock is one of those guys that you love playing with, but you hate playing against. He's going to give you extra possessions. He's going to make open shots, and he's just going to fly around and that's what we need. That's a guy that fits perfect into how we want to play and like I said, you love playing with him because he's going to help you win.

Q. Brock though, I mean, can you just talk about the importance of everybody has to play their role and this is clearly his role for this to work?

MATT COLEMAN: And he knows that. He knows that. We'll come to practice, he says, Put me in a corner, I'll be ready to shoot. That's just who, that's who he was born to be. He flies in, gets extra possessions, he's always going to crash the offensive glass, he's going to be Mfer on the defensive end, so he knows his DNA and he knows his role and he does it well at a high level.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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