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March 9, 2023

Tad Boyle

Tristan da Silva

Julian Hammond

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Colorado Buffaloes

Postgame Press Conference

UCLA - 80, Colorado - 69

THE MODERATOR: We'll start with an opening statement from coach and then take questions.

TAD BOYLE: Yeah, first of all, let's credit UCLA. They're a hell of a team, they played well tonight, they were the, they made plays down the stretch like they usually do, and they beat us.

I was really proud of our guys' fight and the way they scrapped, and I believe in this team a lot and I was really pleased with our effort. Obviously not the result. Never pleased with this result, but it was a frustrating game obviously on a lot of fronts, but our guys fought and that's all you can ask as a coach.

THE MODERATOR: All right. We'll take some questions.

Q. Was it the foul discrepancy in the second half that got you so fired up there at the end?

TAD BOYLE: Look, obviously, I had a disagreement on multiple occasions tonight. That just is part of the game. But the one thing I'm going to do for these guys is I'm going to fight for this team when I feel like they're fighting for us, they're fighting for Colorado, across their chest, and that's what I did.

So look, we didn't lose this game because of officiating. We lost this game. Amari Bailey was terrific for UCLA. He played, I think his best game of the year. I would like to see a better one that he's played. But he was terrific.

Jaquez and Campbell did what they did. UCLA's a good basketball team. They're well coached. They're tough. So, yeah, it's frustrating. To me, the difference in the game was our inability to get to the free-throw line, okay? Our inability to get to the free-throw line was the difference in the game, and our turnovers because when you drive on UCLA, they are very, very active with their hands. They are very active with their hands, and they got their hands on a lot of balls and we had 15 turnovers. They had nine.

So the activity with their hands on drives and our inability to get to the free-throw line, I thought was a big, big part of that game. Take away the four points they got on me, it was a seven-point game. Our guys, again, they scratched and they fought and they clawed, but we couldn't get to the free-throw line.

Q. A tough night for Nique, just really couldn't get it going. But you saw Jalen and Ethan play like it was their last game as playing college basketball.

TAD BOYLE: I hope it's not their last game.

Q. Touch on the impact that you lost with Nique's tough game, but then what Jalen and Ethan brought --

TAD BOYLE: Yeah, Ethan's really played well. I thought Jalen defensively, again, yesterday against Brooks and even today against Jaquez, he gives you everything he's got. I thought those guys gave us really good minutes. Our bench had 20 points at halftime. That's pretty darn good production off your bench.

So those guys really gave us a lift. Yeah, Nique, it wasn't his best game. He struggled last night. But Nique's, he's an important piece of this team. But it's not about who wasn't on the floor, it was about who was on the floor. Yeah, Jalen and Ethan, I thought, in this tournament and certainly down the stretch of this season gave us -- when we recruited those guys, we weren't recruiting them to be like starting high-production guys. They were supposed to be like, you know, role guys that could come in and give us a lift off the bench, which they both did tonight.

I think that they really accepted their roles well this year, and I'm, again, I love both those kids. They really fit into the culture of Colorado basketball and what we're all about. I wouldn't change it with either one of 'em. So I was proud of 'em.

Q. Can you guys kind of describe the emotions in the locker room after this game and also just overall going into this tournament?

JULIAN HAMMOND III: It's obviously disappointing to lose because we have high expectations regardless of how our season went. But we came in here knowing that, okay, we got to win one game at a time. When you lose and you get knocked out, it's obviously disappointing.

TRISTAN DA SILVA: Yeah, I'd say the same thing, you know, disappointing. We've played 'em three times now, and I feel like every single game we could have, we were right there, we could have pulled it off. It's always just, yeah, it kind of sucks coming back into the locker room and be like we could have done this, we could have won, we could have pulled it off, and then, but in the end you didn't.

So that's how it is right now and we're probably trying to look forward to another tournament and take one game at a time, but for now it's disappointing for sure.

Q. What was the key to getting so many guys involved from behind the 3-point line tonight?

TRISTAN DA SILVA: Sharing the ball. I feel like that's a big thing for us, you know, not having an agenda, just playing together, playing as a team, playing inside out, all that stuff, and then if you hit the right man that's wide open, all of our guys can shoot, all of our guys can knock down shots. So today we had good looks and we knocked 'em down.

Q. Whenever the season does end today or after another tournament, how invigorating is it going to be knowing what you have coming back and what you have coming in as you do turn the page?

TAD BOYLE: I've said this multiple times this year. I've never been more excited about the future of Colorado basketball than I have been this year, and the future is these guys, you know, these two guys who hopefully will be back.

Tristan will make his decision as he goes through the spring, and Julian will be a Junior next year. So I love this team. I love our guys. I felt like this season we let way too many small opportunities go by the wayside and that's disappointing and we have to learn from that because, you know, there's two kinds of pain in life; there's the pain of discipline and there's the pain of regret. Sometimes these guys don't like the pain of discipline, which is practice every day and bust your tail and get in the gym and get in the weight room. That's the pain of discipline.

The pain of regret's with you the rest of your life. For three seniors, Cody Mains and Ethan Wright, Jalen Gabbidon, they came here to win. They came here to go to NCAA tournaments. They came here to compete in championships and we fell short of that this year. That's on us. We have to look ourselves in the mirror. Now, hopefully, we get a chance to play again next week in the NIT. If we do, we're going to take that opportunity and we're going to run with it. Because that's a heck of a springboard to the future and what it holds. So I think down the stretch here, Julian Hammond here, what he's done the last two, three games has really given me hope and excitement about his future. And what Luke O'Brien has done since J'Vonne Hadley went down. He's given me really hope and excitement about the future. We know what Tristan can do. We know what K.J. can do. We got a lot of guys coming back and a hell of a recruiting class coming in. So Colorado basketball's not going anywhere and I'm going to fight for this team and fight for this program as long as I'm the head coach. Do whatever I feel like I have to do to help us win and win big. We didn't do that this year. That's on me. It's on us. We got to handle it. We got to deal with it and we got to let it fuel our fire hopefully as we go to the NIT next week and if we don't, then going into next year.

Q. Three times this season you've had UCLA on the ropes right where you want them. And you just can't seem to get over that hump. Do you attribute that to a lack of a veteran presence or this team really isn't like there yet?

TAD BOYLE: No, I just think that Jaime Jaquez and Tyger Campbell, again, they are special. They're special players. When you have Amari Bailey do what he did today, I mean he made a play when he drove left-to-right, he's left-handed, he drove left-to-right we got him to miss and he hit the floor and went right back up and tipped it in with his left hand in traffic. I'm like, holy cow, that is a big-time play by a big-time player. So he has, what 26? Then you get Jaquez and Campbell. I just think UCLA has players that make plays down the stretch. They lost two league games. There's a reason why. They got players that make plays down the stretch. We've made plays down the stretch, we did it yesterday. These two guys made plays down the stretch against Washington, but UCLA makes them game after game after game. They got toughness and they got resolve. So sometimes you just got to say those guys were better than us and that's what's happened the three times we played 'em. We've battled. We've been right there. But they have made plays down the stretch and they turned up the heat in the beginning tonight. I thought we handled it well. You shoot 51 percent against UCLA, they're one of the best defensive teams in the country. Forget about our league, in the country. We shoot 51 percent? We're pretty darn efficient. We just couldn't get to the free-throw line. Just couldn't get to the free throw line. We were, when we did we made 'em. But didn't get there enough.

Q. From my perspective I think I speak for a lot of people when I say this, that it seems like you guys built a really strong good quality culture at Colorado. What's been the key to sustaining that culture and then for the players just kind of touch on that as well.

TAD BOYLE: I'll start. It's about recruiting great kids from great families who have high character, that are trustworthy and that work their tails off. Those are our three core values in our basketball program. We're trustworthy, we do what we say we're going to do. We're honest with ourselves, we're honest with each other. We got high character and we work our tails off. And there's sometimes that that work ethic piece we got to address that a little bit I think. I really do. But that's why our culture is what it is. That's why we don't make excuses we don't blame anybody other than ourselves when things don't go our way. I'll let these guys add anything they would like.

JULIAN HAMMOND III: We come in every day, we work hard, but I think a big part of it is that a lot of our players like each other. We do stuff off the court all the time together. We're a very close team. So even when we're going through these slumps and losing games and having a hard time on the court like that won't affect how close we are or cause conflict off the court or anything like that. So I think that's special.

TRISTAN DA SILVA: I would say the same thing. In all the three years that I've been here it's not just your teammates or something like that, it's just, it's more than that. It's really family. It's like your closest friends are on the team. The people that I hang out with the most are on the team. That's not even always on the court, it's off the court as well.

Q. Julian, Tad mentioned the 51 percent shooting. You guys hit 10 threes. I'm sure you would have taken those numbers going into this. But how much did the turnovers in the second half as a team really kind of limit you and make it, make you unable to get over the hump?

JULIAN HAMMOND III: No, yeah, the turnovers hurt. We had, what, 14, 15, something like that. But that's obviously too many. Our goal for a game is 11. Some of 'em just hurt more because they were in times when we needed a good shot, we needed to at least get a shot up to get an offensive rebound or maybe a shot goes in. So I think those turnovers just came at the wrong time basically trying to force things and we got sped up a little bit and it hurt.

THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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