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March 17, 2023

Andy Enfield

Boogie Ellis

Drew Peterson

Columbus, Ohio, USA

Nationwide Arena

USC Trojans

Media Conference

Michigan State - 72, USC - 62

COACH ENFIELD: Our players had a very successful season, tied for second in the Pac-12, 22 wins. Unfortunately this game did not go as planned in the second half. A lot of timely shot-making by Michigan State and some timely misses on our part, I thought was the difference in the game, in the second half. We also had eight turnovers, only three at halftime.

A few of those turnovers were self-inflicted, meaning we just turned the ball over ourselves, about three or four of them. But our guys competed and played very hard the whole game. Michigan State made some timely shots. Give them credit. They're a very good team.

Q. Boogie, you've been on such a tear over these last two months or so. What was the issue today and what was the issue on offense just in general at the start?

BOOGIE ELLIS: They did a good job. I let my teammates down today. I didn't make shots. And they made things tough for me.

Q. What was it they did that made things tough for you?

BOOGIE ELLIS: Just team defense, jumping to the ball. Being on all the gaps, pretty much.

Q. Boogie, Drew, when they missed those first three front ends of the one-on-ones how tough was it to balance looking for a good shot versus trying to get something up quickly and try to score quickly given the time situation?

DREW PETERSON: Obviously they missed those, and when you're trailing and you're trying to figure it out and gauge trying to get 3s vs. easier 2s, it's just something that's part of the game.

We happened to be trailing late and we tried to find the best shot possible. Like he said, we missed some timely shots. They hit their timely shots. Hauser hit a few big 3s. I think sometimes it's just the way the ball rolls in March.

I trust Boogie to take all those shots and sometimes it's just the way the ball rolls. No blame to go around. And I think that we kind of held them to only five 3s, but they were timely. It's just how the ball rolls sometimes in March.

Q. Andy, you guys spent so much time defending the 3 this week. What were they able to do on the interior that, I don't know if you guys weren't expecting, or that they just did effectively?

COACH ENFIELD: Well, they have good players. And so twice early in the second half Josh was usually outstanding in ball-screen coverage, and they split our big. And the guard was able to get to the rim and lay it in. They, around transition a few times, got some layups.

But the fast-break points didn't decide the game. It was points in the paint were significant.

I thought we missed about four or five at the rim. I think Kobe missed that layup early in the second half, that layup uncontested. And it was a big call. Boogie got that offensive foul at the rim.

They did get some paint scoring opportunities, which is a little unusual for our defense because we're so good against the 2. But as Drew said, sometimes things don't go always as planned in March. And give them credit, they were able to get to the rim and finish.

Q. Boogie, you mentioned the team defense that Michigan State played and how they were able to make things difficult for you. I'm curious about the on-ball defense from Akins and Walker, was there anything they did that you weren't expecting, or were they more physical than you thought, or was it just a difficult day?

BOOGIE ELLIS: I played too fast today. I didn't change my pace all year. I play with a great pace. But today I played a little bit too fast. So that's on me.

Q. Boogie, when the game is being allowed to be physical, what kind of adjustments do you have to make to be able to continue to score at the rate you are used to scoring?

BOOGIE ELLIS: Just continue to embrace contact, move without the ball, stuff like that.

Q. Josh, you had that stretch where you made four shots in a row. What were you able to do in those sequences with the pick-and-pop game with the guys, what were you able to do?

JOSHUA MORGAN: (No audio).

Q. (Off Microphone)?

DREW PETERSON: I don't think necessarily unexpected. Obviously we know the brand of basketball and they're physical. And I think you kind of get to a point where you're down late and you try to make plays.

Sometimes you happen to make the wrong read or try to force a pass in there, like me in one of the fast breaks, or you just happen to lose the ball. And I think the ball just didn't roll the way in that aspect.

And I think they played well and I give them credit. They played a very solid defense. So I think I give them credit for just like timely shots and solid defense they played all day.

Q. I know Vince has been banged up a while, but how much did you miss him, a scoring big who could have helped you a little bit tonight? I know Josh had a great game but could you have used Vince do you think tonight?

COACH ENFIELD: They played two bigs. If we would have played Vince, we would have played big at times today with him and also his 7'1" athleticism, 7'1" with a 7'4" wing span certainly helps our rim protection and our length.

So without him this year, half the year, it's been challenging. He missed the first half of the season. Came back. Started to play really well. Got caught up in some of our defensive/offensive schemes and was out again here at the end of the year.

And injuries have affected our season. That's why I'm so proud of this team to go tie for second, 22-9 in the regular season because we only had our full roster for like 10 games and we went 8-2 in those games, both lost to Arizona. And in fact the second game Drew was hurt but he still played.

Vince being out certainly affects our team, our rotation. But that's not an excuse why we lost. But you asked the question about Vince. He's a big part of our program and we hope the best for him to get healthy.

Q. Scoring droughts were a common theme throughout a lot of the losses this year. Do you feel like that's something you and your staff need to kind of examine philosophically on offense entering this offseason?

COACH ENFIELD: I think it comes down to two things. At halftime we had 10 assists and three turnovers and shot it 50 percent from the field. We played really well offensively in the first half. Boogie had four assists, no turnovers. Kobe had four assists.

I thought in the second half, a couple possessions we went one-on-one too much and instead of playing basketball the way we were capable of. And then missed some wide-open, timely shots. To win a game like this -- they hit a couple of big 3s on the perimeter and we missed some.

And so we also had eight turnovers in the second half. Now, like Drew said, he saved a ball out of bounds that was off of them. And they stole it. Kobe dribbled a ball off his foot late. Boogie, it was a nine-point game and we had six possessions where we didn't score. And Boogie lost a ball. Kobe lost it out of bounds, and then we missed two wide-open 3s.

It's hard to not make timely shots and turn the ball over. Some of the turnovers as I said were self-inflicted. It was our guys losing the ball.

The scoring droughts are usually either you miss open shots or guys try to do too much on their own, one-on-one, instead of just moving the ball and spacing and cutting.

I know there's a lot of pressure on these guys. The second half we got down. It is frustrating at times throughout the season. But for the most part our guys played the right way.

And Boogie had a tremendous assist-to-turnover ratio. Halfway through the season to the end of the season he was playing great basketball from a scoring perspective, but also decision-making. That's why his assist-to-turnover ratio was probably two-and-a-half, 3-to-1 the last 10, 12 games. Unfortunately today it caught up to us in the second half where it just wasn't the case.

Q. Early in the second half, A.J. Hoggard picks up a third foul for them and they were able to move Tyson Walker to the point to make the run there. Wondering the luxury you think that is for them to have a guy like that in that situation, that you are not in trouble necessarily with your point guard being out for a key stretch?

COACH ENFIELD: They have interchangeable parts, like our team does. That's why it was a good matchup. But I think all their guards played pretty well today, played solid basketball. And off the ball screens I thought both those guys did a good job.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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