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March 17, 2023

Bryce Drew

Gabe McGlothan

Ray Harrison

Denver, Colorado, USA

Ball Arena

Grand Canyon Lopes

Media Conference

Gonzaga 82, Grand Canyon University 70

BRYCE DREW: Yeah, I thought it was, again, a really competitive game for the most part. I thought our guys after that jittery kind of first three minutes settled in, gave it a shot to give us some confidence to start, and then really liked our ball movement and our shooting for the rest of the first half. I thought our movement was really good.

I thought we were in a good place going in at halftime, but obviously Gonzaga is one of the best programs in the country for a reason. They've been in every situation, and they're extremely confident and comfortable in situations. Credit them, they came out and really took the game in the second half.

And I really thought hurt us on the inside, their physicality, rebounding the basketball, getting deep post spots and when Watson makes threes, it takes them to a new level. But really proud of our guys how they fought.

Q. You talked about the way you guys were shooting the ball in the first half there. What changed in the early part of the second half? I think you went almost seven minutes without scoring.

BRYCE DREW: Yeah, the irony of that is we put our best offensive lineup in the game because sometimes when we struggle -- we've done it all year -- we move Gabe to the 5 and we play small ball and really spread it and drive it. And again all season that's been a lineup that maybe we don't get defensive stops, but we score the basketball.

And we just couldn't get the ball in the basket for that whole stretch. I think we had two at the rim that we didn't finish, we had a shot in the paint from Gabe and another shot in the paint from Ray, a three from Gabe. And couldn't find the basket on any of them.

Credit Gonzaga for contesting our shots, but then proud of our guys. They fought back and we were able to make a run there at the end finally make some.

Q. Timme was in here just talking about the nerves going into the game. What was the feeling like from you guys at the start?

GABE McGLOTHAN: Of course there were nerves for us, nerves for myself. I just think that shows you care about the game. But other than that, I mean, we've just been relying on our brotherhood for so long that it was just like, we have each other's backs. And that's why when they got us in the first three minutes, we just rallied together like we always do, and just relied on each other, this brotherhood, and that's where we went.

Q. Coach Drew, having gone through this in 2021, how did this year's environment feel. This being the program's first true taste, non-bubble, how did it feel for you as a coach?

BRYCE DREW: Yeah, really exciting for our players and for our whole school. Three years ago when we took the job, they had zero banners in the arena from Division I and now we have three banners in there and two NCAA tournaments. I wish we could skip a lot of steps and upset a team like Gonzaga and make the Sweet 16, but in a normal situation you have to go step by step.

And the experience that these guys gained in this NCAA Tournament playing against a program like Gonzaga is only going to take us better for the future. All five starters returned, these two guys returned, and again, this is how you build a great program by having younger guys that play well, get to the NCAA Tournament, get a taste of it, and hopefully you return and you make a splash the next time you get in.

Q. Bryce, what can you say about these guys the last three weeks after things really didn't look good and then just the way they rallied themselves?

BRYCE DREW: Yeah, I really credit our guys. They fought through so much adversity throughout the year, 27 missed games by starters in conference, and just multiple lineups. It's like we coached four different teams this year. But I credit these guys.

We finally got Yvan healthy down the stretch and really got a rhythm the last couple weeks, and this was a team we knew that they could be and they knew that they could be. And it's great that we did it in March and we didn't do it in January or February because in March is when you want to play your best basketball. We had a meeting right when March started like we want to win March. We did that, went six in a row in March and made the NCAA Tournament.

Q. Ray and Gabe, that start of the second half, what do you think made it difficult for you guys? What did they do to make it difficult to put the ball in the basket?

RAY HARRISON: I feel like they were a little bit more tougher than us, a little bit more physical. I feel like they were very active on the offensive glass, and we didn't have an answer at that time.

GABE McGLOTHAN: I think a lot of it was they were getting second-chance opportunities and we weren't. They'd miss a lot of first shots but then get a rebound and put it back in so that kept growing the lead. And on the half we were missing and not getting our own second rebounds.

Q. What is the feeling for you two kind of balancing the feelings of the season ending and the loss, but I'm sure a lot of pride in what happened over the last month here.

RAY HARRISON: Yeah, it's a bittersweet moment just because I really enjoyed playing with this team and our seniors. I love them to death, Walt and Noah. Like I was saying yesterday, just the family environment is just different here. Knowing that this team is -- some of those guys are parting ways and going into their different futures, we're happy that we've won in March, but it still sucks.

GABE McGLOTHAN: I think being able to learn from the moments that we've gone through just as a team, having the same kind of core, moving on to next year, but then also individually, God definitely had a purpose for it all. And there's been a lot of growth and learning and finding identity in that, too.

Q. Coach, for you, in these three seasons to advance to the tournament two out of three times, just what you can say about the program that you're building there. And to the student-athletes, what it's like to have a leader in Bryce drew.

BRYCE DREW: I'll go first. We have a great school administration that really supports basketball. Our fans, you saw them today, are second to none. So we want to go out and perform at the highest level that we can.

At the end of the day, it boils down to the players, players making plays. Ray and Gabe were just terrific down the stretch for us and other players. So as a coach, you want to empower your players and put them in situations to make plays, and they had us along for the ride with all the plays they made in these last two, three weeks.

RAY HARRISON: Playing for a coach like Coach Drew, I've got a lot of respect and loyalty towards him just because when I first got here, I struggled a lot, and he never left me. He continued to give me confidence, which I really appreciated. So being able to make it this far, I feel like it was just -- I don't know, it was a blessing.

GABE McGLOTHAN: I think it's a big thing knowing that you're part of Grand Canyon, an up-and-coming basketball program, being able to be a part of that. Knowing that Coach Drew really respects you as a player, but then also you as a man and wants to grow you both ways, you can definitely get behind that and have the highest and utmost respect for him and what this program means.

It's just a blessing when you have both those things. It makes it very easy and very peaceful to just learn and grow.

Q. For the players, having the student section kind of really up close there, I think for Gabe in particular having played in '21 with a much different feel, did that make it feel similar to what you're used to back in Phoenix?

GABE McGLOTHAN: Yeah. They have because they travel deep, so it's definitely a blessing. They make it feel like home. When you hit shots and you go on some runs, you hear them right behind you. They have your backs.

It's just like I said, a major blessing. The Havocs, it's the best student section in the nation, so can't be that.

Q. For you, Coach, I know Coach Few was saying how much respect he had for the showing of the student section in particular. How do you use that to your advantage, one of those unique traditions to continue building this program? Maybe seize an opportunity in the WAC with some other programs leaving and perhaps one of these years get that big upset?

BRYCE DREW: Yeah, you know, it definitely helps to have fan support. I think the great thing about them is all throughout the season they didn't just show up for the NCAA Tournament. We have a tremendous home-court advantage, and I think our players fuel off that, especially when we play at home.

Q. Bryce, your brother coached against and had to prepare for Drew Timme a few times, was pretty successful in those two match-ups. Did he give you any tips on how to defend him, and how did it compare to watching him on film seeing him in person?

BRYCE DREW: Yeah, Baylor defends so much differently than us in schemes, so we weren't going to change our whole team in a week. So we wanted to be who we were and try to defend them the best we could.

Yvan is our best interior defender, and for the most part, I thought he did a decent job. Despite that, he still had 21 points, but he's just that good of a player. Again, he's probably the most recognizable player in the whole NCAA Tournament, and I expect him to have more big games in this tournament.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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