March 17, 2023
Columbus, Ohio, USA
Florida Atlantic - 66, Memphis - 65
COACH MAY: I thought our guys did a great job staying together, staying the course, finding a way to grab enough rebounds. And they took care of the basketball. Those were the keys to the game against a scrappy, tough, athletic team like Memphis.
Credit Williams, he came in and got a couple of big tip-ins, it was back and forth, but our guys stayed the course, they stayed together, and they believed in each other.
Q. Coach May, when you called a timeout when they were down six what did you say to the team to get them back on track?
COACH MAY: Probably something along the lines, we need to rebound the basketball and push. They weren't allowing us to get organized offensively, and we started moving the ball better late. Therefore they were a little bit off balance and we came up with some long rebounds when the floor was busted.
It was the same message every timeout: They're not going to let you run your stuff clean. They're going to change defenses, they're going to muck it up. So it comes down to guys making plays, and our guys did that.
Q. Giancarlo, the talk this season has been you don't want to be a one-and-done in the NCAA Tournament. To have the first one, how good does that feel for you guys?
GIANCARLO ROSADO: It feels good. It's a blessing. When you go to war with your brothers, with your real brothers, it's a blessing. But we're not done yet. We've got a long tournament. We've got FDU on Sunday. We're going to get to preparing tomorrow and keep it going.
Q. Nick, that last shot, a little bit of a layup close to the buzzer. What are your feelings right now, what was the sort of the play on that last-second shot?
NICK BOYD: I'm feeling blessed. I thank God for this moment. I don't even know how to really describe the moment, what I was feeling. I don't know. A lot of emotions.
I told Coach in the timeout, I said, Coach, I got it. I don't know why I was feeling that way, but I just said, Coach, let me get the ball.
I caught it in the corner. I was going to shoot the 3. He jumped for the shot fake. And Vlad had a great seal, allowed me to get to the rim. I just thought about finishing no matter what.
Q. Giancarlo, you had a really good start to the game. I think you had 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting. How important do you think that was for you guys to have a sort of performance like that from you in particular? And as the game sort of tallied up, to have guys like Johnell and Nick step up when they needed to?
GIANCARLO ROSADO: Like I told Coach May in the locker room, I'm just serving. It's the same way when Vlad goes in there and goes 4-for-4 in the beginning. He's doing his thing doing, what he's got to do for his brothers. I'm just doing what I gotta do for my brothers. Scoring, rebounding, I'm just serving.
Q. That last minute was something to watch. I wonder what it was like to be in the middle of it?
NICK BOYD: Man, Memphis is a great team, physical. I thought we got some good hits on the blockouts and they still got over and around us and tipped it in.
I think it prepares us for the next game. I watched FDU. They're physical, they trap, they run around. I feel like this road is -- from the conference tournament to now, it just prepared us for all these games, just playing long, athletic teams. And, man, just being out there with my brothers, like Giancarlo said, it's fun.
Q. You just referenced, Nick, you watched a little bit of the FDU game. Curious what your familiarity was about FDU and what was your impression of what you saw out there?
NICK BOYD: I'm actually from the New Jersey area. I know FDU a little bit. I know some guys on the team. My impression, I was amazed by how hard they played. They played physical. They're undermanned and undersized -- not undermanned but undersized. They played physical. It was impressive to knock off Purdue. I think it's going to be a tough battle, two great teams. It's going to be a battle. Just gotta come ready.
GIANCARLO ROSADO: I don't know too much about FDU but the half I've seen I saw a scrappy group. We're a scrappy group. We're going to compete on Sunday and see who wins.
Q. You guys are the first group to win a tournament game with FAU. How good is that going to feel for you guys to know when the season is over you've checked that first checkmark off the list?
GIANCARLO ROSADO: It's good. But we're not done yet. We didn't come here to win one game. We didn't come here to win two games. We came to win it because that's what we do. We've proved that we're a Top 25 program. Half of the season we were Top 25.
We've proved we're supposed to be here. We're not doing nothing we're not supposed to be doing. We're going to be keep respecting opponents and keep getting it done in a humble way.
Q. 31 is a ton of wins. When you have that many, is it such a habit that it helps you through a crazy closing minute like that?
GIANCARLO ROSADO: Since May, we've been building championship habits, winning habits. I'm in the locker room full of champions, you understand? So we're built for that. We've been built for that since May to play in games like that, play in close games, play in battles like that. It's just what we're used to.
Q. This is a great way for you to face Memphis, (indiscernible) conference. It's going to be some good battles going forward.
COACH MAY: Absolutely. Couldn't have more respect for the program, their storied tradition, the current players and coaching staff. Scouting them and preparing for them, they do a lot of things that challenge what you try to do. So hats off to Memphis. A great program. We're excited to go against them next year. But that's way down the line.
Q. Similar to what I asked the two players, what is your familiarity with FDU, and do you know Tobin at all?
COACH MAY: I just met him yesterday. I've seen some of their videos, his pressing tape. Familiar with who he is, a basketball junkie. But there's not too many coaches I'm not familiar with.
But I've not seen their team play a lot. In the snapshot I saw against Purdue, they're a lot like us. They're scrappy. They're together. They have a lot of weapons and great guard play.
It's going to be a good basketball game.
Q. To be the first team in FAU history to win an NCAA Tournament game, what does that feel like for you as the coach?
COACH MAY: Not really thinking about it at all. All the focus is these guys enjoying the moment and moving, flipping the -- turn the page in 15 minutes, 30 minutes and focus on FDU so we don't leave an opportunity on the table.
These are things you think about during banquets or when your staff is on the road recruiting (lost audio). It's the way we've been all season. It's why these guys ha ve been able to sustain the effort they have because they move on to the next thing, keep working and keep preparing. And the longevity they've been able to do it has been impressive.
Q. Nick had mentioned that he told you in the timeout that he was feeling it before that final shot. What did he actually tell you? And was the plan all along to go to Nick, or was he just the guy that got open there?
COACH MAY: Well, no, it was to go to Nick. Coming off the floor, he said, Coach, I got it. And that gave me confidence. And also we felt like Memphis was really going to key on Davis and Martin, our two leading scorers, our two first-team all-leaguers.
So we thought we could use them as a decoy. And Nick is a very talented scorer. He got space in the corner, had a lot of room to work. And Vlad took out some bodies, and then he got the layup because they were almost face-guarding Davis and Martin. Because they're really talented offensive players it allows you to have that space and gravity.
Q. Being a part of this team, leading this team for the past five seasons, why do you feel it's all coming together this season and that this is the season where we're really seeing FAU in a way we haven't seen you before?
COACH MAY: This group is experienced. They're talented. And we've said it over and over. We felt that we were much better than our record last year. We were a 19-win team last year and had a couple of players all-conference play with major injuries that required surgery as soon as the season was over.
So we felt that left and right column, wins and losses, was not indicative of how a good of team we were last year. And these guys had a great offseason.
The guys that walked out of here, Giancarlo and Nick, Nick was out last year as an injury and he played a lot as a freshman. Outside of his production, his game-winning points, his 3-point shooting, all that, he's got unbelievable leadership skills.
And him and Giancarlo, they're as good leaders as I've been around. So having those two, their presence, their day-to-day work ethic, they're hard workers, they're focused, they're driven. They've provided great leadership inside our locker room. And I think that's one of the biggest things.
But also these guys they learned how to win. They wanted to win. We really focused on why we didn't win more. And the guys were very intentional about improving in those areas.
Q. You mentioned Johnell, and when it mattered the most Martin came up with key shots and Johnell had that stretch where he hit eight points. How important were those stretches and what does it say about them as players that even when they struggled for most of the night, when it matters the most they're the ones who come up?
COACH MAY: Nelly stepped up, made two great individual plays, hit two great plays off the bounce hit threes. And Alijah challenged him to impact the game outside of scoring the ball in his hands, tip-in running the lane, we turned down a two-on-one dunk to shoot a 3-point shot with Boyd with a couple minutes left. I wish we would have attacked the rim on that.
I thought defensively, on the glass, and for us to outrebound Memphis in the second half like we did is a tribute to those guys putting aside trying to score and their individual stuff to just try to find a way to win.
Q. You talked earlier in the week, you talked about the jitters coming out, the possibility of those jitters. Seemed like they came out ready to go. What did you say to the team right before tip-off that had them calm and ready to go? What can you say about the fans that traveled here all the way from Boca to a cold environment, putting up with the elements to cheer you guys on?
COACH MAY: I'll start with the second. For us to have -- those of you who were here year one, we have more fans, we've quadrupled the number of fans we had in our gym in Ohio for an NCAA Tournament game. And these guys have grown a fan base because of the way they are as people.
The other part of the question is as far as we wanted to get here a little bit early and watch FDU and Purdue and soak in the moment. The lights are different. It's a big stage. For those guys just to get lost in the experience of being a part of it. And once the ball is thrown up, they should get lost in their training and their preparation because our guys put in a lot of work.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports