March 18, 2023
Columbus, Ohio, USA
Q. Playing in March Madness is something that every basketball player growing up, it's what they dream of. Each of you guys, if you could talk about it, what that felt like last night maybe when you came out during warmups, during the game, and then after the game, obviously a thrilling win. What were those emotions like for you playing in a March Madness game?
MICHAEL FORREST: Just coming out of the tunnel and looking out and onto the court and seeing the environment, it was really like a dream come true. Like as a kid growing up, you always dream about being on the big stage. And during warm-ups, dang, I'm actually on the court doing what I've dreamed doing. And it was an amazing feeling.
BRYAN GREENLEE: For sure. We watched a little bit of the Purdue game beforehand. And just the environment was crazy. And I kind of had to prepare myself for that mentally, just to be playing in front of probably the biggest crowd I've played in in my career.
I felt like once we got into warmups and we just got into our routine, I kind of forgot about all the outside noise and really locked in. And playing in it just, honestly, felt like any other game that we've been in where the environment is kind of rowdy and a lot of stuff is on the line. But it felt great. And after the win, it was just unbelievable.
NICK BOYD: It was surreal. It was fun. Another opportunity to compete with my brothers. And I won't take that moment for granted. But focus on the next game now.
Q. Nick, you with the game-winner. We heard yesterday that you went up to Coach in the huddle and said "I got it." Did you have that feeling, that confidence, where did that feeling come from? And just walk us through that play. Vlad had the good seal that freed you up, and after you hit that what went through your head? What was that like?
NICK BOYD: I don't know what I was feeling that way. I just felt it and it kind of just happened. And I just told Coach that I think I can hit the shot. And he drew up a great play. And credit to everybody who was on the court, on the bench.
I mean, there's, like, you can go to the timeout, you see everybody huddled up so tight. That just explains the type of group we have. But, like I said, credit to everybody who was on the court and on the sideline, on the bench. Alijah had a great cut that got me open. Like you said, Vlad sealed it up. And I got the credit for making the bucket. But without them, probably not possible.
Q. A feel like a lot of times throughout yesterday's game we didn't play all that great, but you still found a way to win. And even though it's been an unbelievable year, 32 wins, I feel like there's been a lot of games where haven't necessarily played our A game, a lot of things were going against us, stacked against us. But still you found a way to win. How are you guys able to do that even when you're not playing your best game, come away with these wins?
BRYAN GREENLEE: I think it just, it comes down to our habits. And you know that defense wins games. And like Coach Dusty May says, a lot of times there's no pressure going into the game because of our habits of rebounding and just staying sound on defense will take over.
And I think that's what helped us propel forward and kind of cut down that lead. And then also just our belief in each other. So that's pretty much it.
MICHAEL FORREST: To piggyback off what B.G. said, if you're not having a very good offensive game you can affect the game on defense, whether it's rebounding or getting the stop, just doing something positive on the court to help your teammates win.
So we've been stressing this since the end of last season, like March happens, March happens. It's March, not everyone has those habits instilled in them. So I'm proud where we are right now.
COACH MAY: Excited to be here. We survived and we're advancing, and really looking forward to playing a very scrappy, tough FDU team tomorrow.
Q. It seems like all year nothing has really rattled you guys or been too big for your team, and then playing on the biggest of stages, all of them, it was their first time doing it. And it didn't seem like they were rattled. They kept their composure. And I feel especially the last five minutes, especially last two minutes of the game, that was a big difference. How were they able to keep their composure despite playing on the national stage, playing in March Madness for the first time?
COACH MAY: I think whenever you're in pressure situations, and these young men -- the magnitude and pressure that goes with this event -- you decide in advance much further than one day or one week how you're going to respond.
And our guys have decided all year that we're not afraid to fail. We're not afraid of pressure. We're not afraid of anything because we have each other. We're so deep, and we have different ways we can win that we've just tried to eliminate all the stressors that go with winning and losing, and we're not focused on that. We're just focused on playing the next really good possession and we'll let the chips fall where they may.
Q. I feel like there's a lot of times where things weren't exactly going our way. Didn't really play an A game, didn't play our best game, but you guys still pulled out a win. How is this team able to find so many different ways to win, especially on a night where they aren't really firing on all cylinders?
COACH MAY: Credit Memphis, they kept us from playing our A game. They're extremely difficult to go against. But like I said, we found ways to win all season. And a lot of games looked a lot differently. You see so many different opponents, so many different styles of play, that I think over the course of the, what, five months that we're playing games, the amount of time that we're competing and playing, you see so many different things. I think these guys just have a belief no matter how the game's going, they're going to find a way.
Q. What was your message to the team maybe the first ten minutes of the second half where it was just a struggle? I feel like every possession was a war in itself. What was your message to the team on the bench during timeouts during that stretch, when everything was just so -- every bucket was so hard to come by, every stop was so hard to come by?
COACH MAY: That we weren't pleased with the outcome of the possessions but we were pleased with what we were getting out of them. We missed some open shots. We missed some bunnies around the rim. Obviously they had big bodies there in between us, but we were getting to the rim and we were getting open 3s, and we weren't going to be married to the outcome. Let's get what we want to get and we'll live with the results. And the guys stayed the course. They believed in it. And they also have so much confidence in their defense, that even when things aren't going well on the offensive end, our defense will keep us in it, and eventually we'll bang in some shots.
Q. The game-winner from Nick, we talked about it last night a little bit, but he said he came up to you in the huddle and said "I got it." I guess you drew up the play for him. He went to execute it to perfection. And I think Nick's a great story after he missed all last year with an injury. What was it like to see Nick hit that game-winner in a March Madness game?
COACH MAY: Not surprised. I don't know if I've ever been around someone that's addicted to work like Nick. He loves to work on his game. He loves to work in the weight room. He's really improved in all facets. It's because of good old-fashioned elbow grease, what he's put into it. He's easy to have faith in because he's prepared himself. But he was walking off the floor, and he said, "Coach, I got it."
And Memphis has a couple of guys that you want to stay away from on the defensive end. Alex Lomax is a great example, someone we didn't want to run a play in his direction because he has such an ability to sniff out what you're trying to do and blow it up. We felt he would be on Martin or Davis.
We were very comfortable going away from him. And also Nick's a very good offensive player. Like he said, his teammates did a great job of creating the space. He attacked the space and made a great decision and finished a play.
Q. Looking ahead to tomorrow's game against FDU, what are some things that you guys think you have to do in order to win? And it's just they're coming off massive upset, too. And Sweet 16 berth on the line. What are some things that you're telling your team heading into tomorrow's game?
COACH MAY: First and foremost, we will be unafraid to lose, unafraid to fail. We'll give our best shot and trust that will be good enough.
But FDU is going to be a little like playing us in practice. We're not the biggest team on paper, when you look at our heights and weights. We're not the most imposing team. But most of our guys play much bigger than what they are, much like FDU.
I see a team that we're very similar. We like to think of ourselves as scrappy, tough, aggressive, and they're able to put four or five shooters on the floor at any moment. And that's the same thing we try to do.
So I think we're very similar in a lot of ways. It's going to come down to which team is more connected and makes the timely plays.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports