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March 23, 2006

John Beilein

Mike Gansey

Kevin Pittsnogle


MODERATOR: We'll start with an opening statement from Coach Beilein.
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: Great basketball game. I didn't see the first one but I understand that was a great game as well, the first game here. But a great basketball game and I'm very proud of our young men the way they fought back in the second half.
We did not have a good first half. We buried ourselves a little bit. But we came back and darn near won the game. So we're -- congratulations to Texas, they got a heck of a team and they have got us twice now this year and but they're playing a very good LSU team, because we saw them firsthand as well.
MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Kevin or Mike, could you just talk about the swing of emotions there in the last five seconds after hitting the shot and then having the shot just -- that whole sequence and what was going through your mind?
KEVIN PITTSNOGLE: Yeah, I mean, we hit the three and we thought we had a pretty good shot at going to overtime but they rushed it down the court. We hopped on our defense, they found a guy and he just tossed it up and it went in. It was kind of an up and down situation, but that happens in basketball.
MIKE GANSEY: Yeah, Kevin made a tremendous shot and it was just one of those plays that there's still five seconds left on the clock and Abrams pushed the ball quick and it was one of those plays. Paulino made a great shot.
Q. Kevin or Mike, either one, what was said in -- did you guys like talk to each other at half time, the seniors, after going down 12 in the first half?
MIKE GANSEY: Yeah, we thought we didn't play one of our greatest first halves and for us seniors we were just talking about that this could be it and we thought we were a better team than what we showed the first half.
And we came right out, Kevin hit a big shot and it got us a little bit of momentum. Unfortunately we couldn't finish it out, but we just showed we had a lot of heart in the second half. We're a team that's never going to quit.
Q. Mike and Kevin both, after the way it ended, and as it sunk in now that this is the end for you guys? I know you didn't expect it to come this soon, but what are you going through right now after four years of this?
KEVIN PITTSNOGLE: I think it sunk in that for the seniors that it was our last game at West Virginia for West Virginia and I think that's what we're more sad about than losing the game.
It's a great game. They made a great shot, they deserved to win, they're a better team. But I think it's more or less that we're not ever going to play again as a team because we have so much fun together, we love each other and it's -- that's probably the main thing.
MIKE GANSEY: Yeah, I think it's sunk in just for us five seniors never to be able to go on a court together, organized game, and obviously to play against another father like Coach Beilein, it's kind of sad it's come to an end. But we have had a very, very tremendous time and we're all going to keep in touch and be best friends forever.
Q. Mike, what was your -- what was going on with you physically, especially in the second half?
MIKE GANSEY: I think Coach did a tremendous job just giving me rest here and there because the last couple games I haven't been able to I guess play at my best towards the end of the game. Obviously cramping up and my stomach, so I thought Coach gave me a tremendous job, just giving me rest here and there and I felt great towards the end. And if we would have went to overtime, I would have been ready to go.
MODERATOR: Okay. Questions for Coach.
Q. I was wondering, do you feel the same sentiments, the toughest part about this isn't necessarily the loss, but that you're not going to have these seniors and this team ever again to coach?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: I think that's what -- they love being together. We all like the camaraderie that's established from whether it's the coaching staff, the trainers, equipment men and all the young players. So that's the sad thing -- you know, these five seniors and what they have meant to the program from going to the NIT last year to this year. You work so hard and to have it end one day is very difficult for everyone to grasp I think right now. We all know one team's going to win. Everybody's going to have this feeling, Coach K's team has the same feeling right now, but we gave it. I think they can rest assured knowing they gave it everything they had over their time.
Q. Coaches always replay everything that happens to them in a game. Is there anything on the last play that you saw as it happened or since that you could replay and say, we could have done something different?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: You know, and with a five, I think it was five seconds when Kevin hit the three, it's just very hard with their quickness to get -- to match up and keep somebody from getting -- I don't know where it came from, I would assume it was a couple steps off the three point line.
I mean, if you -- at five seconds you can go right to the basket and it's, you know, our kids can go from basket to basket in four seconds and lay it in. So I thought we fanned them out enough but I'll have to watch it more to see if there's anything else we could do. I certainly didn't want to call -- I had one timeout left I didn't want to call a timeout and give them time to do anything either and Rick felt the same way, just let them roll. And the ball bounces around a little bit, we could still be out there playing.
Q. The first half, was actually a bigger problem?
Q. Than the end of the game. What --
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: I, you know, I'll have to watch the tape a little bit to see, I just thought that a couple of our guys, they're such great kids, that we missed a layup, we got the ball stolen from us, and they just mentally just got a little down on themselves and they didn't play with the confidence that they needed to play with against that team.
I thought five minutes into the game I was watching the two teams play and I said, we can win this game. And we were right there and we just made a couple -- had a couple problem areas and I thought we dragged it through the rest of the half. And they -- but they did what we expected them to do, they came back, they forgot about that and just came back. And we took the lead again, you know, so I mean, I just told them forget about the first half, you showed me so much courage here tonight and how to play. That's what's really important right now.
Q. Obviously you guys struggled a little bit to stop Aldridge. Could you speak a little bit to how good he is compared to some of the big guys you faced this year?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: Well, I think they only had three or four offensive rebounds in the first half. But if it's -- you know, with the way -- as I said yesterday in the press conference, that ball bounces straight up and it's above the rim, that's where he got most of his points. They had 17 offensive rebounds, I think, in the game. And they had 14 of them in the second half.
So sometimes our great defense, we don't have a defense for that. We don't have a defense for a put back. So it's difficult. It's a little bit like I guess guarding the Craig Smiths and people like that that used to be in the Big East and I'm trying to think of an Okafor when he was at Connecticut, those type of kids that you do everything you can, and the 50/50 ball, they just get it. Not because of lack of desire on our part, just he's a big difference maker.
MODERATOR: I think that will do it. Thank you, Coach.

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