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November 25, 2005

Ben Howland


Q. As tough a loss as you've ever had?

COACH BRUISER FLINT: No question about that. No question. You know, it was one of those situations where, you know what, in the end, UCLA has got some guys that are used to being on this type of stage and those guys made some plays and we didn't. So we just -- when you have a young team, sometimes, you know they are going to make some mistakes and do some things that's a little out of the ordinary, and we did a few of those tonight to cost ourselves a game. We talked about coming here and making a mark and I think we did. We have to continue to try to get better and continue to improve and get ready for our Conference play.

Q. How tough is it, the fact that you've got to go and play tomorrow? If you win, you'd be in there flying, now you have to come in there after this.

COACH BRUISER FLINT: It was going to be tough anyway no matter if we had won or lost. The game is at 4:00. So whether we won or lost, it was going to be tough, plus we're playing against the guys that live right next door to us. You know, we've just got to refocus and just get ourselves prepared for tomorrow. The guys on the bench who haven't played, guess what, you're going to probably play tomorrow, that's what I told them. So they have got to get themselves ready.

Q. Playing two Top-10 team is tough; moral victory?

COACH BRUISER FLINT: I don't get any moral victories. Like I said, I've been really harping on playing a little bit smarter, because I think not playing smart is the things that cost us the two games. You know, same thing against Duke. I thought that we had instances where we just didn't play very smart basketball. Tonight, you know, the last ten seconds, we didn't even come up with the rebound, that was the big thing, when they missed it, they got like three shots at it, come up with the rebound without even worrying about it. We just didn't do some of the little things. It's early and those are the things you learn from and try to get better at.

Q. Elegar is a New York City boy, how do you feel about his performance?

COACH BRUISER FLINT: He's been playing great. He's been playing great. He has been. But he's worked hard this summer, extremely hard. I told him, I said you have the ability to be playing on Big Monday, but you haven't always proved that all the time. This summer, he really worked hard and came back in great shape. Still have to put a little more weight on him, but Frank is going to be a good player, he really is. I think this boosted his confidence. He had been playing like this before we got out here. So he knows he's got to continue to keep working and getting better.

Q. Can you talk about Bashir's play, he had tough time shooting the ball but made big plays down the stretch and just kept competing?

COACH BRUISER FLINT: He did. He's the leader of the team. He's the most experienced guy. He's been a three-year starter, and I've always said that if he wanted to, he could be the Most Valuable Player in our Conference because he can do it on both ends of the floor. He played great, he did. I'm going to have to really fill this guy's tank up after these last couple of weeks, but he's been playing very well. And like I said, if he continues to keep playing like this, I think it really energizes the rest of the team. His play has actually made us much better than I thought we would be at this time.

Q. I don't know the history that well, but would this have been the biggest on the map?

COACH BRUISER FLINT: They beat Memphis in the NCAA Tournament with Malique Rose, I don't think I can eclipse that, unless I get to the NCAA Tournament and win some games. They still have film of it that they show around the school.

Q. Can you talk about Mejia?

COACH BRUISER FLINT: He came late for a film last night; he got stuck in traffic. I always tell the guys, you know what, that starts it. He knows if he's late, he's not going to start. Doesn't matter if it's him or anybody, you know you're not going to start to the game. You know you're not starting, but you're late man, you know what time to be here, he got stuck in traffic. He was going to see his family yesterday and they didn't get him back in time. So I just think that affected him. He wasn't mentally ready to go because of all that.

Q. You didn't get a second look at the in-bounds play, was it the throw or the drop?

COACH BRUISER FLINT: I think it was a little bit of both. We thought they were going to foul, so that's one reason why we started so close to halfcourt, because the second pass, we wanted him to foul and get it closer to our basket. But it didn't seem like they were going to do that and I think Bashir just thought, he could catch it and go. It was a bullet, though. It was a bullet from Chaz. I just wanted him to catch it. We sat in the huddle, we thought they were going to foul us because they actually had a foul to give. We wanted to catch it closer, so even if they waited until we got across to halfcourt, we were on our side of court to try to get a basket.

Q. Early in the second half, you were running the inside game with Frank and Chaz, any reason for that, switching it up?

COACH BRUISER FLINT: You know, I guess if you're a smart coach, you go with what's working. We would have played like that, anyway. We think those guys can do that. They played well. We weren't worried about making a lot of 3-pointers and things like that. Those guys, if you think you're going to win by just shooting threes all the time, you're dealing with fool's gold, they always say teams that doesn't have an inside presence are a bit of a fraud. Those guys, the better they get, the better we'll get, because teams won't have to guard them.

Q. Anything they did that surprised you?

COACH BRUISER FLINT: No, because, you know, and in a lot of ways, although we play a little bit faster on offense, I think Ben's philosophy is a little bit like mine; defense, keep guys up front, contest shots. They are a little bit more deliberate offensively than we are. I think they are really a pretty basic team. What you see on the court is a little bit different. They move the ball along bigger than you expect on the perimeter position, but they play disciplined basketball, and that was one of the things, they played disciplined, we played a little undisciplined at the wrong time and that's what won them the game.

Q. You held you to one basket in the last five minutes; what happened?

COACH BRUISER FLINT: I think a couple of guys got tentative. That is one of the things again, you talk about being on this type of stage, you start looking around saying, uh-oh, we're getting ready to win. And you say, you know what, don't be afraid not to shoot the shot, but that's the things we have to learn and we'll learn from this one.

End of FastScripts...

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