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March 3, 1999

Jamel Thomas

Tim Welsh

Corey Wright


TIM WELSH: Tonight's game was similar to the first two, and you know, if you saw us play Georgetown this season, you probably could guess that the game was going to come down to the last possession. Again, it came down to the last minute in Washington; and, obviously, last half second in Providence; and tonight we had a look with a second to go again. We had a five-footer. You know, the key to the basketball was their offensive rebounding, their relentless work on the boards just wore us out. When you give up that many second shots over the course of a game, it's probably going to come back and bite you in the ear sometime, and it did, tonight. They just kept pounding it in, pounding it in, and you've got to try to take away some of that. For them to have 24 turnovers and still get 16 more shots than us, that was the difference. We have to make sure we create an up-tempo game and cause turnovers, which we did, at times, pretty good, about the number we're looking for. We didn't handle the ball as well as I would have liked tonight, especially the last ten minutes. I thought we unraveled a little offensively, and that's a credit to their defense. Their defense wore us down a little bit. But it went down to the last possession, again, and, you know, Boumtje really gave us some problems tonight. He's a terrific player. He can shoot the turnaround in the lane and he's very improved. He's such a presence on the inside. And their block shot ability just changes shots, and that was a key, also. But, you know, they came out and they doubled Jamel in the last play. He did what he had to do, he found the open man, Erron, and really didn't get possession of it, clean, because I think he was worried a little bit about the clock. But with 12 seconds to go, we're going to go to Jamel and most likely they are going to double him. And he found an open man. He did a good job with that. It's frustrating with him because they do double him all night, but he never loses his head or his composure. He's a great team player and it's hard, because everybody gears their defense against him because we don't have any low-post presence and Erron does a tremendous job for his size. When you don't have another guy next to him inside to take a little weight off of him, it puts a lot of pressure on him. But I'm very proud of these guys. They have given me all they could from day one, my first year here, and I'm just as proud of them as I am any team I've been around, even last year when I coached a team that won 27 games. Wins and losses, and what it's all about. Of course, when you go home at night, I'll sleep thinking that these guys gave me their best, their best shot and they did. We're all disappointed that had we didn't move on. I thought we had a good enough basketball team to do some stuff in this tournament, but we played a good team tonight. You know, I think I read a stat that since Craig took over, they were 6-7 or something, but four of the seven losses were by two points or less. So the ball went their way at the end tonight, the bounce at the end. I guess they were do due. They are a good team and I think everybody knows that. We just couldn't come out on top a lot tonight and they did. I know every coach in this league is worried about some people they throw at you out there. But we'll relax and try to forget this. It will take awhile. But we'll regroup and we'll play basketball again, and that's what it's all about. I want to take the seniors back here and that's what we'll be doing. I'd love for Jamel and Corey to come back to New York again, leave the Garden with a winning taste not a losing taste, because they deserve it. The guys next to me took this team to the Final 8. They have been -- they have meant a lot to the school and the basketball program. I am very proud to say I coached them, and certainly Jamel is one of the greatest players ever in the history of school. I want to keep playing games for him especially because he is one of those guys that will be up on that wall down in the halls of our office. There's no question.

Q. Obviously, regardless of the sport, you can't point to one player as making the difference, but I do have to ask you, Jamel, do you think the lane violation was a fair call? There are 25 other situations that could have offset that if you guys had done something different?

JAMEL THOMAS: I'm not going to complain about the refs. They called it, and we've just got to respect their calls and that's that.

Q. I think it was about 28, 29 seconds left and you've got possession. You fouled with 15 seconds left. Was it a situation where you didn't know it was a three-second differential?

TIM WELSH: They just did a good job of spreading the court. I was trying to foul Boumtje. That's what I wanted to do. You know, eventually he caught the ball, but we didn't foul him. We told him explicitly to foul because the other two guys are -- I wanted to foul earlier. He probably saw me. I was almost on the court signaling for it. But, you know, sometimes late in the game, the kids are just focused on their man and they are trying to get a stop, and they don't always know the time and score, and they are just playing their hearts out and they are not looking at me over there, that's for sure. But it worked out. We got the ball back with two seconds to go -- probably we'd like a little bit more time, but then you foul Braswell or Perry, they are almost automatic. They are kind of playing keep-away out front; so we've got the right guy to foul, but we just didn't come through.

Q. (Indaudible).

TIM WELSH: Well, probably not. But, you know, they do a good job. When they are doubling and switching out on him and we tried to go to him a couple times, they do a good job defensively on him. We probably could have looked for them more. You start looking for one guy, and then everyone else stands around and you don't get a good flow on your offense.

Q. It didn't seem like every other minute you were scraping another guy off the floor. Was this game more physical than the previous two this season?

TIM WELSH: Probably was. They really were relentless on the guys tonight. Watkins punched Jamel with his elbow; so I guess that's pretty physical. I guess a punch -- I don't know if that's just with your fist -- in the street, you can punch with your elbow, too, that's what he did; so, I guess that was physical when he did that, intentionally.

Q. Corey, I don't recall Saturday you throwing this many high, lob passes to Ruben as tonight. Do you recall -- because that was the key they are getting the high lob passes to him in the second half. I don't recall throwing this many high lobs Saturday.

COREY WRIGHT: They -- the first two times we played them, they went down to him. It was just containing them, you know, and tonight he did a great job and we did the best we could. Like Coach said, and Maxey has done a tremendous job for us down there and we gave him all the help we could give him. He's battling night in and night out with guys 7 feet, and he's giving it all he has and teams recognize that and they just kept going into him. And tonight Boumtje just came up with the plays.

Q. Jamel, can you take us through the last 12 seconds of the game?

JAMEL THOMAS: The last 12 seconds: I came off the screen, John passed me the ball. John mainly just stood there waiting for me to catch the ball. Boumtje was right there; so there was three guys on me; so I try to hit Erron to hit the shot. I don't want to try to force a shot.

Q. Was the play designed for you to take the shot originally?

JAMEL THOMAS: Yeah, it was for me to take the shot, go to the hole, take the shot, go to the hole strong, but I couldn't move nowhere because guys were on me. That's why I try to distribute the ball to Erron.

End of FastScripts....

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