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March 9, 2000

Jim Calhoun

Khalid El-Amin

Kevin Freeman


Q. Kevin, was the game plan again just you on Darius, one-on-one?

KEVIN FREEMAN: Yeah. Basically just to -- you know, he's the best scorer. My goal today was just try to take him out of the game as much as possible. I looked on the last stat sheet, the game was pretty close, 17 points. I knew today I just didn't want to give him anything. If that meant sacrificing offense and letting other guys step up, that was great. I was just happy playing defense today.

Q. Khalid, can you talk about kind of getting it going in the first half?

KHALID EL-AMIN: Well, I knew yesterday I was trying to let the game come to me and it didn't work. So today I decided to be aggressive and take my shots and I hit a couple shots early and I started feeling good. We are not -- when a player starts feeling good, he thinks he can hit anything. I was just going at the defense and attacking the defense like I should. And like I said, the shots were falling. It was a good day for me.

Q. Khalid, is there any extra motivation for you any time you see another Minnesota guy in the game?

KHALID EL-AMIN: There wasn't any extra motivation. We knew it was going to be a tough game playing Seton Hall and definitely trying to beat them three times in a row -- actually five times in a row. But, we knew it was going to be tough. We knew it was going to be tough. And we just wanted to come out, have a good showing. It wasn't really any added motivation, we just wanted to come out and play well and win. We were able to do that.

Q. Khalid, do you think because of the streak, it has an effect where people -- (inaudible)?

KHALID EL-AMIN: You guys can decide that. That was obvious, people were counting us out. A lot of you guys here were counting us out. You know, we knew the type of team that we had and we still know the type of team that we have. We can compete with anyone, we can play with anyone, we can beat anyone. We have to come to every game ready to play hard, Connecticut basketball for 40 minutes. Actually we played 30, 32 minutes today. We feel like, you know, we could play with anybody, we just got to bring that energy and bring that intensity every night.

Q. Coach, can you talk about the contribution that Albert gave you?

COACH CALHOUN: Yeah, couple things. First thing, you know someone asked me, what, a week ago, two weeks ago they think Khalid should be on the first team. I looked at them I said All-American, there's a lot of great players but he certainly has an opportunity. They said, no, no, Big East. I looked at them and said, "That can't be." You're not questioning whether probably as good a winner as there is in America is on the first team All Big East, I thought you meant All-American. I didn't tell Khalid that. Though people give you some things that make my motivational job much easier. Clearly, and I don't think Khalid did it for that reason, he did it for the same reason he does everything, which is try to help his team win. We said as coaching staff they're going to start doubling which they did, we can't ride his coat tail, other people are going to have to step up, which they did. That leads me to the next thing. I think between Kevin's mother and Darius Lane, they'll be happy to see him graduate. He asked me to come to graduation because I just think that Kevin's done a terrific job on Darius, who I think is one of the best players. He's a terrific, terrific player. He's faced Kevin now a couple times. Kevin has done a good a defensive job as I've seen a guy do. Just been absolutely marvelous. Albert on the other side, who wasn't scoring much today, did a terrific job on Kaukenas, I thought, defensively. Except for seven or eight minutes, we did a wonderful job; Shine, Holloway, Lane's a tremendous, tremendous player. They're a good basketball team. Contributions from Souleymane, Edmund off the bench, we dominated the backboards. It was a tremendous win for us.

Q. Can you talk about giving your team the utmost to get to the finals, then balancing that --

COACH CALHOUN: I think the biggest thing, what I've said to them before the game today, let's go have some fun. Friday night, New York City, when you get the best teams in the neighborhood playing. Let's try to -- let's try to make it -- double header is a lot of fun for basketball competitors. I think that's the way we are playing it. I don't mean literally one game at a time, but we do have other life beyond this as you said. I think there is a balance that goes on. I want them to enjoy themselves. Clearly, they're putting themselves back to where we feel we'd like to be every year, playing Friday and Saturday night in the Big East tournament. It's not a surprise to us. You know, there are terrific teams in our league. You have to go to some tough places to beat some good people. Miami's upset wasn't a fluke, Notre Dame beat us at their place. There's good teams in our league. We get beaten; we seem to be playing better now. We are balance in the coaching staff. The kids, if they keep giving this energy, this is what they're going to need next week, too. They're going to play something like a Seton Hall, Georgetown, whoever we play next.

Q. (Inaudible.)

COACH CALHOUN: We played so well. I think in a game, you kind of -- thought it was a fluke that you got ahead or they made bad plays. I thought we dominated them defensively. Khalid put on a tremendous one-man-scoring show in the first half. The big guys, hedging a lot and clogging the middle. We thought it was the other way around, we let up and they made -- they took full advantage of that. They started running out. Remember they scored the last basket in the first half, three-pointer to start the second half. They wiped away five points quick. I never thought it was getting away. We had to refocus, Albie made some big shots, made some big plays, ten-point lead, double figures. Things went well for us.

Q. Jim, your evaluation of Georgetown, how they're playing?

COACH CALHOUN: I watched Georgetown today. Because you do so much scouting on tapes, you end up seeing other people more than one time you play them. We played them, one of the finest offensive games we played all year, we had 92 on the boards at Georgetown. The Georgetown team I saw today, I thought Braswell was going to -- he's a terrific scoring point guard. Today he was a great point guard because he made other people better. I thought today their approach, attacking the two-three zone against Syracuse, was impeccable. They had a good design of things they wanted to do, got the ball to the high post. Quite frankly, they always seem defensively tremendously difficult to contain on the boards. Today I thought their offense was terrific. I thought they really executed tremendously well on offense. Braswell was the best I've seen him play. That's the best he's ever played.

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