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March 10, 2000

Jim Calhoun

Khalid El-Amin

Kevin Freeman

Albert Mouring


COACH CALHOUN: I thought we came out tonight in the game -- in the first maybe 25 minutes or so was just a game going up and down. They scored, we scored. Both teams looked like the teams that were playing third game, third night, kind of deal and just were playing basketball. They would have liked to have won and we probably would prefer that over losing. But that's how I thought the first 30 minutes played and then I think we caught fire a little bit. We got some terrific defensive stops. We finally got the ball out of Scruggs' hand by big-to-big double on hand, got some good rotation, stole the ball three or four times that way, made nine or ten straight stops with the big-to-big doubles. Kids did a terrific job with that. Distributed the ball, got some good shots, good penetration by K. Kevin just did everything that he does. Thought it was a very good performance by us. You know, the Georgetown team we played in D.C. was a good team, this is a very good team. I mean I -- it wasn't a fluke. They came back to make a three-pointer certainly against West Virginia. I know Jimmy was a little down on his team last night, but looking at that tape last night, I mean Georgetown played exceptionally well tonight and I thought they played pretty well tonight too. I think we just played better down the stretch.

Q. Jim, can you talk about the second half.

COACH CALHOUN: Guys were playing kind of straight up. That's how we play defense normally. We inserted Jake back into the game and he had a -- the second big man, usually Kevin after a while, running down. Now when they ran down to double him, gets the ball out of his hands, he was looking for Boumtje and I thought Khalid, Albie and the kids did a great job. We might have gotten two or three good steals out of that, a travel, out of bounds we had to take the ball out of his hands. He was awfully good. He was magnificent. Put on a tremendous show. I think that's a very good young Georgetown team. The biggest thing is the big-to-big double. Near the end I think they had trouble covering the top with Braswell, not to let him go up with three-pointers. Those two things made the difference. When the eight minute timeout came, we started to go big-to-big-double, even though we knew Boumtje would sit under the basket.

Q. Jim, the bench minutes spread out tonight. How important is that?

COACH CALHOUN: It's becoming critical to us. Especially when you play your third game in three days. We play tomorrow. Tomorrow if we lose because of 40 minutes, I don't think that will happen, it will be because Miami or St. John's will outplay us, not because of the time. They'd rather play a game, I'm sure. Much rather play Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, Big East Championship. I think Edmund when he first came, I don't know what he scored or rebounded, gave us energy. He went up for that loose ball, kind of got things going, Ajou had got some early points. Souleymane came in with the up and under fake. Once again, I think our bench gave us a terrific lift.

Q. Second game in a row Albert's given you the -- (inaudible).

COACH CALHOUN: Well, you know, I think he has a terrific feel of what I call dagger points, he knows when dagger points are and I think he's a terrific, terrific shooter obviously. And knows, he seems to have the moment. But I thought that, you know, K and Kevin really found him, too and Jake's had two monster screens, really set it up. He delivered.

Q. Albert, what is it about you as a shooter do you think why you're able to make shots at the most critical times?

ALBERT MOURING: I love winning, you know, I love -- shots in crunch time.

COACH CALHOUN: I think he likes shooting more than anything else. (Laughter.) He doesn't mind shooting. He'll shoot when he gets the ball. There are some kids, quite frankly, who do raise themselves to a level. They're kids we've had in our program who seem to make big, big shots. Albert did that last year coming off the bench last year, Duke game and UMass, I can go a whole string last year. That was kind of a prelude to what happened this year.

Q. How do you feel, he's filled in for the loss of Richard Hamilton?

COACH CALHOUN: I know Richard won't mind me saying this, but he's a better defender than Richard Hamilton. Kevin, you can report that to him tonight if you don't mind. He hasn't scored as many points. Richard was the best scorer we ever had at UConn. For the time that he was there, 2,000 points on the board in three years. Albert made big, big shots, one of the reasons we've won 24 basketball games is he's made big plays, terrific scorer. He'll obviously go over 1,000 points by next year. We haven't had one, if you think about Ray and Allen, Brian Fear (phonetic spelling), some of the greater shooters we've had, he is the best three-point shooter we've had.

Q. Khalid, did you try to call on some energy reserve tonight and find it wasn't there or was there?

KHALID EL-AMIN: I just had to be a point guard tonight. I think last night I was a scorer or yesterday afternoon I was a scorer. Tonight I had to be a point guard. I had to find the right people at the right times, and that's just part of playing the game. You got to know when you got to do which of the two. And I'm very happy about the win. I'm very happy about the way our team played. We're very excited about Saturday night. You know, we're -- we didn't expect to get here, but we're here and we're going to the championship.

Q. Are you ready to play four games in a row?

KHALID EL-AMIN: Definitely, it's for the championship. I have to be ready.

Q. (inaudible) How did it feel to get back in there, mix it up?

KEVIN FREEMAN: I didn't think I went back to playing the way most people played. I think I've been playing that way all along. Things work out, I play with a lot of energy. The team did well today.

Q. Khalid, why do you think the team has come together with six straight wins? Is it a sense that these games are getting bigger and you are defending champions?

KHALID EL-AMIN: Definitely. We know in the month of March it's one lost, you're done. You have to play your best in the month of March, February, the team has come together. Maybe we have a sense of urgency, but it's a good sense of urgency and we're ready to go against anybody right now. I think our confidence is up. Our energy is up and we're just playing good basketball right now.

Q. Kevin, could you just talk about Scruggs, the night he had? What was -- why was he so successful early doing what he was doing?

KEVIN FREEMAN: He's a really talented player. I look forward to watching him on TV next year, hopefully not against us but other people. He's talented, 6'11", he can really shoot the ball. He's got a stretch quickness about him for being 6'11". He's a tough defender and did a great job.

COACH CALHOUN: Quickly, I think Scruggs is -- I mean, I'm not speaking for Georgetown, but clearly with that team coming back and his emergence here at the end of the season, he can develop into a very special player and I think with Kevin now playing more as a point guard, because he has someone to pass to. They are a terrific basketball team. We got the big-to-big double, we couldn't match him to man. He was that good. What it was, I think Kevin's described him. He's 6'11" with a fall away. That's virtually impossible to do that. He's a terrific basketball player and they're going to be very good in the future.

End of FastScripts...

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