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March 10, 2001

Ricardo Greer

Isaac Hawkins

Ben Howland


COACH BEN HOWLAND: We were beaten by a very good basketball team tonight. My hat is off to Boston College. It's, you know, he's done a great job there building that program. Their seniors really stepped up. That's not to take away from the great week we had this Big East tournament. I'm really proud of these two seniors and of our team. No one expected us, except the guys in the blue and gold, to get this far. We had a great opportunity tonight. Unfortunately, we didn't capitalize on it. But I'm really proud of our team, and I'm looking forward to playing the post-season and trying to build on this week. We improved as a team, and this is a huge step for our program and I have these two guys to my left here to thank, they were really the leaders. We would like but to continue to play. We'll just have to wait and see what happens in terms of post-season opportunities.

Q. The last two nights they've ended the game on a huge note. In your case do you think their legs went with the four games?

COACH BEN HOWLAND: It's tough to play, we played not only a good team tonight, we played a very good Miami team, a very good Notre Dame team, a very good Syracuse team. So it's not like we're lining up with the Sisters of the Poor. I mean, this is an unbelievable league . You can see why it's tough for someone to win four games in a row here with the competition the way it is. But I'm sure it had a little bit to do with it. We were just a step slow. We didn't even get to bed last night until 1:30 and we were coming back, playing four days in a row. That's not to make excuses. Boston College has an outstanding team. They played a very good game tonight, and obviously they were the better team on this night.

Q. I was going to ask you that, but in terms of this team going on and carrying the banner for the conference, what do you suspect they'll do at this point?

COACH BEN HOWLAND: You're talking about Boston College?

Q. Yes.

COACH BEN HOWLAND: I think we're a lot to get five teams. I would hope there will be a two seed. I would think they'd deserve that after what they accomplished this year. I think it's well deserved that Boston College will be a two seed in the tournament. I think all the teams from the Big East, with the competitive nature of this conference, there's no question that the teams from this league are going to do well in the tournament. I mean, this league is so tough, night in night out, when they go into a tournament, we're going to have a nice showing and I think our league's going to be well represented in the NCAA tournament.

Q. For Rick and Isaac, the question about playing four games in four nights. What was it like for you guys out there? Did you feel like you were running on fumes tonight?

RICARDO GREER: I really wasn't tired. We played a real good team. Their press really hurt us. We turned the ball over. You can't get tired when you're playing the championship game and you feel so good, your adrenaline's so high. They played a great team and they were the better team tonight.

ISAAC HAWKINS: Same here, wasn't tired at all. They came out and was on top of their game. They was the better team tonight.

COACH BEN HOWLAND: It definitely hurt us that Isaac got into foul trouble. In retrospect, I wish I wouldn't have pulled him out, a senior with two fouls, we were down eight at half time. Donatas hit a shot to cut it to four with about 14, 15 minutes to go. But when we really -- you could tell, I mean, I appreciate our players and trying to step up and give it, but we were not all alert there. We gave up two or three baskets tonight in transition where guys didn't know who they were guarding. There was a play after Donatas hit the three, that was a big play. We had some opportunities tonight and we let it slip away. My hat's off again to Boston College. But we look forward to continuing to play this year and continuing to build. You know, I can't say enough about both of these kids right here. Ricardo's from New York City, and this is the first time in the history of the University of Pittsburgh we've been in the Finals of the Big East. We're getting a new building. This is the beginning. We're building a program now. We have what will be the nicest facility, the John and Gertrude Peterson Event Center on our campus in the Big East conference, and I think will be the nicest on-campus basketball-only facility. There's no hockey rink going in, it's a permanent hardwood floor, an $80 million facility. We have a lot of nice things to build upon including the wins and finish to our season.

Q. A month ago you had lost to Rutgers. At that point, could you have imagined you'd be here now?

COACH BEN HOWLAND: You know, I always think anything's possible. Our team showed a lot of character after that Rutgers game, to come back and beat Seton Hall, a very talented and well-coached Seton Hall, on the road with Isaac Hawkins out with a foot injury. Toree Morris, one of our freshman, we're a young team. Boston College was 13th place two years in a row prior to this year. They had a very young team, grown with some older kids. Jaron Brown a freshman, Julius Page, Brandin Knight who had a great tournament, sophomore. Donatas Zavackas is a sophomore. We have two outstanding red shirts sitting out right now that I think will be fine players in this conference. So it's exciting.

Q. Ricardo, do you look up at the score board and all of a sudden think, bang, they have that lead?

RICARDO GREER: We were down four. There was just some mistakes on our part on defense that we couldn't find the open guy. They made some big shots. Next thing you know, it was 14-, 15-point lead. It's tough. We had to keep hanging in there, I think that's what we did as a team. We just gonna build from here.

Q. Ricardo, could you talk about the matchup early on with Kenny Harley. He talked about looking forward to playing with you, knowing you guys had to win this tournament final to get into the tournament.

RICARDO GREER: I mean Kenny and me are real good friends. He played a lot with my brother. I used to go see them play with each other. My hat's off to him. I'm so happy with him and his team, they're going to the tournament. They won the Big East Championship. I wish them the best.

Q. Could you address the issue for them and in general terms for any coach, Beerbohm had a tremendous effect on all three games this tournament. What does that do for a team?

COACH BEN HOWLAND: They have great balance and great depth. The thing that's most impressive to me about their team are their bodies. They must be in the full-time weight lifting program because they are really, really well-developed kids. Beerbohm came in and really hurt us. He had two drives, we knew he wants to go left. That's a little bit of just being able to stay focused when you're maybe a little bit more tired than normal. He beat us twice going left. We had a 20-9 point lead, things were going pretty good there. So they outscored us big down here the last 27 minutes, 28 minutes of the game. But, you know, we've just got to build on this now. We're going to have an opportunity to play more games, and we're looking forward to that. We're going to take, hopefully, a couple days' rest here before we come back and get ready to practice.

Q. Ricardo, you had said a couple days ago you guys had to win this tournament to get to the other tournament. Did anything happen in the last couple days to change your mind?

RICARDO GREER: I mean it's going to be hard because there's a lot of teams that got 19, 20 wins trying to get in. If we get into the NCAA, that would be an honor. Or the NIT Tournament. We'll be happy to play whichever one. Regardless, we're going to play hard and try to win a lot of games.

Q. How did this tournament change your team?

COACH BEN HOWLAND: Well, you know, I think that our guys did a great job in preparation for each of these games. It was great focus and mental preparation. And I think that the lesson we learned is that, you know, our whole team as a whole is when you play together, you play smart, you know, you have a chance to beat anybody that you're faced. And we proved that with some outstanding wins here in this tournament and unfortunately couldn't pull off the four in a row. Yeah, it will be disappointing. I'll stay up all night, I haven't slept here in about three days. So nothing's changed. But, you know, we'll look back, should we have zoned? What could we do better to attack? And we'll try to grow from this and get ready to play some more games.

Q. Isaac or Ricky, how tough was it for you guys watching Boston College celebrate there at the end?

RICARDO GREER: It wasn't tough. I mean, it's tough to lose to any game, this one especially. You have to understand, that team came from last place and won it all. That gives hope to Coach and the rest of the guys coming next year. Anything's possible. We're happy for them, wish them the best in the tournament but we also got to go to post-season and continue our run.

Q. Following up that thought, you were standing in front of the bench watching. Can you articulate their thoughts?

COACH BEN HOWLAND: Well, you know, it's tough to watch someone where you wish you were at. And that's, I'm sure how our full team felt. But our guys showed a lot of class. You know, we have a classy group of kids. It's, you know, a really good group to work with, and I think we have, you know, a lot of things to build upon here and for our younger players, just be there and watch that, hopefully will be a motivator when you get to the off season. Because that's where you really get good, is in the off season when you work with preparation and commitment to being a great player. It's in the weight room, it's working at your games, doing the things that these guys have done. Then we need our younger players to really learn that. That's why I pointed out the fact that Boston College has really got a commitment to the weight room. It's obvious when you just look at them.

Q. There's been a few tough years at Pittsburgh basketball. Do you think your performance here has gotten the school a lot of respect now?

COACH BEN HOWLAND: I don't think there's any question about that. I think no one gave us any hope to come in here and do what we've accomplished this week, and the only guys, again, that really thought that were our own. And I think, you know, kids watching out there all over the country are looking at Pittsburgh now and say, "Hey, that would be a pretty good place. They play a nice style basketball, they're really unselfish and play together. They're going to have a brand new building." We have a lot of things to sell. This helps that effort and I'm really proud of our seniors for helping get this thing started. We've had a lot of adversity, you know. I just completed my second year on the job yesterday. And, you know, we've made a lot of progress in two years and that's not a long time. I mean, you look at how long it takes to build a quality program and that's what we're doing. We're doing it one step at a time. This is a marathon. We're not trying to do anything, any shortcuts. We're building with good kids and doing it the right way and I feel good about that and look forward to, you know, continuing to build.

End of FastScripts....

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