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March 12, 2003

Ryan Gomes

Rob Sanders

Tim Welsh


COACH WELSH: Today's game was -- I thought the tone was set early with our defense obviously. We got a lot of deflections, we got to the loose balls we got up on the backboards early in the first half, it turned our defense, turned our offense, got some easy shots out of that. Ryan and Rob were very active on the offensive end slashing into the gaps. West Virginia can keep you off balance because of their changing defenses. Then offensively they really worked the ball inside. They are great with the inside/out against the zone. They have a terrific zone offense. We didn't let them get into a rhythm with it, decided to trap them on every occasion that we could on our zones. That kept them tentative at times and they weren't on the attack. It kept us on the attack. I always felt that coaching against Jon that his team is very, very hard to defend because they run their stuff as good as anybody in the country. If you let them run their stuff they are going to control the tempo. We tried to get them out of running what they like to do and to our guys' credit they were very active on both ends of the floor. Every time the ball went through Ryan's hands in the first half seemed like great things happened. On top of being just a great offensive scorer, he's also very unselfish. He knows how to draw the double teams, how to find open people. I think we did a great job of making the extra pass in the first half. We understand that today was good just to get over the hump. I told our guys sometimes the first one is a tough one and toughest one in this tournament since we haven't been successful here since we have been here. But this is a new group; they are playing very confident basketball. They have got a little swagger with them right now. I saw it in practice this week. Saw it last two, three weeks. They are just playing with a lot of confidence and we came down here to show that we're a good basketball team and today was another step towards that.

Q. Talk about the offense, letting the offense come to you in the first half?

RYAN GOMES: This week in practice we did a lot of scouting on defense. We know they play a 1-3-1 zone. Coach told us the best way to be open is be on the baseline because because they have a shorter guard down there. So I concentrated on that to get my shot off.

Q. Did they ever make adjustments on that base line?

RYAN GOMES: I think they didn't really make that much adjustments. Sometimes when I spun baseline I seen a double team coming; that's where I try to kick it out to one of the guards and see if they could make open shots.

Q. You really did dominate the boards today.

COACH WELSH: We made that an emphasis coming into the week. We looked at the numbers that really had struggled on the glass at times, that teams had got up on the glass against them, Virginia Tech in their last basketball game got a lot of offensive rebounds. We made that emphasis going in. When team spreads you out like that sometimes their blockout positions get unorganized. We wanted to make sure that we attack the glass because we thought that was to our advantage.

Q. Talk about the confidence that the team has right now, Rob.

ROB SANDERS: The team is playing with great confidence. Last few games we have been playing real well and you know we have been trying to get the ball to Ryan because he's playing with great confidence too. He's making the shots, making baseline jump shots now. If he does that we feel like we can beat anybody.

Q. Flashback to what you remember from that first Pittsburgh game.

COACH WELSH: Pittsburgh really makes it hard for you to score. We struggled to score for a long period of time. Then we started getting into a better rhythm in the second half, we actually came back and made it a game the last 8 minutes then their defense stepped up and we struggled to score again the last four minutes. It was a grind-it-out type game, very physical game, they are a very physical team. They do a great job of bump and cutters and giving people off, not letting you get any easy looks, they make you work hard to score on every possession. One of the things that we had an advantage in that game is that Julius Page wasn't playing. Obviously with him back in the lineup he's a big time weapon on both ends. He's probably the best one-on-one type defender athletic guy that takes people out of their game on the wing. We're going to have to play a lot better than we did there just to make it a good ballgame.

Q. (Inaudible)

COACH WELSH: I don't remember saying that. Brandon Knight is a terrific basketball player. Pitt plays a physical game, and obviously when you play physical and you establish yourself out there as a physical team you are going to be able to play that way. They are a very good team. Would never take anything away from what they have done this year. Especially on defense their numbers speaks for themselves.

Q. Talk about wanting to come here and show your good team. After getting over this hump is there at least little bit of an eye of possibility of the N.C.A.A.?

COACH WELSH: Absolutely. We came here understanding that if we made a good showing here that we would be in the mix. Obviously we have got work to do and you know the only way you to do is by winning. By some of the good wins we have had over the last couple of weeks I think we put ourselves in position now to continue. But we have got a big big obstacle tomorrow. It is a different level game. We're going not only against one of the better teams in our league, we're going against one of the better teams in the country. We're going to have to play very, very well. But our guys are playing well, and I am sure they will be ready for the challenge.

Q. Players reaction to Pitt. First time you played them. What was it like?

RYAN GOMES: It was a different type game like coach said they are very tough, all the guys are veterans, older guys, so they know how to play. They bump and cut, play very physical on the glass and I think big difference was their crowd when we played them the first time now we're like in a neutral site. I think we have good chance of going out there and playing a good game and hopefully winning this game tomorrow.

ROB SANDERS: Like Ryan said Pittsburgh was a hard place to play. Right now we're just playing good. I think we could get them tomorrow.

Q. How important is it to have another solid --

COACH WELSH: Donnie's taken on the challenge all year long. He's played very, very well. He's shown that by making the all-rookie team. I think our conference has the best point guards from top to bottom as a whole, in the country. Most of them are veterans. When you look at Brandon Knight and Troy Bell and Chris Thomas, Donnie has taken them all on. He's not afraid of anybody, plays with a lot of confidence out there. I am sure he will tomorrow. He has got a challenge, big thing in front of him. One of the reasons he came to Providence because he wanted to play against the best point guards in the country. We had a spot available he said I want to play against these kids. He's not only done it but he's done well against them. I am sure he will do well tomorrow.

End of FastScripts...

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