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March 13, 2003

Craig Esherick

Mike Sweetney


CRAIG ESHERICK: I thought Syracuse did a really good job on defense of collapsing back on Mike and making it very difficult at the beginning of the possession almost every position of us trying to get the ball into Mike. Clearly we didn't shoot the ball as well as I would have liked on the perimeter but I think part of that was hurting his back in the Villanova game and his back was really bothering him most of that game and he really didn't even come out to warm up. I think that's part of the explanation. The other part is that I thought Syracuse played very good defense. I thought Duany did a really good job of getting them going, getting them confident in the first half when McNamara wasn't particularly hot and when Carmelo Anthony wasn't hitting. In the second half when they needed people to make plays I thought Carmelo Anthony made some really nice plays on offense to win the basketball game for them. I thought we played hard and I can say that about all three games that we played against Syracuse, I thought we played extremely hard. Syracuse has a good team. They have a very good team. They have beaten us three times, so clearly they have a better team than we do.

Q. Can you talk little bit about rebounding; it was such a focus coming into the game?

CRAIG ESHERICK: I actually thought we did a pretty good job on the boards today, and I thought another thing that we talked about was covering McNamara, but we did a really good job on him. Duany really hurt -- he hurt us during the course of whole game. End of the game Anthony hurt us. I thought we rebounded the ball very well today.

Q. Now you have seen him three times. Do you feel like they are the kind of team that can make a run deep into March?

CRAIG ESHERICK: I think they can. Particularly if they play the way they have been playing. I think they have been playing as well as any team in our league at the end of the season. I think they have a lot of different ways to beat you. They can beat you on the inside with Warrick, on the outside with Carmelo Anthony, with McNamara and Duany and I think that zone is going to be difficult for people to play against that have not been used to playing against it. And they have McNeil coming off the bench who does a real good job and Billy Edelin does a really good job coming off the bench too. So they have a real solid 7 guys that they play so they are not going to have any trouble if they get into foul trouble they can still put a team out there in the N.C.A.A. tournament. Carmelo Anthony is the type of player that can take over a game. If teams played him man Warrick can take over a game too. He's going to be very difficult to guard also. I am certainly sick of playing them I can tell you that.

Q. Mike, on the ball that got tipped away Forth just got his ball ---

MIKE SWEETNEY: At the end of the game? He hit my hand and it just slipped out of my hand. I don't know what went on. It was a good pass. It was my mistake.

Q. Did it help to play the kind of game you played against Villanova yesterday kind of a slow-down game you could conserve some energy for tonight?

MIKE SWEETNEY: I thought this game was going to be like an up and down game, it was kind of a little bit. They slowed it down, packed it in the zone, basically kind of the same game a little bit in a way, yeah.

End of FastScripts...

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