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March 14, 2003

Rashad Anderson

George Blaney

Taliek Brown

Jim Calhoun


JIM CALHOUN: Very quickly, I feel fine but I am going to spend about two minutes here and Coach Blaney is coming in. Three nights; two nights in a row, third night tomorrow night; good idea for me to go back. I wanted the opportunity to say Syracuse is a great basketball team. We got here today. Started last night at 12 o'clock with a game plan. Spent an hour and a half in the hotel this morning we spent an hour on the floor today, and we thought we really prepared well to really try to take away everything and do the best we could with Carmelo Anthony. I just thought the kids were magnificent. They responded. I am tremendously proud of the effort. Playing on a Friday night in New York City is not a bad thing for a Championship and we get a chance to go against a great team, Pittsburgh, tomorrow night. We're looking forward to it. Taliek was absolutely sensational. Ben showed and learning that you don't have to have big numbers to have a big impact upon the game. And I thought all the kids here. Marcus is just learning how to play. Maybe before we didn't play him and we're learning how good he is. More important I just thought the kids were really good. Lost Emeka with the third and fourth foul. I just thought the other kids just sucked it up and made a great great effort. Once again I couldn't be more proud. Coach Blaney talks slower than I do so it is going to be much easier to understand him. Thank you very much.

Q. You guys pushed the ball every time, especially in the first half. Was the game plan to get it on the run and keep them off balance?

TALIEK BROWN: Yeah, definitely, tried to be real aggressive out there. Just keep pushing, try and get as much easy baskets as we can. Try and not even go into the half court offense, so we knew get easy baskets, why not do that.

Q. (Inaudible)?

TALIEK BROWN: We was up by a lot. We just tried to just be solid and try not to force nothing because we had a big lead and we just wanted to waste some of the clock.

Q. Taliek, you guys have a chance to tie Georgetown with 6 BIG EAST Championship wins. What does that mean for you, for Connecticut, to accomplish that?

TALIEK BROWN: That's just history for us. Especially for me, just being here and just having gone through so much, this means history for me. It is definitely -- my teammates, especially the freshmen coming along getting their first Championship, we're just going to come out there and play hard.

Q. What was the response by the coaches in the first half to bring the game to 6 points from 26 to 20 in the first half?

RASHAD ANDERSON: Coach just gathered us together, settled us down, told us get back out there and play basketball.

Q. Talk about the strong points, the way you guys are able to rotate off the bench?

TALIEK BROWN: We're very versatile, got a lot of freshmen coming off the bench, Tony, Mike Hayes, any day anybody is liable to step up. That's what we did.

Q. To get Pittsburgh again, would you want it any other way?

RASHAD ANDERSON: I am just ready to play. It won't matter who we play; just ready to play tomorrow.

TALIEK BROWN: I would love to play Pitts, it's just like a battle between us.

Q. Rashad, usually if you hit your first shot that usually means it going to be a good night; how are you feeling 20 seconds in?

RASHAD ANDERSON: The basket felt like it was just huge, just huge. As big as Madison Square Garden, just felt like I couldn't miss.

Q. Coach just talked about stopping Carmelo Anthony in the game plan. What was the game plan specifically and how to defend him?

RASHAD ANDERSON: I don't think we stopped him. He had 30 points. (Laughs). We just -- coach just told us play him honest, just go from there.

TALIEK BROWN: We try to play real solid on him. He had like a bad shooting game. He is the main guy so he is going to get up his shots. That's what we really try to do.

Q. George, is this a good defensive matchup for you guys because 29 percent in the first game -- 28 this game or is Syracuse bringing out the best of you guys defensively

COACH BLANEY: I think we're starting to play awfully good as a basketball team. We got Taliek Brown back, got coach back, and we got a couple of more weeks and a couple of more months with our four freshmen. So it's the time time of the year that Jim Calhoun's team always gets better and we're getting better. We feel it. We understand it. We're starting to understand who we are. We're a fast break team. We're one of the fastest teams in America. We're an execution team. And we're a very, very good shooting team when we move the ball. So when we do those three things, this can be a really, really good team.

Q. What is it about you guys; you fire on all cylinders.

COACH BLANEY: The answer to that question you guys should know it is Jim Calhoun. He doesn't allow teams not to come to compete every night and his teams compete at the highest level every night. That's what they do. That's what these guys right here do. You saw the way they competed tonight. That's the time of year. This is what he plays for. This is what Connecticut basketball is about.

TALIEK BROWN: I agree with Coach Blaney. Me and Calhoun we have been through a lot. He stuck with me because I just work hard for him. Every night I just come out and work hard. That's what he wants you to do. He just wants all the players to come out work hard for 40 minutes and he's going to give you a lot of respect. That's what the team is doing.

Q. Were you surprised there was no second half threat by Syracuse?

TALIEK BROWN: Definitely. They didn't really attack us like I thought they was going to attack us. That made it kind of easier for us, we just held our heads and just kept playing.

COACH BLANEY: Part of that too I think was we struggled with the press for that 6 or 7 minute stretch in the first half and we seemed to make adjustment right before the end of the half then we were able to talk about it at halftime and so their press wasn't as effective to turn us over and I think that had something to do with it too.

End of FastScripts...

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