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March 13, 2003

Jim Calhoun

Ben Gordon

Emeka Okafor


JIM CALHOUN: Well, I thought coming into the game that Seton Hall now had won 11 out of 13 games. I got a voice mail today and it's funny expression from Caron on my telephone, he says simply, coach, I think you can get Seton Hall but they are really a scrappy team. I have never heard Caron use the word "scrappy." They really are a team that continues to come at you. They did a terrific job of coming at us. We in turn Emeka who just -- 18 points, 11 rebounds, 18 rebounds, 11 points, and probably 12 blocked shots. It says four here; he had three in the first ten seconds of the game, so as usual John looks at me saying you are at our statisticians again? Yes, I am. All I know is that he ended up taking the paint away, which established an awful lot of things for us. I still don't know how Ben Gordon got 25 points. He will be available to explain that better. But overall I thought it was a good performance by us. It just needs to be a tighter performance. The reason I am saying that is the first thing -- I have great respect for Seton Hall, but I know what we face now tomorrow night and we're going to have to be much tighter and sharper. Syracuse is not obviously one of the better teams arguably along with Pitt, the two best teams thus now in performance they are emerging into one of the best teams in my opinion in the country. We're looking forward for the opportunity to beat them. But we're going to have to come and play, and really play very well and cut down some of the mistakes we made tonight. I'm looking forward to that. Overall we played well. 50 rebounds. Did some of the things that I think we did real well, that we normally do well. I am happy with that.

Q. How about Mike?

JIM CALHOUN: Mike came off the bench. I thought that first he's been holding back on us. That's our theory; he's definitely been holding back on us. Couple of those moves, I haven't seen. Have you seen them ?


JIM CALHOUN: None of us have ever seen them before. He has been holding out on us. He was key really Hilton struggled a little bit with the big guys; Sweets' a very good player, I thought Marcus didn't have a particularly good game, and really I thought that Mike bailed us out, and I think that was a couple of years ago when he was a junior college star, he used to do that stuff and I may have scared that out of him. Now he is a senior and he said the hell with it tonight, I am going to let it all out. He really was a key difference off the bench. He was very key for us.

Q. You got the best of your battle with Kelly Whitney but he had his good moments too. What did you think of the matchup particularly the first moment of contact?

EMEKA OKAFOR: I was real impressed with the strength, you know, I mean, and also just the fact that he's kept on coming at me blocked a couple of shots pretty early but it didn't seem to shake him up to bad. He still had some confidence, and still kept on going at it. I have to give him respect for that.

Q. What do you take out of that first meeting with Syracuse as you prepare for them tomorrow tonight?

JIM CALHOUN: Biggest thing I take out of it is that George coached our team to a win. I was laying in a bed someplace. I had a great perspective. I was sweating worse than actually in the game, it was that hard. George was getting too good for things so I decided to come back. That convinced me I should come back. Really obviously, I thought we played very well. Syracuse is just a terrific team. I think they are playing great. I thought Jimmy did more things tonight defensively than I have seen him do in a long time. He went to the press early. He changed defenses a lot more in the past, I don't know what he will do tomorrow night. Any team that has the best freshman I have seen here in the BIG EAST in 17 years in Carmelo Anthony and a slew of other terrific players we know we have a great battle for us and we're looking forward to that battle. We feel we can win it but we know we're going to have to play very well to do that. We think they are going to have to play really well to beat us.

End of FastScripts...

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