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March 7, 2002

Mike Brey

Matt Carroll

Ryan Humphrey

Chris Thomas


COACH MIKE BREY: That's a great win for us. Obviously, we did a better job defensively than last Wednesday. I thought we played our zone very well, played it as a team. I thought we were great offensively again. You know, we're a fun team to watch offensively. We know how to reply and we make the extra pass. But talk to our guys before the game. It was a little bit of our program taking the next step. These seniors have done a lot pushing our program kind of back on the map, so to speak. But, I thought tonight getting to the semis was a big step for our basketball program and certainly, my second year. So, I'm really proud of our group.


Q. Coach, St. John's likes to pride itself on its tough, physical defense. Your team certainly responded with the same kind of effort to win this game.

COACH MIKE BREY: Yeah, I think, you know, we played good position defense. We didn't overextend. You know, Hatten got 25, but he got it on 9 for 24. Nobody else really, you know, got us too bad. You know, last week Glover, Shaw, a little bit of everybody got in the act. I thought we had a good awareness of guys. We did a pretty good job on the backboard. They have such a good nose for the ball. But I look down, I see 25 assists again. That's an amazing stat.

Q. Mike, could you just talk a little bit about your philosophy coming in for Hatten and some of the things you did with him.

COACH MIKE BREY: Instead of doubling him and getting a guy into him, we just kind of wanted to play a little bit more of our straight two-three zone and just be aware of him. Because he is more of a guy, I think, like when he feels your body up, you know, on him, he's able to wheel and lean and sometimes hook. And he's crafty. I thought if we gave a little space and made him take some three-point shots instead of getting into the lane, that would help us. And, again, all of our guys really did a good job moving and sliding in the zone.

Q. Mike, talk about offensively in the first half. You had eight different guys score on the first 11, 12 minutes of the game?

COACH MIKE BREY: Wasn't much different than the first half last week only they had 28 at half time instead of 40. You know. So, we scored about the same as we did last week. We just didn't give up in the 80s. That was our goal. We're going to score. I think it's going to be hard to stop us from putting points on the board. It's just defending and us defensive rebounding that's going to be, you know, a key for us advancing in either one of the tournaments, this tournament or the next one.

Q. Having said that, knowing that you're going to score, do you still expect to hit 63 percent of your shots in the first half?

COACH MIKE BREY: Well, you know what? We've had some unbelievable first halves. And right now, we're in a great -- we're in a heck of a groove. We got guys who can shoot it and pass it. If you look at a stat, I don't know, you may have looked at it, look at our overall assist to turnover. It's a staggering number. We have, as of last night, all five of our starters have more assists than turnovers. You hardly ever see that. Our big guys have more assists than turnovers. We're pretty efficient. You know, we're not going to shoot in the 60s, but I'm disappointed when we're not shooting a pretty good clip. I'm disappointed when we miss a good shot when we move it. Because I've seen us make it so much.

Q. For any of the players, after what happened the last time against when they got it down to 53-48, what was the mood of the team?

CHRIS THOMAS: I think we -- last time, I mean, we got a little bit nervous. We folded, we hadn't gotten in a groove. This time we just played with resiliency. We had our backs against the wall. We're playing for a better NCAA seed right now hopefully. We want to get as far as we can in this Big East tournament. All that's going through our minds, you know, at that point. We knew that they were going to get a run in the second half like they did first game. We just had to count it, and that's what we did.

Q. Matt, after the last couple years going home early before the weekend, is it almost a sense of relief to be able to stick around for the semis and have a chance to play away into Saturday?

MATT CARROLL: Yeah, definitely is. Considering last year, we were disappointed. Came down here, lost in the first of the quarterfinals. Our goal this year is to advance as far as we can. We came down here to stay a while. Like Coach said, we brought a few extra pairs of underwear just in case we were going to be here longer. We intended to stay here pretty long.

Q. Could you talk about your initial impressions about playing Connecticut tomorrow, Coach?

COACH MIKE BREY: I hope we can get back on defense. They change ends faster than anybody I've seen. Our transition defense is the first thing that concerns me. It's similar preparation for these, you know, as far as St. John's and UCONN. Slashing, driving, nose for the ball kind of guys. But we got to get back. And that's the biggest concern as I think about them initially. Butler is fabulous. It's weird when you haven't played these teams in the other division and you've only watched them on TV and you see them at the banquet for the first time. But he's a fabulous basketball player. They're just a confident team. They don't, obviously from tonight, they do not believe they're going to lose. I don't think we do right now either. So, I think it's a great matchup.

Q. As an east coast guy, Friday night is a pretty special thing. Memories of the Big East as a kid growing up?

MATT CARROLL: Oh, yeah. UCONN, like Syracuse and Georgetown, has been the beast of the east. Especially in the last couple years. When I think guys back, guys like Richard Hamilton, guys I looked up to came from UCONN. They had some of the greatest players there recently. It's going to be a tough game tomorrow.

Q. Ryan, how much of the atmosphere, did you feed off of that? You had a banter going with some of the fans it looked like. How much did you feed off the atmosphere?

RYAN HUMPHREY: This is great. This is the most famous arena in the world. Just being on the floor with the guys I'm playing with, and just thinking, you know, when you're warming up, you're thinking, "Mike shot layups here. Kobe gonna play here." It's great to go in a flow with those guys. The atmosphere is great. I love it.

Q. Did you plan on coming out that way, Chris?

CHRIS THOMAS: No, I just anticipated passing. It seemed like it was the best pass, hopefully Coach thinks so (laughter). No, but I mean it was just kind of in the moment. I hope that got the tone set for us. I seem to believe it did on defense. It was a defensive play first, and then with him knocking down the free throws, I think that's what got us going.

Q. Ryan, considering you're a senior, how much of a sense of urgency do you feel to leave a final stamp in this program?

RYAN HUMPHREY: You know, every day I go out, I think before I go out, "This could be my last game." I want to leave everything out there. I'm playing like it's my last day. I remember when I was a freshman like Chris, how fast it went. You know, you never really know, you know, how much you enjoy it until it's (inaudible). Every time I step on the court, I'm going to leave everything I have. I try to lead by example. When I leave, I'm passing the torch on to Chris and younger guys coming in.

Q. Ryan, I noticed you smiling when you were standing on the line, standing next to Curtis Johnson. When you saw the big man come in, was anyone thinking, "No, God, not again."

RYAN HUMPHREY: I'm a person that likes to talk. I'll talk to a stop sign. I'm just always talking. He walked out there, you know, I had to talk to him because I remember last time we played him, he was kind of like the person that got the fans into it. That gave them momentum. I was like, "It ain't gonna happen again." I don't care what you do, what you try to do, you know. So, I was just happy to be there.

End of FastScripts...

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