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March 5, 1998

Steve Lappas

Damian Owens


COACH LAPPAS: I thought our guys did a terrific job tonight. As I always tell them, if a game comes down to just missing shots, that is the way the game goes. And I have no complaints about the way our guys played, because I thought it came down to we just missed the shot. We had good looks. We didn't make them. We have got to give Syracuse a lot of credit, they played great defense. And I am just -- but I am proud of the way our guys responded here at the end. Especially saw some very positive things between John and Howard all year and Biggy, John, and Biggy at the end of the year in particular. With our young guys getting a little better, little older, we should hopefully have some fun next year.

Q. Talk about the guys' endurance after playing such a long time last night, did you feel that they were --

COACH LAPPAS: I don't really think that that was a factor tonight. I kind of came into the game with that out of my mind, that that wasn't going to be a factor. I think we just missed some shots. If we had gotten blown out and needed a tremendous full court pressure comeback but that game was always within striking distance and I think what happens is if the game is always within striking distance, you have enough in you. We had enough in us, no question.

Q. Steve you alluded to this. Given how you finished up here, do you feel you got something going at this point?

COACH LAPPAS: Yeah, with having everybody back except for Zeffy, he is a tremendous loss because he is just a terrific kid and he played so well for us also at the end of the year. But, with everybody else back, I think the experience of the tournament and the ups and downs that we went through during the course of the year will make us better. I think we are as -- coming into this year, we had no idea except for John who is the only one who played significantly. Now we know who Howard Brown and John is, Brian Lynch, much better idea of what we have and who we are. I think that that makes a difference.

Q. John, do you look at the end of the season, do you feel happy with the way it has ended; disappointed? What do you feel right now?

DAMIAN OWENS: Obviously I am very disappointed. We would have liked to have gone a little bit further in the tournament and hopefully win the whole thing. I mean, I see a couple of positives. We played better toward the end of the season even before we got to the tournament and I think with everybody coming back, like coach said, that is only a plus for next year. We are going to miss Zeffy. Losing Zef is going to hurt us. But, I think experience that everybody got this year in the tournament, will definitely help us down the road.

JOHN PAQUETTE: Any other questions?

Q. What do you feel you need to improve upon this summer to complete your game next summer?

DAMIAN OWENS: I think basically improve on my defense and being a more consistent shooter. I wasn't shooting the ball that well all year and my decision-making still has to improve a whole lot.

Q. Can you talk about the development of Howard Brown? It seems like he is a player that next year can be a real go to go, he has taken on that role this year late in the season.

COACH LAPPAS: I think Howard had a tremendous year. I don't think there is any question about that. Here is a guy who when the year started, you know, if you told me Howard was going to average 13 or you told me Howard he was going to average 3, I could have believed either one which kind of tells you how, you know, we just didn't know; had no idea, none of these kids played before. So, knowing what Howard is; knowing what John is, gives us a much better idea and we have a hierarchy now. Came into the season really with no hierarchy. Now, I think we have one and that is an important factor. I think we are developing a team now because of the -- all of the guys we lost, we are in the process of developing.

Q. Talk about Bigus.

COACH LAPPAS: He proved a lot to me at the end of the year. I was on him all year with rebounding and he goes yesterday 18. He was very active on the glass, I thought, tonight. He is one of our guys. He is one of the guys.

End of FastScripts....

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