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March 23, 2006

LaMarcus Aldridge

Rick Barnes

Kenton Paulino

P.J. Tucker


MODERATOR: We'll start with an opening statement from Coach Barnes.
COACH RICK BARNES: First of all, I would like to say that there's not a classier program and certainly not a classier person than John Beilein. And I've never been on the end of one of these like this and I know it's gut wrenching when you lose a game like that.
But his team plays with so much character and heart. And I know Mike Gansey struggled down the end and for them to fight the way they fought, it was a, I guess the kind of games that CBS wants. Those threes, one right after the other. But again our guys did a great job and we knew it would be a hard fought game. But certainly I would like to congratulate West Virginia on a great year and the way they run their program.
MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Kenton, walk us through the last play. It looked like you were kind of open coming down the floor. Were you waving to A.J. to try to get you the ball?
KENTON PAULINO: Yeah, the play was designed if they hit a three to get the ball out quick and run it down the floor. And A.J. came to my side and I was calling for the ball and he put it right on the money and I just shot the ball.
Q. Kenton when it left your hand, did you know it was in? Did you have a feeling that it was in?
KENTON PAULINO: When it left my hand it felt good, I had no idea if it was going in. But I just took the shot. Luckily it went in.
Q. Just a question, you had the big lead in the first half, what happened in the second half that caused that to disappear?
LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE: Coach told us they was going to come out fired up. And I think that they turned the intensity up on us and I think that for a moment we didn't know how to counter it and Coach came to the sideline and said that we had to pick our intensity up. And I think that once we did that that's when it started getting close.
Q. Could you talk a little bit about Pittsnogle's last shot? It looked like you got out on him okay but how scary is it going out on a guy like that who can shoot?
LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE: First of all, he's a great all-around player. Scouting him, I knew he was going to be a tough job coming up into the game. But Coach said switch everything and they had rubbed on me and nobody had done a switch, so I just tried to contest it and he made a shot like he always does.
Q. P.J., the way they were playing in the second half, and kind of turned things around, obviously you wanted to end it there but if you go into overtime, is that the type of team that you just don't want to take into an overtime, to get some extra minutes like a team like that?
P.J. TUCKER: A team, yeah, I mean I think Coach always talked about just wanting to be out there, to play all day and all night. Just loving the game. And you're driven by being when you're a kid in these type of situations. So you got to love it and live it.
So if we would have played eight over times, we would have stayed out there and fought the whole night. I think that our team just didn't want to lose and kept fighting. So I don't think it would have made a difference.
Q. For any of the players, could you talk about the way Mike Williams has been playing over the tournament?
P.J. TUCKER: Mike's been big. Especially the last two games. Coming in and doing his job, rebounding, playing hard, and he's scoring some big time baskets today and got some big time rebounds, so Mike definitely came in and gave us a spark. Down in the paint he was great. He came in and played hard with J.D. and A.J. too, our bench was real good today.
Q. Kenton, I was just wondering if you had ever hit a game winner like that before as the time expires? 00:00?
KENTON PAULINO: No, I never hit a game winner before. I can remember to my junior year when I missed a game winner at Wake Forest, but I never made a game winner.
Q. Talk a little bit about the game coming up now, is it a bit of a relief that you don't have Duke or are you leery of the next -- of your next opponent?
COACH RICK BARNES: We're not going to talk about the next game. We'll talk about this game. We'll talk about the next game tomorrow.
Q. Kenton, I know it's real soon right after the shot but have you just been able to digest what this shot means to this program and maybe where it will rank in Texas history?
KENTON PAULINO: No, I haven't thought about it. I'm just glad the shot went in. I really haven't thought about the importance or this and that. I'm just living the moment.
MODERATOR: Okay. You're excused, gentlemen. Questions for Coach.
Q. Is there any kind of pattern? When you're in a situation like that at the end is there any kind of pattern they're following, guys are supposed to run to a certain spot or are you just free for all?
COACH RICK BARNES: Transition, we said if they make a three we're going to get it out quick and run the transition game. I told A.J. to push it. That means that we're going to run somebody right down the middle of the floor. LaMarcus, P.J. took it out and we knew that we would probably get a look either from A.J. if LaMarcus could get out in front. If not he knew he would have Daniel or K.P. depending upon which way he went with it.
But we said if they make a three, get it out and push it right on top of them. And we did a really nice job of executing right there at the end.
Q. Would you talk about the problems that someone like Gansey presents with a coming off screens and shooting threes and also cutting and slashing?
COACH RICK BARNES: I told him after the game I am not sure if I ever coached against a tougher, more determined kid. Because I know he's not 100 percent healthy. I could tell that watching him throughout the game. With the cramps and what he's gone through. But they run that two man action over there, they are great at reading and they can beat you a lot of different ways. You do something, they counter it really well.
He's the fact that they stretch you like they do and when Kevin Pittsnogle's screening for him, LaMarcus would like to help, but it's hard to do that because they will pop him and give him a pretty good look and he doesn't need much time.
But Mike Gansey just competes. You look at him and I think he's much underrated in terms of his athleticism. When we played them the first time, I remember when we looked back at the game and we talked about it and my players made the comment that they're a much more athletic team than people give them credit for. And but they're very smart, and they just really understand how to play this game. And he's a perfect example of that.
Q. Sorry if you answered this already, but I wonder if you can talk about the lift you guys got from A.J. and Mike Williams tonight?
COACH RICK BARNES: Mike's been really big. Our bench in the first half was really good. I thought what J.D. came in and gave us -- he created a turnover for us. But Mike is doing what we want him to do in terms of his -- you look at his line tonight, I was just looking at it here tonight and the fact is he had seven rebounds, two of them offensive, he was four for four. Didn't force anything and he just went in and did the dirty work. His defense was really good.
It's hard for Mike Williams and Brad to guard a guy like Herber, a hard guy to guard, because they will take him off the dribble and we -- in the first game, tonight we came out different. We tried to get P.J. on him because he hurt us so much in the first game when we got in some foul trouble with Daniel, we had to go back to the big guys on him and they obviously went at that. But Mike's defense overall in the being out there on the perimeter -- and he, with about three possessions to go in the game, he made one great help situation where he probably saved us a basket, and that was a big play. Again, it won't show up anywhere, other than the fact that he helped the teammate out and recovered back to his man.
Q. Talk about A.J. too?
COACH RICK BARNES: Again, A.J., the season has gone along, he's grown more and more.
Q. A.J. Abrams?
COACH RICK BARNES: Tough kid. Defensively he's getting better and better. On offense he's the guy that I told him, I said, you better -- we really came into this game wanting to throw the lob diagonal pass, first one he -- actually I said to him coming into the game, I said I don't care if you throw it out of bounds, you better throw it and he threw it out of bounds and he said, you said I could throw it out of bounds and he did.
But the fact is he drove in there, he's got really good vision, he didn't have a great night shooting the ball tonight, but some it has to do with the fact that they really recover well from penetration and kickouts and but he's really gotten better. He's getting certainly he's gotten more confident as the year has gone on.
Q. How important was the rebounding there down the stretch for you guys? Was that the difference in the ballgame right there?
COACH RICK BARNES: Well, we went small, we haven't done that in quite some time, but we went small because I felt like we had somewhat bogged down on offense and P.J. went in there and he's a tough matchup, obviously. But you look at P.J. Tucker, I mean he had six turnovers but you still look, he had 14 rebounds and the rebounding was huge. And when we turned it over there at the end. LaMarcus -- P.J. threw it up and they deflected but LaMarcus said, you get it on the rim I'll go get it, and we did talk about that to our team coming in that we needed to really go inside and that's why we changed up on offense.
We tried to keep two guys down around the block and every now and then we would float somebody into the high post but we just felt like we would take care of the ball, get it on the rim, that we could do some damage there. And we ended up with 17 of them and I'm not sure how many we converted back but the fact that we gave ourselves a chance to have 17 more opportunities.
MODERATOR: Okay. That will do it. Thank you, Coach.
COACH RICK BARNES: Okay. Thank you very much.

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