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March 23, 2007
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY
THE MODERATOR: Coach Thompson will open things up with an opening statement and then we'll take questions.
COACH JOHN THOMPSON III: I don't know. I just think that was a really good college basketball game, and I'm glad, we were really fortunate that we won. That's my opening statement.
THE MODERATOR: Very good. We'll now take questions first for our student-athletes.
Q. Jeff, take us through that last sequence if you would, please.
JEFF GREEN: Well, the play was, you know, to try to look for the back door. Then after that, just try to get something towards the basket. When I went into my move, I kind of fumbled it a little bit. Hurried up, tried to find it, pick it up. Just tried to get it up off the glass and it went in.
That was just a good play. A fumble play, bumble play I had to make. I got lucky, and it went in.
Q. DaJuan, could you just take us through those moments after the game when you ran right over to Jeff, sort of held him, wouldn't let him go. What's going through your mind considering the way the last 20 seconds of the game went?
DAJUAN SUMMERS: I was just in amazement. I couldn't believe it. I was just happy, so happy just for the team because we stuck together, we worked hard. We just pulled it out. No one quit. When I looked around at everybody on the court, even on the bench, no one had quit.
When Jeff hit the last shot, it was just reassuring. I just went over to him and held him.
Q. Jeff, this is the second straight tournament game that you've made huge plays down the stretch that have decided the outcome. I'm just curious, do you feel like you're one of those players who wants the ball in his hands at those moments and that you know you'll deliver?
JEFF GREEN: Yeah, I like to have the ball in my hands in the games, you know, 'cause I have confidence in myself that I can make plays. If it's not me getting the shot, you know, I have other teammates that can bounce shots if I'm being doubled or anything like that.
I'm willing to do whatever it takes to try to win the game. If that's having the ball in my hands or making another play to get my teammate open. Hopefully I'm one of those top players that can make those plays at games.
COACH JOHN THOMPSON III: His coach feels that way.
Q. You did have a double team on you. Obviously, you know, that doesn't always apply.
JEFF GREEN: Yeah, but, you know, I just had to go over top of them. I didn't see them when I went into the spin move. They happened to come on the baseline side. I didn't see them until the last minute. I tried to explode over them. It was one of those plays when things just happen, you know, so fast that you just try to get it up there, you know. That's what happened. I tried to get it up off the glass.
But, you know, they did have a double, yeah, but I just tried to make the play.
Q. It seemed like early on in the game, you guys weren't getting what you wanted offensively, Jonathan. You weren't getting the ball on the block, weren't getting it where you wanted to get it. What was going on there?
JONATHAN WALLACE: Vanderbilt did a good job of closing down the middle early on. We were getting good shots, took some bad breaks every once in a while. Shots just didn't fall. We stayed patient, stuck with what we do.
Second half we were able to open up some things and make a run.
Q. For Jonathan and Jeff both, your defense, the last probably 26 minutes of the game, really seemed like Vanderbilt didn't get much in the field. Could you talk about what you guys had to do defensively to kind of shut them down a little bit.
JEFF GREEN: We just had to be more aggressive with them. They were getting a lot of open threes in the first half. So coming in the second half, we just had to put more pressure on the ball, not let them get that open on the three-point line. When you look in the first half, I think most of the points were three-pointers. They probably had two two-point field goals.
We just had to put pressure on the ball and not let them get open threes.
Q. Jonathan, talk about the step-back shot. Do you practice that as a big shot? You're under pressure. Just looked really good. Walk me through that.
JONATHAN WALLACE: The shot clock was winding down. Pat handed me the ball off, was able to get to the middle of the floor. At that point, Taj was trying to create a little space to get the ball up. Make the shot, if not get up on the rim. Jeff, DaJuan, they go get the rebounds. Just tried to make the play, and it worked out.
Q. DaJuan, was part of the reason you hugged Jeff the fact that the free throws came on a foul, that didn't look like you might have committed perhaps? Was that part of your relief?
DAJUAN SUMMERS: No, not so much because of that foul beforehand but like I said before, because of the things we were going through as a team. Like it was a tough game. Just pulling it out. Just because of those reasons, not because of that.
Q. Jeff, can you talk about Roy. Seemed like he found a groove there to begin the second half. Was controlling the offensive boards. Just what he was able to do to help you guys climb back in the game.
JEFF GREEN: He stepped his game up just like in the Boston College game. In the second half he came through with some big plays. He had a lot of rebounds, ten rebounds that was big for us. When we went out of the game, all of us came together and we had to step it up, you know. With his absence, other guys had to contribute, you know, and make big rebounds and those shots.
So, you know, with Roy in, the way he's stepping up, he's really gonna help us down this road trying to get to where we want to go.
Q. Jeff, sort of along those lines, did you feel like you personally had to sort of amplify your game, that that became more important when Roy leaves with four minutes to go?
JEFF GREEN: Yeah, with Roy absent in those, I had to step up. He's a big target down there. I had to take his place, you know, get those rebounds that he was able to get, and do other things, you know.
But as a group, I think we all had to step up, you know, 'cause Roy creates a lot of tension, you know, with John hitting that jump shot at the top, you know. That kind of set a standard that us, as a group, had to step up, you know, and just control the game even though Roy was out. That shows we can play without Roy, you know. The team's gonna try to get him in early foul trouble.
Q. Last play, Jeff, on the back door, did you think about throwing it at all or was Patrick pretty well covered?
JEFF GREEN: He was well covered. If he was open, I would have threw it. In the first half, he was open but he slipped. This time he was covered. After he went back to the court, I kind of went into my own move.
Q. Those last seconds, how desperate does it get? I mean, is there an internal clock for you or something that allows, you know, you to sort of feel your way through those desperate last ticks of the clock?
JEFF GREEN: Me?
JEFF GREEN: Oh, yeah. You know, you just got to try to make plays, you know. You can't force anything even though the clock is winding down. Just got to stick with your stuff. That's what we did down the stretch. The better we get at that, the more comfort we have in our plays and the guys that are on the floor.
Q. Jeff, can you talk us through what it's like to hold a team scoreless from the field for five minutes and they keep going to the line? That would be really frustrating.
JEFF GREEN: It is frustrating, you know, 'cause with the great defense that we're playing, then bailed him out with fouls, it's kind of hard to stay in the game that way.
We just got to try to not commit those fouls but still stop them, you know, like you said. We just got to have them still keep the pressure on the ball but just try not to commit those fouls.
Q. This is for Jeff. Can you talk about how much Roy Hibbert really stepped up his game, talk about his development in the last couple months.
JEFF GREEN: Yeah, he stepped up big. Like I said, from the Boston College game, he had I think it was 14 points in the second half, helped us get back into the game against them, helped us pull the victory out. Just like today, I don't know how many points he had the second half, he stepped up, had a couple great blocks. Just his presence down on the defensive end had them, you know, step on three-point perimeter and shoot those shots which they missed and he got those rebounds. With his presence, it's a great help. It's a plus, for us to get back to the games.
Q. Spark the comeback?
JEFF GREEN: Yeah, it did. It did.
THE MODERATOR: If you have a question for Georgetown head coach John Thompson, please raise your hand.
Q. John, you were down eight at the half. Offensively, you struggled a little bit in the first half. Was it an eight that you were like, "I don't like the feel of this at all," or was it an eight that you went to the locker room saying, "There's a couple of things here that didn't go our way"?
COACH JOHN THOMPSON III: It probably was somewhere in the middle. You know, we were down eight, and I felt that they had played extremely well in the first half. I felt we did not play well. I think that our guys, you know, we just needed to relax and play basketball.
So we made a few little adjustments. For the most part, our guys did a better job of making it harder for them to score. They're so well coached and they're such a good offensive team, you sit here and say let's protect the three-point line. They did a good job of driving and kicking out to shooters and we had to stay home a little bit.
Going into half time, and this group has given me and they give each other, you know, collectively our team is resilient. We've been in a lot of different situations, been up, been down. I think this group always feels comfortable where we are. It might sound crazy, but I think we feel comfortable and we knew we could get back in and we could - you've heard me say it before - just methodically take control of the game.
Q. You guys have been so patient and efficient this year offensively. In the first half, particularly the first ten minutes, you took a lot of shots that were totally out of character. It seemed like really early threes, settling kind of thing.
COACH JOHN THOMPSON III: There's no doubt about that. There's no doubt about that. This is a tribute to the defense that they were playing. You know, they were scrambling, doubling, trapping, we ended up with a lot of open threes early that didn't go in. It didn't go in, and so there's one thing we had to do in the second half is stay with our offense. Turn it over, turn it over.
The same shots that we were getting early in the possession in the first half, we could get later in the possession or get a better shot. I think that's one thing our group did in the second half, is stick with our offense and we got better shots.
Q. It's tough to look ahead after a game like that, but we've only been here a couple years. Internally, what's the feeling like that you're 40 minutes away from the Final Four?
COACH JOHN THOMPSON III: 40 minutes away from the Final Four, we have to wait and see who we play, start to prepare for that team. I feel very proud of this group of guys just because of how we have progressed, how we are winning games, how, as DaJuan talked about when he was up here, how we're sticking together.
The group, everyone out there is sticking together. Collectively we're figuring out how to win games. So that makes me extremely happy, extremely proud. In a couple hours, we'll see who we're gonna play and start to prepare for that next game.
Q. If you would take us through that last sequence before Jeff shot from your perspective. Was that how you wanted it to go? As far as everything but the bobble, that's how you wanted it to go?
COACH JOHN THOMPSON III: Shaun left. We ran a play. We shot Jeff up to the elbow. We wanted to see if we had a back door right away. Then if not, you know, we had John coming off a double on the other elbow and we kind of spread it out a little bit, coming out of the huddle I said, "Jeff, if you don't have Pat, turn and go. Turn and go." That's what he did. That's what he did.
He bobbled it, but once he got it together, he had a decision to make and he made the right decision. As he was going, talk about him being double teamed, I haven't seen the replay, might have been triple teamed and John was wide open at the top. As I said, Jeff Green makes very good decisions.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Coach.
COACH JOHN THOMPSON III: Thank you.
End of FastScripts