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March 15, 2008

Joe Crawford

Billy Gillispie

Ramon Harris


THE MODERATOR: We'll ask Coach Gillispie for just a couple of overall thoughts on the game and then we'll ask questions of the two student athletes.
COACH GILLISPIE: It was a real hard fought game. Both teams tried extremely hard and baskets were hard to come by, and a very, very physical game. They made a big shot at the end to win it, to their credit.

Q. Can you both talk about what the last several hours have been for you overnight, you dealing with the storm and not knowing when you were going to be playing, what it was like?
RAMEL BRADLEY: It was chaotic. I mean, we were waiting in the arena last night for a long time, and then we didn't know when we were going to play, so we waited up until about maybe 1:30, 2:00 last night, and then we found out we were going to play today at 12:00 so it was a lot of chaos and really hectic.
JOE CRAWFORD: Same thing.

Q. What time did you guys find out when you were going to play?
JOE CRAWFORD: 2:00 in the morning.

Q. Just how weird was it playing in a gym with about 1,000 people and that atmosphere, all the empty seats?
JOE CRAWFORD: It was definitely an atmosphere we're not used to, but I think we focused in and gave a hard-fought effort. We just didn't come out with a victory.
RAMEL BRADLEY: Yeah, we're not used to playing in an environment like that, but I think we were focused and ready to come out and play.

Q. Joe, talk about you made second-team all-SEC and it was pretty apparent you weren't pleased with that. Talk about how you come into this game trying to make that statement?
JOE CRAWFORD: I wasn't focused on that at all. I just wanted to hopefully win the SEC title.

Q. It seemed like toward the end of the game it was going to be you and Sundiata Gaines who were going to try and determine the end of it. When he fouled out what were your thoughts?
JOE CRAWFORD: Thought we was going to get the offense going and get good shots, and they made a couple tough baskets.

Q. Talk about that shot at the end of regulation there that you could have won it. Did you think it was in?
RAMEL BRADLEY: Yeah, I thought it was going to go down, but it didn't.

Q. For either player, Georgia's game-winning shot, how did you see the play develop and did you think Swansey might be the guy that pulled the trigger there?
RAMEL BRADLEY: No, I didn't think he would be the guy to shoot the ball. The plan was to go out and not let them have any easy baskets or three-point shots. He came out, and I think it was a hand-off that he didn't pass the ball, and he shot it and he made a shot.

Q. Your offensive sequence at the end of the overtime where you guys hustled would, kept the ball alive, and then you caught the ball with about 12 seconds left. Any thought to holding the ball at that point for the last shot again?
RAMEL BRADLEY: Yeah, I thought about it, and I saw Swansey ran out, he thought I was going to take the three-point shot, and it just freed me up a little bit.
THE MODERATOR: We'll excuse you fellows. You can return to the locker room. Questions for Coach?

Q. Kind of the same thing for you. What's it been like waiting overnight, and were you inside the actual Dome area when the monitor started swaying, and what did you think was happening?
COACH GILLISPIE: I didn't really know what was happening. I don't think anyone did. I didn't really know it was coming. I don't think anyone did. The best thing about it was I think the Southeastern Conference, no matter what the situation ends up being in our championship, I think that they did a very good job of trying to ensure the safety of the players and the fans, and hopefully there's no fans that have suffered any damage or any injury or any of those kind of things.
So I think you have to commend the Southeastern Conference for putting that first. And then the second thing is usually in these situations, I think finances usually dictate what happens. It's obvious that I'm sure they're going to have a mess trying to deal with tickets and refunds and those kind of things. But they put competition before a financial decision, and I think they should be commended for that, as well.

Q. Talk about the last few hours leading up to this, and did you think that affected your team? They kind of came out a little sluggish?
COACH GILLISPIE: No, Georgia played very well, and they played good defense. We're built to handle any situation, and they beat us today, bottom line, period.

Q. Dennis said he preferred to play one game today and then have two semifinals tomorrow and make it fair that way. Were you part of the discussion at all?
COACH GILLISPIE: I don't know how much coaches have to do with those kind of decisions. They ask us or whatever, but they basically tell you what options that they might explore. But I don't think coaches get too many votes on those. But it turned out fine. You know, that's the way it is. I mean, you try to come up with something that was going to be a good situation. Mother nature came and visited us and put us in a tough situation that the safety of the people -- everyone involved hopefully has been taken care of, which is the most important.
We had a very, very competitive game today no matter what the circumstances or situation is, and they'll have two competitive games today and another one tomorrow, and the championship will be decided.

Q. I talked to Rich Barnhart and he said he brought it to you, and he said I sure am glad I've got an accommodating basketball coach. Did you understand why it needed to be done and why you needed to go along with it, to play two games --
COACH GILLISPIE: We're ready to play any time, no matter what they say. If they say you're supposed to play at 4:00 in the morning and you're going to play three games and you get a chance and you're lucky enough to advance, then that's what we'll do. Is it a perfect situation, no. But I don't think anyone who made any decisions had anything to do with the damage that was done to the Dome. That's not anything anyone could control. They tried to make the best of the situation, and that's what we have to do. You have to handle things that are beyond your control, and I thought we played really hard. I thought Georgia played extremely hard. They made the shot at the end and they won the game.

Q. Will you talk about the last -- I assume Perry Stevenson blocked that free throw on your direction. What was your thought process there?
COACH GILLISPIE: I just wanted to make sure that we were going to step in the lane and make sure that they didn't miss the free throw because we were going to try to throw another pass. We had already tried to throw a long pass, and it went out of bounds, and that didn't work the first time. We wanted to be three down, and I didn't know the rule. I didn't know it was an automatic technical. So that's my fault on that.
We wanted to make sure that we were three down, and we didn't want to give him a chance to miss the free throw.

Q. I just wondered what you thought of Ramon's defense on Gaines and then on Swansey there at the end?
COACH GILLISPIE: He played great. All these kids are awfully tough, and we didn't start out very well because of Georgia's defense. They were really physical, and we couldn't make a basket. We ended up shooting a very, very poor percentage. Joe and Ramel usually make more baskets. We didn't play as smart as we could, but I thought that Ramon showed as much heart and determination and courage -- it's a tough situation when you're up two points right there. You can't let them get by you for a lay-up, you don't want to -- the most important thing is not to give up -- the worst thing you can do in those situations, give up an easy basket, foul or give up a three-point shot. If we had to do it all over again and we could force them into the same situation with the same shot, we'd take it. Give Swansey credit, he made a big-time play.

Q. Can you just talk about how disappointing this is after the way you all have come together after Pat went down?
COACH GILLISPIE: We came together today. If you watched the game, you saw that. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. We got beat. It has nothing to do with coming together and being tough. They beat us today. Let's give Georgia credit. They deserved to win.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about Georgia's offensive rebounding today?
COACH GILLISPIE: It did us in. We couldn't get a defensive rebound even when we had inside position on a defensive free throw. We missed some assignments on that. We blocked out a little bit differently than we normally do, and a couple guys didn't carry out assignments on that. They got a basket out of that, and just too many offensive rebounds gave them too many easy baskets because we defended about as well as you can, but the last part of defense is defensive rebounding.

Q. How do you feel like this affects your NCAA chances?

Q. What did you see on the play right at the end where Albert Jackson -- it looked like you were hoping to get a call there where Jackson went into Ramel?
COACH GILLISPIE: I guess you could put it like that; I was hoping (laughter).

Q. Could you talk about I guess your first experience at makeshift "Catlanta"?
COACH GILLISPIE: I know this is a very talented group here (laughter). I don't know about that question. I don't think this is -- it was a great competition today, but I don't think this is indicative of the Southeastern Conference tournament, again, beyond other people's control. People's control, again, nobody could do that. I don't know how to answer that.

Q. Can I ask you about Ramel, he's been so clutch all year and then today struggled with his shooting?
COACH GILLISPIE: He made the shot to put us ahead. Let's give Georgia credit. They played great defense. It was a very physical game on both ends, and it was hard to catch the ball. It was hard to do anything with the ball. It was hard to finish plays. So let's give proper credit to them.
And then when you have had a tough day and you do make a big shot and put your team ahead with eight seconds to go in overtime, that tells you exactly how tough you are.

Q. As well as these teams know each other at this point in the year, how tough is it to beat a team three times in one season?
COACH GILLISPIE: It's hard to beat a team once. I don't buy into beating a team three times or four times or whatever. You try to beat them one time, and if you play them again you try to beat them one time that particular day. The last two games had nothing to do with this one. Both teams competed all three times when we played, and we were lucky enough to win two of them. No, but they all came down to the last minute or so, and today they made a big shot to win.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts…

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