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March 20, 2008

Jim Christian

Al Fisher

Haminn Quaintance


THE MODERATOR: We'll start with an opening statement, then questions for the student athletes.
COACH CHRISTIAN: The first half of basketball was just so unlike how we played all year. We just came out, played with no confidence, just made silly mistake after silly mistake.
UNLV is a great team, took advantage of it. But that was about as bad as we can play, but they obviously did a great job taking advantage of it.
It's disappointing because we were looking so forward to this opportunity and we really wanted to play well. We just couldn't get anything going in the first half. But then I was proud of our kids in the second half because we battled. We could easily quit and they don't, they just continue to play hard and fight and play the entire game.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes?

Q. How surprised were you with the way that you guys started? Did you see anything before the game that? Was there any fear or uncomfortable feeling going through the team at the start?
HAMINN QUAINTANCE: No, I don't think nobody was scared -- I don't think anybody was scared or had any fear. It's just we didn't do what -- we didn't do what we have done all year to get here, you know?
Looking at the stats, everybody shot under 35 percent except for Chris. Turnovers, I think we had 17 turnovers at halftime. Couldn't finish on top of the rim. We just, like coach said, we played -- not to take anything away from UNLV, they did a good job, but we felt there's things that we could have done to change the outcome that we didn't do.

Q. Wonder if you could just describe your emotions as you were having to go through a first half like that; just what it was like out on the court to have to play through something like that?
AL FISHER: Well, you know, we didn't come out the way we wanted to come out. And we was making silly turnovers and it seemed like it just kept happening. We was getting a couple shots we wanted right on top of the rim but it wasn't falling. It happens like that sometimes. We just gotta keep fighting through it and hopefully things will start going our way we never wanted to stop battling and just keep doing the things we always do.

Q. Can you tell us how it was battling through the first half, your emotions at the time?
HAMINN QUAINTANCE: I mean, we knew that there was no possible way that we could have played worse. So we felt that we just keep fighting and try and make it a game. Unfortunately, we never quite did make it a game.

Q. Q, speaking of emotions, what was going through your head as time was winding down your last college game of your career?
HAMINN QUAINTANCE: I don't know. That's a tough question. A thousand things, I don't know. I don't really have no good answer for you for that one.

Q. Al, can you talk about the frustration you had, so much of the offense starts with you; they were right on top of you. I am sure you knew that was coming, but was there a different style in what they did than nobody else did? Can you talk about the frustration fighting through that and being able to get the ball away?
AL FISHER: I kind of knew it was coming but I did some dumb things, holding onto the ball too long, driving too deep, I should have been kicking it, you know? But sometimes things just happen, we just have to keep battling through these things.
I could have did a lot of things different. The team could have did a lot of things different. But that's just how it came out.

Q. What was the message from the coaches and then to each other at halftime?
HAMINN QUAINTANCE: Coaches let us -- Coach is not going to lie to us. He let us know that we wasn't playing with any heart, which we really wasn't. And we wasn't playing the way that we played the whole season to get here; that we had to step it up. And if we were going to come back we had to battle, which was the truth.
AL FISHER: He told me we wasn't playing with no heart, no confidence. It was like what we did the first half we couldn't play any worse than that. We have been down before in different games, we fall back and we won. We had to come out and do things we did up until this game and keep fighting and hopefully that would happen.

Q. This team accomplished a lot of things that past Kent State teams haven't. How much of what happened today, does it take away from that at all for you, how difficult is it to have that as the cap of such a really successful season?
AL FISHER: I don't necessarily think it takes away from anything because we fought hard the whole season. We deserved to be here. It's kind of sad that things didn't turn out the way we wanted them to.
But things happen that way sometimes, you know? But we had a great team and everyone loved playing with each other. So that was just the outcome that happened.
HAMINN QUAINTANCE: No, I don't think it felt like it took away from any of the past accomplishments. The regular season is the regular season, tournament is a tournament. It's like a new season. We wanted to do something, make some noise in the tournament. We didn't. But at the same time I don't feel like that took away from anything that we had done before this previously.

Q. Guys, Coach was talking about your second half effort, how proud he was that you guys didn't give up. Can you just talk about the second half there, just trying to get back into the game when things did look kind of bleak there?
AL FISHER: Well, we just wanted to come out and play Kent State ball, just come out and do what we've been doing. And we picked it up more on offense a little bit. They continued to hit their shots, UNLV, and they just are a great team. When you're hitting turnaround jump shots and 3s from everywhere, it's hard to get to a squat.
HAMINN QUAINTANCE: We picked it up offensively. I think we only had 10 points or something like that in the first half. But when we picked up offensively we kind of let down defensively a little bit and started trading buckets with them, you can't afford to trade buckets when you're down 20-some points.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much for your time. We'll stay here a little longer with the head coach.

Q. Coach, UNLV was talking about how much they were trying to put pressure on you guys out there on the perimeter. Al talked about some silly mistakes. How much of that was due to the pressure? How much of that was --
COACH CHRISTIAN: I think a lot of it was a combination of both. They did put some pressure on us. But so have a lot of teams during the year. We were doing everything else to help it. We turned them over in the backcourt four or five times, which I don't think we've done that all year. It wasn't pressure. We were just making bad decisions with the basketball.
And what happens is it just snowballs and we were making poor decision after poor decision, kind of snowballed. Not taking anything away from them; they're a great defensive team. We knew that coming in. When you're turning the ball over and then you're missing shots, it's a bad combination.
It just starts to spread. Kind of took the wind out of our sails.

Q. How surprised were you with the lack of poise? And was there anything today that clued you in that something like this might happen?
COACH CHRISTIAN: I don't think you could ever see it coming. I was very surprised. That's not how we've played all year. I mean, we've played very well in the bigger games all year. And I really thought our team was prepared and ready to play.
I think we were. We just got off to a really bad start. And, you know, we had our usual -- our leaders were playing very poorly. This whole season we haven't had all three of those guys play poorly at the same time. And that hurt. So there was nobody to go to that could keep our team composed.

Q. During the first half you called timeout a couple of times. What were you trying to say to just get them to snap out of it?
COACH CHRISTIAN: I was just trying to get them to relax and not worry about the last play, just finish it out. Even in one stretch in the first half, I think we had four or five turnovers before the first media timeout. We were down eight. We were just trying to get some kind of rhythm, just make a play.
And then, you know, when this happened, and you finally do get a couple of layups and those don't go, it gets deflating. But all in all I thought we guarded well. They shot 39 percent, had 31 points. Had we just made a couple of plays even with the turnovers we would have been in the game. But it was not meant to be today for us.

Q. This has kind of happened before after the MAC tournament where the team struggled either in the NIT or in the NCAA, is there a common theme where you expend so much energy to complete that first goal that they just can't get it back, or is there just any kind of common theme?
COACH CHRISTIAN: I don't think there's any common theme. Things just happen. You play 35 games, you go play horribly -- we picked a bad time to play horribly. No common theme. If it was the same guys then, there could be a common theme. It's not the same guys.
It's different guys. We just played poorly. Nothing we can do about it. We can discuss this all day long. It's just we played poorly in every facet of the game in the first 20 minutes.
In the second half we played much better.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about this team and what it has meant to the tradition of Kent State and the two seniors as well?
COACH CHRISTIAN: It would be hard to talk about those two guys. They're so special to me. They're so special to this program. They're probably two of the most unselfish guys I've ever coached.
I just hope that people really appreciate the year that they've had, all they've accomplished and not dwell on this one game.
Those kids -- anybody who does that should go into that locker room and take a look at their face and see how they feel. Because these kids have had an unbelievable year.
That was my message to them after the game: You've had an unbelievable year. There's going to be critics every time you step out for the rest of your life. Don't let anybody take away from what you've accomplished this year. Because I thought those guys had led us as well as anybody I've had, and I thought this year was phenomenal from start to finish.
Unfortunately, we just played poorly in the last game we played. And I'm not going to let anybody take anything away from that, because I think these guys should be proud of what they've accomplished this year.
Anybody that thinks anything else wouldn't get athletics.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

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