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March 20, 2008

Lee Cummard

Trent Plaisted

Dave Rose

Jonathan Tavernari


THE MODERATOR: We'll open up with a statement from Coach, then open the questions from student athletes. Coach, when you're ready.
DAVE ROSE: I thought it was a very competitive game. Both teams playing really hard, and they got off to a really good start, hit some big shots. But we were able to fight back and get back into the game, get a lead, and then it came down to the last couple minutes of the game.
And they made some big shots and got some big rebounds and, you know, we competed really hard. Just felt like they made a few more plays than we did.

Q. Is that the reason for the start for you guys, 0 for 8, then 2 for 12? Was it nerves, what they were doing on defense, or why you guys came out so cold to start the game?
LEE CUMMARD: We didn't start the game with a lot of energy, playing flat, and we were rushing shots and not taking shots that we normally take.

Q. The big guys' free-throw shooting, I guess, has been a problem most of the season, and tonight the three, you were 3 for 10. Is it physical? Is it mental?
TRENT PLAISTED: All mental. It's all mental. All of us have good strokes. We're good shooters; we knock them down in practice. We practice it all the time. Today just didn't work out for us.

Q. Trent, can you describe -- a big issue obviously in the game was Texas A&M's inside presence. Can you describe what it was like to play against those guys and trying to rebound against them?
TRENT PLAISTED: You know they're really big bodies, and they use their physicality to their advantage, and they're hard to guard. You know, they had that cross-screen going and it's hard to keep good position on them when they get that cross-screen. But credit those guys, they gave great efforts to the ball and they were able to pull down some big rebounds. And like I said, they're very big, physical post players.

Q. Lee, you missed that one three, I think it was three or four minutes to go in the game. Did you have another shot on that? And how were they guarding you?
LEE CUMMARD: Just matching up. Kirk was guarding me, really falling out and trying to stay with me. He is a great defender, and credit to Texas A&M.

Q. Jonathan, defensively it seemed like you guarded a variety of players who could do a variety of things. What were issues with match-ups you guys had?
JONATHAN TAVERNARI: Well they just, you know, they're pretty good players. I mean. They scored inside. Like Lee and Coach Rose said, you got to give them credit. I mean, they got the ball in spots where, you know, they're pretty hard to guard. You know, inside, outside, I mean, once you get beaten baseline in the middle, pretty much in a help situation. So they're good players, I mean, they're one of the best teams in the Big 12.
They knock down shots. You got to give them all the credit in the world.

Q. Lee, you guys were trying to break through for that win. It's been a long time for BYU. What's it going to take for you guys to break through and get a first-round win?
LEE CUMMARD: We're going have to do a better job of defending the shot. 54%, that's not going to get it done. Rebounding, we got out-rebounded by 12. That's not going to get it done. And shooting 44% is not going to get it done. So back to the drawing board. Got to compete. A little more sense of urgency at the start of the game, and credit to Texas A&M.

Q. Jonathan, after you guys wipe out that 11-point deficit and it's tied going into halftime, did you feel like the momentum was going your way? What was the sense in the locker room?
JONATHAN TAVERNARI: We had a chance to win the game throughout, you know, throughout the whole thing. I mean, it just came down to they made more plays than we did. Like I said, they're great basketball players. We had a chance to make plays. A bounce or two that went the other way, I mean, some shots that went in and out and some rebounds that got tipped up, and we had the chance to, you know, rebound, but we didn't.
I mean, could have gone either way. But they're great ball club and, you know, how we came out in the second half and matched up -- pretty much the second half was pretty much back and forth, and we were just a couple plays short this game.

Q. Obviously, all of you guys get the chance to come back if you so wish. What do you say to the two seniors as they're outgoing?
TRENT PLAISTED: About our two seniors, you know, we love those guys. We feel really bad for them. It's heart-breaking to end your career on a loss, but a lot of people do it. And we wanted to get over that hump and get a few wins in a tournament. But these guys are great people, and they're going to, you know, be part of BYU basketball forever.
They got a banner, a couple banners hung in the Marriott Center, and they'll always be able to come back and be proud of what they accomplished. We love those guys to death, and we hope they come back and stay a part of this thing.
THE MODERATOR: Any further questions for student-athletes? All right. Thank you, gentlemen.
We'll now open up to questions for Coach Rose.

Q. Dave, could you talk a little bit about Jimmer and the effort that he put in this first tournament game?
DAVE ROSE: You know, I thought that Jimmer played with a lot of confidence, and that was a good sign. Ben has had that ankle issue for the last couple weeks and slowed him down just a little bit. Jimmer's got a lot of minutes in practice at the point guard, and I thought he played very well in the championship game of the Mountain West Conference tournament.
When he came in tonight, he just came in with a lot of confidence. We were kind of stuck. We hadn't scored for a while, and, you know, we were looking for a little bit of lift. And I thought Jimmer did a good job of providing that for us.

Q. Is there anything that you've done during the season to work with the guys on the struggle with free-throw shooting? Like Trent was saying, you know, it's mental. Has there been anything?
DAVE ROSE: We spent a lot of time with all our players. And I think that, you know, we have had -- those same players tonight that maybe struggled a little bit have won games for us down the stretch and helped us win, you know, our second straight Mountain West Conference regular season championship, so it's a situation where we need to be a little more consistent. We're very capable.
I think that, you know, a lot more work and time and we can address that issue of being more consistent.

Q. Coach, down the stretch I know you worried a little bit about the offensive rebounding. Seemed like in the last few minutes they ended up getting a few extra shots. I think that was one of the keys down the stretch of the game is the extra shots they got?
DAVE ROSE: We did a pretty good job on the boards for the most part. I mean, they didn't end up with some numbers like they have, 18, 19, 21 offensive rebounds; they've had that in other games, but they got critical second shots that really helped them, especially in that last three or four-minute period when the game was right there on the line for either team.
And it's, I mean, they're big, physical players, and at critical times they made critical plays. But that's, you know, that's why they're -- they got 24, 25 wins, because that's how they win, and they did a good job with that.

Q. Josh Carter is a pretty streaky outside shooter. How disappointed were you to see him get those open looks early and get his team going?
DAVE ROSE: We were slow, but he was quick to start the game, had a little bit of space. When he hit that first one, you knew that it was going to be a real challenge, because he's long and he does a good job of creating space for himself. They screen really well. Those big post players screen you really hard.
And when you get knocked, when you are chasing a guy off a screen and you get kind of hit -- the first part of the game we were getting hung up, and that was just giving them that extra time that he needed to get that shot off. Then he had -- hit his first two or three. He had a lot of confidence.
Then he hit late in the first half we did a pretty good job of guarding it. That was just a big shot. Then he hit that first one in the second half, then we did some different things. Sam got on him and just tried to not let him gets as many catches. And we controlled him a little bit better.
But it caused problems for us with dribble penetration because we didn't have as much help as we would normally have. And they're a tough match-up, tough to cover.

Q. Dave, can you describe -- you called a time-out early in the first half. You go to the TV time-out, and you still haven't scored. How did you get the guys to settle down, or how did you fire them up, or what are the huddles like during that point?
DAVE ROSE: No, I think that there are times when we called early time-outs and really try to jump on your guys and try to get them going. That wasn't the issue tonight. Tonight it was to try to get them in a situation where we -- we were in a hurry. We took shots that, like Lee mentioned, maybe aren't what we normally do. And we were just trying to kind of get our arms around them and just get us into what we like to do. And when we did, that I thought we gained our composure, and got ourselves back in the game.
And that gave us a lot of confidence to continue to play in the situation where -- last couple minutes we had that game in a position where we could win if we had made a few more plays.

Q. Dave, how much was their perimeter defense a factor in your struggles from out there tonight?
DAVE ROSE: Well, they were right to us on most of our catches. And it's a credit to Mark and his staff. They did a great job of, you know, getting their players in a position to contest us on a catch.
And the strength of our team is that we usually most of our field goals are assisted field goals. And we're not a team that dribbles in the shots and creates shots for ourselves. We've got some players who have gotten better at that, and really Jimmer has done a good job of creating shots for others and for himself.
But I thought that tonight, most of the time when we came off screens to get a shot, there was somebody right there. And that's a credit to their staff and to their players.

Q. Can you just kind of reflect on your thoughts on the season as a whole and then looking forward to the future as far as next year?
DAVE ROSE: Well, you know, I spent some -- quite a bit of time with our team in the locker room afterwards. And that is kind of what we talked about, was the great things that this team has done this year. It's not going to make anybody feel much better right now, but I wanted those guys to leave the locker room just knowing how -- you know, how proud our staff is of what they've accomplished.
And won a lot of games, won them back-to-back, the Mountain West Conference regular season championship. We beat a team ranked in the top ten for the first time in a long while. We've got a nice home-court winning streak going. There's a lot of good things that are going on with BYU basketball. Those are some of the things we tried to reflect on in the locker room.

Q. To kind of follow up on that, Trent said before the game that he felt like it would take a win to separate this season from last season. Do you feel that way, or is the season also a step in the right direction?
DAVE ROSE: One of the guys said we're going to hang a banner in that arena, and there's a lot of teams that are going to get beat in this tournament at some time, and they're not hanging banners in their arenas.
And to win a championship is quite an accomplishment. And so to separate one season from the next, when you win a championship and you have an opportunity to have your players wear a ring around for the rest of their life that says they're champions, to hang a banner in your arena that says they're champions, that's a special season.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you very much, coach.
DAVE ROSE: Thank you.

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