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March 21, 2008
THE MODERATOR: We welcome from Western Kentucky University head coach Darrin Horn, Tyrone Brazelton, Courtney Lee, and Ty Rogers. And we'll begin with opening comments from Coach Horn.
COACH HORN: Got to love the NCAA Tournament, don't you? I think what you just saw out there is why this is the greatest show on earth. Can't say enough about Drake, unbelievable character, toughness, heart. They played so hard, they countered everything. What a great team. Unbelievably well coached. And I think what you saw was what makes this event special, a bunch of young people out there just completely pouring their hearts out and fighting to the very end. And we were fortunate that we got the ball last, and that we've got a lot of character up here at this table. From one senior to another, great pass by Tyrone, big shot by Ty Rogers, and very fortunate to come out on top.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open the floor for questions for the student-athlete's exclusively.
Q. Can you describe what maybe is going on in the streets of Eddyville, Kentucky right now?
TY ROGERS: I can't even imagine.
COACH HORN: All seven people are out.
TY ROGERS: There are wonderful people supporting me in my career. I can't even imagine what Eddyville's doing right now.
Q. So, Tyrone, could you take us through the last play. Tell us how it was drawn up and what the options were and how it went down.
TYRONE BRAZELTON: We had five seconds and we knew five seconds was enough time to get the ball to the basket. So Coach figured that we should get the ball to the rim. And during the timeout, Ty Rogers came up and told me, "Don't be afraid to kick it to me." And I just seen him open. I seen the defense collapse and I just kicked it to him.
Q. From your perspective, how did the play unfold, and how good of a look do you feel that you got for the shot?
TY ROGERS: Well, like Tyrone just said, we tried to get the ball in his hands, and he tried to get the ball to the basket. It kind of worked out good for me because I did have the ball out of bounds and I could see the play kind of right in front of me. So once Tyrone tried to drive, he drew two defenders and I was calling for the ball and he hit me. Made a great pass. People don't understand, in five seconds players panic and don't think to make the extra pass, and that says a lot for our point guard.
Q. Talk about the emotions you felt in this game. You guys were up so much and all of a sudden they get back into it. Talk about the rush you guys were feeling there.
COURTNEY LEE: We definitely had a tremendous rush. But like I said, Drake's an excellent team. They execute in the half court and run their sets well. We knew coming in this was going to be a game of runs and we knew how well they shot the ball. So even with the big lead we never wanted to settle down. We just wanted to keep respecting their perimeter shooting. Just keep playing our basketball.
Q. Ty, you had told Tyrone not to be afraid to kick it to you. You had 8 points at the time. Can you just kind of talk about the confidence that came through in you saying that and the shot.
TY ROGERS: Well, first of all you've got to give glory to God. The reason I wanted the ball is because I have faith. And I think everybody on this team has faith. It's something we talk about. It didn't have to be me to shoot the ball, whoever shot it, it was going down in my opinion.
Q. Tyrone, this was a career best for you scoring. You seemed to be in the middle of everything that was going on. Can you just talk about what you thought your role was going to be, and what you needed to do today for your team to win.
TYRONE BRAZELTON: Scoring definitely wasn't on my mind. I just wanted to help my team get a victory. And I figured any way I can help will my team to victory, I was going to do.
Q. Describe the emotions when you guys have such a big lead, you lose it. What is the team's mindset in overtime?
COURTNEY LEE: Like I said we understand it's going to be a games of runs. We've got high-character guys on our team. We have tremendous poise. So we knew it was going to be a tough game coming down towards the stretch. We just wanted to stay together and play for each other.
Q. Their press at times seemed to maybe get you guys to lose your composure a little bit. But you guys were able to regain it at the most important time of the game. Do you agree that that happened? And how were you able to regain your composure?
TYRONE BRAZELTON: Well, we just stayed focus. We knew they were going to bring the press and they was going to try to take us out of some things. We pretty much knew it was going to be tough. We had a couple of lapses but we got to together and it wasn't really a big deal.
Q. Can you just explain when you see that ball go in, the feeling and the emotion you're feeling and rest of the team is feeling?
TY ROGERS: To be honest with you, it's undescribable. It feels wonderful as you can imagine, just for your team. For the seniors that I've been with four years, and for Tyrone who I've been with for two. It's a wonderful feeling for those guys. It's indescribable.
Q. Ty, what about this Drake team, the guts coming back the way they did, can you talk about Drake for a minute?
TY ROGERS: Can't say enough about Drake's ballclub. They're wonderful guys out there on the floor, wonderful players. They have tons of heart. To be honest, they remind me of ourselves the way they go out and play, they never gave up. I think we got up maybe 16 or something, and they still fought all the way back. Fought to the end, the very last play.
I can't say enough about those guys.
Q. I know you're a good shooter, but if you walk back out there now and took ten shots from that point, how many do you think you make?
TY ROGERS: I'd like to say eight (smiling).
Q. Could you just talk about defending those guys because the threes that they were putting up, it's not like their toes were on the line or anything. They were putting up some deep ones. Just talk about going out or not going out on some of those shots and what's going through your head.
TYRONE BRAZELTON: Yeah, every time they shot the ball, we pretty much figured it was going to get to the rim and go in. We tried to limit them to great looks, but they're such a great three-point shooting team we pretty much knew they were going to shoot a lot, and they were going to make a lot.
Q. What is the biggest shot you've ever made prior to this one?
TY ROGERS: My goodness. Maybe North Texas, my freshman year. It was like 10 seconds left, and it wasn't the last shot of the game. We ended up making a bigger one than mine, but probably that one.
Q. What did you say to Coach when you pulled him close there at the end after you hit the shot?
TY ROGERS: I just said it's the Lord. There's no question about it. We've been talking about it all season. Our teammates' faith. That's all I said. Give glory to God.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much.
Q. I'm going to mispronounce the gentleman's name, Siakam fouled at the end, you didn't want him to foul, but he goes and makes two free throws. Was that great to see that happen?
COACH HORN: I don't know if I was over him fouling at that point (laughing) to be honest with you. I think that was Orlando's fault. Orlando was running around. The only guy on the floor trying to do that. And Boris thought maybe he should join suit.
But, yeah, it was great to see Boris make it though. He's a tough kid that's given us a lot in our role-playing position as a senior.
Q. Coach, did you expect because of Drake's personnel that Tyrone would play as integral a role and do as much as he did today?
COACH HORN: Yeah, we felt like coming into the game in general that Drake had been really successful being great at what they do. But part of that is because everybody that we had seen on film that played them, played in fear of them, played in fear of watching them shoot the three, played in fear of them driving the basketball, played in fear of the match-up. And our thing all week in preparation was we're going to play the way we play.
You know what, guys, they shoot 45 threes a game. They may take 25 or 30 when we play 'em. They're going to make a bunch. They've got good shooters. We don't want them to be open. We don't want them to be easy. But we're going to do what we do. We think we're pretty good, too. And because of that, we felt Tyrone could have a big game.
If you're not in him, and we've got somebody that can really sit down and guard, the zone doesn't take away what he can do. He's so athletic, and so quick with the basketball. And maybe more important than both those things, like you saw tonight, he's got an unbelievable heart. The kid's just as tough as they come. If I had one like him every year, I'd be sitting up here every year. He's phenomenal.
Q. Given the fact that you had told them you wanted to try to get the ball to the rim, was that the shot that you wanted?
COACH HORN: Yeah, we told them at the timeout, we had something drawn up to get it inbounds, but also said that the most important thing late was that a play can't win the game, players do. That's our style of play. One of the reasons we believe in the way we play is because when you get in a situation like that, young men have the freedom to go do what you saw tonight, which is make plays.
We told them, six seconds is an awful lot of time. It's enough for at least three, maybe four dribbles. If we can get it to the rim, get it to the rim and attack. Maybe draw a foul or get an easy one in that time if they back off. Sometimes people get scared to foul. If not, kick it back out. If you kicked it out, we'll probably get a decent look, that either one was okay. What we didn't want to do was come down and just jack a three, because we didn't have to have a three, we just needed a basket.
Q. The three-point shot can be such a demoralizing shot for a defense. Clearly you guys withstood a lot of them tonight. What's that say about your guys in terms of mental fortitude?
COACH HORN: I think it says a lot about our toughness. But I think it says a lot about our style of play, too. Again, we watched the film and had so much respect for Drake coming in. They're so well-coached, we have so much respect for what they do. Their kids are so tough. They reminded us of what we try to pride ourselves on, just a little different style.
A team that shoots 25 threes a game, is shooting 25 threes a game, doesn't matter what you do. We told them not to get caught up in whether they were making shots or not. And just that mentality going into the game helped us keep playing, and it was why we were able to get down early, get a big lead and then stick with it when they came back, which I fully expected them to get back in the game.
Q. Could you talk about playing in this arena and this atmosphere, and what it was like for you and your kids today and what the atmosphere was like out there.
COACH HORN: Great atmosphere. Really nice facility. It's run first-class. And great crowd out there today. Any time you're in the NCAA Tournament action, there is a totally different feeling. That is one of the things that makes it so special.
Q. Talk about the emotions as you for for you as a coach, and in regulation and through overtime.
COACH HORN: You know, pretty much the same as the players, I think. I was a little concerned at one point against their pressure. I thought we got sped up a little bit underneath, inside, out of bounds. Didn't handle some of that well. But they kept fighting, and we just kept talking about making plays and playing the next play and keep believing.
You know, this is a team that's really done a great job through some tough times, not only this year but in years past, of coming back and sticking with it, and they did that today.
Q. Midway through the first half you went match-up zone it looked like. Was that to take care of Emmenecker or just try to stay with the three-point shooters?
COACH HORN: We noticed on film, a lot of people played in fear of Drake all year because they shoot it so well, they didn't want a zone. We noticed we didn't think they were as comfortable against zone. So we've never played that zone before, ever. We put it in, worked on it for a total of about 15 minutes and just talked about matching shooters and being active. The thing that nobody talks about with Drake is they are a terrific rebounding team, especially on the offensive end, which really hurt us in the second half tonight. So our only concern in the zone was we thought we'd match shooters a little bit better. But at the same time being worried about rebounding.
I think Emmenecker is a complete winner. You got a kid like that on your team, you're going to win a lot of games. He was Player of the Year in his league. He only averaged eight points a game. So we didn't feel he could beat us as offensively as the offensive rebound and the easy wide open threes.
Q. Just want to say about Ty Rogers, do you think the shot -- kind of this season for him, he took a lesser role off the bench early on. For him to just hit that shot, do you think that helps the season come full circle from what he sacrificed to hitting that shot?
COACH HORN: I think it's a great reward for him, because he is a young man that has sacrificed a lot. But that kid's a winner. Anybody that's got a job for a kid that's smart, that's going to work hard, they need to contact Ty Rogers. I don't think he's going to play a lot of pro ball. He's an absolute winner. He was my first recruit in my first full class at Western Kentucky. And the reason for that because we knew he could make shots and we knew he was tough, and we knew he was a winner. That's what we wanted to build our program on.
So I think to some degree not only he, but our program was rewarded because of the person he is and how he's handled himself for four years.
Q. Describe your emotions as Ty Rogers took that shot and as the shot went in.
COACH HORN: I didn't really have a lot, to be honest with you. I just was thrilled to be a part of all of it. We told our guys we were going to have fun this week. We've seen a lot of teams get into tournament play and play tight, be scared, not make shots, that kind of thing. And we were going to enjoy this experience and have fun and play to win.
So it was just, to me, it was just kind of almost unbelievable to the point that I was speechless and didn't have any emotions. It was wild.
Q. If you could, talk about what did you tell your team coming out of that last time out before Cox's free throw? What was your last words to them?
COACH HORN: We told them to keep believing. Again, as I said, players make plays. We had a play that we thought would work, but plays don't win games, players do, and that we needed to go do it. That's what we'd been working for all year, and go make a play. Even if the shot doesn't go in. We got a great shot, which is all you want at the end of a game.
End of FastScripts