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March 23, 2008

Tay Fisher

Kenny Hasbrouck

Fran McCaffery


COACH FRAN McCAFFERY: I just want to begin by congratulating Coach Wright on a tremendous accomplishment. He's done a phenomenal job with his team this year, and I certainly wish he and his team the best as they move into Detroit.
This game for us was a struggle at the start. We got down early. I think the mistake we made was we tried to quit shooting the ball a little bit. But I thought we really battled. When you look at missed free throws, and quick threes, some of the mistakes we made in the first half to be down 10, I felt we were in a position to still win the game. I thought we played with tremendous energy at the start of the second half. Struggled getting it in a couple times. We got it to point blank range. But we started driving the basketball, getting it to the free-throw line.
We wanted to drive the ball. Got 39 free throws up, didn't make as high a percentage as we usually do. But I think when it's all said and done, obviously, we did not play a perfect game, but I thought the effort that we exhibited was absolutely tremendous. I'm very proud of how hard we played.
I can't say enough about the leadership that I get on a continual basis from these two gentlemen on my right. So I'm very thankful to have the opportunity to coach them and to be sitting here with them.

Q. There seemed to be several moments during the course of the game that you guys were poised to make a run and cut into the lead a little bit more, but you couldn't make that one play that needed to be made. Could you talk about the dynamic there? Did you think on the court today you had a chance to cut into that lead to make it close?
KENNY HASBROUCK: Yeah, we went on a small run. We thought we were going to cut into the lead. We started working hard, shots were falling, we were getting turnovers. But it seemed like every time we started to make a run, one of their better players made a big shot. It was just like whenever you get that emotional try and make a run, and somebody just keeps it, hits a big shot to push the lead back up, it starts to hurt. I think for the most part we started getting tired from it. And we never got a chance to cut into that 12-point lead.

Q. You guys jumped on top of Vanderbilt the other night, but tonight you got behind early. What did you see in those first five minutes as the big problem for you guys?
KENNY HASBROUCK: Well, they're a different team, Vanderbilt. They're similar to us. They have a lot of athletes all around the floor. Their big man can drive the ball and they have outstanding rebounders on the opposite end. So it was just like our shots weren't falling and we weren't getting stops that we needed in the beginning of the game. Instead of trading baskets, they were stopping us and scoring on the other end. When you play against a team that's that good, I don't think you're going to win the game if you keep doing that.

Q. Tay, you've been the face and voice of this team now through this tournament run, could you just talk a little bit about the final thoughts as you left the court and the clock ran out?
TAY FISHER: I was a little down. But I can't really hang my head too much. I tried my best with this team, with the coaching staff. We got further than many people thought we were. We were just one step away from the Sweet 16 and actually making history, because that never happened in the MAAC.
But teams that you play gets harder and harder as you continue. And Villanova's a good team. They came at us strong and we started to make a run, but they just kept coming. So it was kind of hard to get back into it.
Things like that happen. We've just got to keep going on. Even though I'm not on this team next year, they're going to have a great team and they're going to keep moving on. I have no doubt about it.

Q. Did you feel you guys had the looks you wanted and the shots just didn't fall? Do you feel you should have been a little bit more patient on offense?
KENNY HASBROUCK: At the very beginning of the game, I think, we were getting shots that we wanted. But as they started building the lead, we started quick-shooting the ball. We were forcing up shots and getting turnovers, and they were getting rebounds and just going out with it. I think that's why the lead got so high.
For the most part of the game, we got a lot of looks that we wanted. But we kind of moved away from the game plan as a team.

Q. Yesterday you talked about both teams probably being fatigued and it was going to be the team that could suck it up the most and play. How much does fatigue come into it at all, if it did at all?
TAY FISHER: I don't think that we were too fatigued. However fatigued we were, they were the same way because they played a great Clemson team that pressed the whole game. We played a great Vanderbilt team. But our fatigue shouldn't play a factor in this type of tournament because your body and your mind is already up, and you've just got to be ready for these games.
Like I said, they just got up on us early. You know, it happens. They just didn't let up. We tried. We did the best that we can. But we really can't say much about it. But I definitely don't think fatigue played too much a part in this game right here that just went on.

Q. How difficult is a guy like Stokes to match up with? So big and so quick, too.
KENNY HASBROUCK: He's a great player. Like a lot of college basketball players. You can't really take away his route because he can shoot the ball. You have to play him as best you can. You've got to stay up on him. If he gets past you, hopefully your teammates will help you. You've got to stay in his face. You can't really have an answer for somebody like that. You just have to hope he misses when you're contesting the shots.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much. We'll now open the floor for your questions for Coach McCaffery.

Q. Same question I asked Kenny: Talk about those moments where you thought you might be able to go on a run and cut into the lead, but you just couldn't get that one play you needed to keep that run going?
COACH FRAN McCAFFERY: Well, you know, what's going on in my head at that point in time is we've got to keep coming. I was frustrated, just like they were. You know, they were switching, so we were trying to open up the floor. We got Alexander on a couple of slips, who was right at the rim, and nobody felt worse than he did when a couple of his lay-ups didn't go in. I was very proud of how he kept fighting through that, because, even though the lead appeared like it could have gone from 10 or 12, back to 7 or 8, it went to 16. We continued to pressure them. We tried to get them out of sync, we tried to double Scottie as much as we could, and limit his opportunities to get them into their offense and then continue the run. I felt we got better shots. We got to the free-throw line quite a bit in the second half.
I think I was more frustrated than Kenny when we got the stop. We needed it. We're down nine, we get a great rebound, great stop, and then it slipped out of his hands and they went and laid it in. So that was, I think, sort of typified some of the things that happened today for us. But we kept coming back from that.
I think as a coach, you can be frustrated. You're not going to shoot a great -- we've been shooting the ball extremely well for the last seven games. We didn't shoot the ball well today. Now granted, we shot it quick a little bit, but I think at some level it's not necessarily what we did; it's what they did. They really got into us.
They're big, and strong, and physical and athletic, and they contested our shots early. I think we adjusted. We started going to the basket more. We shot open threes after we worked the ball and worked the clock. We got some second-shot opportunities. We drove the ball against their pressure and got the ball inside. But, you know, we couldn't get it. We got it under 10, but we couldn't get it any further than 9.

Q. Could you just talk about Tampa as a host city and your experiences here in the Tampa Bay area.
COACH FRAN McCAFFERY: Well, it's been phenomenal for us, because of how we've been treated, starting with how we were treated at Tampa Prep. We practiced over there twice. The hotel was phenomenal the way they received us. We sort of took over the entire Sheraton Suites out by the airport. They rolled out the red carpet for us, and for our fans and for our administrators and the band and cheerleaders and everybody.
That's what makes this tournament so special. You have an opportunity to go somewhere. It was snowing when we left Albany, and it was 80° when we got here. The players were able to enjoy that, enjoy the hospitality. But at the same time I think we were able to focus. We were given everything we needed to be successful.

Q. Your relationship and fondness for Tay has been well-chronicled this past week. Could you just talk a little about the thoughts as the clock ran out and your thoughts right now.
COACH FRAN McCAFFERY: Well, you know, it was tough to watch. He was a mess. He was in tears coming off the floor. He, as he usually does, gave us a tremendous lift when we put him in. He got five right away. Played with great energy level today, as he always does.
I think you're right, he, in many ways, is the face of the program because of what we've said before. He's the one who stayed. He's the one who persevered. I think he'll be remembered in Albany for a very long time for his character and his intensity level and his continue to fight to help us win a championship. For him to be a part of a championship program before he left, you know, is very special to me. I told him that's what we were going to do. He'll have the ring forever.
Thank you.

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