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April 1, 2008

David Lighty

Thad Matta

Evan Turner


COACH THAD MATTA: Obviously tale of two halves, and we were fortunate to get up as big as we were at halftime because we were not very good in the second half, and you know, really lost a lot of intensity of what we were doing and probably played the score more than we played Old Miss, and to their credit, they kept coming after us.
And you know, they got on a roll there as we kind of did in the first half and we lost toughness, we lost focus, we lost our concentration, and fortunately down the stretch we were able to make some big plays and finish the game off.

Q. It looked in the first half that they were having -- I don't want to say they didn't finish -- they were having a lot of trouble with your press and traps; did you know they would have that much trouble?
DAVID LIGHTY: I don't think we knew they would have that much trouble. We just tried to stick to our game plan and not change our style of basketball. I think we just practiced a lot and it kind of showed in the game in the first half.

Q. What changed for you guys in the second half?
DAVID LIGHTY: It was pretty much us. Like Coach said, we didn't come in with the intensity like we did in the first half, and the focus, just pretty much played the score instead of playing our opponents.

Q. What do you think that was most evident on?
DAVID LIGHTY: Defensive end, and then it showed on the offensive end as well.

Q. What were you guys doing to keep them off of the offensive glass so much in the first half?
DAVID LIGHTY: It was just our mentality. I mean, everybody just went to the boards as much as possible. I think we stressed that a lot, you know, during the week in practice, and I think we came out and showed that we can be a good rebounding team if we put our minds to it.

Q. Can you talk about your ability to take the ball to the hole especially the first half?
EVAN TURNER: They pressured us and we have a bunch of good drivers and slashers so when they pressured us, they wouldn't let us use our outside game so just took it to the hole and be aggressive and that helped a lot in the first half, points and rebounds.

Q. Seems that six days between games agrees with you guys a lot; I think you had six days between Asheville and Cal and six days before this game; did you feel really fresh in the first half?
DAVID LIGHTY: Yeah, I think we did. It's a good thing for us. We only got one day now, so hopefully we can bring the same intensity that we did in the first half.

Q. David talked about stressing rebounding in practice; did you stress that a little more than you would normally?
COACH THAD MATTA: You know, we did. And I thought that was one of the best things Old Miss could do to hurt us. I thought our guys had great energy going and getting balls and we had a lot of guys on the glass.
You know, in the first half, our rotations were pretty good. We didn't get ourselves out of position and in the second half they kind of blitzed us, and forced guys to step up and at that point we were in trouble.
But I was proud of the guys with the job they did, as well as on the offensive glass, because that was something that we didn't know if we could hurt them on the offensive glass, but 20 rebounds, that may be the most we've had all year.

Q. Any disappointment not playing Florida, or not?
COACH THAD MATTA: No. (Laughing) I know there's a bunch of people in this room that are a lot more disappointed than I am; I will say that.
No, I think that, you know, UMASS -- I didn't get to see the game, all of it, but UMASS is obviously playing great basketball right now. You know, as you guys know, you kind of take who comes at you and get ready to go.

Q. The way the second half went, does that take any momentum from the fact that you guys have played pretty well in the last couple of games -- do you lose any momentum the way the game ended?
COACH THAD MATTA: I don't think so, from the standpoint one thing I was a little bit worried about was, you go back to January and we beat Iowa handily and then we turnaround and go to Purdue and weren't exactly ready to play. So hopefully this will keep our guys sharp and focused and, you know, as I told them in there, UMASS is obviously a second-half team.

Q. You've got quite a number of minutes from P.J. in the second half; was that by design or by need?
COACH THAD MATTA: A little bit of both, and I think that Jamar got a little bit wore down there. I thought P.J. did a tremendous job for us, and you know, had the nice finish on the penetration and really brought great energy and gave us a boost on defense there, as well.

Q. That lead that you had in the first half, that enabled you to play a lot of guys more than usually do, and I think maybe Lauderdale maybe took as much advantage of it as anybody?
COACH THAD MATTA: Yeah, that's one thing, you know, with Dallas. The progress he has made in the last three weeks in practice, I couldn't be more thankful that we are still able to play. You know, he has been practicing very well.
We thought going into this game this was going to be a game where he could be a factor just because of the size and the athleticism down there, and he did a great job for us.

Q. Are his arms still growing?
COACH THAD MATTA: I hope so. (Laughter).

End of FastScripts

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