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November 26, 2008

Keaton Grant

E'Twaun Moore

Matt Painter


Q. Just talk a little bit about your defense, how you played Rice, because you made him work very, very hard for everything he got. What was the key to the way you played him tonight?
E'TWAUN MOORE: Just pressure, making him make tough plays. We know the coach wanted him to have the ball at all times. The coach didn't want to take him out of the game, so we pressured him.

Q. E'Twaun, seems like last year at Illinois, Northwestern, you seem to do your best work on the road offensively. Did you like the baskets here tonight?
E'TWAUN MOORE: It just happened to fall today. Last two. The coach just told me to stick with it and the shots will fall in and tonight they did.

Q. You got some really good looks the first half.
KEATON GRANT: Yes. Our big man did a good job screening for me, coming off screens. Opening it up, just playing off back screens, things like that. I think my team did a good job.

Q. You guys, it was a team effort defensively but it just seemed like at one point in the second half you were really wearing them down. Was that the goal to just keep relentlessly pressuring them defensively?
KEATON GRANT: Definitely. That's our goal every game, just the pressure, make sure we wear our opponents out because we know they don't see that pressure all year or even seen it before, so that's one thing we want to do something they've never seen before.

Q. You had that one nice stretch there in the second half. Did you feel like you needed to start contributing offensively as well as defensively?
KEATON GRANT: I guess you could say my teammates followed me. I capitalized on what the defense gave me.

Q. Did you look forward to this game tonight. You said they recruited you. Did you like the challenge tonight?
KEATON GRANT: Definitely. Definitely. Especially good guard like Tyrese Rice. Looked forward to playing this.

Q. Can you talk about the balance your team has, at least offensively. The way everybody seems to contribute on the offensive end for you guys?
E'TWAUN MOORE: Just unselfishness. We all look for each other. We don't feel like one person is the man or one person is above one another. We just look for our teammates and make an open pass.

Q. E'Twaun, you guys hadn't really been tested and the coach was eager to see how you would respond. They made a nice late run at you, but you with stood that charge. What did you learn about yourself in that last five minutes of the game tonight?
E'TWAUN MOORE: Yeah. First we got to give credit to Boston College. It was a very good team coming in especially a ranked team, so we knew they were big and physical so we had to be ready to play from the jump. I think the teammates did a good job.

Q. If you do happen to play Blake Griffin and Oklahoma Friday, can you guys just talk about playing them and what will you do tomorrow on the holiday to relax or prepare for the game?
KEATON GRANT: I mean first Oklahoma, they're definitely a good team, Blake Griffin. There's no another Blake Griffin in the NCAA. There's only one of him in the United States, get 20 rebounds. So it'll definitely be a great challenge playing against them and we look forward to it.

Q. Are you guys doing like a team dinner or something?
MODERATOR: They have Thanksgiving brunch at the hotel and will watch the parade and then tomorrow night they have a players' dinner at the Marriott Marquis, all four teams.

Q. KG, this is a pretty big seven-day win, obviously you're approaching it one game at a time but with BC and maybe Oklahoma and maybe Duke, are you guys eager to send a message, one game at a time?
KEATON GRANT: Oh, yeah. Definitely send a message, especially one game at a time, not looking to next week. Duke comes when it comes. We're looking at Friday and whoever we play on Friday?

Q. What kind of message do you guys want to send?
KEATON GRANT: As far as like I think we feel like we just want to get more respect, that it just wasn't a fluke last year, and this year is the same way, that we can compete with anybody?

MODERATOR: Coach will make an opening statement and then he can take some questions.
COACH MATT PAINTER: I thought this was a very good game for us. One thing we've been concerned with is front lines that are physical. These guys from two, threes and fours are very similar, 6-5, 6-6, 230-pound guys. We don't have those type of wings. We have a skilled wing. These guys up here are very good basketball players. But it's a different basketball player. We were very concerned about keeping them off the glass. They out rebounded us by five. Something we've been able to do this year is not turn the basketball over, so that was a positive for us, but I also think it was a challenge for us to go against a physical team like this and then you sprinkle in a fast quick lead guard like Tyrese Rice and I thought Keaton and Lewis Jackson did a good job on him. He still was productive. He had 17 points but it wasn't something where Tyrese Rice put them on their back and singled handily beat us. He's a very talented guard and our guys did a good job with it.
At key times we got some rebounds that were very important. I would say from an offensive standpoint we were a little bit anxious tonight.
I thought we missed some opportunities around the rim. JaJuan Johnson had a solid game for us today but he had two or three opportunities. We had some drives where the ball just didn't go in for us and I think our guys were a little bit anxious at times when we had those opportunities. So hopefully in the next game or two we can take advantage of that and convert those plays.

Q. Matt, you know your scheme, I know when they roll Tyrese off a ball screen JaJuan would flash out and help, but talk if you would about the job that KG did overall because like you said, he had 17 points but he had to work his butt off to get those 17?
COACH MATT PAINTER: I think Keaton stayed into him. A guy with that kind of quickness as an on-ball defender, you get scared at times they're just going to blow by you so the first thing you have to do is let him know that you do have a line of defense behind him and you're going to be there whether that's a flat hedge or a high hedge but you have to have help with guys like that and you have to come to the basketball and use that weak side help, and I think everybody did a good job with that but Keaton did a very good job in terms of being diligent and staying with him and wearing him down.

Q. In a game where defense is always your base but you needed somebody in that first half to get you going offensively and E'Twaun, it's weird he's done it on the road, but he did it again for you tonight.
COACH MATT PAINTER: He seems to shoot the ball a little bit better on the road and tonight he got some open looks early, kind of got in the rhythm and made some plays and he's one of those guys once he gets in a rhythm it's tough to stop him and he's very unorthodox especially when he drives with some of his moves, but we just try to get the ball and scoring positions when he gets a goal like that.
With him it's like a lot of our guys, they want it too quick sometimes in a possession and it's not always going to be there after a pass or two. You gotta work the defense a little bit and he's starting to understand that tonight and I think that's evident by the fact he had six assists and he did a great job of distributing the basketball for us and he's done a great job of rebounding. He's doing more things than just scoring the ball.

Q. Any anxious moments after going up four or five minutes?
COACH MATT PAINTER: Sure. Anxious as a coach. You gotta understand it went from a big lead to two possessions, and you just have to work on the things that you do in practice. We've not been in this position in our four games, our two exhibition games, so I actually feel it was good for us to get in that position, run the clock down, try to get a good shot. Couple times we didn't get a good shot at all but we did run time off the shot clock and we gotta do a better job of being efficient and whittle it down and getting a good shot. I thought our guys did a good job with it but there's no doubt we need some work on it.
But you're going to be anxious. I think when those things happen and it gets down there, we have some guys that are experienced and they know how to play in those kind of situations?

Q. Were you at all concerned coming into New York City Madison Square Garden, how the kids would respond and how they performed under the bright lights?
COACH MATT PAINTER: I think they did a good job. I wouldn't say it was great. I think we pressed a little bit at times. We wanted to hit home runs instead of hitting singles, but for the most part I knew they would compete. Our guys play hard, and that's the most important thing just to go out there and lay it on the line, even when you're making mistakes, just continue to play hard and battle those guys, but it's something when you have skilled guys, so far we haven't been able to shoot the ball like we're capable of shooting the basketball, especially from three. So I just think it's from those guys wanting it too much, and being a little bit too aggressive. You have to be patiently aggressive in this game and just take what the defense gives you?

Q. Coach, you put Lewis in the game, and he picked up three quick fouls on Tyrese. What did you say to him at half time to kind of calm him down. He seemed to play a lot better in the second half. Did you ever consider taking him off of Tyrese. Was that a learning curve for him?
COACH MATT PAINTER: No. He's in the game. He's going to guard the other team's point guard regardless if it's Tyrese Rice or somebody else. When you get fouls like that it's difficult going from high school to college when you're coming off the bench. You're old off the bench and he got a couple reaching fouls but he did a better job moving his feet and not reaching and getting into a flow. Sometimes it's difficult to get into a flow when you get in foul trouble coming off the bench. But he's done a great job for us all year and he really helps us on both ends of the court.

Q. Going into Friday you don't know who you're going to play, but again I asked the kids, it's a nice three-game sequence. You're going to play them one at a time, but what would you like to see Friday that you didn't do tonight as you take the next steps here?
COACH MATT PAINTER: Just be patient and move the basketball a little bit better, take our open shots when they're there after a pass or two but if you don't have an open shot, just probe the defense and be better obviously on the grass. That's something we're always striving to improve on. I don't think we were terrible tonight but I don't think we were good with that. We have to continue to be better rebounders and just probe the defense on the offensive end.

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