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March 19, 2009

Ken Bone

Jeremiah Dominguez

Andre Murray

Dominic Waters


THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions now for the Portland State student-athletes.

Q. Now that you've had a chance to really look at Xavier, what are your biggest concerns about them heading into tomorrow's game?
JEREMIAH DOMINGUEZ: We watched film on them earlier. They're big. A lot of their points come from rebounding the offensive glass, so we know we're undersized and we're going to have to keep them off the glass, so that's big concern for us.

Q. For Dominic, Dominic, can you talk about what Jeremiah brings to the table for your team?
DOMINIC WATERS: He's our general out there. He controls the ball, controls the tempo of the game. Distributes to everybody. He controls everybody's shots. And pretty much the whole game.
Really, he's the deciding factor usually whether we win or lose, whether or not he's on and off or what he decides to do during the game. Really, he's our leader, so we follow him. As he goes, we go.

Q. Since you were here last year do you find that it's an advantage that you come in and know what to expect this time around?
ANDRE MURRAY: Yeah, especially us being here last year, at this time around we'll be a little bit more motivated. Last year we were just happy with the 16 seed and for the school to get the 16 seed. But now we're coming here hungry. We're looking to get a win, hopefully a win or two. So it's a big drive and I feel like it's a better advantage for us knowing that we have been here before.

Q. Earlier the Xavier players were up here and they talked about how some of the games they lost were against teams that play your style. What does that do for your confidence entering tomorrow's game?
JEREMIAH DOMINGUEZ: Our style is, we're up-and-down. And we get out and push the ball. If we hit our threes then we're dangerous. They know that we're dangerous if we come out, so it gives us a lot of confidence coming into the game.

Q. I haven't seen a team that's attempted or made as many 3-pointers as you guys. Jeremiah, in your practices is that something you guys set aside time for? How do you guys approach 3-point shooting as like a philosophy with your team?
JEREMIAH DOMINGUEZ: We play four guys on the court, one through four can shoot on our team. So that's what our coach wants. We have a motion offense that sets -- sets us up to have 3-point opportunities for the defense we're playing.

Q. Andre, how does your interior game respond when you guys stall on the perimeter?
ANDRE MURRAY: It responds pretty well as far as the interior as far as when we're out there on the perimeter. We do stall a lot, but the interior brings it whether or not we do good or not. So I think we should be all right in that department.

Q. You guys were pretty happy when you found out that you got a 13 seed and you found out your draw. Do you still feel pretty confident about your chances? Are you happy with the draw? How do you feel about it?
DOMINIC WATERS: We're very excited about our opportunity to be here. Excited about our seed. But we're just ready to go. We're ready to compete, we're ready to play. Regardless of who we were going to play we were going to come in here and prepare like any other game. Not put too much pressure on ourselves, just come out and be ready to win. We're not backing down from anyone.
We're a competitive group. We got competitive coaches and obviously we're going to be ready. We are here for a reason. We're not here just to be here, we are here to compete to win. So we're excited.

Q. You guys obviously beat Gonzaga earlier this year, they're a number four seed. Does that give you guys confidence going against a team like Xavier? A win over Gonzaga earlier this year.
DOMINIC WATERS: It definitely gives us a boost. That win was huge for us. That's probably the reason why we're a 13 seed is because of that win, going into their house and beating them and now that we're on a neutral floor it gives us a big boost.
There's no home court advantage. We have more of a home court advantage than they do being as we're just a state away from Portland, so we're excited about this opportunity. It's just -- I'm happy to be here, after sitting out last year and seeing them do this last year, I mean, we're ready to go. We're excited.

Q. For any of the guys, just talk about relishing the role of the underdog. As a 13 seed you're not expected to win, is that something that you guys feed on and try to work to your advantage?
ANDRE MURRAY: Personally I like the underdog role. Sometimes you got to -- those are ones you should be most worried about and those are the ones that are the most dangerous. For us not having any pressure on our back, that's a pretty relieving thing. So I accept the role a hundred percent of being the underdog.

Q. Jeremiah, talk about the mood or morale of the team at this point before a game versus last year. Is there more confidence this year heading into the game or is there nerves still?
JEREMIAH DOMINGUEZ: Our team's very confident right now. I know it's going to take a lot, it's going to be a 40-minute game, a hard game, but we're confident of what our matchup is with Xavier, I think if we stop a lot of -- stop them on the boards and get out and go, I think we have a good chance.
THE MODERATOR: All right, thanks guys. We'll take questions for Coach Bone.

Q. If you could talk about Jeremiah, what getting him for Portland, that whole process and when did you start recruiting him initially?
COACH BONE: Never really recruited him. He was at University of Portland, five miles away from our campus and things did not work out real well there for him. So they came to a mutual agreement. He left Portland, called us up, asked if he could meet with myself and my Associate Head Coach Tyler Geving. Sat down, met, and he was enrolling a few days later.

Q. Talked to you right after the tournament show. And you had only seen 20 minutes of Xavier at that point and you said that you thought that their interior game was going to be a problem for you. Now that you've been able to see them a little bit more, do you still have the same assessment?
COACH BONE: My assessment now is their interior game and their exterior game is going to be a problem, on both ends of the court. They're pretty darn good. I'm really impressed with the way they play. They're a, to me, they're just a really good solid basketball team. I don't see any All-Americans on their team, but I see five or six extremely good basketball players. They're solid defensively, they make it very difficult for you to get shots, and then when you do get shots they do a great job of contesting shots. And then they finish it with rebounds. They're one of the leading rebounding teams in the country, and that has not been one of our strong suits this year. So I'm concerned with being able to battle them on the glass.
Then I think offensively, again, almost like defense, they're just solid. They execute well, they share the ball, they come up with good shots, and then unfortunately if they miss, they go get it and put it in. So we have our work cut out for us. They're pretty good.

Q. Coach, Xavier is obviously one of the bigger teams you've played all year in size. How concerned are you between the size differential between your team and theirs?
COACH BONE: Well, we have had to deal with the size issue a few times as of late, not the last game we played against Montana State, but prior to that Idaho State in our conference, they're pretty big too. And they start similar, as far as their height, they start similar size-wise as Xavier.
So we have had a little bit of experience against teams like that. Compared to Idaho State, they're a little quicker, and a little more athletic. But the size, it can bother you if you're trying to get shots off. So we're going to need to be able to execute some things offensively to make sure we get some good shots, good looks at the basket.

Q. Going back to Jeremiah, did you know what you were getting? A guy who was going to be this successful and did his size at all make you worry?
COACH BONE: Well, prior to coming to Portland State I was at University of Washington for three years and had a chance to coach Nate Robinson. And Nate was obviously a spectacular player, spectacular athlete. But he was about the same height as Jeremiah Dominguez. Now the difference was like I've just mentioned, physically Nate Robinson is just a specimen and kind of a freak athlete. Jeremiah is not that.
But Nate was also competing at the national level in the Pac-10, and Jeremiah's spent most of his time in the Big Sky the last two years. So the similarities are they're both small and they both have a huge heart and they just bring it. Not every game -- not only every game, but it's like they're always trying to prove themselves every possession. That's where Jeremiah is really good and that's why I'm sitting here today is how he turned the championship game at the Big Sky Conference tournament into a Jeremiah Dominguez show for about 10 minutes, which made the difference in the game on both ends of the court.

Q. Can you talk about just the benefit of playing in Boise, the quick trip over here and the morale of your team right now?
COACH BONE: I haven't seen the team a whole lot because we have been so busy, but I think the morale is good. I can't imagine it being anything different. I'm sure they're excited because, for a Big Sky school, there's only one that's coming to this tournament and they understand, I believe, that we are that one team and we need to just cherish the moment and try to live it as long as we can.
It's nice to be here in Boise. We travel quite a bit within our conference and we're in and out of airports a lot and we get out of the airport and we're hopping on buses and going elsewhere. So it was nice to just have a one-hour flight to Boise and we're hoping that a number of our fans and supporters can show up, which I believe they will.

Q. You mentioned last year that the team was pretty wide eyed and dazzled by being in the tournament for the first time. Do you see anything different this year in their approach as compared to last year?
COACH BONE: I do think the last week our kids have handled the situation better than last year. Last year just seemed like they were a little bit giddy at times. This time around I think our guys have come to practice, worked hard, and been about as focused as we have been all year. So that's exciting to go me as a coach to know that I think this tournament has their attention and they know what's ahead in that we're playing a very, very good team and they need to be focused and locked in and ready to go.

Q. Xavier has had some problems against teams that play your style, spreading the floor, does that give you more confidence entering tomorrow's game?
COACH BONE: What else do they have problems with? Do you know? (Laughter.)
Well, they're not perfect. There's been times they have been beat just like the rest of us. So we watched enough video to recognize that there's a few things that they do and they do them well, but we have got a decent team too and we got a couple guys that can play and hopefully we can exploit those weaknesses or at least weaknesses as far as it's all relative, weaknesses compared to some other things that they do extremely well.

Q. What kind of tempo would you like to see in tomorrow's game? Would you like to see something more slowed down or up and down running?
COACH BONE: To start the game out I would like to see us get up-and-down the floor a little bit and try to push it. Because I think that if you have tried to play that style for, and teach it since mid September, basically for six months, you're sending a pretty strong message if you tell the guys, hey, we got to slow this game down now because we're inferior to them.
So I would like to us initiate the game, try to get out, try to push it, see if we can't get a good look at the basket in transition, and then obviously get back quick on defense and hold them down from being able to get the same thing on their end.
But as the game proceeds, I think that we need to try to control the tempo a little bit, yet at the same time look for shots if we get them in transition.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you, coach.

End of FastScripts

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