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March 19, 2009

Matt Bouldin

Micah Downs

Mark Few

Josh Heytvelt


Gonzaga – 77
Akron - 64

COACH FEW: Well, it feels great to win and move on. That's what this tournament is all about. I really liked how our guys hung with this game. It was a grinder, and I think our staff and our players understood the kind of game it was going to be. I think Akron has been playing terrific down the stretch during the season. And the way they shot the ball in the first half, we could just not quite get a handle on consistently getting stops. But the second half we were able to drive their shooting percentage down, which got our transition game going, when we're at our best. We were able to extend the lead and get it done.
I'm real proud. The guys stuck with it. Didn't panic, didn't get antsy, didn't get frustrated and just stuck with the plan.

Q. For Josh or Matt, both of you guys talk about the difference the first half to the second half and kind of that run there when they were up 52-51, you went on a 19-1 run. Just what got you going?
JOSH HEYTVELT: I was rattled in the first half. We weren't playing our game exactly. We came in the second half and just kind of settled down, back and forth a little bit with the lead change. And then we kind of just settled into our offense and pressure defense, and pressured them out of doing what they did in the first half and that led to fast breaks and easy buckets for us.
MATT BOULDIN: Yeah, I thought that first half we didn't ratchet it up defensively very well. That's the difference. The second half we did a lot better job defensively and that, like Josh said, led to a lot of easy buckets for us. Getting out of transition is when we're at our best, and that's really how we opened it up.

Q. Josh, during that span, Steven hit a three and then I think you went to the floor a couple of times, you got tossed down, you took a charge, dunk, three pointer, can you talk about it? Was it opening up for you and your participation in that particular stretch?
JOSH HEYTVELT: Since our guys were doing a great job of shooting jumpers and making them it opened up the roll and there was opportunities for them to get me a ball, and they did a great job of feeding the ball inside for easy baskets.

Q. For the guards, what did you do to Linhart in the second half?
MICAH DOWNS: He came out hitting his shots in the first half. We weren't closing out on him good enough. We knew in the scouting report that he could shoot the three, and we didn't take that scouting report serious enough in the first half. Coach always tells us close on their toes, so they can't get a hand up. We did that better in the second half. I think all around the second half we were just more intense and more enthused to play defense and that's what got it done for us.

Q. Matt, during the 19-1 run it seemed like you maybe were a little more assertive, more aggressive. Did it feel that way to you?
MATT BOULDIN: Yeah. I felt like that, too. I thought I was getting the ball a little bit more on the break, able to push it a lot more and try to make plays for myself and my teammates. But, yeah, it was mostly how we were doing defensively I thought really opened it up for me and the transition game. I thought that's when we really kind of blew it open.

Q. Mark, in deciding to go with the zone in the second half, did you run the risk of becoming too passive?
COACH FEW: That was a great call by you. We just opened in zone for a possession, and we in it until they scored. And I think they missed maybe three jumpers at the start of it. And then got an open one that they knocked down. So we like mixing in our zones once in an while.
I thought Leon made a great call. They had their offensive rhythm in the first half we needed to try to disrupt them a little bit. So we tried, worked for a little bit. But our bread and butter has been our man all year, and that's kind of what ended up getting us going there in that stretch run.

Q. Who are you looking forward to, Western Kentucky or Illinois?
COACH FEW: It doesn't matter. One thing that being in this thing for 11 straight years now, each of these teams is capable of moving on and making a great run. We knew we were going to be in for a ballgame the minute we watched the first five or seven minutes of Akron on tape. Sure enough, they came into this thing on fire. They've really been shooting the ball well all through their conference tournament.
So whoever wins this one tonight is going to be a very worthy opponent. They either won their way in or got hot in the conference tournament. I don't have a preference one way or another. You just want to win, advance and move on.

Q. Do you feel like there's a team, though, that matches up better with the Gonzaga style?
COACH FEW: No, not really. I think they both, from a coaching standpoint, I mean I think they both pose some serious problems that we need to address, just like Akron did. So I think head coaches are always worriers by nature, so I don't see one or the other.

Q. There's about 14:59 left and you guys were kind of neck and neck. At that point in the game were you thinking, okay, it's time we make a run, come on, guys, let's get this thing clicking?
COACH FEW: I think that when it's 0-0 and they toss the ball up. I prefer that. The one thing that I will say, especially with this team, you know, it has some -- Bud needs to help me with my vocabulary, spurtability [sic] or something.
We can make runs, when you've got Micah Downs that can make threes. Steven Gray, Matt Bouldin can make threes. They can make them in transition. Josh Heytvelt, Austin Daye can. And again, if we can get out in transition and run, that's when we're at our best. And what you saw was a lot of transition baskets there and that kind of gets our guys going. But with that, you know, I thought we did a great job. We settled down in the half court and executed and we got several of those dunks were just real solid half court execution.

Q. Does your transition game on this team distinguish it at all from previous teams that have been in this event?
COACH FEW: You know, I mean I'd like to think we've always tried to push the ball and run. We've always been great running teams. But I think this team especially from the perimeter is always maybe more capable of running out and hurting you from the three line, as opposed in the past we did a great job usually running and catching our bigs down low in the transition.

End of FastScripts

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