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March 20, 2009

C.J. Anderson

Dante Jackson

Sean Miller

B.J. Raymond


Xavier – 77
Portland State - 59

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with an opening statement from Coach Miller and then take questions for the student-athletes.
COACH MILLER: Well, I thought we beat a very good team in Portland State. Watching them on film, and I believe our team would agree, we really respected them, especially on offense. They have a little point guard, Jeremiah Dominguez, to me he's one of the best we have played against and he's a handful.
But as our team continued to play the game, I thought our defense and size really started to wear them down. I credit these guys for sticking with it. A lot of times if you're a good defensive team you can really get to the other team's heart late in the second half, middle of the second half and I thought that really happened. Offensively there were times in this game where it was the best we could play.
And I'll give you one stat, any time our team can turn over the ball seven times, that's as good as we can do. And we're a very good team when we take care of the ball like we did today.
THE MODERATOR: Take questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Dante, you had about a one-minute stretch at about the six-minute mark in the first half, you had a layup, you had a steal that produced a layup for B.J. and he hit a three. Can you talk about that sequence and did you think that was kind of the spark that the team needed?
DANTE JACKSON: I think so. But I was trying to do whatever I could do to help our team be successful. Luckily the ball kind of found my hand on the steal and then I was able to find B.J. for the layup and then I think it was C.J. here who or Derrick who hit me or hit me for the three in the corner.

Q. C.J., you talked about how you really wanted to get back to the way you have been playing before, and you scored most of your points today in the second half. Did you feel like they wanted you to shoot today? And kind of how did you approach the matchup?
C.J. ANDERSON: I just tried to be aggressive and take the opportunities that were given to me. I think that because B.J. and the other guys were doing such a good job shooting the ball it opened up the lane a little bit for me. So I just tried to be aggressive and make the shots that I was taking.

Q. For any of the players, why were you guys so efficient on offense tonight? What was the key?
DANTE JACKSON: I think that we were efficient because we were able to move the ball. Coach always talks about moving the ball and moving yourself and I think we did a really good job of that in the first half, which produced some open looks and B.J. and C.J. and Derrick and then the rest of the guys were able to hit some open shots and I think that's the main key.

Q. Dante, did the three of you hit right to begin the game to beat the shot clock? Did that give you any kind of extra confidence in what you were going to be able to do tonight?
DANTE JACKSON: A little bit. But then again, it was a long game, so you hit a shot in the first 35 seconds of a 40-minute game, it's really not -- it doesn't mean too much. So I was just hoping for the best the rest of the way.
COACH MILLER: Don't forget about B.J. He'll be disappointed if he can't talk.
B.J. RAYMOND: I'm good. Don't do it. Don't worry about me. Don't do it out of courtesy, please.

Q. B.J., I'm impressed by how your team shares the ball. Is that an evolution over the season or is that Coach Miller's task mastering or how does that happen?
B.J. RAYMOND: We have a great play after the play and it starts with us moving the ball from one side to the other. Everybody gets to touch the ball. And everybody has confidence in the other players' ability to put it on the floor or make the right decisions. So we love to share the ball and see our teammates succeed.

Q. Dante, I'm going to get something out of you, if it takes me all night. What about running through the screens, at least especially in the first half? You got to be a little bit banged up, it seemed like every time Dominguez had the ball, you were slamming into somebody trying to follow him around the court.
DANTE JACKSON: Unfortunately I wasn't pressuring the ball like Coach Miller wanted me to do, so I was getting backed pretty hard. But we made an adjustment and I was able to -- I took the coaching that the coaches were giving me and I was just trying to play hard.

Q. B.J., can you talk about C.J.'s performance tonight and what he brought to the team with his 14 points.
B.J. RAYMOND: Well, C.J., any time he is aggressive he makes our team better. Any time he's putting the ball in the basket, when you see 14 points, he's doing it in a lot of ways. That means he's being aggressive, he's getting shots for the shooters, but he's also putting fouls on the other team because of the way he plays, he gets to the free throw line. And for him, scoring 14 points, for us that's a big lift for us because it helps us in a lot of ways and we just hope that he's just like that. He's a pit bull and we appreciate it.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you, gentlemen. We'll take questions for Coach Miller.

Q. Coach, you talked about the turnover stat. How important are stats to you and are there others that you consider more important for your team? Do you set stat goals and that kind of thing before a game?
COACH MILLER: We do. We're defense driven. Generally when we have had great success it's holding the other team to a low field goal percentage. I was very concerned at half time because Portland State had such a high percentage from the field going. We're not a team that has necessarily won in a lot of shootouts.
And our defense in the second half was much better. And like I mentioned with my opening comments, if you're a good defensive team, a lot of times it can wear throughout the course of the game where the results don't come early, they come in the second half. And our players really stuck with it and I thought really defended an excellent offensive team in Portland State.

Q. Sean, could you speak to the effort that Dante had tonight, especially in the first half and especially that minute or so stretch where he had a couple of baskets and a steal.
COACH MILLER: Yeah, you know, when we recruited Dante, to me we were recruiting a winner. He was a winner in high school, he approaches every day with such enthusiasm that it's contagious. And as he's gained more experience and grown as a player, he now can carry that into games. And for example, today was a big game, but he is so energetic, he's such a positive guy, he's such a great teammate that he's just someone that I think a lot of programs would love to have on their team.
At times he shot the ball better than others, but he knows for our team to be really good he's got to be a hawk on defense. Guarding other good players at different positions.
And your questions about his effort today and they are very accurate in that I thought more than anybody on our team he really had a wearing down effect on the opposing players that he guarded. And he gave us offense, four steals. And you look at his offense, arguably he was as good of a player today for us as anyone.

Q. Can you talk about C.J. and did you feel like they were trying to get him to shoot, having scouted his last performance knowing he was 0-9?
COACH MILLER: No one feels worse about 0-9 than C.J. He's been our team's heart and soul and he has been a part of a lot of big wins. He struggled like sometimes can happen with players, especially if you're not a perimeter shooter, but I thought today he took a couple floaters, he shot the ball from 8 and 10 feet.
I almost had a conniption when I saw him shoot a 17-footer, but he played with confidence and he's a tough matchup off the dribble and he's very experienced. And you heard B.J. describe him as a pit bull. The reason that B.J. describes him as that is that he is such a competitive person. He's fearless, he's got great confidence in his ability. I would have predicted that he would have played well today.

Q. Did you guys make an adjustment on Dominguez at half time after he had 13 points and had zero in the second half?
COACH MILLER: It was just more of the same. No. To our players' credit we had a great team effort against him and I thought he wore down, which happens. It's mid March, he's dribbling the ball a lot, he's not a big guy, late in the second half, middle of the second half, he took a pretty good punch throughout the game in terms of players giving great effort in order to stop him, but he's really a good player. He really is. He scared me to death before we played him.
And that first half was what I expected in terms of his overall ability level. And he's as good of a player point guard as we played against this season.

Q. Was it important for this team's kind of collective confidence to get so many guys involved tonight?
COACH MILLER: Not really. This team more than any Xavier team that I've been a part of, and I've now been a part of eight, is really battle tested. When you just look at the NCAA tournament field, the teams that are in the round of 32, we have played an awful lot of them. And for example, in order for us to advance in the next round we're going to have to be an excellent team. But our team has played against teams like that throughout this season. Played in very difficult non-conference schedule and how we play is going to be no different in this tournament than we played in Puerto Rico, it's just a matter of to what level we'll be at.

Q. You had Dante as a hawk and C.J. as a pit bull, what's B.J.?
COACH MILLER: Bull headed.
(Laughter.) Very head strong. Very confident. B.J.'s an interesting story, if you haven't covered us. Played about nine minutes a game as a freshman. About 12 minutes a game as a zone defense sophomore. Was our team's sixth man last year, made some really big shots in this tournament a year ago and now he's First Team All Conference as a senior.
He's a throwback, guys like him, they want to transfer before they ever get to their junior year. He's from a great family, played at a terrific high school and his competitive spirit, bull-headedness in a positive way, really guides him and he's, again, another ingredient to this year's team.
We're led by B.J., C.J. and Derrick Brown, they have been the three most consistent players, they're also the three oldest players on our team.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you, Coach.
COACH MILLER: Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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