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March 20, 2009

Jeremy Chappell

Jimmy Langhurst

Mike Rice


Michigan State – 77
Robert Morris - 62

MODERATOR: Joined on the dais by Robert Morris student-athletes. On my far left, Jimmy Langhurst and Jeremy Chappell, and Head Coach Mike Rice. We will begin with an opening comment from Coach Rice followed by questions for the student-athletes.
COACH RICE: As I said before, to some of the media who asked how you were going to take on Michigan State, I said we were going to break it up into kind of four-minute segments. And, you know, I thought we competed in every segment except of course the last four minutes of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half.
And it just -- against a tremendously talented team like Michigan State, you just can't have those bad of four minutes. Because I thought our switching defenses bothered them a little bit. I thought our guys had a tremendous compete to them.
But, again, you go scoreless for those eight minutes, it seemed like we were stuck on 30 for eight minutes. And we were.
Other than that I was proud because when they didn't score they could have hung their heads and really kind of didn't give the maximum effort, but that didn't happen. And our seniors went out fighting like they should.
MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Jeremy, was Michigan State the toughest defensive team you've seen all year? What did they do to kind of contain you and make it difficult for you to operate?
JEREMY CHAPPELL: They put a lot of pressure on the ball. And, you know, they -- you know, they switched out. And, you know, they did basically what we do. And that bothered us a little bit.
But, you know, we kept trying to fight through. We couldn't make any shots, but we tried our hardest on defense. And, you know, just for those eight minutes we didn't play as hard as we should have, and those eight minutes killed us. And we knew if we had a chance, we had to play for 40 strong minutes and we only played for 32.

Q. Jeremy, is this how you wanted to go out? Are you satisfied with what happened tonight?
JEREMY CHAPPELL: I am never satisfied on a loss. Of course, I wanted to win. Who doesn't want to win their last game. Who doesn't want to go out on a bang.
But, you know, we played our hardest against the Top 10 team, No. 2 seed. And, you know, nobody quit on the team, and that was the biggest key. Hopefully next year, you know, with the returning players hopefully they have the same drive to get back to where they are right now.

Q. Jimmy, you guys are up I think 28-26 or so, kind of about six minutes to go. What's kind of going through your mind there? Did you kind of start to believe that hey, we have a shot at this? What was the thoughts there?
JIMMY LANGHURST: Yeah, we got back to the huddle and I was telling everybody we're competing with them and I think everybody's eyes lit up and we knew we could play with them.
They are the same age as us, and we were competing with them. And I think it kind of shocked us for a second. And then we went on that dry route. They had an 11-0 run and it kind of took the momentum away from us going into halftime.

Q. Jimmy, on that vein, I know you want to get back next year. Is it going to be more hard work than this year? Or what's it going to take?
JIMMY LANGHURST: Definitely more hard work. We never want to be satisfied. We didn't want to be satisfied last year going to the NIT, and next year we'll maybe take it a step further, and maybe we want to win the first game next year.
But we will just take our goals as they come. And like next year we will do the same thing. Have to win the NEC and then go on to the NCAA. But that's further from now, so, you know, in the summertime I am going to work hard.

Q. Yeah, Jeremy, did you feel like if you could get to half within -- what was the number that you needed to get to half within did you think?
JEREMY CHAPPELL: You know, just kind of keep competing, stay close. And, you know, we played in four-minute segments, like Coach Rice said, and tried to win every four minutes. And that's our goal in every game. Win every four minutes. Because if we win every four minutes, then we will win the game.
For those first 16 minutes we basically won those four-minute segments. It was just that last four minutes going into the half, went on an 11-0 run. And so that 11-0 run playing against a big team like that, you just can't let 11-0 runs happen like that because they will not let 11-0 runs happen to them like that. So that hurt us, and we are just trying to compete as hard as we could.
MODERATOR: Okay, guys, thank you very much. We'll go ahead and excuse you. And we will take questions for Coach Rice.

Q. Mike, what Suton does for them you never see in your league, you will never see in your league. And people around the country don't see that all that much. How much could you not prepare for that?
COACH RICE: Again, we don't -- that size, strength, athleticism, he is just so big it is hard to move around him. I always tell our big men break contact and use your quickness, use what you have to your advantage. And he's just so big and strong to get around him takes so many, you know -- a lot of hard work.
And when they finally do get around him, he seals them to get the offensive rebound. So he plays the angles great. He does what he does as far as understanding that, you know, he's always going to be the one who hits first because he is probably not going to out-jump people and he's a bear to handle because of his size and kind of his knowledge of where, you know, where to be.

Q. Yeah, Coach, what do you want this team to take away from this total experience? What were some of the things that really, when you're going to sit back, really makes you proud about what happened tonight?
COACH RICE: Yeah, what I want them to take away is that all of the hard work, all of the dedication, all of the sacrifice is worth it. They've been on kind of -- they've had an incredible last two weeks of their lives. And something that they're always going to remember.
The proudest I was, besides the excitement and the energy when you're up, you know, by 1 on a 2nd seed with six minutes left to go, almost more proud is when they just didn't stop. You know, there was a huddle time that, you know, we were down, didn't score, and they kind of all looked at each other and they just kept communicating with each other. They kept fighting, and to me I was very proud of the way that they responded.
And they just kind of -- we discussed it as a staff, how do you want to -- because it's very difficult to come back on Michigan State, but how do you want to go back? How do you want to go out? Do you want to go out swinging like you have all year long and never back down? Or are you going to go out with a whimper. And to their credit, to our upperclassmen's credit, they kept fighting, they kept scratching and clawing and trying to be successful.

Q. Mike, how does this team compare to Pitt? Are there a lot of similarities or is that just from the untrained eye looking at it?
COACH RICE: There are a lot of similarities. It's just Pitt plays because of Levance and Kalin played different paces.
The size off the bench is, you know, you just -- all of a sudden they keep coming with guys bigger and stronger, more athletic. So it's, you know -- they have that probably advantage. I just don't -- what Pitt has is that wing scorer that just can do a lot of different things. Maybe a little more versatility as far as that goes.
But this team can go as far as, you know, if they're making shots and they're doing -- because they are always going to defend. They are always going to take care of the basketball. They are not going to beat themselves. I think if this team hits shots they can go as far as that takes them because they play with such toughness and passion every second. It's mind-boggling really how much he gets out of this team.
MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you, Coach.
COACH RICE: Thank you, gentlemen. And ladies.

End of FastScripts

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