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March 22, 2009

Derek Glasser

James Harden

Jeff Pendergraph

Herb Sendek


Syracuse 78
Arizona State 67

LARRY WAHL: We'll have Coach Sendek make some opening remarks and then open it up for questions from the student-athletes. Coach?
COACH HERB SENDEK: I certainly was impressed with Syracuse today. We knew going in that they were an outstanding team, and most certainly when you get a chance to compete against them up close and personal, that feeling is confirmed. I just was impressed with them in every facet of the game.
As for us, I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity that I had to coach these guys this year. It was a great journey. Today I think we tip our hats to an outstanding Syracuse team.

Q. Derek, what is most sort of frustrating playing against their zone? What impresses you about it?
DEREK GLASSER: They did a great job of covering a lot of ground. It doesn't seem like they're there, and then all of a sudden they've got two guys there. You know, they do a phenomenal job of guarding the paint and covering a lot of ground.

Q. Jeff, just how difficult was it for you to have to sit there, your last game and you can't be there in the second half and help your team make a run? It had to be among the hardest things you've had to go through I would guess?
JEFF PENDERGRAPH: Definitely because I feel like I'm just a great competitor, just to sort of see the game slipping away towards the end and there's nothing I can do about it, that hurt.

Q. Derek, you guys tend to shoot threes quite often, and everyone seems to shoot them a lot against Syracuse for obvious reasons. Do you think you almost relied on it a little too much in the first half, or were they taking away that many lanes inside?
DEREK GLASSER: I think our offense created open looks and guys took the shots. You know, we didn't make as many as we wanted to, but you know, I don't think except for at the end, we didn't take really any bad threes, maybe one or two here or there, but except for the end I think all the shots we put up were good shots.

Q. This is for any of the players: It seemed like you kept a disciplined game under difficult circumstances. You closed it down to a four-point lead. What were you thinking at that point? Did your engine start revving up or was it the difficulty of constantly playing catch-up took its toll?
DEREK GLASSER: You know, every team is going to make a run, and we made our run. And they called time-out when we cut it to four, and they did a great job of converting it out of the time-out and came out and hit a big three. I don't really know.

Q. James, you seemed to be more aggressive going to the basket in the second half than you were in the first half. Why was that the case?
JAMES HARDEN: My teammates talked to me in the locker room. They said they needed me. I shouldn't have waited until the second half. I should have been aggressive in the first half as I was in the second half. But I was trying to be more aggressive, create more open shots in the middle of the zone. You know, that was basically it.

Q. James, two things kind of along those lines, the first one being after 1-for-8 Friday, did you carry any of that sort of back into today as far as maybe a little bit tentative on the offensive end?
JAMES HARDEN: Definitely not. You know, yesterday when we had our practice, shooting a lot of shots and making a lot of shots, so definitely that confidence, the shots just weren't falling today. I had a lot of good looks, and like I said, I didn't make shots. We just didn't make shots that we needed to to cut the lead closer or even win the game.

Q. I know the season ended just a few minutes ago and I apologize, but there's been a lot of speculation about what you'll do next season. Have you given any thought to this point what you're going to do?
JAMES HARDEN: Definitely not. We're still in the season. We had a game today. So was that the furthest thing from my mind. I still won't think about it. It's something I'll think about later with my coaches and my family.

Q. Derek, did you think you guys needed to play a near-perfect game today going into this?
DEREK GLASSER: I don't know if we needed to play a near-perfect game, but we knew we had to play a really, really, really good game to beat them. We knew coming in that they're a very good team, and we knew that we were going to have to make shots, and we just didn't make enough today to win the game.

Q. Jeff, is that the best team you've played this year just in terms of offensively how many ways they can beat a team? I mean, they can shoot threes, get the ball inside, penetrate, they don't seem to have a lot of weaknesses you can attack.
JEFF PENDERGRAPH: I would think so. That's what you should expect in the Tournament. You're going to play the best teams from everywhere. You know, they have a big inside presence. They exploited us with that earlier, and then we kind of started taking that away and then their guys started knocking down big threes. They're a high power offensive team. You can't have bums if they average 80 points a game. That tells you right there how good they can be offensively.

Q. You mentioned being a little bit passive in the first half. How much did their zone have to do with that? And is there anything different about their zone? You obviously played Arizona and other zone teams this year.
JAMES HARDEN: They're definitely big all around, and they just -- I mean, they didn't do anything really. We've seen a lot of zones, so like I said, guys are going to make shots. And like at halftime my teammates talked to me and said, "I need you to be more aggressive." Not be more aggressive in scoring but to get them open shots, as well, or better looks. So that was my second-half focus.

Q. Just reflect on the season and what you guys accomplished. I know you're disappointed, but you have to be proud of what you did this season.
JEFF PENDERGRAPH: Looking back at this year, especially being the only senior, I'm really proud of our guys. Even how well we were supposed to do this year, we still had a lot of doubters and everything, and I still think even though we're disappointed in the loss today, we still had a productive year, and with Coach Sendek and the guys that are still here, this will be a great thing for them to build on for next year.
I couldn't have asked for anything better from our guys, helping me out with my senior year. They left it on the line for me, and I couldn't have asked for a better senior year.
LARRY WAHL: Thank you, guys. We'll open it up now for questions for Coach Sendek.

Q. I know you guys have been out here for a few days and getting used to the time change and all that, but is there something maybe to read into the fact that this was a 9:00 a.m. start locally for you guys, and the first half was obviously the colder of the two for you shooting-wise? Could anything sort of be gleaned from that do you think?
COACH HERB SENDEK: I don't think so. We've been out here, like you said, for several days. We're fairly acclimated to the time change.

Q. Did you feel prepared for the game? I mean, did you see what you were expecting, or was it more of a case of you just couldn't counter what you were expecting if that makes sense?
COACH HERB SENDEK: I think we were as prepared as we could be, short of actually seeing them up close and personal and actually playing against them. You know, tape, and from a distance can only provide you with so much information, and there's nothing like actually seeing a team in person. We knew we had a great challenge today, and like I said in my opening statement, Syracuse's performance only confirmed what we already -- only confirmed the respect we already had for them.

Q. Over the years the Syracuse zone has given teams fits in the Tournament. Is there anything different or special about it that you can't prepare for, that you don't see on film that can freeze a team like it froze James today?
COACH HERB SENDEK: Well, they've had a great deal of success with it through the years, and like Derek says, what is really pronounced when you're up close and personal is just the size and the way they cover ground. There's not a lot of openings to be found because they have great length, they have terrific athletes, and they cover ground so well. So what may seem momentarily open is quickly closed.

Q. When Ty hit the three to obviously get you within 61-57, two things: What was the mood in that time-out? And then what happened on those next three Syracuse trips? Was it just Flynn simply just breaking people down, or was it just a late rotation? Could you put your finger on if it was one thing that happened on those next three Syracuse trips?
COACH HERB SENDEK: Yeah, I don't know that I can simplify three possessions to one thing. But I will tell you this: That the mood of our team, as it has been all year, remained positive and very consistent, not just when we had cut the lead to four but throughout the game. We really tried to focus on the next play, tried to focus on the task at hand, and keep our poise and composure the best we could. And we didn't need to cut it to four to allow ourselves to have that mindset or feelings.

Q. You mentioned you didn't have many openings. Were you expecting to have to shoot that many threes or were you hoping to attack more against that zone inside?
COACH HERB SENDEK: We wanted to attack the zone inside, in the soft spot, off the dribble, all those ways. But they do a great job of protecting the goal. They do a great job of protecting the paint. And if the defense is going to converge, then what's left is what we actually end up taking, which is the three-point shot. Given our personnel and the way we matched up against Syracuse, you know, it was probably the best card we had to play today.

Q. I wonder if you could talk about James' game. Did you feel like maybe he needed to be more aggressive in the first half? Or just comment on his game in general.
COACH HERB SENDEK: Well, I think we ask him to do so much that sometimes it's probably thoughtful and wise to take a step back and just recognize how much he really does.
You know, it's easy in hindsight to say he could have been more aggressive, he could have done this. But part of the gift of his game is he really takes what's there. You know, I thought in the second half he gave us so many baskets that it may not be reflected on the stat sheet, either in the assist column or in the point column. Perhaps on a possession here or there he could have been more aggressive, but you know, he does a lot for us, and sometimes it doesn't show up on the stats sheet.

Q. With no disrespect to any of the other brackets or teams, of course, but when you first saw the field of 65 did you think that, A, the bracket that you were in was by far the deepest, and now that you know -- you knew coming in today who the other three teams were, is that maybe as elite a regional, whether it was going to be you or Syracuse? Was that going to be as deep a regional semifinal as we've seen in a while?
COACH HERB SENDEK: I find it difficult to make those assessments, and I don't spend a lot of time trying to compare and analyze. I know for us all week we were really focused on Temple. And then once we were fortunate to win that game, we zeroed in on Syracuse and treated this as a four-team tournament for Arizona State.
So I really didn't spend a lot of time looking at that. I knew this was a heck of a bracket and I'm sure if we would have been placed and won somewhere else, I would have said the same thing.
LARRY WAHL: Thank you, Coach.

End of FastScripts

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