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March 22, 2009

Derrick Brown

Dante Jackson

Sean Miller

B.J. Raymond


Xavier – 60
Wisconsin - 49

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started and have an opening statement by Coach Miller and then take questions for the student-athletes.
COACH MILLER: We obviously beat a very good team today in Wisconsin. The respect that we have for their coach, Bo Ryan, and his staff and the Big-10 Conference and what they stand for, Wisconsin, is really immense. And for us to be able to beat that type of team and program, it makes us obviously feel very good.
Today's game was very much, it was very much about who we are as a team. Terrific half court defense that can wear you down. We do it with depth, we do it with size. I thought some of the guys off the bench, Kenny Frease and Jamel McLean in particular came in the game and really made a difference. They not only played but they changed the outcome in our favor. Any time you can have depth, it's clearly to your advantage.
Also thought a key moment in today's win was we started the second half in a really tough way. We missed some layups, missed a free throw, allowed them to get a quick lead on us. And once again, the resiliency of our team, we were able to respond from that key moment and even the game back up as opposed to playing behind the whole second half, which is very hard to do against Wisconsin.
THE MODERATOR: Take questions for the student-athletes.

Q. B.J., you guys were down by seven points and you came out of a timeout and went on a 10-0 run. What happened in that timeout? What did Coach tell you and was that the turning point for you?
B.J. RAYMOND: Well, it's a thing that we do all the time. We have been there before. Last year we were down to Georgia by 10 points at the half and we just needed to calm down and do what we do. We came out and we focused on the right end of the floor, on the defensive end of the floor, and that's what got us back in the game.

Q. Wondering if one of you players can be more specific about that stretch there, because it seemed like it was the turning point in the game. What did you do specifically on defense that made things so tough for Wisconsin? They went on a nine-minute run without scoring a bucket there.
DERRICK BROWN: Well, defense, that's our identity. We're not going to score 90 points and outshoot people. And we realize that we didn't want this to be B.J. and C.J.'s last game. And collectively as a group we came out and we gave it all we had on the defensive end. Because that's where our identity is.

Q. Derrick, you didn't allow an offensive rebound in the second half until there was about a minute left in the game. Can you just talk about the significance of your rebounding today and keeping them from getting any second chance points?
DERRICK BROWN: Like I said, Coach puts us in a position where we do it every day. If we give up offensive rebounds to the other team, it's going to be a problem with him. And we just wanted to give it all we had, especially on the defensive end. And defense rebounding is part of defense.
So I think we did a pretty good job in that area. We should have got a couple more offensive rebounds as Coach pointed out, but at the end of the day I think we did a decent job on keeping them off the glass.

Q. Trevon Hughes was hurting you guys, getting to the foul line and beating you to the basket. What change did you make to keep him off the line? What did you guys do differently?
DANTE JACKSON: I think our ball pressure, me and Terrell's ball pressure, helped a little bit and then the guys who were jumping the ball screens did a good job also. Our defense is set so we can help each other and I think we just started helping each other a little bit better.

Q. B.J., you had three points in the first half and then really picked it up, I thought, in the start of that run there. What were you looking to do in the second half?
B.J. RAYMOND: Well, I always get myself in trouble when I try to force things, and I try to force the action. I just wanted to make sure that I let the game come to me, but also be aggressive at the same time.
Also, when we got down a little bit, as being a senior and leader of the team, sometimes you got to take it upon your shoulders to get one bucket. Because sometimes the other teammates on the team need to just see one go in. And from that point on everything will be okay.

Q. B.J., you guys haven't won a game by a score this low in output since November. Talk a little bit about what this says for you guys going forward in the tournament in that you were able to win a real grinder tonight.
B.J. RAYMOND: It means a lot. But Wisconsin is a great defensive team as well. And they did a good job of defending us and we did a good job of defending them. We just wanted to make sure today that we were who we were. We played fast, but also we played on the right side of the ball, which is our defense. We didn't want to just turn it into just try to rush it up the floor and shoot the first shot we got.

Q. B.J., can you talk about the guys that Coach mentioned who came off the bench and changed the game and what it means to have younger players make that kind of an impact.
B.J. RAYMOND: It means a lot. I say this all the time, but there's a time in the season where freshman become sophomores and sophomores become juniors and juniors become seniors. And it's that time of the season where all the games and all the practices and everything that Coach has said to us in the past, it comes into play.
And Ken Frease tonight, he hadn't been playing his best basketball, but I said to him before the game, You know, this is a time where everybody's watching. And this is the time where you need to be at your best. And I think he responded in a great way today. And Jamel McLean, you know he's a monster, he's a freak athlete and he showed the nation what he had today.

Q. For Derrick or B.J., just your thoughts about being back in the Sweet 16.
DERRICK BROWN: It feels good. Real good. It's a total team effort, like I said. We're a family. We care about each other. Probably more than a lot of different teams out there because it's off the court, on the court. But being at the Sweet 16, that's something that you can't -- everybody can't say.
B.J. RAYMOND: I'd like to second that. We worked so hard. It's just so good to see our hard work come to pass. In the summer we stay around all summer and we just work on our weaknesses and try to make them better. And it's just so good to see the practices, the hard times, the tears, the scratches, the blood, the time that Coach is yelling at us, just to see that it is all for a good cause. It just makes us put our faith in Coach a lot higher.
COACH MILLER: I would just say that Dante Jackson, a lot was made coming into this tournament about our inexperience at the point guard. In large part we went to the Sweet 16 today because of his efforts. He had a terrific game on both sides of the ball and also against Portland State. And to me, Terrell and Dante combined this weekend to allow us to advance. They did an absolutely terrific job at the point guard position.
THE MODERATOR: All right. We'll congratulate Xavier student-athletes, thank them and excuse them and take questions for Coach Miller.

Q. Same question that I asked the guys: What happened in that timeout right before the 10-0 run? Can you kind of go through that?
COACH MILLER: Yeah, I think sometimes timeouts are made almost like a coach changes completely what he's doing or it's something that I say that triggers it. And 90 percent of the time it's just everyone taking a deep breath, going back out on the court and really trying to play the style of basketball that we practice, make sure that we're in tune with the things that are going to allow us to be successful.
We didn't change a whole lot as much as when we went back out on the court, guys made plays, we defended like they said, and we didn't lose faith in what got us here. And that is hard-nosed, tough, man-to-man defense, and trying to be as unselfish as we can on offense. Like I mentioned, two or three of the best shots we got all game happened in that first three minutes, we just missed them. We missed a dunk, we missed two long putts.
And I was very proud of our team in terms of being able to go from that timeout and forget about what just happened and move on, the next play, as opposed to worrying about what we just did wrong. And that's what we did well in that timeout more than going to a different defense or running a different play.

Q. Wisconsin is a tough matchup especially on one day's break. Going to the Sweet 16, how satisfying is it to go there by beating a team like Wisconsin that requires you to play the way that you did today?
COACH MILLER: Like I said, we give Wisconsin's program and their coach and their staff tremendous credit. We knew that we would have to play a great game to advance. But in this tournament, make no mistake, whoever is on that line above or below you is going to be a very good team. That's the great part about the NCAA tournament. Everybody earns their way into it and it happened most of the time through six months worth of work.
They have some very good seniors, very experienced team, and an excellent program. But for us to advance to the Sweet 16, it's clearly more about our performance today than it really was whether we had played Florida State or Wisconsin.

Q. What did you stress to your guys yesterday in playing a team with the style that plays like Wisconsin?
COACH MILLER: Knowing that a lot of possessions are going to go towards the end of the clock, both when we're on defense and also when we're on offense, that's unavoidable.
You really look at the score with ten minutes in the half or eight minutes left in the first half and I don't know if it was single digits, but it felt that way. The thing we really tried to emphasize is, That's okay. It's going to be that type of game.
One thing that we rely on a lot is our schedule. I really believe St. Louis in our own conference plays similar to Wisconsin, very disciplined, tough-minded, half court basketball. Same thing with Miami. Charlie Coles is an excellent coach, we play them every year, they make you earn it at the end of the possessions and we reminded our team that we have been in against styles like that and it requires a lot of tough-mindedness and patience. And I also want to emphasize that we scored more points in transition than you realize today.
That's the other thing we emphasized, that when we had the opportunity to be that, a team that was looking for transition baskets, not play Wisconsin basketball, and just rely exclusively on our half court, which they're great at, we're certainly not going to be nearly as good.

Q. Your players talked about increasing their effort on the defensive end in the second half. But what kind of adjustments did you make? What did you try to do after seeing them for a half?
COACH MILLER: Two parts: We tried to crowd the court more on Trevon Hughes. He's really a physical guard. I didn't realize how he could get to the basket. And he is strong and tough. Tried to use the other four players to make it harder for him to get to the basket, as opposed to just letting the player on our team that was guarding him be on an island.
And the second one is Landry, he's a handful in and around the basket and tried to provide that player with a little bit more of a crowded court as opposed to letting him just play one-on-one against our post player. And as the game wore on in the second half, our team did a better job of doing both of those things.

Q. You talk about defending those two guys, but really, you didn't let anyone else from Wisconsin hurt you. How important was that and what was the key to that happening?
COACH MILLER: They're really good at driving the pass. They're really good at when the ball goes to the low post, that if you crowd them too much, they make you pay with threes. We did a real good job defending the ball other than Trevon Hughes and Landry at times. As they get by you on the dribble, that really leads to open threes and being able to get our defense set where the guy on the ball defended the ball the right way, that puts more pressure on Wisconsin to score. And you can't do that unless you have depth. You can wear yourself out if you don't.
And I go back to our bench, Terrell Holloway, Brad Redford, Jamel McLean and Ken Frease in particular inside, those four players off our bench, we have counted on them all year. Did an excellent job at both ends and allowed us, I think, to wear Wisconsin down a little bit in the second half.

Q. It's just fresh in the books, but Pitt won, so that's who you're facing. Do you have any thoughts about going against your alma mater?
COACH MILLER: I really don't because, number one, this is really about our team and our players. It's about C.J. and B.J. having an opportunity to continue to play and move past the Sweet 16. And regardless of who we play, we know every level you jump it becomes increasingly difficult, more difficult because the teams that are still alive are even better and stronger deeper. And clearly, I always have one eye on them because they're such a terrific program, more so than when I went to school there.

Q. What's your feeling about this team as you head into the Sweet 16, differences From last year?
COACH MILLER: Well, we had a unique team on offense last year. We had a fifth-year senior, Drew Lavender, a dynamic little guard who could get his own shot and really was great at the end of the shot clock. We had an experienced front court player, Josh Duncan, who was a nightmare for the other team, because he was our best 3-point shooter. And we had Stanley Burrell, who had one of the best defensive seasons that we have ever seen a player have and he too is in his fifth year. Those three guys could really lead us.
This year the torch has been passed to B.J., C.J., and Derrick, and I think they're different as a group than last year.
We're bigger, we're more physical, we have to really be good on defense to win. Last year we could cut little corners on defense and still be okay. This year that has to be in place for us to advance. And I would say that's the big difference.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you, Coach.
COACH MILLER: Thank you.

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