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March 22, 2009
Missouri Â– 83
Marquette - 79
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get an opening statement from Coach Anderson and then take questions for the student-athletes.
COACH ANDERSON: Well, first, we give some credit to Marquette. What a game. You wanted an up-tempo game, you got an up-tempo game. A lot of energy, a lot of activity. I'm really, really proud of our guys, especially these seniors here sitting next to me. I thought they led the way and even when some adversity took place. We had a lead in the first half and Marquette -- Buzz has done an awesome job with those guys. They would not go away. They been there before and you could tell the experience of their basketball team.
But I heard -- we're down -- I think four points we were down, like a minute or something to go and I heard one of our guys made the statement, We have been here before, fellows. And when he said that, that told me our guys are going to buckle down and make some plays. And I thought we made some plays going down the stretch against a very good Marquette team.
I been to Boise, this is my fourth time, and I guess I'm finally getting a chance to advance, so I guess the fourth time is the charm.
THE MODERATOR: Take questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Considering all the free throws that Marquette made, Leo, did you see something? Was it fitting that you guys actually won it at the free throw line?
LEO LYONS: What's the question?
Q. Considering all the free throws Marquette hit, was it somehow fitting for you guys to win it at the free throw line?
LEO LYONS: Yeah, we was missing them early. It was tough for us. And they were making all theirs. So we had to buckle down on defense. And come crunch time that's when we really got to make them and I think we stepped up and made them.
Q. The players, all three of you, comment on Kim English coming off the bench. I mean, he looked confident. Was he? And did you have the confidence in him?
LEO LYONS: I told you the other day can't nobody shake Kim English's confidence. And he had seen, he had that look in his eye that he had seen before. He had a nice release and it was going in for him and he didn't stop. He knocked down some shots for us. I think jump-started us. We were playing a little timid in the beginning.
MATT LAWRENCE: I think the score was 17-11 we were losing, next thing I look up and we're up 22-17. So I think he might have gone on an 11-0 run himself.
But it was remarkable, and we have been waiting this season because of our bench. And Kim English comes in like that and it just sparks all the rest of us. And then you see the starters go back in and pick it up another level and have a little bit of a lead going into the half. And so I think Kim English was very instrumental for us.
DeMARRE CARROLL: He's one of those guys that his confidence is so high. And Kim English came off the bench, not only came in, our whole bench stepped up. Keith got a big charge at the right time and it kind of woke up the starters, because we came out a little sluggish. And it shows you the beauty of our team.
You can't key on one guy. You got to respect everybody on our team. You just can't key in on me, Matt and Leo. You got to respect everyone on our team. And that's beauty of our team.
Q. Matt, just one more thing on Kim. With 5.5 seconds left he comes in the game, it looked like he was very happy to come in the game. Did you guys get a look at the dynamic on the bench? Was he in Coach's face saying, It's me, it's me? How did that work and comment on that.
MATT LAWRENCE: I saw him and I knew right when I looked at him that if he was -- if Coach chose him, he was going to knock them down. You can't -- this guy can miss three, four, five shots in a row and he is still the guy that you want to come off the bench and knock down those free throws.
And I never seen a freshman with so much confidence and you saw it tonight. This guy's playing in a NCAA tournament trying to go to the Sweet 16 as a freshman. And he goes out there and hits two free throws with five seconds left in the game to basically win the game. I think that's pretty remarkable. And everyone should take a take a look at that and see how unbelievable a player he is.
Q. DeMarre and Leo, in the first half their defense obviously was keying on you guys, I think you only had about eight points. How nice was it to have the other guys step up and do some of the scoring for you?
LEO LYONS: That's something that we have done before. A lot of teams try to pack their defense in and stop us from scoring on the inside. But we got great shooters on outside. So every time they dumped it off, I was finding people like Matt and Kim. So just trying to stop us ain't going to stop our team because we're a full team.
DeMARRE CARROLL: That's the beauty of our team. You just can't key in on one guy. Everybody can put the ball in the basket and everybody can contribute in their own way. And you know, it opened up a lot of things for me and Leo in the second half and luckily Kim English and Matt and the rest of our team was knocking down shots, because it opened up a lot for me and Leo in the second half.
Q. Could each of guys just comment on Memphis, that's your next opponent.
DeMARRE CARROLL: Memphis Tigers, they're a great team. They're a defensive team, kind of like ourselves. So it's going to be a defensive slug match. But hopefully we can turn our defense up another notch, because I don't think nobody in the country plays the way we play. And hopefully we can get fatigue to set in in the next game.
But Memphis, they're a great team. They got a lot of athletes and we got a lot of athletes. So I think it's going to be a good game.
MATT LAWRENCE: I think it's pretty remarkable that they were able to lose so much scoring and so much leadership from their team last year that went to the National Championship game and to come back and make it to the Sweet 16 the next year. That shows you how good their young players are. And they're a team that prides themself on defense and they're a very good defensive basketball team, but so do we. And we'll see if they can get up and down the floor with us.
LEO LYONS: I know they got a lot of long, lengthy guys like we do and I think they match up very well with us. I think it's going to be a great game. I know they like to play a fast pace just like we do. And we're going to see which one can pick it up and get the wear and tear at the end of the game.
Q. For any of the players, just wondering who is going to take credit for that comment when you're down four, you guys have been here before to kind of settle down everybody.
LEO LYONS: That was Zaire Taylor that said that. He said that on a dead ball and he called everybody in the huddle and he said it out loud. He made sure everybody heard it. And Coach was right, that did spark our team. At the end we realized that we had to get a stop.
Q. Can you guys talk about the way this game ended, just between the injury and the free throws and the crowd getting upset and their coach getting upset. Just seemed like kind of a crazy last minute. Talk about the scene out there that last minute.
MATT LAWRENCE: It was pretty crazy. There was a lot of things going on out there. J.T., and he has a little hand injury, but it's been bothering him a little bit, and I think he landed on his wrist.
And you got guys, freshman, coming to step up and make that -- make free throws. So it was a pretty weird ending. And I thought it was like someone said earlier, a little ironic that we were able to win the game on the free throw line after Marquette had basically lived at the free throw line the whole game.
So, yeah, I can hardly remember it now. Just happy that we were able to win the game.
Q. This is your first NCAA tournament and after Marquette made that big run in the second half it really showed a lot of composure for you guys to keep it together. How were you able to do that?
DeMARRE CARROLL: I have to give credit to our coaching staff. Coach told us before we even came in this tournament that none of ya'll ever been to a NCAA tournament, so y'all just follow me and I'll lead you all the right way. And I think he's been leading us the right way ever since.
MATT LAWRENCE: I would like to give a little credit to Marquette for not going away. They had a huge shot there at the end of the first half that kind of gave them some momentum. They used that in the second half and just never went away. I was just happy our leadership and ownership stepped up there at the end of the game.
Q. Leo, go back to that about one minute left when Zaire said that. Where were your heads then? Were you a little down? What did you sort of feel like the mood was?
LEO LYONS: Seemed like the mood in the huddle was that everyone was pretty tired. And after that dead ball, you could see everybody was on their knees and everybody had a little shock in their face because they punched us at the end.
And when he said that, we just thought about where we came from, I know I did. I thought about all the up and downs we have been through and all the hard work that we put in. And you forget about being tired and all you got to do is bring your team in together and everybody will do anything and go above limits to get a stop.
Q. Leo, talk about they scored almost all of their points by driving to the basket, getting to the free throw line and trouble that gave you guys and then also a little bit about the way you played down the stretch and getting those points you guys needed.
LEO LYONS: Marquette, I would say with confidence, that they're a team that we probably ever saw before this whole year. They got five guys on the floor that can all dribble and can all attack and it's all fast with the ball. And it took us a while to figure them out. They were attacking us and getting to the line a little bit.
But I think at the end we kind of buckled down and tried to stop the drives and you could just see the key of the game at the end just knocking down some free throws after they made all theirs.
THE MODERATOR: Okay, thank you, guys. Congratulations. And we'll take questions for Coach Anderson.
Q. Can you just go through the thought process on when you put Kim in and was Kim trying to volunteer for the job on the free throws at the end?
COACH ANDERSON: Oh, yeah. He was sitting there and I always look at the bench, because J.T. was, I thought he was pretty hurt, being on the floor there. And Kim English, he just gave me that look, not only him, I thought Marcus was the same way. And sometimes you just have that feeling. And he went up because he shot the ball well.
I visited with our coaches and once they said it, I said, Okay, we'll put him in there and he goes in and he did what he did in the game. He had a phenomenal game today.
Q. All the talk about the free throws and everything, but you've talked about this team priding itself on the defense all year long. Can you talk about the shot clock violation and how big that possession was.
COACH ANDERSON: I thought it was huge. I thought that was huge in defending that so we had an opportunity to come back down and get a score.
I always talk about our defense. Especially going down to crunch time. I think it's important, it's very important for our guys to really step up to the plate and make plays.
I think the statement that Zaire made, we got to get some, we have been here before, for the most part he was saying it's time to buckle down and let's play defense how we're capable of playing it.
I thought that, well, in that game you could see they were attacking us, but they were really killing us on the second shots. I thought we didn't get back and get the rebounds. But the wear and tear was very evident in that game.
I thought a big play in this game was when McNeal goes to the free throw line and he misses one and he makes one, which ties it up. Now we got the ball going down the stretch. That's different than when you're tied up as opposed to one down.
And of course, J.T. was able to go ahead and make a play. And not only that we come back and we make a stop, but they have a traveling violation -- um, Leo goes to the free throw line, makes some free throws. So we did the things we needed to do to get the win.
Q. If you could take us through the situation on J.T.'s foul. Did he say he couldn't shoot them? Did you guys determine he was too hurt to shoot them? And then talk about putting him in, trying to put him in two seconds later and refs wouldn't let him in, take us through that.
COACH ANDERSON: It was obvious he was hurt. The guy laid there for a while. He was holding his hand the whole time. And so, you got to make a decision whether you're going to leave him out there to shoot the free throws or he's injured, and he was.
I asked him personally, Are you hurt? He said, Yeah, Coach, I'm hurt. And once he came over and sat down, okay, he is that kind of guy. Hey, Coach, I want to go back in. Of course, we tried it and it didn't work. But he was hurt.
Q. Could you describe the extent of his injury.
COACH ANDERSON: Pardon me?
Q. Can you describe his injury.
COACH ANDERSON: Well, if you watch him, he's been wearing a pad. And I thought that he got fouled pretty hard. I don't know if everybody was watching, he got fouled pretty hard. And he's already, I mean -- this has been going on all year long and it's one you just keep banging, banging on his wrist.
Q. Tell us what happened to his wrist during the course of the year. Was it a sprain or broken?
COACH ANDERSON: It was a bad sprain early in the year. So he's been playing injured. I mean, that's -- that tells you the makeup of this kid.
Q. Do you consider free throw percentage or anything like that when deciding who to put in? I guess Kim English has a lower free throw percentage than some of the other guys that you had available.
COACH ANDERSON: Well, I did. I had that thought. But I also had the instinct, the intuitiveness to say, Hey, this guy's been on a roll today. I think he's feeling it.
And last, we played on Friday, he made four in a row. So with freshmen you never know when he's hot -- when it's hot, it's hot.
Q. What was your read on the team with about a minute left? I don't know if it was exactly Zaire's words that brought them back, but did you feel like, as Leo was describing, that they were kind of drooping a little?
COACH ANDERSON: I thought they were a little. Well, you could say because they had a nice lead. But I told our guys that Marquette was going to make a great run and they did, they made a great run. And when you can knock free throws down like they can knock them down, you're going to always be a game and you got the guards that can attack.
But I did not see any panic in our guys. That's the key. They may have been tired, but they did not panic. So I saw that look I've been seeing all year long. It's kind of like, We have been here, done that. But it was great to hear somebody say it. Because it's not -- it was not only for those guys that were out on the floor, it was for the guys on the bench too and you can just see, it lifted up our guys.
Q. Talk about the play that you had to basically win the game with Tiller going down as a clear out. What did you see and why did you think that play would be successful?
COACH ANDERSON: I thought all during the game that J.T. was getting to the basket. He was getting to the basket and coming off there strong. And Leo presents a big, a tough matchup for a lot of people. So we wanted to isolate, we wanted to try to take the last shot, take as much time off the clock as we could.
And so you saw the isolation where J.T. came off the screen. And one thing about J.T., when he goes full speed, he's going to the rack. I thought he was going to make the shot, to tell you the truth. But it gave him an opportunity to make a play.
And that's what's the beauty of our basketball team. Leo makes plays going down the stretch, Matt Lawrence makes plays going down the stretch, Kim English making free throws, DeMarre Carroll makes big plays defensively. We come up with the basketball to keep -- to keep us in it.
So guys continue to make super plays for us going down the stretch and it was J.T.'s time. So I put him in that position and he made a play.
Q. Going back to English a little bit, I think at the end of the first half he had 28 points in his first 17 minutes of NCAA tournament play. Just talk about a freshman coming in and doing what he had done through that first game and a half of the NCAA tournament?
COACH ANDERSON: Maybe the tournament is his breakout. He's been playing -- he had some games where he played well. But I think that the thing I like about him, he's doing other things other than just shooting the basketball. But he's playing with a whole lot of confidence right now, and our guys know that.
Friday night he played, I thought he played really well. He had tonight in six minutes, this guy had 15 points. I always talk about quality minutes and I hear people talk about, you know, playing for Missouri you play 27 minutes, 24 minutes a game, 27 minutes, for us is the equivalent of 40 minutes for somebody else. There's quality minutes and there's quantity of minutes. A lot of people just like quantity of minutes. I like quality minutes.
You look at his stat line and this guy it's unbelievable what he did tonight, 17 points in 12 minutes.
Q. Obviously Kim English's going to be remembered for things he did well, or at least one of his shots. I saw you were yelling at him a little bit. Did you have to just talk to him about not trying to play over his head a little bit?
COACH ANDERSON: Every now and then I have to remind him of that. But I think that's the confidence of a guy that can score and shoot the basketball. He never thinks he's going to take a bad shot. He never does. And I always encourage our guys to take good shots.
Q. Can you talk about the specifics of the rule change that allowed you to put Kim in, how that works in the college rules.
COACH ANDERSON: The guy was -- J.T. was hurt. And so he was hurt in terms of not shooting the free throw, and so you are allowed to bring somebody else in to shoot the free throws. And of course, the rule is that when once he's out, got to stay out until play starts. That's the rule.
Q. Talk about Marquette's ability to get to the basket. Seemed look they scored most of their points either driving or at the free throw line and the challenge that they presented to you there.
COACH ANDERSON: They did. Dribble penetration is the hardest thing to cover and they not only did that to us, they have done that to a lot of teams. I thought going down the stretch we got out of position a lot. We wanted to pressure, but we didn't want to give them the lanes.
And I thought Matthews did a tremendous job of really starting to attack them. I thought that McNeal at times, he really did a good job of attacking us. But that's what they do. I think they have shot 200 more free throws than their opponents. So that's what they do.
Our defense did a good job. They shoot 38 percent, so only, without putting them on the line, I think it's a different ball game.
But you got to credit Marquette. That's what they do. They have been winning like that all year long. And I got to give a shout out to Dominic James. I mean, the courage that he has to come out and to try to play to help his team, and he almost pulled it off. I think just his presence there really helped energize them in the second half. And that tells you what kind of kid he is.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you, Coach. Congratulations.
End of FastScripts