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March 27, 2009

Jim Boeheim

Jonny Flynn

Andy Rautins


Oklahoma – 84
Syracuse - 71

THE MODERATOR: We've have the coach of Syracuse, Jim Boeheim, along with students Jonny Flynn and Andy Rautins. As procedure, we'll start with opening statements from coach and then take some questions for the student-athletes.
COACH JIM BOEHEIM: I thought Oklahoma played tremendous today. They were very good offensively in both halves.
I think the game hinged on, you know, we've been making shots for the last nine, ten games. We had really good looks in the first half when we went 0 for 10 from the three. I think that was -- we just got in a big hole we couldn't get ourselves out of. I think that was -- again, we got pretty good shots. We got good shots.
We got the shoots we've been trying to get and we have been getting and making. We just didn't make them in the first half and got into a big, big hole.
But, again, Oklahoma is a very, very good basketball team. When Griffin's healthy, they have been very difficult to beat.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Jonny and Andy.

Q. Jonny, they threw man at you, zone, trap. How hard was that to deal with on the offensive end with all the defenses they were throwing at you?
JONNY FLYNN: It was definitely a great coaching job to, you know, give us a different look every trip down.
Sometimes if you're pushing the ball and you don't know if they're in man or zone and just that split second, a couple seconds to think what defense they're in, they're already set up and keying to try to stop you.
Tonight Oklahoma just was a better team than us tonight. Blake Griffin as good as advertised, and Crocker came out there and had a tremendous shooting night. They deserved to win, and they were the better team tonight.

Q. Andy, could you talk about how Oklahoma was able to move the ball around the zone and get open shots.
ANDY RAUTINS: They were very efficient on offense tonight. You know, they were getting their shooters pretty good looks. You know, we hadn't been shooting well in this game. When he got good looks, he knocked them down and went 6 for 11.
Their entire group of guards were shooting well. They were getting Blake Griffin good looks from the high-low. They did a great job executing tonight.

Q. Jonny, can you talk about trying to take the charge there under the basket and just what kind of a toll that took on your body taking that collision.
JONNY FLYNN: Well, coach always tells us every day in practice a charge is a game-changing play, especially the situation you have Blake Griffin, and he had already had one foul. If you can get that second foul on him, momentum can swing, and you never know how the game can change.
I saw opportunity. I thought I was there. Obviously, I wasn't there. But a guy like that running you over is definitely going to hurt you.
And it hurt a bit, and my back is a bad bruise, but I saw an opportunity right there for a game-changing play, and I thought I got it. The official thought otherwise.

Q. Jonny, I know the game just ended, but everybody's going to ask you, have you thought about your future after this?
JONNY FLYNN: I love my teammates. I'm happy just being a student at Syracuse. That's all I got to say.

Q. Andy, could you talk about the first half on offense, shooting the open shots you got, and some of them that were contested.
ANDY RAUTINS: I mean, I feel largely to blame for this loss because, you know, as a shooter, that's my job. You know, I was getting the looks I wanted, but I just didn't knock them down.
Teammates did a good job of finding me, but shots just weren't going down. Had I shot better, maybe we would have been in the game.
You know, for a team like that to execute so well on offense, you have to take advantage of the opportunities you get. But, you know, they just weren't falling tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Jonny, Andy, thank you. We'll now take questions for Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim.

Q. Jim, I noticed you guys were back out on the floor after halftime with about 8:30 on the clock. Was that just getting out and shooting?
COACH JIM BOEHEIM: That's when we come back. That's when we come back, eight, nine, ten. Between eight and ten minutes usually.

Q. Jim, Tony Crocker had not been shooting it very well of late, but over the course of this season, he has been a good shooter. Were you concerned about him and Willie Warren and Austin coming into this game?
COACH JIM BOEHEIM: I'm concerned about all their guys. They're all good shooters. They all shoot over 35%. Four guys shoot over 35% from the three-point line.
So we knew that coming in. We played teams that are good shooting teams. We just played Arizona State. They're a very good shooting team.
They hurt us a little bit from the three-point line, more than we would have liked. Griffin got -- you know, we thought he'd get inside.
It's strictly looking at this game, it was our chance to win, it would have to be a good offensive game. We're not going to stop Oklahoma. We haven't stopped that many teams. Our defense has been a little better during this last ten-game stretch, but we have to be good on offense, and we weren't good on offense today.

Q. Any way to assess the season? You had said, of course, that the tournament is what matters. Getting to the Sweet 16 is pretty good accomplishment in my estimation. What's your view of what this team accomplished?
COACH JIM BOEHEIM: Well, I think that overall this team has played well. You know, we had a horrific stretch of games during the course of the year where we played -- we lost five games against teams that are still playing in this tournament -- Connecticut, at Pittsburgh, at Villanova, Louisville and Villanova at home.
We lost five games, and that could knock anybody out of the box. And our team did not let that happen. They were able to get through that and finish the year and win four games in the conference and then go to New York and play very well, get some momentum going for this tournament. And then play well in the first two games in this tournament.
And so if I look at the entire year, it's always hard to do that right now. But if you look at the entire year, you know, we were picked eighth or ninth in our league. We weren't in the top 25 preseason. Three weeks ago we weren't in the top 25 in the country. So you just have to let the facts speak for themselves, where we are now and what we've done, what these guys have accomplished.
We don't have the senior in the starting lineup. We've got two guys that didn't play last year, Eric and Andy, and we're in, obviously, the toughest league in the country, and we survived it.
We come in this tournament, and we played well. You know, we have to make shots to win and when we were 0 for 10 the first half, we were pretty much in a lot -- we were in a lot of trouble.

Q. Now that you've had a chance to play against Blake Griffin, what makes him so special?
COACH JIM BOEHEIM: He's a great inside player. He's as good in around the basket as anybody.
He's patient. He takes his time in there. He's obviously a very good rebounder, but he's just very strong around the basket. He's as good around the basket as anybody that I've seen.
You know, he's very strong, very physical. He's got a good feel for the game under there. He's a good passer.
You know, he was going to get 25, 30 points. That never was an issue. You know, we're not -- you know, he obviously played well, but in the neighborhood. We didn't do a good job obviously on Crocker, as good as we needed to do.
But I thought the game in reality, it wasn't even that. There were three loose ball plays in the first half that we had the ball and lost the ball under our basket, and they scored eight points off those three plays.
So besides the shooting factor, those three plays were -- we really played pretty good defensively the first half. We really were pretty active, and we forced them into some things. We got some turnovers. And we got it and turned it right back over to them under our basket three times.
And it was, I think, two three-point plays and a layup. That was eight points. And that was, along with the shooting, really the difference in the first half. In the game. That was it.
The second half, we got our offense going a little bit, obviously, we scored. But we just dug too big a hole. And, again, Oklahoma is a very, very good team.

Q. Jim, Jonny talked about that charge block call on the Blake Griffin play as a potential game-changer. Did you have the same feeling as that play was taking place?
COACH JIM BOEHEIM: It's a close play. I can't -- it was just a close play. It could go either way. It's all the other plays that were really the factor. That was one play.

Q. Coach, what would be your advice to Jonny? I know we're a little ahead of that. But in terms of going or staying?
COACH JIM BOEHEIM: First of all, we're done with the season. We don't talk about it during the season. We'll look at it, and he'll decide what he thinks he should do. We'll get an evaluation of where he goes, which you can never get. They told Dante Green he'd be in the top ten, and he went 28th.
You can talk about it all you want. You can get as much information as you want, and you can never know unless a kid's a top five pick. He can go anywhere.
He'll have to decide what's best for him. You know, you just -- he's -- you know, if you talk to -- look at these things that people say, he's 25th, he's 15th, he's 30th, he's 10th. They don't know. They haven't even started to evaluate players yet. So there's no way of knowing what's going to happen in the draft.
Anybody that would ask him right now what he's doing is an idiot. Not a journalist. He's an absolute idiot. But that's okay. There are some players and coaches that are idiots too.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.

End of FastScripts

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