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March 4, 2010

Carlton Fay

John Freeman

Chris Lowery


Drake – 63
Southern Illinois - 61

THE MODERATOR: Coach Lowery will start with a statement on the game, and we'll go to questions for the two student-athletes, John Freeman and Carlton Fay, and come back to the Coach.
COACH LOWERY: You have to give them credit because Josh Hill hit a tough shot to win it. And Lee missed the dunk, and the lay-up, and that's the game. We miss either one of those, and we get the 12 points.
We seem to find ways to shoot ourselves in the foot. We can't have missed free throws from on our guard spot. Those are the ones we value. We know he has to make up for him, and we didn't make enough free throws and we didn't guard them in the clutch. Obviously Wedel got going, and Josh Young hit the two last big ones.

Q. Carlton, can you talk about the 10-point lead at 8 minutes to go? Did you feel that was a chance to break the game open at that point?
CARLTON FAY: Yeah, when we got up, we felt pretty good about ourselves. I think we just felt like if we continued to do what we were doing we'd put the game away, but we missed some shots that probably could have won the game for us. But we put the pressure on them, and we just weren't able to do it.

Q. Can you talk about some pretty tough putbacks today, and tough rebounds. How did you kind of step it up today?
JOHN FREEMAN: There was one thing coach told me when we he played Drake was it's a zone. So it's a lot of open spaces to create rebounds. And I kind of see where the shot's coming off at and be there and get an extra possession. So that was the only thing coach preached to me about.

Q. You were leading by 10, and you missed the dunk. Can you talk about what happened on that play?
JOHN FREEMAN: I don't know. I went up and it was kind of like my legs left me a little bit. Should have went up with two hands, but I didn't have the legs to finish it off. That was a big play for us. That would have put the pressure on them a lot.
You know, he came back and I think we missed another lay-up. We just have to finish plays off and deliver the knockout punch to finish teams off.

Q. I know a lot of these close losses have been devastating for you guys. What do you sort of attribute that to as far as the entire season goes?
CARLTON FAY: Just I mean there's no one thing I think that you can say that we do. Just being able to make plays and finish the game off and have that killer instinct, you know, where we're up 5-10 with 4 or 5:00 minutes left. And just being able to say, you know, being able to look at each other and say we can win this game because we have players to make plays. We have the players, we just weren't able to make the plays this year.

Q. What will you take from this season as far as what kind of expectations you have from the beginning?
CARLTON FAY: It's no secret. We thought this year we had all the right pieces to have a successful year. And somewhere throughout the year whether we lost confidence in each other, we just weren't able to get the wins when we needed to.
Coming here Coach always said third season we felt like we could put all the pieces together and win throughout the year. And it didn't happen. Now looking towards next year we know it's going to come down to finishing off games for us to be successful.
JOHN FREEMAN: Carlton's right. We had the year delivering the knockout punch and putting the games away. Now we have to come back and be hungry and deal with the same thing happening next year.

Q. You've gone against Josh Young several times and you've seen it before. Is there anything you can prepare for that? Or was it a moment where your team takes over.
COACH LOWERY: It was not a wide open -- it was going left, and he shot it across his body right, and that was what you want your seniors to do. Their senior delivered, and that's what it's about. You know, he's a good player, there is a reason why he scored that many points for Drake. He's a good player.

Q. There were like over a two-minute span you missed four shots at the rim. As a coach is there a sense of foreboding like here we go again? What was going through your mind at that point?
COACH LOWERY: Nothing, I was trying to keep them locked in and not worry about what just happened. We missed some point-blank plays. And there's nothing -- it didn't go our way. But you've got to give them credit for fighting us. You go up ten, and you have two great passes where you should go and finish and we don't.
Like I told them 15 times that I've taken the blame for not getting us ready, and it's my fault for not getting these guys ready to finish. Not getting them ready to finish games off. I'm big enough to accept that fact.
15-15 is not what we want. We did not want to play on Thursday. We did not want to be going home on Thursday. That is not what we're about; that is not what I'm about. Now we have an opportunity for some guys to grow up and step up and become men.

Q. You guys were up 11, then later in the second half you were up by 10. The lead kept falling apart. What do you contribute that to? What happened?
COACH LOWERY: You miss lay-ups. You miss lay-ups every time. You miss point-blank dunks, those are plays that as a player you see a guy go up as a player and you rest. And you miss him in transition defense. You're thinking they have time to take it out. Back-to-back plays and missed lay-ups and you think you're going to finish them. You miss point blank like in the second half.
The first half we shot bad threes. We shot back-to-back really bad rushed threes, and that's how they got back. It's just about poise and composure. We only show it. Hate to say it, but we've been a front-running team. When things go good for us, we're good. When things go bad, we run and hide.

Q. Coach, over the course of the season it seems your rebounding has improved. Do you think you're going to take positives from this when and the fact that you were leading in the first half by almost double the rebound?
COACH LOWERY: A big part of it was Gene. Gene's gotten better that's why we've become a better rebounding team. That's why he's up upset. He missed five free throws and he knows it he feels it's his fault. We put a lot of pressure on him to do a lot of stuff. But the other guys have to make free throws for us to be successful. Especially when he's getting fouled like he was.

Q. When he was able to tie the game up late, and obviously closing out games and the team struggled this year, did you have a feeling finally this was going to go our way?
COACH LOWERY: I thought we were going to stop him. That wasn't a great shot he shot. That was a very, very tough shot. We went small and switched. And John Freeman was going. He had to switch over five guys, too. It was a tough, tough shot. He puts it in and I thought we were going to have a chance.
We run home run and didn't get in the spot for our screen on the ball. It got tipped in the end. But Gene was behind the play. He might have caught it and finished it.
So, you know, again, it's the little things that have clipped us all year. It's the attention to detail stuff that's clipped us all year. When it's time to fight, not fight. Like I said, that's on me. We have to get those guys ready for next year.

Q. Next year, this year didn't meet expectations, and how confident are you that everybody will be back and you can build on this next year?
COACH LOWERY: We're expecting it to move forward. The biggest thing for us is not about who is leaving. That's not important because the guys who want to be here will be here. The guys that are in that locker room are committed to winning. They're committed to doing things right. We've just got to make sure as a staff that we push them in the right direction.
That's been part of why we've been good. We've been able to coach kids above their level. We couldn't get these guys above their level and that's why we're even. It's a challenge for me and a challenge for our staff to get these guys above their level and get these guys to play harder than what they did this year.

Q. Your best teams have had some great seniors and the potential to have pretty good seniors next year?
COACH LOWERY: Right, Carlton will be a senior, John will be a senior, and Jack will be a senior. John has really gotten better as the season progressed. He's your typical Juke, he's they usually struggle early, and finish off late and have a comfort level going into their senior year.
He's had some good games in February to let us know he could play at a high level.

End of FastScripts

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