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March 18, 2010

B.J. Jenkins

Bill Kennedy

Isacc Miles

Danero Thomas


Murray State – 65
Vanderbilt - 64

ROGER ROSS: We would like to welcome student athletes, B.J. Jenkins, Isacc Miles, Danero Thomas and Coach Kennedy. We will open up for a comment by Coach Bill Kennedy and then open it up for questions for the student athletes.
COACH KENNEDY: Like I told the guys, let the madness begin. Our guys did a great job executing a game plan against a very good Vanderbilt team and down the stretch we got a good look for B.J. Jenkins in transition, and we had one time-out left and it was a miracle play. It was something I drew up at the end of the game. Something we've never done before, and Isacc Miles made with the right play and fortunately, Danero Thomas made a shot.
ROGER ROSS: Questions for the student athletes.

Q. Danero, what's it feel like to hit the biggest shot in school history?
DANERO THOMAS: It's great, but Isacc Miles found me and I put it in the hole.

Q. A lot of talk going into the game about the balance on Murray State, but in the first half it looked like you were looking for your shot quite a bit and when you didn't you were creating off the penetration. Was that a conscious thing for you at that point to take over the game, or is that how the game came to you?
B.J. JENKINS: I would say how the game came to me but I came into this game more focused on getting everybody involved and penetrating. I've been settling for three's a lot in the last couple games of the season. So I came in focused on driving to the hole and creating.

Q. I saw after the winning shot you made a beeline for the dog pile and be the to dig up old wounds, but there was any thought of sitting out the celebration given how things went when you guys were cutting down the conference nets?
B.J. JENKINS: I was in that celebration.

Q. I know you were, but tongue in cheek thinking about trying to avoid an injury in that dog pile?
B.J. JENKINS: No, I had to get in that.
COACH KENNEDY: I will second that he probably shouldn't have jumped in that pile, that's a good one.

Q. Danero, is that your shot is that the spot where you make that shot?
DANERO THOMAS: I work on it every day in practice. I got good mid range. I saw that one going in.

Q. How many times do you take that shot in pro?
DANERO THOMAS: I probably shoot 200 to 300 shots a day before practice.

Q. You guys are from Bill Kennedy, the place that loves its basketball and certainly has a school that has a lot of attention there. How does it feel to step up and beat an SEC school, one that's kind of in your region, gets a lot of attention as well?
ISACC MILES: Like you said, we from Kentucky and Vanderbilt is in Tennessee, so it's an hour and a half but this time in March anybody can win. So I mean it's no seeds, a lot of upsets, they're a good team but like Coach said we've been working all year to get to this level, so it's time to place it upping and.

Q. Isacc, what was the feeling in the huddle right before the shot? What was said, what was the emotions? Were you guys calm, nervous?
ISACC MILES: I wouldn't say nervous. I was mad at myself because I turned it over and Coach always said he would put the ball in my hands, and I had faith in God. I knew we was going to make the shot at the last minute. We got four buzzer beaters, this year, B.J., me, Danero and Isaiah. It's on the defensive end, give all the credit to Danero. He knocked the big shot down.

Q. B.J., when Tony fouled out he picked you to give that message to, what was he telling you what he was heading back to the bench?
B.J. JENKINS: I was telling him I wasn't going to let his season end and he was going to have another game to make up for this fall-out and Nero came through.

Q. For any of you, was the play drawn up for Danero? Was it whoever has the shot take the shot?
DANERO THOMAS: We got a team full of scorers, so anybody could have took that shot and made it. We believe in each other, so if I wouldn't have made it, B.J. or Isacc probably would have made it, so it really didn't matter.

Q. And Isacc, you made the pass, time was running down was it difficult not to take that shot and to give it up? Did you feel like --
ISACC MILES: No, I felt like -- I'm a point guard and I make plays and Nero and B.J. We knock those shots against each other every day in practice. So as soon as I passed it I knew it was going in, I said, "knock it down, Nero" and he knocked it down. But we do this all day in practice. Coach just believed in us and let us play and it came down to it we made a huge shot.

Q. Danero, does this shot today make up for the shooting slumps last year, the frustrating games this year?
DANERO THOMAS: Definitely, because we've been in a slot in and out of the season and that shot is special for me. It's Tournament time. It's "big time" it's special to me.

Q. And have you guys thought anything about this being the best team in Murray State history?
ISACC MILES: No, I think we got a lot of great teams at Murray State, but we've got to keep winning and we let all the people and everybody else decide. We just trying to win every game in March Madness and trying to set records and just win, really. This time right now is all about winin'.

Q. Guys, for any of you, do you know when was the last time Murray State won an NCAA game?
B.J. JENKINS: 1988 when I was born, 22 years ago.

Q. Do you think this might have put Murray State on the NCAA college basketball map?
B.J. JENKINS: I think Murray State has been on the basketball map. We have a great tradition. We have numerous winning seasons. ESPN rated us top-30-all-time program. We are just trying to continue the tradition and make a name for ourselves.

Q. Coach, a lot of talk about your scoring balance coming into this game, does that give you an advantage in the waning moments of the game when you need a key shot and the opponent has no clue who might be taking it? What's your thought process on drawing up a play at the end?
COACH KENNEDY: As a coach it's a difficult thing because I believe in about four or five of 'em in that situation, so it just goes by what the feel is. The play we ran for B.J. after B.O. made the two free-throws, was a great play and we got him a great look at the 3 and fortunately we got the loose ball and took it out and with 4 seconds left. I wanted to put it in Isacc Miles hand because I didn't want somebody to catch it and make a quick shot. I wanted him to put it on the floor and he made a great play. It's difficult in special situations you've got to go for a feeling and I just believed that was a blessing. That's how I look at it.
It wasn't any play that we've run before. It's not a play that we've worked on. Vanderbilt is very tough to get the ball in bounds underneath out-of-bounds plays, and that's why we had Jeffery McClain take it out because I was worried about a big guy not being on the ball, and I wanted Jeff to be able to see court. It just worked. It's a miracle play. It worked out.

Q. Danero, when you get the ball in your hands are you counting that clock down to the final second? Because when you're going there I think people were wondering whether you were going to get the shot off.
DANERO THOMAS: Before we left the huddle I saw Coach say we had enough time to put at least 2 dribbles on the floor.

Q. Does this feel like a big upset for you guys?
DANERO THOMAS: It's just the next game, we just trying to keep on winin'.
ROGER ROSS: Thank you, gentlemen. We'll excuse you and open it up to Coach for questions.

Q. Billy, why would you draw up a play you'd never used before in that situation?
COACH KENNEDY: Because in that -- Vanderbilt. Underneath out-of-bounds they do some things different than most teams in the country, they put a big guy on the ball and they go 1-3-1. They go two or three different defenses on underneath out-of-bounds, and in that situation I was concerned about somebody being able to see and make the pass to hit the open guy. We would get somebody open but making the pass of the critical thing getting it inbounds and that's something that --

Q. So were there options, then?
COACH KENNEDY: We had Isacc coming off a double screen and everybody was supposed to space out and that's pretty much what happened. Isacc came off a screen, caught it in the corner, and Danero spaced out like he was supposed to and I wanted Isacc to make the play because he's good off the dribble.

Q. Coach, who normally would have inbounded the ball during that sequence? Would it have been Isacc Miles?
COACH KENNEDY: B.J. or Isaiah and we wanted B.J. to be able to score, the four guys that were in a position to catch and score were the four best scorers we have, those are the four double digit guys so we wanted to make sure they got a look.

Q. And also, Coach, Murray State has brought a lot of good teams into the Tournament, some of played with teams but haven't been able to beat them. What do you think was the difference with your team today to kind of get that break-through?
COACH KENNEDY: Our guys have won all year, and they think they're going to win when they step on the floor. I don't care who we play against, they believe they're going to win, and they've gotten me to believe that. I look at Vanderbilt and I thought it was a tough match-up for us, just their size and physicalness and fortunately we got them in foul trouble.
But we got in foul trouble and we had incredible help from our bench we had a couple of freshman step up, Ed Daniel was a threat. He had his best game of the year. So we had a lot of things go well off our bench that helped us win.

Q. You talked about having to play your best basketball today. Can you play better basketball?
COACH KENNEDY: I hope so. You know, I thought we played really good defensively, our game plan executed and it worked. We backed off with the Walker kid and helped in the post and it just happened to work. Jenkins got free some in the second half and made some big shots for them, and they're a very good team. They can say -- it was an upset. But we got a good team. So they're a very good team.

Q. It seems like you guys have been good in late game situations, then you had the confidence in your kids to give them a play they hadn't practiced before, is there a certain mentality among the particular guys you have that has made you guys so good?
COACH KENNEDY: Just we've got good toughness and good character and when you got guys that listen who are unselfish and have character special things happen and that's why we had a special season. It wasn't the coach drawing up a good play. It worked. But it was more the character of our guys, the toughness of our team and the unselfishness and when you but those ingredients together special things happen and that's why we're having a special season.

Q. Coach, can you talk about what it means to get this win for this program?
COACH KENNEDY: I'm kind of like there goes the next game. I don't think that far ahead. From that standpoint our whole game plan was about beating Vanderbilt. What do we have to do to give ourselves the best chance to win. It was to rebound, defend A.J. Ogilvy, and we made some shots. We shot the ball well from the perimeter better than we have in a while.
ROGER ROSS: Thank you for your time, Coach.

End of FastScripts

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