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March 18, 2010

Johnny Jones

George Odufuwa

Tristan Thompson

Josh White


Kansas State – 82
North Texas - 62

THE MODERATOR: We'll begin with a statement from Coach Jones and then questions for the student-athletes.
COACH JONES: First of all, I'd like to commend Kansas State for a great job today. I thought they played a tremendous basketball game for a full 40 minutes. They're an excellent team. They have great guard play, post guys are extremely solid. Defensively and offensively I thought they were hitting on the cylinders necessary to be victorious today.
And with that being said, I'd like to really commend our young men, our basketball team, for the type of season that they've had and really commend them for the effort that they put forth today against a great basketball team. I thought they came out and played a valiant effort. Extremely hard in the first half.
Unfortunately, a couple our post guys got in foul trouble there in the first half, had to take them out. I thought Kansas State got a little cushion, made a little run, and we couldn't recover from that run that they had there in the first half. But, at the same time, I thought they played every second, every play until the final horn and I'm really proud of them because of that.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach. Questions for the student-athletes from North Texas.

Q. Tristan, overall you guys had a tough day offensively. Was it something they were doing defensively or you guys not shoot the ball particularly well as a team today?
TRISTAN THOMPSON: I think it was a combination of both. They're very fast, very physical. You know, their guards face-guarded us, and they just did a good job of denying us the ball. We didn't work good enough getting open, so that was on us. So I think it was a combination of both.

Q. Josh, what were some of the problems they presented to you out there today? I knew you were one for ten from the field numbers.
JOSH WHITE: They're a very long team. They're a very physical team. You know, you get to the basket, then you got another man coming that's really long and athletic. It can really affect your shot. I think that affected us on the offensive end. That puts a lot of pressure on the opponent. It's real tough for you to score.
THE MODERATOR: More questions for North Texas student-athletes?

Q. Josh, did you feel like that was part of the game plan, just to try to take you out of the game offensively?
JOSH WHITE: I mean, it could have been. I don't know what their game plan was. They did a real good job on me. Like I said, they're a real long team. They got out to my shots when I was open. I didn't get many open looks, but they're a great basketball team. What can you say? They're No. 7 in the country. They played great today and did a good job defensively on us.

Q. George, you guys only had about three guys that were effective today offensively. Was it just more from a lot of different sources today to be able to stay up with Kansas State?
GEORGE ODUFUWA: Like they said, I mean, they played real aggressive on defense and made things tough for us. I don't know if that's the case or not. Credit Kansas State, they played great on defense.

Q. What about the early run? You scored 8 straight points right off the bat. Were you guys trying to get inside, and what happened early in the game to kind of get you going?
GEORGE ODUFUWA: Just the flow of the game, made a couple shots. I mean, just playing the game, made a couple shots. I won't say it's a run, but --
THE MODERATOR: Do we have any final questions for UNT student athletes? Okay, guys, thank you.
Questions for Coach Jones.

Q. Johnny, you guys got within 15 with about five and a half minutes to go. They scored 6 points in one minute. This just shows how quick they are on offense?
COACH JONES: I think that shows the type of basketball team they have. They really turned it on. They got a steal, I think, and got a couple fast-break opportunities and finished with good strong dunks. I think this was right after a timeout as well. I thought we were right back in striking distance. I thought we needed to win the next two, three-minute stretch, and they came out and executed and did what they needed to, to run it right back to 20, if I'm not mistaken. But I just think that's a sign of really a good basketball team that was poised. We made our run, and they challenged the energy the right way and made the plays they needed to.

Q. Coach, tough day offensively. You guys had been scoring the ball a lot better. What did they do to maybe slow you down a little bit there?
COACH JONES: One, they took Eric and George out of the game in the first half, not they, but George and Eric picked up two fouls. Then we were really had to concentrate on our perimeter scoring, and I think they're very quick, they're very fast. They challenged the shots on the 3-point line.
When they challenge you out there and force you to drive, they have guys come from weak sides and they're excellent in terms of being shot blockers or challenging the shot to make you alter your shot, which makes it a lower percentage shot. You have to credit them for the ability to defend up here and there. They don't allow you to run your offense in the comfort area. They push you off your spots. They're a very good defensive basketball team.

Q. Coach, typically in the tournament, one great guard can take you a long way. How difficult is it to prepare for two like they have in Pullen and Clemente?
COACH JONES: It's extremely tough because a lot of people, I think they've tried the triangle and triangle and 2 and try to mix the defense to slow them down. We were able to do that for a little bit and throw them out of rhythm.
They're great in terms of making necessary adjustments out there on the floor and getting to the gaps and making plays and finding open people, but when you have that 1-2 punch like Kansas State does and when those guys are shooting it like they are, they're very dangerous basketball, and their post guys were adequate enough inside to score to keep the balance going as well. They're a tough team.

Q. Josh had a rough night just in general. What were they able to do to take him out? How much did that affect you guys offensively?
COACH JONES: We count on Josh a lot. He's our leading scorer on the basketball team, averaging about 14 points a game. I thought he had about three, four really good looks from the perimeter tonight, and unfortunately they didn't go down.
I thought they made it very difficult on him. They ran people at him every time he was open, they tried to double him, tried to face guard him at times, and when he drove to the basket, they had people waiting at the rim for him, and I think he wound up getting one layup and that was even challenged. Both of them were on the floor after the shot. So they -- I thought they paid a great deal of attention to him today, and I thought part of the game plan with was to take Tristan and he away from us. Tristan did an excellent job of coming up big.

Q. Did he, Tristan, kind of take it upon himself there?
COACH JONES: He got a lot of open looks. We ran some staggers and screens. He made a couple plays on the break, and then I thought he just made some incredible individual plays as well. So I thought he had his offensive game really going today.

Q. You just need a couple -- needed a couple other options there, you think?
COACH JONES: We needed more than a couple, because I'll tell you, they were excellent offensively, and I thought they had to pull it back a little bit in the second half. They slowed it down a little bit, trying to work the clock and utilizing good clock management and not trying to attempt early shots in the clock like they had early.
So we just needed to -- probably were hopeful in the second half when they had both our post guys back in that we could play the 4 minute segments and hopefully make a run and cut into their lead. And we weren't able to do that and maintain it for over a period of time.

Q. You guys don't see that style very often in your conference. Was it a little bit more physical today for you?
COACH JONES: Our guys, they like that, they like the physical style of play. After the first timeout, I told them they're going to let you guys play today. The post guys like it. Unfortunately, we got whistled for some fouls there early on. But, no, I don't think you see that kind of physical play in any league -- they have a lot of guys that they can go to. It's a very physical and tough basketball game, but that's what it's all about.
I think when you get to this point, they allow you to play a little bit. It didn't affect us in the way we're going to backup. I thought our defense tried to stay in there and fight with them.

Q. For your program, how do you build on this going into next season?
COACH JONES: We have to make sure we're able to go out and identify. We only have two scholarships available. The only starter we're losing is Eric Tramiel. We have to try to find someone out there that's going to compliment what he brings to the team. He's a true warrior, great leader, and had that sense of toughness about him and played with a sense of urgency. And we've got to find somebody to fill that void, and I don't think one person can do it. There are several guys have to step up, but I think with the guys we have coming back from injuries last year that weren't here this year, we had a starting guard that sit out the -- well, broke his foot in the fifth game of the year, sit out the rest of the year. We'll have them back. And another young man who had shoulder surgery prior to the season starting, and we look forward to those guys being back in the lineup with this experienced team next year.
THE MODERATOR: Any final questions? Thank you, Coach.
COACH JONES: Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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