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NCAA MEN'S 1ST & 2ND ROUNDS: JACKSONVILLE


March 19, 2010


Louis Dale

Steve Donahue

Jeff Foote

Ryan Wittman


JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA

Cornell 78
Temple - 65


THE MODERATOR: Coach, if you could give us an opening statement about the game and we'll take some questions for your guys.
COACH DONAHUE: Well, I thought from the start we were really focused. I thought we did everything you need to do against a very good defensive team. I thought we really just -- little things like catching a ball strong and swinging it and making extra passes, and I thought Temple did a good job at stretches of making us take it to the basket.
If you see, we didn't really assist on a lot of baskets, but I give our guys credit. They got physical with us, and I thought in particular these three guys up here did a great job of really making plays that Temple forced you to make.

Q. This question is for Louis. Could you just talk about your assessment of your team's play today and what you think this might do nationally for the credibility of Ivy League basketball and Cornell?
LOUIS DALE: Yeah, just going into the game, I think our mentality was we wanted to be the toughest team. We just wanted to -- we knew that it was going to be a hard-fought game, and that we just needed to stay poised and be tough. You know, we were able to do that today and get a win.
And as far as the Ivy League, I think it's great for our league. You know, just the national attention. Our league is a good league. It was hard for us to win. Princeton is a good team, Harvard is good, and I think it's just great for our league in general.

Q. Any of you guys but especially Louis, did anything from the prior two NCAA games stick in your craw because you guys were probably better than you showed in those two games, and did that in any way transfer toward this game?
LOUIS DALE: Well, I think coming into the game, we were pretty loose. We got out on the court, and they wouldn't let us touch the balls, and so we were just having fun with it. We had fake lay-up lines with no balls. So I think we were really just ready to go as far as being loose for the game.
We've been here before, and I think that was the key for our success, or one of them at least.

Q. Why that attitude?
LOUIS DALE: I think it starts with us just being best friends. We all like to have fun. Even though we got the NCAA game, it's just another game. We're going to go out and play hard and have fun. That's the most important thing.

Q. Ryan, those three threes you hit there in the second half really blew it open. Were you just feeling it at that point? You guys kind of struggled in the first half from three-point range.
RYAN WITTMAN: Yeah, I just kind of got in a rhythm for a few possessions there. I've got to give credit to my teammates to set great screens to get me open. I'm not really sure if that blew the game open because we weren't really getting many stops on the other end. I think that only maintained an eight- or ten-point lead.
I think what blew the game only was when we started getting stops and then we started getting scores at the same time. So I think that was probably the most important part of the game.

Q. I guess I'll give it to Jeff. Talk about kind of how you guys dominated this game and how that might give you confidence going forward in the next round and hopefully for you guys the rounds after that.
JEFF FOOTE: Well, we were just real confident in ourselves. We had been here twice before, and we knew our offense and we knew that we could win this game. When Louis and Ryan are doing their thing like tonight, we're a real tough team to stop. It was just tremendous confidence in all of us, and we were just ready to play.

Q. Ryan, did Steve ask you to look for your shot a little bit more in the second half? It seemed like you were catching and releasing a little bit faster than maybe in the first.
RYAN WITTMAN: No, not really. I mean, we kind of thought coming into the game that they were going to be really aggressive on the three-point line. You know, I think as the game kind of wore on, all our shooters kind of found a little more daylight. It just so happened during that stretch that -- I don't know if it was them relaxing or us setting great screens, but it just seemed that I had more daylight. It wasn't that coach was telling me to be more aggressive or anything. I was just trying to take what the defense gave me.

Q. Jeff, at the end of the game when Ryan is shooting the free throws and you and Louis and John are at mid-court, can you kind of describe that feeling? Was it relief, joy, what you all were experiencing in that moment?
JEFF FOOTE: I think we were all just enjoying the moment a lot. We're all seniors so this is our last chance to do it. If you don't enjoy it, then it's not worth doing. We all had a lot of fun out there. It was nice to see our hard work of four years pay off, and we were just pretty excited.

Q. You guys are familiar with Wisconsin? Do you think you play a very similar type of style?
RYAN WITTMAN: I haven't seen them play all that much this year. I think maybe just caught like one five-minute stretch of one of their games, so I'm not really sure I'm all too familiar with them.

Q. This is for either Louis or Ryan. You guys were very aggressive defensively on the perimeter. Did you see anything in tape that led you to believe that that would work, that maybe their ball handling wasn't a way that they could fight that off?
RYAN WITTMAN: Yeah, I think when we're playing good defense, we're playing aggressively. You know, I think when we struggle on the defensive end, it's because we're too passive.
But in terms of getting on their guards and being aggressive, if you let guys like Fernandez feel comfortable, they're extremely good, not only making plays for themselves but making plays for others. I think it was just a matter of trying to make them feel uncomfortable.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, thank you very much. We'll get to coach's questions now.

Q. Much was made about how you and Fran were very familiar with each other. It seemed like you guys had a very good plan of attack going after them. You guys shot lights out from the floor, which is pretty remarkable considering how they play defense. Was there something you guys knew or talked about in practice as far as attacking that defense?
COACH DONAHUE: You know what, we're a very good experienced passing team, and I sensed that in the A 10 they haven't seen many teams like us that would maybe take advantage if you go under a ball screen or a triple handoff. So if you saw that Louis Dale has a couple threes they went under. Ryan gets a couple what we call euros, a little kickback action, and they get away with that in their league. That's not saying they're not good, but their plan of attack -- I thought with our plan of attack that we could get 20 to 25 decent looks from three because I think they've gotten away with it in their league. Great defensive team.
I obviously can't say enough about Fran Dunphy. He beat me 12 straight times when he was the head coach at Penn. I've never beaten him until now, and he says the same thing after every game, and he's such a darned good coach. I am torn right now with that feeling in my stomach. I just respect the heck out of him.

Q. One of your players just spoke about the defense today. I thought that was key early in the game as the game unfolded in the first half, the way you all were defending Temple. I just wanted you to speak to that.
COACH DONAHUE: Well, if you saw, we mixed up some one three one and we trapped hard on it. They did well with that. We went back to the two three zone. I thought we were aggressive on handoffs. We didn't really take advantage of that. I thought it put them out of their kilter a little bit. In particular the kid Eric I thought was out of sorts a little bit, and they thought they went small which that helps us in some ways. We mixed up the defenses and the guys did a great job. There was great energy.
We have three kids that come off the bench who I thought, you're not going to look at this sheet and see what they did, but Reeves, Wire and Coury all bring great energy, save us minutes on the defensive end, so these three guys who get all the ink can play offense, and I thought they did a great job.

Q. It seemed like especially in the one three one that guys got their hands on an awful lot of stuff. Does Foote have a lot to do with it, the length that you have?
COACH DONAHUE: I agree, we could never play one three one if we didn't have a kid like that. He takes care of all the middle. We ran it last weekend in our league at Brown and at Yale and it won us a couple games, and at this point in the season you just flow with it. We haven't run it much. It's in the bag, but it's like a bad 2-iron that you never want to hit, but sometimes it works.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you very much. Congratulations.

End of FastScripts




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