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March 19, 2010

Mike Anderson

Kim English

Keith Ramsey

J.T. Tiller


Missouri - 86
Clemson - 78

THE MODERATOR: Joined now by the Missouri Tigers. Head Coach Mike Anderson, closest to me; the far end, J.T. Tiller. Next to him, Keith Ramsey who had a career-high 21 points. Next to him Kim English. A couple of notes before we get started. Missouri is now 34-1 when having 20 or more assists in a game under Coach Anderson which they did today. Obviously on to the second round this year after reaching the Elite Eight last year. With that being said, turn it over to coach for an opening statement. Then we'll take questions for the student athletes after that.
MIKE ANDERSON: Well, we want to take our hats off to our guys. Our guys really, really stepped it up today. We talked about, you know, having the focus, especially defensively coming out with energy. And I thought they brought that. And I thought the game was very in a rhythm for our basketball team. Clemson, outstanding guard play of Trevor Booker. I thought we did a great job on it.
The game was tied at the half. I thought we had the rhythm going the way we wanted to. I thought in the second half we really came out and turned up the intensity.
Our bench, which I always say is the strongest component to our basketball team, and we have guys now that are on our bench in the starting lineup, still yet today I thought that was the biggest difference in the game. Guys coming in and giving us great minutes; Steve Moore, Miguel Paul, Marcus Denmon.
These guys to my right, I thought they showed the leadership early on. Didn't get rattled. And they did what they had to do to win the game. That first game you always wonder how your kids are going to come out. I thought our guys came out and really took it defensively to Clemson.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach. At this time we'll take questions for Keith, Kim and J.T.

Q. Kim, can you talk about what Coach said? You were in a tie game at halftime. I did see you guys took the game to another level they couldn't match.
KIM ENGLISH: He just emphasized that we're a second half team, that the first five minutes would be key. He said this is a game of runs and we just wanted to go on our run the longest. And it will start defensively and not just become a half-court team. Just stay on the attack full throttle for the 40 minutes. But at that time it was just for the last 20.

Q. For J.T. and Kim. Can you guys each comment on the usefulness perhaps of the Nebraska loss, the shock value? And also can you each comment on Keith's play today?
J.T. TILLER: The Nebraska loss has really put us in -- I think it really got us back to the right mindset, what we need to be doing if we want to be successful for the rest of the season. We used that as motivation last week in practice. And we just knew what we had to do to come into this game today, really just play our game if we wanted to get the win.
KIM ENGLISH: And not only the Nebraska loss, the Kansas loss right before that. So we still had a bad taste in our mouth. So we just had to just come out with the same feeling we felt after the Nebraska game and know that we didn't want that same locker room after this game. And Keith played huge. 20 points. It feels like he had a triple-double. But he played huge. Coach said he was going to cut back on his minutes. (Laughter) I don't think he did. He's going to sleep good tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Anything to add to that or say to your coach?
J.T. TILLER: Nothing to Coach. Keith is on it. He played 34 minutes. He really put his stamp on the game. Really every minute that he played. Just being able to guard one of the best players in the ACC and hold him to 11 points, that says something about his effort. That says something about his pride, his integrity and his character.

Q. Keith, you had four assists too, I believe. And there were a lot of balls going over the top. You guys were not cautious; was that by design as well?
KEITH RAMSEY: No, Coach told us to go out there and play loose. That's what we're going to do.

Q. Keith, did Coach threaten your minutes?
KEITH RAMSEY: I mean, Coach say a lot of things. (Laughter) Most of the time he don't go through with it. I was going out there and playing.
MIKE ANDERSON: Have some love, I tell you.

Q. This is for Kim. Can you just talk about the intensity that you played with defensively? You gave up 78 points. Defensively you played actually pretty well. What is it like to play in that environment that your coach has tried to establish?
KIM ENGLISH: Coach Anderson said this would be an up-and-down game. And it felt a lot like practice because we don't have guys in our league pressing us that much. So it was a welcome sight to see a team wanting to speed us up. So I think that's what attributed to the high score. But we're a defensive blue-collar, gritty team. And I think it showed today.

Q. Keith, can you talk about why your team -- what you did and why your team was so successful today against Booker? Especially defensively?
KEITH RAMSEY: I mean, we were just harassing him. If he got past one person, he had to get past the next. So we did a good job, me and Laurence. Even Steve Moore came in and gave us good minutes down there.

Q. J.T. and Keith or Kim, following up on Trevor, he seemed to get really frustrated when the game was still tied; did you notice that?
KEITH RAMSEY: Yeah, he was. I mean, to be real, I think we were fouling him a lot. He wasn't getting a lot of calls but that's a part of the game so that made him real frustrated.

Q. Kim, yesterday you said both teams wanted to go fast. Did you feel you sped them up more than they were comfortable with?
KIM ENGLISH: I don't think they get pressured a lot either in the ACC. But I think we sped them up. And it shows in the 20 turnovers that they had. And to our advantage, a lot of those were live balls, turnovers, they weren't going out of bounds. So that started our break. That made our offense a lot more potent than in Kansas where we were getting scored on and our offense was a lot more stagnant. When we're getting stops, our offense is a lot better. And it showed.

Q. J.T. and Kim, can you comment on the man sitting between you has suddenly turned into a comedian? Is he always like that?
J.T. TILLER: Ask his brother, Kimmy.
KIM ENGLISH: That's him. He's laid back. He's funny to me all the time. I don't know.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you. Congrats. We now turn to questions for Coach Anderson.

Q. Mike, you've seen this in Keith for a while. This was kind of a breakout game in a lot of ways for him. Can you talk about what he brings to the game and why he was able to do all he did today?
MIKE ANDERSON: Keith has a great basketball IQ. I think he's so much more comfortable in that role now, the leadership role. That's why I leave him out there, sometimes it's hard to keep him off the floor. But I think with the long time-outs, it enabled us to let him play. He was like a point forward today. You look at his stat line, it was unbelievable. It's something that's been taking place lately with our basketball team, especially with his play. I don't think he wants it to end. I really don't. That's how he played in high school. That's how he played in junior college. And so it's kind of gratifying to see him step it up when it matters the most. That's what seniors do.
I couldn't be -- I think our guys follow his lead. Again, you can look at his stat line. I just don't think if you watch the game, he was more effective in a lot of ways. Changing shots, fixing things on defense. He had some tremendous assists. One of them Bowers missed a lay-up at the end, and no turnovers. That's like a point forward. And we needed all that today.

Q. Mike, Keith and J.T. seemed to be a little more vocal today, a little more emotion. Is that something you wanted to see from them?
MIKE ANDERSON: Well, they're the captains. That's what seniors do. These guys have got to show these young guys the way. They experienced it last year. That's the only thing I want them to bring in this year was the experience they had, what it took to get to this point. You know, not only that, when you do, how do you come out and perform? That first game is always important. So with that being said, I think the young guys followed their lead.
To me it's all about trust. I think our guys are starting to trust one another. When you start seeing the stat line we have, 20 assists, they are sharing. Not only that, they're fixing things on defense. I thought it was great defensive play by our guys. I really did. Clemson wouldn't quit at the end. That's why we -- we made stops and they would get some stick-backs at the end, Booker would grab it and put it in the hole. When you play at that pace, we scored 86 points but only had nine turnovers. That's efficient basketball. Not only that, we had 15 steals, forced 20 turnovers. They outrebounded us by 15.
Surviving and advancing in tournament play I think the key is the final score. I thought we imposed our will on a very good Clemson team.

Q. Mike, yesterday Laurence Bowers said he wasn't surviving and advancing, it was win or go home. He said losing in the NCAA tournament would have felt like the end of the world. Did you sense that intensity out of the kids before they ever took the floor today?
MIKE ANDERSON: I thought our guys would play. I thought our guys -- they were embarrassed what took place in the Big 12 tournament. I really did. And not only that, once that took place, a lot of people kind of look at these guys a little different with Justin Safford being out.
So, I think our guys probably in terms of being motivated -- but when you get to tournament play, they understand. It's about energy now. It ain't the X's and O's. It's who wants it the most. I thought our guys displayed that today, I mean from 1 to 12, all the guys on the bench, I thought they came with the focus. And then not only that, they took the energy out there. That energy became contagious.

Q. Other than like Keith said, fouling him and getting away with it, what was the strategy on Booker? Did it change at all when they started hitting the threes in the first half?
MIKE ANDERSON: We were going to go and double up. I thought we did a better job of pressuring him once he threw it out of the double team. I thought early on they were getting clean -- they were drawing the guys down and skipping the ball over. I thought we came with better pressure and I thought we mixed it up as Keith mentioned, try to make them guess.
So, that being said, so other guys were the beneficiaries of what took place. I thought we were in an attack mode. I thought we got some key guys on their team in foul trouble. Potter got in foul trouble. Stitt got in foul trouble. Now you have the young guy Young, he was carrying them for the most part by himself, he and Johnson. But I thought fatigue was a factor even going down the stretch for him because he played a lot of minutes. So we just tried to keep them off-kilter with our pressure defense.

Q. You worked under Nolan Richardson. Is that performance today reflective of what you remember when he had that 40 minutes of hell? I know it's -- just in terms of style and effectiveness?
MIKE ANDERSON: It's unique. It's a little different. Clemson, they're a pressuring team. I just don't think anyone presses like we do. And it's something we do every single day. And as we get to tournament play, I think it benefits us. If we can get past that first game or get on a run, like we did today, if our guys are in tune to one another. So I played it. I had a chance to play it at Tulsa for Coach Richardson. I worked for him for 17 years. By you bringing that up, I take that as the ultimate compliment, that we look like one of their teams because all his teams did were win. They played exciting, fun basketball.
You saw some highlight plays out there. Our guys were -- they were having fun. I thought they were having fun today.

Q. It's almost taken for granted that Laurence will keep playing but obviously that has to be a pretty great effort with what's going on with his wrist. Can you describe what he was able to give you in terms of that, please?
MIKE ANDERSON: He's been doing it. Ever since it took place. He's been doing it. He gets more and more comfortable with it. You look at a guy like J.T. Tiller. That is a guy that played for about half a season with it. It just tells you the make-up of him, toughness. He's got toughness.

Q. Coach, it seems like this time of year there are certain teams that have success in the tournament and certain teams that can't get over that hump. Is there something different versus the regular season in tournament play? And why some teams have had success in the tournament?
MIKE ANDERSON: Our teams typically start playing some of their better basketball right around late February, March. And I guess it's March Madness. So our guys -- I guess we really turned up our intensity. And I think it was reflective today. It's something all our teams I've been associated with. I think you build your team up until you get to this point. Because to me this is what you work towards.
With that being said, I want our guys to be loose and go out there and have fun, do what they've been doing all year long. Once you win, I think you taste it. I think you want more. And these guys, they had some success last year. They really did. And I think that experience is really hopefully what paid dividends. And I thought it was today; I thought they drew on that experience.

Q. Just your thoughts on West Virginia. I know you faced Huggins when he was at Kansas State and Cincinnati. Does this team look similar to what you've seen --
MIKE ANDERSON: Very similar. You know what you're going to get. You're going to get a blue-collar team, have some tremendous, tremendous players athletically and seems like they're all the same size. They all are versatile. They are going to be hard-nosed and blue-collar.
We have to find that toughness, because they will attack the glass. All his teams have been notorious for that. Defensively they are a great -- they're a good team. They are not only that, they're athletic. And they got a prime time player in Butler. This guy -- I had an opportunity to work with him at the USA Games. I actually wanted to take him off that team and bring him down here with me to play for Missouri. I don't think Huggins would have liked that. He's a tremendous, tremendous player.
So it's going to be an ultimate challenge for our basketball team. Right now we'll just enjoy this one, the Clemson win until midnight. And then we'll turn our focus and get ready for one of the top teams in the country. When you talk about West Virginia, they are an outstanding team.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thanks.

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