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


March 21, 2010


Jason Bohannon

Trevon Hughes

Jon Leuer

Bo Ryan


JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA

Cornell 87
Wisconsin - 69


THE MODERATOR: Coach, if you could give us an opening statement about the game, then we'll take questions for your guys and then questions for you.
COACH RYAN: Cornell did everything that they've been pretty much doing all year. They found different ways to score on us, and it's tough when you shoot 52 percent in the first half and you're still down 12, and you've taken away Foote, and three of the threes that they hit were off of offensive rebounds. So in our half court defense, we thought we did some pretty good things.
That's how good they are. They can beat you in so many different ways. So I give a lot of credit to Steve and especially the development of that team with all the seniors and the way they played off of one another. That was something that once you got behind to them, it made it very, very difficult to get back, and good teams will do that to you.

Q. This is for any of the three of you guys. Now that you've gone against them, can you talk about their offense? They obviously did this to Temple, as well, who like you guys have a tremendous defense. Now that you've gone through it, what was different from what you were maybe expecting?
JASON BOHANNON: I mean, they shot the ball very well. They got us doing stuff that wasn't necessarily characteristic of our defensive game plan, and when they started doing that and hitting those type of shots, they got all their confidence going. They certainly got their confidence going early from the getgo, and it's tough to fight back from that, even when they are shooting a high percentage and they're hitting those type of shots, it's tough.
But you've got to give Cornell credit. They came out ready to play, and they certainly showed it.

Q. Jon, the seeds say Cornell is a 12 seed, but how good is that team? You've played a lot of different teams from a lot of conferences.
JON LEUER: We never pay attention to what seed they are. We knew they were a great team by what they did this year. They're going to be a tough out for anybody in the tournament because they can all shoot and they all play well off of one another. We just have to give them credit. I mean, they just -- they beat us.

Q. You were the only one that really seemed to have it going offensively. How much pressure did you feel having to score and keep your team within striking distance in this game?
JON LEUER: I didn't feel any added pressure. I was just doing whatever I could to help my team win. You know, we were -- I was just trying to take advantage of any opportunity I could, and I knew we would have guys eventually step it up, and they did, but Cornell just kept -- stuck to their game plan, and their guys just executed in every phase of the game.

Q. Trevon, you guys hang your hat on defense. How frustrating was that to see a team put up 87 points on you like that?
TREVON HUGHES: It was very frustrating, but they shot the ball well. We had our hands in their faces on a couple of their jump shots, and their confidence got going from that. It's hard to take away their confidence when they're clicking on all cylinders, and like Jason said, it started from the tip. We hang our hat on our defense, but we kind of got antsy, and when we're down, it's kind of hard coming back from a good team.

Q. Coach, yesterday when you met with us, you said that come coaches had sent you messages saying what a nightmare this team was to prepare for in one day. Now that you've gone through it, what would be your assessment of what the other coaches were telling you?
COACH RYAN: Well, I'm not sure three or four days would have stopped what they do, because they just do it well. And we could tell by timing. You can tell by watching tape, a lot of times about cuts, reads and how guys are on the same page. I said before we had to create some doubts. Maybe it was with our local radio guys. We had to create some doubts with them early, and what we were trying to do in one day, we said, okay, we'll take -- we'll limit Foote's touches in the low post. When he did get in the second half, he didn't miss.
We limited his touches. We were over on the screens on the threes. The threes -- three of the four threes that they got, as I said -- so I'm answering your question about preparation. So we're trying to force tough jumpers, which we've done forever, and they hit some of those. But to get three threes off of three offensive rebounds on throwbacks, on kick-outs, it does stick a dagger in, and it's not that you go, oh, we have no chance now. Of course not.
But what happened was they gained some confidence from that, and then you're playing from behind. Good teams like this, experienced, you play from behind, you cheat a little bit -- the last three, four lay-ups, obviously we were trying to overplay in some passing lanes, and they're going to get lay-ups and that's what we try to do to people when we have a lead.
So the preparation was -- first of all, take away what they won with in the last game, and our players saw some of the game. We watched tape against other team. They were better than Kansas at Kansas. Our players knew that. Our players respect opponents as much as anybody that I've ever been around. But the idea is once they get it going, and then you try to counter some things, they have better counters. Their counters forced us into some tough situations, and then we're trying on the offensive end to get quicker shots, so it speeds up.
The number of points has never bothered me in this type of a game like against Maryland when they started hitting all those shots our first year here, and you've got to play quicker, you've got to try to get -- when we played North Carolina, quick possessions, played quicker, we were scoring, and we were keeping it tight. But when you get against a team like this and you get behind like that, too many experienced players making reads off of any cheat that you make.

Q. The last question for Steve was about his exchange with his athletic director at the end of the game, and he got pretty emotional and he said that it was great that he stuck by him for seven or eight years until something like this happened. Knowing your basketball background, can you appreciate that kind of -- in our society now, it's win now, and can you talk about what that moment must have been like for him?
COACH RYAN: He had this team building, you could see it, and it's so special in the NCAA. There are teams like this that come along every once in a while -- I'm serious, every once in a while. Northern Iowa has that going right now. And it doesn't matter what level, it doesn't matter level; it's scholarship players getting a chance to play.
You know, people having faith in people, that's a pretty good thing. I would say that's a real good thing. And Steve is the kind of guy you would want to have faith in because he knows what he's doing; it was a matter of getting those guys, getting them to stay together, and they tasted the Ivy championships, they wanted more. They wanted more. They stayed hungry, and like I said, they stayed together. That's an example of it right now.
The win at all cost stuff and some of the stuff that I see happening, I can't even begin to get into that with you. But we're professionals; we get our joy, we get our pleasure, we get our inner peace from working with these young men every day, trying to make them better, trying to make them better people, better players, better students, whatever it is. That's what we go home to and get up in the morning and look in the mirror to every day.
Other people will take their shots, will try to demean, humiliate, show their petty jealousy, show pettiness, period. With teams like in the NCAA tournament or during the year if you've had a rough year, I know all that stuff is out there. That's human nature.
But the fact that he stuck with Steve, he probably saw him working those guys in practice. He probably had exit interviews with other players, probably talked to people. Hey, Steve is demanding, he tries to get people to do things a certain way, and it looks pretty smart now to stick with it, doesn't it? I mean, you're saying like if he wasn't sticking with him? Was there a time that he wasn't? There's no doubt, right?

Q. No, he just got real emotional thinking about -- he felt real fortunate that there were some bad times and he wouldn't be sitting here right now if it didn't happen.
COACH RYAN: That's a good thing. It is so hard to get into this thing and do this and keep it going. The bad night happens to us, it's happened to some other teams. I hope a bad night doesn't happen to anybody, but it has to, because there's going to be how many more losses between now and the championship game.
But our guys earned the right to push this thing as hard as we could, just didn't have enough push today.

Q. Coach, about the disappointment right now, who was positive about this year and what do you look forward to for next year?
COACH RYAN: Well, that inner peace I was talking about is I saw guys get better, I saw guys bond in the off-season. They worked at some things. Tough schedule. They handled the tough schedule. They won a couple neutral games against good teams. They won -- they beat a team like Duke that's here now, and they did a lot of other good things to put themselves in position in the Big Ten.
I don't go there when it comes to anything else about what might have been or what could have been. I just always look at the end at the picture and say, this group did a lot of good things. But there's going to be a lot of disappointment out there for a lot of good teams.

Q. Based on the convincing nature of Cornell's two victories here in Jacksonville, going forward, and particularly since they were against two very good defensive teams, what type of team do you see giving them the most trouble?
COACH RYAN: Well, you know, it's like anything else. If you're longer athletically on maybe some of the perimeter shooters, you saw our three guards out there, it was tough to match up with a Wittman, but we tried. Our guys -- Jordan Taylor is a bulldog. He went after him. Then we went a little bigger with Tim Jarmusz and Ryan Evans and tried to use some different people on them. But they have so many weapons that a team is going to have to beat them, is going to have to be a team that can get them a little deeper on their shots, get them out of rhythm on their cuts. They're going to have to be, I would think, a little bit better at eliminating second shots because they are pretty aggressive, and Foote is pretty long, and that definitely showed in the first half.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you.

End of FastScripts




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