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NCAA MEN'S REGIONAL SEMIFINALS & FINALS: SYRACUSE


March 27, 2010


John Calipari

DeMarcus Cousins

Patrick Patterson

John Wall


SYRACUSE, NEW YORK

West Virginia 73
Kentucky - 66


THE MODERATOR: Coach, players, thank you guys for coming in here. Coach, can we ask you to make a quick opening statement.
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Hats off to West Virginia. I mean, they did what they had to. They made shots. The 1-3-1 bothered us. We tried different things and it bothered us more than I thought it would. They made plays. They ran their offense and got some lay-ups at critical times, just lay-ups. And we're a team that doesn't give up many lay-ups. We gave a bunch up today.
I'm proud of my team. They fought, they just kept trying. I'm proud of what they've done all season. A bunch of young kids that just came together. We've had shooting days like this, but we won anyway because maybe the teams weren't quite as good as West Virginia. But today that team was too good for us to shoot like we did from the free-throw line and still win the game.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach. We'll take questions for the student-athletes first. Again, if you could please direct your questions to a specific student-athlete.

Q. John, talk about going against that 1-3-1 and why was it so tough?
JOHN WALL: It was pretty tough. They're a long athletic team. They did a great job denying us from getting to the wings. And like Coach said, we wasn't making enough shots. I think if we would have made shots, it would have spread out. You give hats off for them. Their defense did a great job on us and we didn't knock down shots today.

Q. John, could you ever imagine this run ending without making it to the Final Four? And all the talk is going to start about what you're going to be doing next year.
JOHN WALL: I didn't want it to stop. I wanted us to make it all the way. Like Coach said, it was one of those days where we wasn't making shots. Usually we win these type of games. They are a great team. We couldn't fight our way through it and win.
I'm not worried about talk about the talk what I'm doing next. I'm sad and disappointed we didn't make it far as the goals we reached as a team. I'm going to sit back and enjoy the rest of my college year with my teammates and finish the rest of the school year out.

Q. DeMarcus, it looked like you were a little frustrated with the officiating tonight. What did you think of the way the game was being called?
DeMARCUS COUSINS: West Virginia played a great game tonight. They outplayed us tonight. I mean, there was some loose balls we should have got. We were bad on defense tonight. They outplayed us, and we lost.

Q. John and Patrick, would you guys talk a little about what Mazzulla did to you guys tonight. Maybe even especially defensively at the bottom of that 1-3-1.
JOHN WALL: It was pretty tough. He was holding on pretty tough to DeMarcus. We tried to lob the ball to him. We couldn't get it to him. We don't know what he was doing down there. We tried to find ways to get it to him. Like Coach said, if we would have made shots, we would have spread it out and it would have been easier to find DeMarcus and Patrick in the post. They went 1-3-1 and we didn't knock down the shots.
PATRICK PATTERSON: Pretty much like John said. Mazzulla was down there. He was physical, he was tough. Doing whatever he could do as a defensive player to stop us from scoring down low. He was successful with that. And they just played a great team defense. Him down low and the 1-3-1 bothered us. They just had a great defensive effort. And they just played harder and they just outworked us and beat us pretty much.

Q. John, offensively Mazzulla, was that a bit of a surprise, his aggression and his output?
JOHN WALL: It wasn't. He did a great job of pushing it in transition. Instead of us stopping the ball like we had been doing all year and Coach taught us, we was running back and chasing the person that's running to the three-point line. He's not a bad player, so he's going to take it right to the basket. He got a key lay-up down the stretch. Like Coach said, they scored key lay-ups down the stretch when we were making our little run. We couldn't get certain stops we usually get.

Q. If somebody had told you, Patrick, that you would hold them without a two-point field goal for 21 minutes, what would have thought the outcome would be?
PATRICK PATTERSON: Obviously a win. They were able to knock down shots from the perimeter. Getting to the free-throw line, just doing whatever they could to stay in the game and contain the lead. Although they weren't hitting two-point field goals for a certain amount of time, they were hitting three-point field goals. They still found a way to score.
Like I said, if anyone had told me that, I would have figured the team would have won.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for the student-athletes? Guys, we'll let you go. Thank you very much for taking the time to come in.
Questions for Coach.

Q. When they're playing the 1-3-1 like that, is there a preferred way to attack it to take the three-point shots or are you still trying to go to DeMarcus?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: We were trying to go inside, but when you're missing -- it gets a little demoralizing when you miss the shots that we missed. We had worked prior to even Cornell, because Cornell played the 1-3-1, they just weren't quite as big. We ran a little offense and we could not get into it today. So I just shifted and said let's go four out and put DeMarcus inside and we'll go around him and we played a little bit better.
What hurt us when we made our run and started playing a little bit better is we gave lay-ups up in their little shuffle cuts. We kept coming to each time-out and said we have to go under. We were chasing guys. They got those lay-ups. Bobby just had goes guys grind it, grind it, grind it and they were getting lay-ups.
But we didn't play particularly well. I didn't have them as organized as they needed to be. But you have to give them credit. The last five games they had shot 25% from the three. When we walked in at halftime, I said, they don't have a basket, guys. We have to guard Jones and we have to guard Butler to the three-point line. You must. We came out and Jones hits a three right off the start. It was like, you know, we just left halftime.
Here's what I'll tell you: For us, to continue to play and give ourselves a chance to win, I was proud of them. Because the way we played, the way they played compared to the way we played it should have been 20. I'm looking at it like, man, if we can get one or two stops and maybe hit a basket, we can make this interesting. We just couldn't get quite there.

Q. John, you talked about youth of this team, do you think it caught up to you a little bit today?
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: Yeah. I don't want to have excuses. They outplayed us. But I think there were times that the inexperience, you know, hurt us. Understanding you're not going to catch it all at once or knowing that this is the guy you have to stop and we kind of lose him. There were things that happened. And I think their veteran -- especially Mazzulla, he just -- I mean, he got some lay-ups that just were, man, back-breaking. He just played so well and ran their team.
But it hurt us. Let me tell you, it also got us to where we are today with 35 wins. I mean, that same youth. So again, I don't think we a three until there was three minutes left in the game. We were 0 for every one. And then we were missing free-throws. I'm like, oh, my goodness. But again, we kept fighting and tried.
We have had some shooting games like this. But they were -- one game we lost, and the others we kind of hung in there and then won them at the end. Against a team like West Virginia, they're too good. I thought this could have been the final game, us against them. Really. They're that good. And you are just not going to go and play the way we played and miss free-throws and shoot and win.
But you have to understand 32 threes. A bunch of those were at the end when we were trying to catch them back up and we were going to shoot threes down nine, obviously. But I'll bet you we were 1 for 27 something. 21? 0 for whatever. 0 for 20? We were 0 for 20. And usually we shoot about anywhere from 16 to 21 threes a game. At the end you're down jacking balls up trying to get back in it.

Q. John, can you just talk a little bit about how feel for Bob. I know you guys are good friends. Just where he's gotten this group.
COACH JOHN CALIPARI: I'm happy for him. You know, what he's done to get that team and to play how they have to play to win. One of the things is as I'm walking off the floor, I said maybe we should have made it a rat game. Because of the score and time, they just kind of held on. That's why the score got close. I'm not sure they would have played that way if it was early in the game. I think they would have tried to make easy baskets. But he has them playing exactly how they have to play to win. And for those guys to make 43% -- they only shot 38 from the floor, which is what we held people to. They shot 43 from the three. That's what got us. They shot -- and they made their free-throws at the end. I have to give them credit for that.
THE MODERATOR: Anything else for Coach? Coach, thank you for taking the time to come in.

End of FastScripts




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