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April 5, 2010
Duke Â– 61
Butler - 59
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started. Coach Stevens, if you could give a couple of quick opening remarks about the game tonight.
COACH STEVENS: Yeah, there's not much to say from our end. I'm proud of our guys. We just came up one possession short in a game with about 145 possessions. It's hard to stomach when you're on the wrong end of that.
But, like I told them in there, when you coach these guys with their effort, their focus, their determination, you're at peace with whatever result happens on the scoreboard because you've got a group that's given it every single thing they have. These guys did that.
THE MODERATOR: We'll start with questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Gordon, did you think your shot was going to go?
GORDON HAYWARD: Felt good. Looked good. Just wasn't there. Played good defense. Uhm, they did a nice job. Just didn't go in.
Q. Avery, could you talk about what went through your mind when you knew it was over.
AVERY JUKES: I was disappointed. It was a long, great season. Enjoyed the ride. Still thinking about it really.
Q. Avery, as a senior, when you look back at your career at Butler, what goes through your mind?
AVERY JUKES: As I told the team in the locker room, the thing that goes through my mind most is not even basketball. It's about the bond that I have with my teammates, the fun that we had off the court, our trips, our away games, Italy.
It was a great, great time. More than just basketball really.
Q. Gordon, I'm not sure if you were talking about your second to the last shot or the last shot from halfcourt. Could you take us through each of your last two shots.
GORDON HAYWARD: Uhm, like I said, the first shot, caught it, tried to go left, went back right. Played good defense. Forced me into a tough shot.
Like I said, I thought it was a good shot for us. Uhm, just missed it long.
Then the last shot, it was just -- I mean, it was a last-second shot. Uhm, I don't know, it missed.
So, uhm, like I said, they played great defense on us the whole game. Got to credit them for doing a good job.
Q. When you let it go, did you think it was in, the last one?
GORDON HAYWARD: Not as much as the first one. The first one I thought shot that one pretty well and thought it was in. Just didn't fall.
Q. We couldn't see, but did you stay on the court to watch the Duke celebration and the trophy ceremony? If not, what did you do when you got back to the locker room?
SHELVIN MACK: No, we didn't stay on the court. We went back, just had a team meeting for everybody. Left to go our separate ways.
Q. Shelvin, when you called timeout before the last shot, what was said in the huddle? What were you guys thinking?
SHELVIN MACK: Still just believe in each other. A 40-minute game. Still 13 seconds left. Just believe in each other, and belive that the shot is going to go in. There's still a lot of possessions left in 13 seconds.
Q. With this remarkable run you've had the last four years, in particular this year's run to the Final Four, how do you feel this will impact and further Butler's cause of being one of the elite teams in basketball for years to come?
AVERY JUKES: I think it's going to help the program greatly. Helps recruits. Lets people know that Butler's not an underdog, that we have a great program, that we can have a chance to be good every year.
Q. Can you talk about what it's like to play in a championship game like that?
SHELVIN MACK: It's a great feeling. I'm just blessed to be here. Never thought I'd have the opportunity to compete on a stage like this. I'm just thankful to be here. We didn't get the win, but still a great honor to be here and be able to compete on a stage like this.
GORDON HAYWARD: It was obviously a physical game. They played hard. We played hard. Just proud of our guys for fighting with them the whole time. I mean, I feel like we pretty much left it all out there. So, I mean, I think we knew going into it that it was going to be like that, it was going to be a tough game. We'd have to do tough things.
Like Shelvin said, we're obviously blessed to be here and grateful for all my teammates, all the hard work that they put in. Like I said, just so, so proud that I feel like no one left anything out there.
It was a good game.
AVERY JUKES: Mix of what both of them said. It's a great honor to be in the championship game. We're the last two teams playing. Uhm, like Gordon said, we played hard. It was back and forth the whole game. Could have went either way. If we would have had a better possession one time or if they would have had a better possession, I mean, throughout the course of the game -- it's a tough loss because of so many possessions. Basically it could have went either way.
Q. I know the game just ended, but eventually when you think about this whole experience, will you remember that you made it to the championship game or will you think more about the fact that you lost on the last possession?
SHELVIN MACK: I think those are both in mind. We know we could have done some different things better to change the outcome of the game. Also just a great feeling to be here. We know we left it all on the court. Take nothing back to the locker room, that's one of the great feelings we can have moving forward.
GORDON HAYWARD: For me, it's going to be the loss. Hate losing. It's one of the worst feelings personally that I have is losing. So, I mean, like Shelvin said, it's great for us to be here, but that's not what we wanted to do. We wanted to win. When I look back, I think it's going to motivate me. Like I say, I just hate losing, so...
Q. Avery, could you talk briefly about the zone you were in in the first half of the sequence. Couple threes, couple baskets.
AVERY JUKES: My shots were open. I mean, I honestly didn't do much. Just knocked down some open shots and took advantage of the drive when they overplayed the jump shot. I guess it just happened to come back to back, in a short period of time.
Q. Avery, I think in the first half you had 12 offensive rebounds. I don't think you had any in the second half, or one maybe. What did they do differently?
AVERY JUKES: I don't know. I don't really think they did anything differently. I can't recall what they did.
But our focus was to keep them off the offensive glass. So that's pretty much all I can speak of, is what we were trying to do.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much. We'll continue with questions for Coach Stevens.
Q. About Matt Howard, when you knew he would be available. Secondly, was it a purposeful thing to establish him early?
COACH STEVENS: Uhm, we definitely wanted -- we've always wanted to give Matt the ball when he's open. There's no question about it. It's an important part of our team.
And the answer to your first question is, Matt was only going to play if 110% cleared by our medical staff, and he was. It was an all-or-nothing deal. If he was okay to play, his head was going to be fine, there was no chance of further injury or, you know, harm, then that's the only way he was going to play because his health is priority over one game, that's for sure.
Q. Originally, you had Hayward taking the ball out of bounds with 13.6 seconds left. After the timeout, you came back with Howard.
COACH STEVENS: They guard the inbounds two different ways. They guard the inbounds regular and man up, then they guard the inbounds by putting Zoubek on the inbounder and switching everything. They showed that on the first one. What we ran was not going to be good. Gordon made the right decision, because nothing was open, to use our last timeout. So that's why we just posted Gordon right in the middle of the floor. We wanted to get the ball to him and let him make a play anyways. And so that's why I had Matt take it out because Zoubek was going to be on the ball regardless.
Q. Talk about Scheyer, and Smith, Singler, how tough it was to defend them.
COACH STEVENS: Singler was obviously the toughest for us to defend because of his size. We were guarding him with a 6'2" very, very, very good defender in Willie Veasley. Singler had to earn everything he got.
Those other guys are really good. I thought our guards, off the bench, and that started, did as good a job as you can do on Smith and Scheyer. What are they, 10 for 27 combined, 2 for 10 from three. That's the recipe for beating them in their five losses.
Q. Can you recollect your own view of Gordon's last shot and what went through your mind when you knew it finally missed? What did you and Coach K talk about at the end, if anything?
COACH STEVENS: We didn't talk about anything. Just congratulated him. He deserves it. They played great. I thought both teams played really hard. You can see just listening to our three guys, they're crushed. I mean, this matters. They didn't come in here thinking they were just gonna roll over and, you know, not have a chance. They wanted to win.
So it's hard. It's really hard on them to come straight in here and answer questions. You could kind of tell by the way that they answered it.
I thought Gordon's shot had a chance. The first one looked good the whole way. The last one had a chance. Anytime you have a player of Gordon's caliber and he's got the ball in his hands and he lets it fly on the last attempt, you feel like you got a chance to win.
Q. You've mentioned that it takes you a couple days to get over a loss. How long do you think this one is going to take? Moving forward, when do you start working for next season?
COACH STEVENS: Well, I'll start working for next season by the time I get on the bus.
But I don't know how long it's going to take. It's not going to be tomorrow, that's for sure.
Q. Talking about how hard it was on the guys, what was the locker room like after the loss? Can you imagine what everyone around the country was doing at home watching that last shot?
COACH STEVENS: I don't really know what to imagine. I guess I've watched games like that. You get pretty excited about an ending that comes down when the ball is in the air. We had two shots to win the game. One was a highly, highly difficult shot from 45 feet or whatever the case may be.
I'm blanking on your first question.
Q. The locker room.
COACH STEVENS: You know what? The locker room, they're down. You know, they don't like to lose. They're very prideful. And, you know, I think that certainly anytime you lose a one-possession game, you know that there's just one little thing or two little things that probably could have made the difference on any number of possessions. That's really hard.
But we just talked about how thankful we were for the seniors. You know, I told them how proud I am of them because of what they've done not only for our basketball program, and Butler University. I mean, Butler University has been on a stage, it's hard to put into words. But more importantly, for the 15 guys in that locker room, because, you know, it's the last time they'll play together. But because of what they've experienced, they'll have each other for a long, long time.
Q. Were you surprised that Zoubek bricked the second free throw?
COACH STEVENS: On purpose?
COACH STEVENS: A little bit.
Q. Secondly, coaching against Mike in a game like this, what do you think it is that he does best?
COACH STEVENS: I thought he just did really well. I thought they packed their defense in a little bit more after we drove it to the rim a few times. Our guys did a nice job of driving it. They're a really aggressive defense. They adjusted and packed it back in a little bit more than I've seen them do much. I may be wrong about that, but that's what I saw.
So, you know, he's obviously a great coach. There's thousands of things that go on in a game. I thought they were really trying to establish Singler and Scheyer and Smith off those curls down low. For the most part, we did a pretty good job. If you hold Duke to 61, you have a chance to win.
Q. I asked the players, but I wanted to get your take, I know it's tough right now after a loss to think about this, but you mentioned a minute ago what being on this stage has done for Butler as a university. How do you think this will also help translate into further building the basketball program there at Butler?
COACH STEVENS: Well, I guess my question back was, can it get better than these guys? They came one shot away from winning a national championship. So, you know, if it furthers the program, it can't further it by much.
I think that one of the things that we're going to try to do is evaluate, continue to evaluate, and recruit to who Butler is and not worry about what everybody else says about it. Try to put teams together that can compete like this one.
It doesn't mean you're gonna get results like this. You know, we caught lightning in a bottle and ran with it the last 25 games. Almost had an aura of we thought we were going to win every game.
But, you know, in the past 10 years, coached very few games where you walk in the locker room, regardless of result, and don't feel like you've given it everything you have.
Q. Can you do your best to describe what your insides feel like.
COACH STEVENS: What my insides feel like? Somewhat empty. But at the same time, at the same time, I'm never content. I don't think we'd be content. For some reason, I don't think we'd be content if we won it.
But I do think -- I have no -- I don't question at all what our guys gave, and what they gave for a long time. Not just tonight, but at practice at 6:30 in the morning, what they gave to really help this happen.
Q. What kind of impact do you think a game like this could make on the college game? Do you think maybe tonight there was some misconceptions and stereotypes about a small school like Butler that were buried tonight because of the way this game transpired?
COACH STEVENS: I think the thing that should be known about this game is anything can happen in a basketball game. You can't hold Duke to a standard of perfection throughout the year. I mean, they're gonna play poorly, under what they usually do sometimes, sometimes they're going to play great, and most of the time they're going to be as good as they are.
Same with us. The thing I hope comes out of this more than anything, I'll use Siena as an example, they were 17-1 in their league. Everyone you listened to said they had to win their league tournament to get into the NCAA. 17-1 is an unbelievable achievement. Until you're going through it and you realize that every game you're playing in that league is somebody's Super Bowl, then what they achieved is remarkable.
I hope this brings to light the fact that teams like that should not have to play perfect. They should not be held to that standard, because they are really good basketball teams and there are really a lot of good basketball teams in and out of the power six conferences.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
COACH STEVENS: Thank you.
End of FastScripts