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March 17, 2011

Mike Anderson

Marcus Denmon

Phil Pressey


Cincinnati – 78
Missouri - 63

MODERATOR: We're joined now by Coach Mike Anderson and student-athletes Phil Pressey and Marcus Denmon.
Coach Anderson, if you could make an opening statement, and then we'll open it up for questions for the student-athletes first.
COACH MIKE ANDERSON: I want to graduate Cincinnati on the advancing and obviously we got a disappointed group of guys in the locker room. One thing I told them, I would take the blame for this loss, as I will for all 11 of them. I'm 0-11, and I guess they're 23-0.
I thought I had them prepared to play against a Cincinnati team that would not go away. They're a very physical basketball team, and I thought in the end, that was the difference in the game. They had some offensive rebounds that really, really hurt us.
And then I looked at the shooting. If you don't shoot the ball, it does not give you the opportunity to really get into your defense. The times we shot it and got into our defense, I thought it was effective.
But hats off to Cincinnati. I thought they did a good job when they had an opportunity to attack us. Got some offensive rebounds. We cut it to six, and I thought, you know what, we're going to get in one of these great runs. And for some reason, and it was kind of an odd feeling, it just didn't happen tonight.
But you got some hurt guys because they're used to surviving and advancing in this tournament, and but I'm sure that I to get back and get back here. They've tasted it, the young guys did, with a guy like Phil and Ricky, and I'm sure they'll battle to get back.
MODERATOR: Open it up for questions for Phil Pressey and Marcus Denmon at this point.

Q. Phil, were you surprised at their ability to get to the rim off the balance? I thought Dixon did a good job of that as well as Cashmere?
PHIL PRESSEY: I just think they prepared well for our defense. And I don't think we did a good job of getting back and stopping them, so I think they just did a good job of getting to the hoop.

Q. Marcus, the game started kind of like the start of your season. It ended kind of like the end. Is it the problems not have -- just had no solutions the last half of the season?
MARCUS DENMON: What's your question?

Q. The defense and keeping them off the rim, it looked like you could do that early and didn't late.
MARCUS DENMON: Well, it's hard to get into your defense when you're not making shots. I felt that we did a good job on the defensive end at times, but when you can't -- you can just keep playing defense for 40 minutes, but eventually you gotta put the ball in the basket. And I felt that eventually, some of their shots started to fall. And we fought hard out there, but we just came up short.

Q. How much of your not making those shots was their defense?
MARCUS DENMON: They're a good defensive team, but I felt that we got some of the looks that we normally would like to have, and we just didn't knock them down tonight on the biggest stage. I just really feel disappointed that we didn't. Credit to Cincinnati. They're a good defensive team.

Q. What adjustments did you guys try to make at halftime and were they successful overall?
PHIL PRESSEY: We just pretty much tried to continue to attack the rim. And if we were able to score, we better get into our defense a lot quicker. So I think like Marcus said earlier, we played defense for a good amount of time, but at certain times we needed to score and we couldn't do so. We got great looks; we just couldn't get it tonight.
MODERATOR: Further questions for Marcus or Phil? You guys will be dismissed, thank you. We'll open it up for questions for Coach Anderson as well.

Q. Coach, yesterday you said this game would hinge on who could impose whose will. You guys struggled. You used a lot more of the shot clock than you're used to. What did Cincinnati do that kept you guys from playing?
MARCUS DENMON: Early on we came out and we were really in a rhythm. I thought we were making shots, and then I thought we had a couple plays that went to the zone, and that kind of -- I thought we looked tentative against the zone. I really thought we were tentative. I thought first couple of plays we had, we went inside, Bowers got a nice little layup, and then we had some opportunities to score. We had a jump that we missed, we had a bunch of layups that we missed, we had some spot-ups that we missed.
So but I thought the rhythm of the game changed. And I thought Mick did a good job of kind of mixing it up. But as these guys talked about, you gotta put the ball in the hole, but you also gotta have stops. And I thought at times, especially in the first half, there was a little period there when we were in a little zone and they were able to get maybe three offensive rebounds or three-in-ones that we called, and those kind of really gave them the momentum. I think that gave them the cushion that they had at halftime.
The game was going back and forth. And you expect that in this tournament. But give those guys credit. They did a good job and we just came up a little short.
The rhythm of the game at times was -- like the second half, it was a little bit better floor for us. But we were always fighting uphill, always fighting uphill.
And when you got guys that normally score for you not scoring, it puts a burden on those other guys. I think the Ricky came off the bench and gave us some super minutes. We cut it to six, and we thought we were getting ready to go on a run. But they answered inside with some big leaps, made some big-time buckets for them.

Q. Two things. One, it seems like I think this is maybe the sixth game in a row you guys sort of shot substantially less well than you did earlier in the season. I wonder if there's a few common denominators to that. And the other brief question, too, is just if you ever felt like you got your defense going the way you fully wanted to this year.
COACH MIKE ANDERSON: I really, in my mind, I looked at the stat sheet at halftime, and I'm going, are we kind of hitting the wall or we're tearing up because to play the way we played, you gotta play with a certain amount of energy. And not only that, if you look at the shots that we had, we have a lot of shots right there at the basket that we normally make and it allows us to get in our defense.
So you can go back and say there was a lot of different things, but at the same time, we just didn't make those plays. We didn't make the plays that we had to.
And with a young team and I keep telling -- not necessarily young, but more inexperienced. The last couple years, we've had experienced guards coming into this tournament. And I think you saw tonight, you saw some glimpses of the future. That's what you saw. You saw a guy like Phil Pressey out there running things, just kind of everywhere. You saw glimpses of the future where a guy like Ricky Kreklow just giving us that blue collar mentality.
So again, there was some positive things that took place. And so that means now with the guys returning, you got seniors, and those seniors have tasted the success of NCAA Tournament play. And now maybe with experience of the young guys and the older guys, they will build a big-time hunger for us to not only get here but to advance as well.

Q. Seems like Cincinnati did a great job handling the pressure and didn't turn the ball over much. Did you ever think about pushing out, trying something different, other than the style that you made your mark with? Did you think that there was anything else you could have done?
COACH MIKE ANDERSON: I thought we did. I thought we changed it up, but they were able to score against our zone. They scored on the inside against our zone. So we mixed it up. We were trying to kind of rachet it up a little bit just to change the nature of the game. But I still thought our defense was effective because I thought they didn't just come down and run their sets. They had to make plays.
That's why I said give them credit. They made some plays. And I thought a lot of those plays came on the offensive rebounds, especially in the second half. We made them hurry up some shots and we just didn't come up with the ball.

Q. Coach, would you care to answer or talk about rumors that may link you to Arkansas in the near future?
COACH MIKE ANDERSON: Well, I don't deal with rumors. Again, that's a rumor, and I thought I'd dealt with that already.
I'm excited about what's taking place at Missouri and I plan on being at Missouri. That's the bottom line. We've done some great things and we'll continue to do some great things. I've got a young basketball team.
So that's something we've already dealt with, and that's -- for the most part, we're excited for the future.

Q. How would you ultimately kind of judge the success of this season? Were the expectations maybe a little unfair with how young you guys were? I guess how would you ultimately judge this season? Is it a little disappointing because of the standards you guys have set here?
COACH MIKE ANDERSON: I think that's probably -- we set some standards and they're high standards. And I thought we had an great conference. I thought we had some bumps along way, which I anticipated that with this basketball team.
When you lose, as I always say, you lose the heart and soul of our basketball team. You gotta replace those guys. And not only that, now, you've gotta find guys to fill those roles. And so through the course of a year, you find out the guys that really can give you those roles to make it up. That's why I said with J.T. Tiller and Zaire Taylor, Keith Ramsey, those guys were common denominators for the last two years.
So I thought this team fought and scratched and clawed. I thought in the end, that inexperience caught up with us. I thought that's the difference between winning on the road. We've been in games, but again, you've got to be able to finish your job. And we just didn't have that. We didn't do a good job in terms of finishing. That's where it falls back to Mike Anderson.

Q. Losing only one senior this next year, where is this team moving forward?
COACH MIKE ANDERSON: I think we have got an opportunity to bring in some quality players to help this basketball team. And as I said, you only get experience by going through things like this here. So what better way for our young guys to get some experience, going to the NCAA?
There's a lot of guys that say that to me, they're young, but they're at home. So these guys have an opportunity to participate in it, and not only that, now we have hopefully a seniority team.
But we'll add some more guys to go along with it. We've got to get a little bit more physical, I think tougher and tougher at the rims.
But I think the hunger is there. I saw some hurt guys. They were in tears in the locker room.
MODERATOR: Okay, Coach, thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

COACH HOWLAND: Well, we definitely could have made our foul shots down the stretch and it wouldn't have been the two-point game it ended up being with them having a chance there. So you know, really it came down to our foul shooting, and this is something we'll go back, and we'll make our foul shots. We just wanted to come out and execute the way we did at both ends of the floor here again on Saturday, and that's a tall order because we played very well tonight. We make our foul shots, we win this game, I think, comfortably. But we'll get back to that.

Q. Obviously you didn't look anything like last week's game against Oregon in the PAC-10 Tournament. Did you notice anything with your players before the game, or that's something you noticed once they stepped on the court?
COACH HOWLAND: We had very good practices. I think I mentioned that. Saturday was a great practice. We had very good practices on Monday, Tuesday, here again yesterday, and you play how you practice, and our guys really -- like Tyler said, we were doing block out drills in March here because we know that's important. We did a great job in the first half on the boards. We were up 11 at halftime. They ended up closing that gap with a lot more offensive rebounds in the second half. But I was really pleased with our focus and our preparation this week for the tournament.

Q. After that 23 gash point lead, several timeouts were called under that 8 and a half minute mark. What's your message to the team to keep that urgency and say this is not a time to get relaxed?
COACH HOWLAND: This has happened to us during the year. This is not the first time that we've had a lead evaporate. We're now 21 and 0, though, whenever we get a 10-point lead or more, and that's been good. You know, we've played a lot of tight games, and somehow we've found a way to win more than we've lost, and that's been big for us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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