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March 18, 2011

Mark Fox

Travis Leslie

Trey Thompkins


Washington – 68
Georgia - 65

COACH MARK FOX: That was a hard-fought-game. It was a hard fought game that we felt like if we could control the tempo, we'd give ourselves a chance to win. Washington, I have to give them credit. They made the plays in the second half. We made too many mistakes to finish the game, but we lost to a good basketball team and there's no shame in that. But it certainly was a hard fought game and one in which I thought for the most part we did a solid job controlling tempo, and I thought that was one of the big keys to the night.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes first.

Q. Trey, how did you explain the fact you did. You guys did dictate the tempo, kind of play the game you wanted, more of a lower scoring game and they were able to win?
TREY THOMPKINS: You got to give Washington credit. They know how to score the basketball. We know the way we played all season. That's how we've been successful. So we're going to stick to it any chance we get.

Q. Travis, that last shot, can you take us through with your mind. Did it look like it was going in at all?
TRAVIS LESLIE: I seen it fell out of Isaiah Thomas's hands. It was open. So I went for it. Tried to throw up a lucky shot. It just didn't fall.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for the student-athletes?

Q. For Trey and Travis, if you can -- what has it meant to make the NCAA Tournament after not being able to the last couple of seasons and finally sort of putting a cap on crossing this hurdle for this particular part of the program?
TREY THOMPKINS: Being in the Tournament is a blessing. It's an experience that I feel like every ball player should have while they're in college. It takes a lot to get here and we worked so hard as a team. The coach reminds us every day we were good enough to win in the tournament and just fell short.
TRAVIS LESLIE: Like Trey said. It's an honor and a privilege. Everyone wants to make the Tournament. You're here for a reason, and there's a lot of good teams here. Tonight just didn't go our way.

Q. What do you think happened early in the second half, maybe the first six, seven minutes when they kind of blew away by ten?
TREY THOMPKINS: They're a team that scores in bunches. They know their strengths. They like the play the game fast-paced. They came in the second half and started knocking down shots. They were contested. That just shows the quality of shooters and the quality of team that they have.

Q. This is for Trey. You've seen a lot of good teams this year, obviously. Do you have any theories about where this Washington team might go after playing them or where they may go from here?
TREY THOMPKINS: I feel the Washington team will go deep into the Tournament. They're strong. They know how to score. They got a floor leader in Isaiah Thomas who knows what play to make every single possession, and I expect them to go deep into the Tournament.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for the student-athletes? Okay. Thank you guys. You can head out. Congratulations on a great year.
Questions for Coach Fox.

Q. I think it was about ten-point difference with about three minutes left, and in a fairly low scoring game, that seems like quite a margin. How did y'all beginning cutting into that?
COACH MARK FOX: Our defense really wasn't nearly as effective to start the second half, so we dug ourselves a hole. I think they shot over 50 percent in the second half. We were playing from behind. A lot of it was our second shot defense, because we had some offensive rebound baskets but we got late in the game and we avoided foul trouble and we wanted to play, you know, a pace that would slow Washington's offensive attack.
But late in the game we into knew we had to play a little faster. We had some fouls to give. We just -- we're just not deep enough to play that way all the time. For the last three minutes we were able to play a little faster and got some things accomplished.

Q. Coach, first half you guys held Isaiah Thomas to four points. Did you have an inkling he might find his rings there and start heating up?
COACH MARK FOX: We fouled him on a three-point shot with less than five seconds on the shot clock I think on their first offensive possession, and we got him started. You cannot do that against a quality player in an NCAA game. That's a tough play.
So he made all three free throws, gave them the lead and probably got him jump-started. That was a tough, tough play.

Q. Mark, can you share what your message was to the team afterwards?
COACH MARK FOX: Well, what I shared with them was that, you know, in basketball, once you understand the consequences of little things, you realize there are no little things. And there's a lot of little plays when we go back and watch the tape that were extremely costly and the consequences were great.
As our team continues to grow and learn, we have to understand that. So we talked about that. And then I addressed our season and the fact that this team has come a long way. I felt like all year that they would be good enough to compete and win in the Tournament. We gave ourselves a chance. But losing in the Tournament there should be no shame in that. We lost to a good basketball team, a well-coached team, and there should be no shame in that.
This team has -- they've achieved an accomplishment by getting here, and J.P. and Chris have been great seniors. When they come back 15 years from now with their children, that will still be noted in the arena. And that's something to be proud of, and they should never be happy in defeat. But as the season ends, I think that they took some real step forwards for our team.

Q. I don't know how much you know about this North Carolina team. I know you know about Roy Williams coached teams. What kinds of problems do you think Washington might cause them?
COACH MARK FOX: You know what? Washington scores it from so many places. You know, they have a great shooting team. They have a low block scorer. They have a lead guard who can create his own shot and hand shots for other people. So they're a really tough matchup as you try and build your defense.
Carolina has a long team. We got two tiny little guards. We got two tiny little guards -- I know Isaiah is not very big. You look at the starting lineup. We have one guy that's outsized by 6, 7 inches. Carolina's longer. I think they'll match up pretty well, but Washington is so good and they're so balanced offensively that they'll take advantage of whatever the defense gives them and should be a heck of a ball game.

Q. Coach, you talked about Washington's defense coming into the game, how it was overlooked. Right there in the first ten minutes of the second half, they looked like they had their offense pushed all the way out to half court. Can you talk about the first ten minutes how the offense almost kind of stagnated?
COACH MARK FOX: You know, we didn't start the half -- we started the half well, got a basket the first possession of the half, and then we gave up the three free throws and then we weren't as effective in getting deeper into our possessions but maintaining some execution. And, you know, I think that one of the things that was tough for us, we couldn't get Jeremy Price going. He's a great kid, he was foul trouble. We needed him to score a little more for us, and we just weren't balanced enough there early so they were able to push us out. You got to credit their defense. They try to pressure us and take us out of some things.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions?

Q. Mark, is it doubly irritating, not irritating, is it frustrating to get the game you wanted style-wise, score-wise, and then not be able to win it?
COACH MARK FOX: Well, I feel like for us to have a chance to win, we had to play this way. It doesn't mean if we got the game this way, we were automatically going to win, but it was something that was necessary for us to give ourselves a chance to win.

So we got the game like we wanted to, but we didn't defend well enough in the second half. We gave up, almost 54 percent in the second half, and didn't rebound it well enough. Even though we got the game like we wanted to, you still to make the plays at both ends and we didn't do that. So, yes, it is frustrating.

Q. We asked Travis, can you take us through the last shot, going through your mind after you get the missed free throw and everything.
COACH MARK FOX: Well, we emptied our timeouts because we had such a tough start there at the half, but, you know, we got the ball down the floor like we've worked on, and it just didn't -- he didn't get a great look.
It wasn't awful. I thought he shot it on line. I thought it had a chance, but that's -- you know, that's just -- sometimes the breaks of the game.

Q. Mark, do you expect the next several weeks will be different this time around with Trey and Travis and their NBA decisions, given you've been through it last year, and how will those decisions impact how your program looks for next season, do you think?
COACH MARK FOX: Well, those decisions will have great impact on our team, you know. They got to come back and have a great team. They both could leave and we would have a young team. One might stay, one might go. I don't know.
What I will advise them to do is listen to the right people and that will be the 30 General Managers that make a decision on draft day. And they both have handled that entire situation with great maturity, and it has had zero impact on our season, and that's to those kids' credit, but we'll advise them to make educated decisions and get the right education in that process.
THE MODERATOR: Anyone else? Okay. Thank you coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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