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NCAA MEN'S 2ND & 3RD ROUNDS: CHARLOTTE


March 20, 2011


Matthew Bryan-Amaning

Lorenzo Romar

Terrence Ross

Isaiah Thomas


CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

North Carolina 86
Washington - 83

COACH LORENZO ROMAR: Very hard-fought game. Carolina is a very good basketball team. I was proud of our guys. I hate to see our seniors end it this way. I thought our guys fought, did so many things right, that could have enabled us to win the ballgame but we didn't get it done. Give a lot of credit to the Tar Heels.
THE MODERATOR: Questions first for the student-athletes. Who has the first question?

Q. This question is for Terrence. First of all, I guess, offensively what was really working for you tonight, and then more specifically, with about two minutes left when Harrison stripped you at middle court, how did you kind of see that play?
TERRENCE ROSS: I wasn't really paying attention to him at the time. I was looking, you know, to see the play develop and I wasn't strong with the ball and he got it.

Q. Isaiah, can you kind of encapsulate your game, whether or not you were tired at the end of the game and what you saw on the final shot?
ISAIAH THOMAS: You just got to give it up to North Carolina. They're a great team offensively and defensively. I wasn't tired. I mean, I only played 33 minutes. Coach sat me out for four to five minutes in the second half and I got my legs back. And last shot, fading away it was a difficult shot especially with .5 seconds left. I try to do what I could to get it to the rim and it just fell short.

Q. Matthew, we've kind of asked a lot during the season, but first off, could you sort of talk about what it was like going up against their bigs and also maybe whatever difference Aziz's presence made today that, you know, you didn't enjoy a season ago?
MATTHEW BRYAN-AMANING: Their bigs was great, a lot of length and a lot of talent. Obviously Zeller doing his work on the inside finishing with 23 tonight and John Henson with his length and shot-blocking ability, which made it tough. Aziz just brings a different presence that we haven't had in the past. He was able to go out there and grab 11 rebounds, which I think was a game high, something that 7-footer that we haven't had that, athletic 7-footer that likes to run that we haven't had in the past, and he just gives us a different look. So when we're playing teams like North Carolina obviously, that we can match up better against them.

Q. Question for Isaiah. Pretty much from this title last year when you guys lost the Sweet 16, there was a lot of talk about making it to the Elite 8. Is that something that you guys think about right now, or you guys kind of still thinking about the fact that you came to Carolina and competed with the Tar Heels here?
ISAIAH THOMAS: We lost, so there's no Elite 8. I mean, we fought hard, we had chances to win, and, I mean, it's on us.

Q. Isaiah, kind of picking up on that, do you think it's on y'all for anything that y'all did tonight, or is it kind of on y'all maybe for that slump in the second half of the PAC-10 season that maybe ended up giving you this difficult a seed this early?
ISAIAH THOMAS: We wasn't -- I mean, our goal was to get to the NCAA Tournament no matter what seed we were. We knew we can compete with any team in the country. We did an okay job in some areas, but in other areas in this game we didn't do well, and they capitalized on it and they got the win.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for the student-athletes? Okay. Thanks, guys. Congratulations on a great year.
ISAIAH THOMAS: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for coach.

Q. Lorenzo, when you guys had an inbound with five seconds left and Venoy tried to take it away, what was supposed to happen on that play? It looked like he took the shot too early. Tell us what was supposed to happen and what did happen.
COACH LORENZO ROMAR: Well, bring the ball up the floor and try to put our guys in position to get a 3. I think what Venoy did, he kind of prematurely anticipated them fouling him, and I think that's what he did and he tried to get three shots if they were going to foul him early. I think that's what happened. But they didn't foul him.

Q. Lorenzo, there appeared to be a more time at the end on replays. Did you ask for a replay?
COACH LORENZO ROMAR: Yes, I did. I was told that they had already checked.

Q. Henson had a couple of big plays blocking that inbound pass and a couple of blocks. Can you talk about the difficulty he poses for opponents?
COACH LORENZO ROMAR: You can see why he's the Player of the Year defensively. He has so much length. He anticipates extremely well. Rarely does he leave his feet until the ball leaves the offensive player's hands. They put him on the baseline to defend inbound plays and makes it difficult to throw over the top, and he -- it was very effective at the end when we tried to throw inbounds and he got his hand on the basketball.
He certainly is a presence, and I think early on especially, we missed some close shots maybe thinking a little too much about where he was.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions?

Q. Lorenzo, I know you always kind of look at your teams not by where they end up but how close they come to their potential. How do you think this team did in that regard?
COACH LORENZO ROMAR: Well, we told our guys at the end that this was very unfortunate. Whenever you don't win the last game, it's very, very disappointing. But our guys rallied up and this is what we told them, we rallied up. By the end of the year I thought we had become a really good basketball team.
And even in this game today, I think we did a lot of things right that could lead you to a victory just down the stretch. We didn't make the plays that were necessary to allow us to be in the victory circle.

Q. Apologize if you went over this before, but on the final inbounds play when you had .5 I guess or whatever, what was -- what were the options there and did you think Henson goal-tended that final shot?
COACH LORENZO ROMAR: I think the explanation was that it was a two. So I wouldn't have mattered if he goal tended or not. Still we wouldn't have been able to win. I think that was the explanation. We're trying to get the ball, trying to get a clean look. You know, I'd like to see the film and see that play again to see if, in fact, we have someone open that he was trying to hit. We just wanted to get the ball because -- get the ball inbound and get a shot because of the way they were defending, we felt we could catch and shoot right away and get a good look.

Q. Lorenzo, kind of the question I had asked Isaiah, do you think this season ended today for anything necessarily that y'all did today, or did y'all just get yourselves into trouble with that three-game losing streak in the PAC-10 Tournament?
COACH LORENZO ROMAR: You know, when we sat there Selection Sunday and saw the bracket, we would be fooling ourselves if we would not have admitted that it was a tough, tough road to come this far, 2800 miles away and play who we had to play. We understood that.
But I think immediately our guys embraced this opportunity as something that could be really special and we came into this game expecting to win the game. We knew the road that we're going to have ahead of us, and I think we hit it helped on. I don't think we backed away from it at all. We went right after it. And, sure, we were inconsistent during the year. We didn't get as high a seed as probably would have liked. Once we realized that was the case, we didn't feel sorry for ourselves, we didn't look back. We said this is how it is, well, let's go.
And I thought our guys did a good job of attacking it that way. We just came up short.
THE MODERATOR: Anyone else? Okay. Thank you coach.
COACH LORENZO ROMAR: Thank you all.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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