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March 26, 2011

Lamont Jones

Sean Miller

Derrick Williams


Connecticut – 65
Arizona - 63

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Arizona student-athletes.
COACH MILLER: Well, let me say two things, first, I give tremendous credit to UCONN. They are a tremendous basketball team. You don't have a feel of their great poise and how they control the game until you're playing against them. They're very big and physical around the basket and Jeremy Lamb and Napier probably don't get enough credit for complementing Kemba Walker like they do. They played with great poise.
The second thing, on our end it was an incredible atmosphere here today, and like I told the players, it wasn't too long ago we were 15-16 and to be where we were, a shot to go to the Final Four, 30-8, it will probably feel better in a few weeks than it does now.
But I've never been prouder of a team and I've never seen a team some so far as we did in a short period of time. These two guys right here have a lot to do with it and this tournament amazing. The difference between winning and losing is so huge. I give UCONN credit and I feel really good about being a part of Arizona right now.

Q. Derrick, can you talk about what was going through your head as you left the floor? It seemed like you had a look of peacefulness, but it seemed like you were calm as some of your team mates were upset, you went out and sought Jamelle out and talk about what you were feeling.
DERRICK WILLIAMS: He's our own senior, to see him like that, I had to give him a hug and try and calm him down.
Like Coach said, there are only eight teams left and it's going to be 4 sooner or later, and there is going to be one winner and one loser, and we're on the losing side of that and UCONN played a great game.
Everybody wants to take some plays that they did wrong back, and especially me. I had a couple of plays that I want to take back, too. That's it.

Q. Derrick, on the last possession, you got the ball, and you had time to decide to drive or take the shot, and you took the shot. I wonder if you thought you had an opening to go inside or if you thought that was your best play, to take the outside shot?
DERRICK WILLIAMS: Probably like 8 seconds left and I was open. When I'm open I'm going to shoot the three. You never want to take the shot with -- you know, it's a set play you never want to take the shot with less than 4 seconds because you can't get an offensive rebound, I took the shot with 8 seconds, we got the rebound, kicked it back out to Jamelle, so that's why I shot with 8 left, so we could get the offensive rebound or if they got the defensive rebound we could foul and have a chance to shoot another shot.
I shot it, missed, we got the rebound, and Jamelle missed. I'm not sure where we shot from the three, but in the second half we picked it up a little bit, in the first half we were 1 of 11. I'm not saying that's why we lost, but we didn't shoot the ball well tonight.

Q. Derrick, it seems like late in the game you sort of got away from your inside game, is that something they were doing to you inside?
DERRICK WILLIAMS: No, I was open, on my shooting. If you're going to leave me open I'm going to shoot it. I'm not sure what my percentages, but most of the time I'm going to make it. Things just didn't fall at the end of the game.

Q. Derrick, when you picked up your third foul, what does it do to you defensively? Did it change your game? How do you adjust?
DERRICK WILLIAMS: I've been in that situation plenty of times this season where I've had, going into halftime with two or three fouls.
You know, I try and stay aggressive and whenever you're passive and sitting back, that's when you get most of your fouls. I tried to stay aggressive and show my hands and show that I'm not fouling, and that's what I did in the second half, I don't think I had another foul. I try and stay aggressive, keep my teammates in the game, whenever I'm in the game or if I'm not in the game just try and cheer 'em on.

Q. Lamont, can you talk about offensively when Derrick is out of the game and on the bench like he was much of the first half? Can you talk about how much more difficult that makes things for you guys offensively?
LAMONT JONES: Very difficult. He's a big part of our offense. With him out of the game we got to do a couple of other things to create shots. He opens up a lot of looks for other people, and tonight when he was out of the game we didn't do so good and it didn't work to our advantage tonight. We didn't play how we was supposed to. We missed a couple of shots that we would have normally knocked down.

Q. Lamont you talked about last year at spring break you stayed at school. I know it's raw and fresh, but can you sum up the experience of playing in this tournament?
LAMONT JONES: It's an amazing feeling. Every kid dreams of this feeling. For us to be one of the last teams standing, a lot of people want to be in our shoes and we got here. It's unfortunate that it has to end here, but the feeling of playing here is just a great feeling. It's something that you'll always remember.

Q. Both of you, tell us about the crowd. It seemed like it was a home crowd cheering for you guys. Did you feel it, and how did it affect your play?
DERRICK WILLIAMS: You know especially in the second half, our crowd, even when we were losing, you know, even when there was a dead ball our crowd was standing up, trying to cheer us on, and that's why we were back in the game, actually just because the momentum switched.
We owe a lot to Tucson and all of our fans that were here. A lot of people made that drive all the way out here, so we're thankful for that and hopefully we'll be back in this spot next year.
LAMONT JONES: I mean, our fans are great throughout the whole season, they've came wherever we are. Whether we were at Washington State or in California they was there and tonight they were tremendous. Like Derrick said, that's the reason why we were in the game. To our fans, they've been great all year, and they continued to be great tonight.

Q. You guys put together a good, solid run where you took a lead back and you guys were up maybe 55-52, something like that. Did it feel at that point a little bit like maybe you were putting together one of the runs like you had against Duke two nights ago?
LAMONT JONES: To be honest with you, that game never ran through any of our minds, I don't think at that point in time.
We were just trying to win. We were just trying to get another stop and get another bucket. We felt like we could have made a run, but obviously we didn't, so it's irrelevant. We had the chance, we just didn't take advantage of it.

Q. Talk about what it's like -- a lot of people had thoughts that the Pac-10 wasn't going to do much of anything this year and here you guys are left the only Pac-10 left in it. Can you talk about what it's like to represent?
DERRICK WILLIAMS: I think it's good we had four teams in the tournament this season. I think we had two last season, and people said the whole conference was down, but yet we had four of our teams in the tournament.
I think that the Big East is also a great conference. They had 11 teams make the tournament, and at the end they had one just like we did. Either way, you know, both conferences are great, they have a great history. Great players that come out of the conference and people just don't give our conference a lot of credit, and I'm not sure why.
But it is a great conference. It's a great conference to play in. Most conferences don't play each other twice, and it's hard to go anyplace and play on an away court, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, playing on a home court is hard, no matter which team you are, and tonight it felt like a home court, but UCONN is a great team. The Pac-10, I think it is coming back now.

Q. Jeremy Lamb stepped up big for them in the last couple of minutes, he had 7 of their last 13 points, couple of jumpers, a clutch steal and dunk. Were you surprised he stepped up that way, a freshman on this stage, and how smooth was he for them?
LAMONT JONES: He's been doing that all season. He's a great player. I know he made big-time plays tonight and that's what great players do. It seemed like he made a big play every minute that went past, you know, he was doing something. Tonight he came through for his team and he made great plays.

Q. I know the sting of the loss is still with you, but you guys put together a 14-2 run I think that put you up that 55-52 and they came right back with a 10-0 run. As players, can you appreciate what they were able to do with basically, your home crowd in the building to respond that way?
DERRICK WILLIAMS: That's what great teams do. They set a lot of screens just to get their best shooters open and in that case Jeremy Lamb had a couple of great screens on our players. He hit a tough floater in that run, and I think that's what sparked it. He's a great player and great players are going to make good shots.
Whenever you have screens like that -- they set a lot of ball screens so it's tough on everybody just -- especially Kemba Walker coming off ball screens, it's pretty hard to guard that.
Fogg did an excellent job on him, but he also does a good job of getting other people the ball as well, like Lamb. They made tough shots. We put a run together, they put a run together and that's really what it comes down to is a game of runs and they had the last run.
LAMONT JONES: Like Derrick said, great teams make great plays and we had a stretch where we went on a run and they came back on a run. The game is whoever makes the most runs and tonight they made the most runs. They made a big run and they were able to pull it out.
They made some great plays. They didn't let our crowd affect them. When you're a great team like they are and have good players like they have, that's what you do, and that's what they did tonight, and that's why they got the win.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen. Questions for Coach Miller?

Q. Sean, can you take us through the final possession, what was drawn up there, it was a 3 or was the 2 an option as well?
COACH MILLER: We ran a high stagger for Kyle Fogg, he's the one player in the game that really to me looked comfortable from three; and it was, we don't need a three, but the play was designed to free him up and if that's the case, from that point use a ball screen and be aggressive.
Derrick popped out after he set the second screen, which is fine because I think at the end of games, you can't have it both ways. He's won about 15 games and to have him shoot that shot, which I don't know if it was a great one, but for him with the ball in his hands from three in that situation is something we all can live with.
You also really are looking for a second shot opportunity, which we got, and so many times in this tournament if you watch close games it's not the play that wins the game it's a broken play, an offensive rebound, a deflected ball that ends up in your hands and that happened for us.
Kyle Fogg made a very smart pass, and Jamelle probably had a better look than Derrick did and he missed it but the point on that is he just made one on the possession earlier that gave us a chance. But to have two shots, both that could have won us the game, as hard and difficult as it is right now, I think we all and I can live with that. So many times, again, teams are switchin' and they're desperate you don't get a good look. To have two, we move on.

Q. Sean, it was your crowd, you guys have the run, you go up 55-52. Your impression of what it takes for an opponent to then respond with a 10-0 run like that in that environment?
COACH MILLER: One of the things that I really learned today coaching against UCONN for the first time is you can't underestimate their poise. Their coach, his timeouts, and he used quite a few to calm our crowd down, but the poise isn't just Kemba Walker, the poise is the entire UCONN team. Shabazz Napier and Jeremy Lamb are both really good players and they're freshmen.
For freshmen at this stage to hold their poise with what was at stake is a tremendous complement and credit to them. That's why they're in the Final Four because it's not just Kemba Walker, it's the overall team effort and poise that UCONN has.
We tried to do a couple of things. One, always very worried about UCONN's rebounding. If you would have told us that we would be 42-31 rebounding with 19 second shots I probably would say we would have won. Same thing guarding Kemba Walker. He's impossible to stop, but we didn't want to foul him and we didn't want to give him layups. We want to make the game hard and I look at the end here, seven for 17, 20 points, we did as good of a job I think as you can unless he personally has a bad night, which good luck on that one.
The guy that we wanted to keep out of the secondary scoring was Jeremy Lamb. One of the things that UCONN has in their favor is he's elevated his play to not only be a really good freshman, but one of the best players in the tournament and his shots that he made mid to late second half, give credit where credit is due, he earned his basket, moved without the ball and when you have Kemba Walker with 20 and then Jeremy Lamb has 19, then I think that's when UCONN is at their best and credit Jeremy Lamb, he did a great job tonight.

Q. Sean, can you talk about obviously whether or not Derrick comes back is a huge factor, but the outlook for the program, using this as a building block, especially considering the way last year went?
COACH MILLER: Well, I feel -- we all feel really, really proud of what we accomplished this season. When you can win 30 games, to me that's a number that's monumental in college basketball. We were here in this game and arguably a shot away from the Final Four, and that's the bar at Arizona.
As the new coach, as the new staff you want to restore "order" so to speak and allow our program to experience the great success that we've had for decades under Coach Olson. This is a trampoline and a spring board, I hope, for future runs in this tournament. That's the goal. It's hard to do, but this season and in the things that we accomplished no question will feed toward us being able to do that in the future.
I do believe that we can bring even more talented teams, more experienced teams than the one we have right now to this tournament, and that's the quest, that's the goal.
I love our team and players. What they did this year was exceptional not just because of what we accomplished, but keep in mind we weren't even in the tournament a year ago we were 16-15, and much closer to being 12-19 than 20 wins, so I think we all not right now are feeling good but are anxious to keep moving in a positive direction.

Q. Coach, the last defensive possession that Connecticut had, you called Derrick up to double-team Kemba. Would teams going forward be better to try to create havoc under ball screens and force them to do stuff they don't want to do?
COACH MILLER: No, we had it in our mind that if we came into a situation very late in the game -- you can't do it throughout the game because they're too poised. I tried to press one time and trap, and I think Napier drove around two guys and finger rolled it as if "Why did you do that, Coach?" I look back on that and say, "Why did I call that?" It's tough to do that throughout the game, but in that situation, I feel and I think we feel really good that he didn't shoot ball there. He didn't. We were going to get beat on another guy's shooting and I don't know if they got a great shoot -- our chance to win came because we doubled them and trapped them and made 'em pass it.
I think anyone would live with those consequences because he's so great, just one-on-one with the ball, he really is. But that decision and our execution of it gave us a chance to win the game.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach, congratulations on a great season.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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