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November 23, 2011

Eric Bovaird

Dominique Cooks

Matt Cousins

Bennie Murray



THE MODERATOR:  Coach, some opening comments?
COACH BOVAIRD:  Yeah, sure.  I thought our guys battled.  They battled right to the end every game.  At UCLA we were down two at the half.  Georgetown we were down 12 at the half.  We were down a little bit more at halftime in this game, but we kept battling.
They never quit much these three games are going to be really, really good for us in order to prepare for what we want to achieve.  We're going to get back, and we'll evaluate the tapes and we're going to learn a lot from these.
These teams, man, they shoot the ball like crazy.  Every team has shot the ball so well on us.  I've got to look back to see if it was our defense that made them shoot the ball so well, or if they were just hot for the tournament.
I'm really proud of these guys.  We played hard through the adversity.  They never turned on each other and started blaming people for this and that.  They just kept working hard to try to get better and better.

Q.  Coach, as you move ahead to your schedule now, non‑conference, what have you realized the team's strengths are and where do you feel like you can go to for production?
COACH BOVAIRD:  Yeah, well, all these guys, I think we have a multi‑dimensional team.  All these guys have the ability to‑‑ we're going to shoot the ball better.  We saw some things.  You know, Rickey Clayborn is a guy I haven't seen a lot in preseason because he's hardly practiced.  But he showed some unbelievable ability in there.
All these guys are going to be effective players on.  On a given night, it wouldn't surprise me if Bennie has 25 points or whatever.  But we're going to have a very diverse team, and we're looking forward to our Division II schedule now.
This isn't our big hurrah for the year.  These guys, our two seniors, Matt and Rickey, they want to go out on top.  They're going to be our leaders for this year.

Q.  Coach, how would you compare Tennessee to the other teams you'd play, and what did you see in your film study and scout on them?
COACH BOVAIRD:  Tennessee's right up there with the rest of the teams.  Obviously, I was sitting in my room watching Tennessee versus Duke last night, and I'm thinking, holy cow, these guys are tied with Duke.  They even had the lead for a lot of the game.  They're as athletic as anybody.  The strong point guard, he's tough.  He's tough.  They shot the ball like crazy.
They're going to be good.  Like I said, the seven teams that are here, it would not surprise me if any of them make deep runs into the tournament and have a chance to win a National Championship, any of the seven.

Q.  Dom, I think this is your third Maui.  What was it like for you this year?  Any different than the previous?
DOMINIQUE COOKS:  Yeah, it was a lot different.  My third Maui, without a doubt, the most talent that I've played against in the three years.  On day three, usually you come up against one of the weaker teams.  We went up against Tennessee today, and in any given year, they could have been the No. 1 team that we played, so there's no way that was the weakest team.
A lot of talent across the board.  It was a much higher caliber of play this week.
MATT COUSINS:  I just want to say that I was really proud of our team and the effort we put forth.  Just really excited about the year.  Obviously, it's a little disappointing coming up.  You always have high hopes that you can pull out an upset in one of the tournaments, but other than that I feel very proud of everyone, and I can't wait for the rest of the season.
THE MODERATOR:  Bennie, anything you'd like to add about playing here in the Maui Invitational?
BENNIE MURRAY:  Yeah, I agree with Matt.  We had high expectations this year.  Coming in, we believed that we could win it all.  We looked at these teams like any other team.
It's definitely a learning experience.  It's a privilege to play against some of these teams that are here that you always see on TV and stuff, so you've just got to learn from it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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