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MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT


March 1, 2012


Greg Lansing

Jake Odum

Myles Walker


ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

Indiana State テや 66
Southern Illinois - 51


THE MODERATOR:テつ Greg, can you make a statement and then go to questions?
COACH LANSING:テつ The team is 4‑0.テつ I did a poor job tonight.テつ I told Myles he and I were the two most uptight people in the building, and just wanted to win so bad.テつ Wanted a chance to move on in the tournament and advance.
One thing I do have to say is I commend Coach Lowery, not only is he a heck of a coach, he's even a better person.テつ His team going through what they've gone through and maybe not winning as many games as they need to, he's done a heck of a job.テつ He's got terrific young players.テつ He's got a transfer sitting out.テつ Those guys competed and competed every possession.テつ They never let down, and they didn't let him down.
Commend him and his staff for their outstanding job getting them ready to go.テつ I watched a lot of tape the second half of the year, and they competed in every game and won a lot of them.テつ So think a lot of the man.
Obviously, a good team win for us.テつ I thought in the second half we got to clock watching a little bit, and maybe not playing with the sense of urgency that you need to in the tournament.テつ But we really picked it back up.テつ Jake was really good with the ball in his hands off the ball screens tonight.テつ I think we scored 40‑something of our 66 in the paint, and that was a lot off the drives and Myles when he started finishing there.テつ So great team win.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions for Myles or Jake, please.

Q.テつ Jake, seemed to be a few different things that got you over the top.テつ But from where you're sitting, what do you think got the team going in the right direction in the second half?
JAKE ODUM:テつ We played pretty good defense and we just gave effort, and that was the key.テつ If we defend how we can, like we did last year, we're going to win ballgames, so we did that.テつ We definitely did that down the stretch to get stops.

Q.テつ Jake talk about at times this season when adversity hits the team, they haven't always responded.テつ They did a couple times in that second half and you guys end the game on a 12‑2 run.テつ Talk about the way they made the run and how you responded to that tonight?
JAKE ODUM:テつ Yeah, we did weather the storm a little bit.テつ We've learned over the year.テつ We've let some slip away in the conference with adversity, and we were focusing on four minutes.テつ Each four minutes and the media, and ended up doing that down the stretch and weathering the storm and getting stops.テつ That was the key.

Q.テつ Myles it was a tough start.テつ In the second half you really came alive and had a couple of big plays down the stretch.テつ Can you talk about what changed in the second half?
MYLES WALKER:テつ The first half I couldn't get my hands on the ball at all, and it started off in the second half I couldn't get my hands on the ball.テつ It kept slipping out of my hands.テつ Kept causing turnovers and they kept getting fast breakpoints off of it.テつ All I had to do was see the ball go to the basket.テつ After that I got comfortable with it.テつ And I just kept doing the same thing I did all year, just passing the ball, finishing and making my free throws if it's an and one.テつ If not, pass it back out and assess my guards to get open shots and win a ballgame.

Q.テつ Myles and Jake, as it pertains to playing Wichita State tomorrow, give us a sense for the match‑up, what you like about it, what excites you about it, what makes you anxious about it, all the above?
MYLES WALKER:テつ It's going to be an unbelievable atmosphere.テつ That's what I love about it.テつ When we went to their house it was crazy, it was loud.テつ You couldn't hear anything.テつ But here it's going to be different.テつ It's going to be more competitive and more hard than we all can imagine.テつ All we have to do is come together on defense, lock up, and for preparing and stuff like that, I feel that they may have a little height advantage, and they have another 7‑footer in there and Stutz, and I feel we can muscle them up too just like they muscle us up.テつ It's going to be a hard game to play, but we have to come out on top with the win.
JAKE ODUM:テつ I really like playing Wichita, even though they're probably one of the better teams in the league, but the competition is what drives me.テつ We've lost to them twice this year, so we kind of owe them one.テつ I really don't like to lose to somebody three times.

Q.テつ Myles, Coach Lansing said you had nerves going into this game.テつ Are these normal game nerves also?テつ You and some of the other big guys got into foul trouble.テつ Can you elaborate on the job that Jake Kitchell and Justin Gant did when you guys were on the bench to keep you guys flowing?
JAKE ODUM:テつ Yeah, in the first a felt that me and Carl had two fouls each.テつ And Gant stepped up big time.テつ I can't thank those guys enough.テつ They kept us in the game.テつ I feel that as we come together, and me and Carl not doing the same thing‑‑ which I hope not, not getting in foul trouble.テつ But if we do get in foul trouble, I'd like them to pick us up again and keep the line on the bench.
They're great teammates.テつ I love them to death, and they're great role players.

Q.テつ The seniors talk about only a handful of games level.テつ How eager were you just to get out there and contribute in the second half?
JAKE ODUM:テつ I was a little mad at myself, but I couldn't dwell on that forever.テつ I don't know how to say it, but I was just hungry to get back out there and help my team out and grab rebounds like I usually do and control the paint.テつ I felt like last year I controlled the paint very well, and I had little jitterbugs this first game because I expected so much out of myself like I did last year.テつ And I had little jitterbugs in me.テつ They get a little shaken up sometimes, but we calmed it down a little bit, and we controlled the tempo the whole game.

Q.テつ Given the last time you two teams met, how much success you had shooting the ball from the three and just how much at the perimeter defense has struggled this season, were you surprised how well you guys were able to do in the paint today and able to exploit them inside?
MYLES WALKER:テつ No, they put a lot of pressure on you.テつ Growing up, that is what one of the coaches I had growing up always told me.テつ If they're going to come out there and guard you half court, go right around them.テつ They were guarding us extremely tough tonight.テつ We had some good screeners with Myles and Justin Gant, and create points in the paint for ourselves and for others.

Q.テつ Jake, you've done a good job defensively against Wichita State.テつ Did you see anything particular that was effective in the two meetings?
JAKE ODUM:テつ I think that we rise to the level of our competition.テつ I feel like sometimes we play down to it.テつ But when we play those guys, we know they're one of the better teams in the entire country.テつ So we know we've got to come to play for 40 minutes.テつ That's what we did against those guys at our place and at their place.
We fell short a couple times, and we're planning on finishing this one out tomorrow.

Q.テつ Greg, same question I had for Jake.テつ Seemed to be a lot of different things through the course of the game that got you to where you got.テつ But where do you think the turning point was for the team?
COACH LANSING:テつ I don't know.テつ I thought we weathered the storm very well in the first half.テつ Obviously, we didn't play our best.テつ We did a lot of good things though and played with really good energy.テつ I just think for a while there in the second half, it's my fault.テつ I was a little up tight.テつ I think the guys sense that, and when they sense I'm uptight, it tenses them up a little bit.テつ We just didn't play free and with the usual enthusiasm and emotion that we do.テつ The good things.
We let things frustrate us, because when they see me getting frustrated, they get frustrated.テつ But with the ball in Jake's hands and the way we were coming off those ball screens, we're getting good looks.テつ Even when we turned it over or the start of the second half there, we just kind of, in the start of the first half, we couldn't make a lay‑up, but we weathered the storm.
We have four seniors and a leader like Odum, we'll work through some things.テつ We didn't do it a lot of times when we needed to throughout the year, and that's when we lost games.テつ When we do, we're a tough opponent to beat.

Q.テつ Talk about big time foul trouble in the first half with Myles and Carl and RJ didn't play any last week.テつ Gant tied his career high for points and minutes tonight.テつ Just his contribution?
COACH LANSING:テつ Best he's played.テつ Best he's played.テつ The only thing holding Justin back is competing all the time.テつ He's as talented as anybody in our locker room.テつ We were counting on him to be a good player for a long time with us, and he's coming.テつ He's got to fight guys like Mike and Carl every day in practice, so he's competing and doing better; and Kitchell is probably one guy on the team that deserves more minutes than what he gets.
You just trust Carl and Myles so much on the defensive end that he probably gets cheated there.テつ Those guys are ready.テつ They work every day and follow the game plan as well as they can.
But with all that foul trouble in the first half, RJ was out too.テつ We had to play him a little smaller.テつ Dwayne did a good job guarding Seck Mamadou and scoring around the basket to finish out the first half.

Q.テつ Coach, you guys have not played well late in halves.テつ And Lathan's three‑point play 59‑49, a 10‑point lead with 2:00 to go, did you feel like the team got a little more comfortable with that kind of lead?
COACH LANSING:テつ We did.テつ Dwayne is as much as anybody‑‑ when I'm uptight, I think him and Myles are as much as anybody.テつ I've got to calm down a little bit.テつ That's basically what it is.テつ But Dwayne really bailed us out there.テつ I give Coach Lowery tons of credit.テつ He's got four freshmen out there fighting like crazy and a dynamic player in Seck who played for 40 minutes.テつ They beat us at our place, competed like crazy at our place.テつ We made 12 threes we did that a little bit tonight.テつ We fight back, and not turn it over and not have quality possessions.テつ You get down this time of year, it's possession basketball.テつ You've got to have better possessions throughout the whole 40 minutes, and we tightened it up there at the end.

Q.テつ Coach, with this league being so crazy this year, it's probably a disappointment to have to play tonight.テつ But now that you got through it, was it a challenge to come out in the playing game?
COACH LANSING:テつ It was.テつ Losing that game to Creighton, it shocked us.テつ It really did.テつ If we had won that game, we'd have come in here the hottest team not named the shockers.テつ We'd have been 7‑2 in the second half, and been the third seed like we were last year.テつ It was frustrating.
We've got some competitors.テつ These two guys up here, they're competing.テつ They have high expectations, and it disappointed our fans.テつ You can see it.テつ It's hard to play in the Thursday night game.テつ We don't want to do that.テつ But the guys got better the last couple days in practice.テつ When we were getting ready for them.テつ We're a veteran group.テつ We've got enough guys that have done it here, and they got us through it tonight.
You'd rather start tomorrow with that big day, but, hey, we got a win tonight and we get a chance at one of the top teams in the country.

Q.テつ You talked about the team playing free.テつ How free do they need to be tomorrow against Wichita State and how free do you want to be?テつ Obviously they can punish you if you're too free, so to speak.
COACH LANSING:テつ Yeah, we're too free sometimes.テつ They're so deep, so well coached.テつ They're galvanized from last year not making the NCAA Tournament as they should have.テつ Just smashing everybody going through the NIT.テつ The emergence of Ragland as their leader.テつ They were always good, and Stutz being that go‑to guy.テつ They're so deep.テつ They come on the you in ways.テつ You can't take a break against these guys.テつ They're so good in transition.テつ They turn a turnover into a basket at the other end.テつ And that's going to be our challenge.
We're not as athletic and deep as these guys.テつ We'll have to have quality possessions and make our offense our defense.テつ And we've guarded them well.テつ Even though Stutz got away from us in the second half are there, I felt like it was transition stuff.テつ They're good.テつ They're going to score.テつ You're not going to shut these guys out.テつ We've got to follow our game plan and make it as tough for them and make them have to score in the half court possession and give them one shot.

Q.テつ You mentioned how Wichita State has a lot bigger guys than SIU does.テつ You had 40 points in the paint tonight, are you expecting that kind of production tomorrow?
COACH LANSING:テつ No, it wasn't all that.テつ It was a ball screen.テつ We got a lot off penetration tonight and that counts as points in the paint.テつ The way they were guarding the ball screen, Jake had his feet in there a lot, so did the other guys.テつ They're such a good help team.テつ They come flying to the ball, you get dump offs and you should get easier buckets.
They fought us hard.テつ It wasn't easy, but we wanted to pound the paint.テつ Wichita's big and well‑schooled.テつ They're going to guard us and take things away from us and make it tough.テつ As athletic as they are and well‑schooled as they are.テつ So we'll have to get back to the hotel tonight.テつ Watch our last or both games against them this year and a couple of their last ones and come up with a plan.
I thought our plan has been pretty good.テつ The pressure's on them, not on us.テつ It's just like coming in here last year playing in the semifinals.テつ Pressure's on them.テつ They're going to have to play well to beat us.テつ We could play well and still get beat.テつ But we'll come up with something.テつ The guys in blue will show up tomorrow and fight like crazy.

Q.テつ Myles played well in the Valley tournament last year.テつ It seems he's on the same arc he was last year.テつ He played well at the end of the regular season last year too.テつ Does it take him kind of this time or maybe this motivation as far as a tournament scenario to kind of give him some focus?
COACH LANSING:テつ I think he's played well against Wichita this year.テつ I thought he played well against Creighton too.テつ I think he's played well against the better teams in the league.テつ He gets a little down on himself, you know, and he gets to thinking too much when he makes a turnover.テつ Like every time he bounced it, they were knocking it out of his hands.
But he's huge for us.テつ I know Echenique was the defensive player in the league.テつ But Myles is as good as there is in this league.テつ He works and works and works and is relentless.テつ Sometimes you live with something he does at other end.テつ But he's got to finish shots.テつ He's got to finish around the basket some, but we know he's going to defend.

Q.テつ Coach, I hate to dwell on it, but is it the nervousness, is it more to do with the success of last year or what lies ahead the rest of this year?
COACH LANSING:テつ Mine or the guys?

Q.テつ Yours.
COACH LANSING:テつ I just want to win so bad.テつ I want so much for these guys.テつ I look back at last year and this is the best time of the year.テつ There is nothing like it.テつ I can remember going to State tournaments with my dad every year and sitting in the stands and being emotional and wanting to be out there.テつ Disappointed in myself and the job I did at time this is year.テつ Not being better for these guys, these four seniors and the things they deserve because they accomplished a lot here.
It's not nervous.テつ I don't get nervous.テつ I just get a little uptight, and I want to win so bad and I want these guys to experience it again and be around here for a long weekend.
Getting this one tonight was big.テつ Getting this one tonight was big.テつ Now tomorrow pressure's on them.テつ We'll stay up all night watching tape.テつ These guys will get ready, have a plan and compete tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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