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March 2, 2012

Doug McDermott

Greg McDermott

Antoine Young


Creighton – 68
Drake – 61

THE MODERATOR:  The Bluejays are with us.  Coach McDermott will start off with a statement on the game.
COACH McDERMOTT:  I thought Drake really played their tails off considering they were here until 11:30 or midnight, whenever they got out of here last night.  They really threw that first punch to start the game.  Our goal going into the game was for us to do that.  To try to really be aggressive early and see if we get them back on their heels and get them thinking about how tired they should have been.
To their credit, they knocked down shots early.  We weren't very efficient early.  But the start of the second half was the difference in the game.  We defended better, then found some touches for Doug inside.  On a night we didn't shoot it particularly well, we still found a way to win.
Antoine was outstanding.  I thought he controlled the game with his decisions.  When to shoot, when to pass.  So we really rode these two up here pretty hard.

Q.  How huge was it for you guys that you didn't panic when you did get down early?
DOUG McDERMOTT:  We've gotten off to some starts like that this year.  We have a bunch of confidence in each other.  We didn't get off to the best start, and they were shooting lights out.  We couldn't get anything to fall.  We turned it over a couple times, but we just had to keep our cool out there and Sticks together, and we knew good things would happen.
ANTOINE YOUNG:  Like Doug said, we've been in situations like that all year.  We've been in tough situations, so we just stayed together and stayed the course and got it done.

Q.  Doug, you guys are Creighton, so of course you're going to have a big crowd every year.  How much of a help was that that you got down early and came back and they were really into it?
DOUG McDERMOTT:  Yeah, we've got some of the best fans.  We're the furthest place from St. Louis in the conference, and they've been with us all year.  We were into it after they threw that punch on us, so it was great to have them there.

Q.  Antoine, you know though the team at times did struggle with shooting percentage.  Up until the end of the game there you were shooting 6 for 6 at one point and shooting very well.  What were your thoughts as you were able to get those shots going?  Was there a particular thing that kept you focused and on point?
ANTOINE YOUNG:  I don't think it was anything in particular.  I just kind of was in the role this year, and the way I play is as if things are getting a little stagnant and tough, I'll be a little more aggressive.  So I kind of just feel the game out and see how it goes.  We were a little stagnant, so it was time to be a little more aggressive.

Q.  This, again, is for both student‑athletes.  What were your thoughts when they got the score at 63‑60 right there in the last minute or so?  What did you tell each other?
DOUG McDERMOTT:  Again, just like they did to start the game coming in on that run, we just stuck together.  We had a couple of stupid plays there.  Couple of careless‑‑ we were careless with the ball there on a couple of possessions.  We just stayed with each other.  I think we knew we were going to win that game the whole time.
ANTOINE YOUNG:  Yeah, we've always been in and out of adversity this year.  I think we just kind of calmed down.  I knew they were going to make a run.  I knew it wasn't over with three minutes to go.  I knew they were going to make a run.  So we just stayed together and toughed it out and got it through.

Q.  Coach mentioned the defense at the start of the second half.  What did you guys talk about at halftime, and what did you get executed there to start the second half on defense?
ANTOINE YOUNG:  Obviously, we knew we had to guard a little better.  We started off the game a little bad.  So we came out and flew around a little more than we were in the first half.  Our talk was a lot better on the defensive end, and I think we got some stops done.
DOUG McDERMOTT:  Yeah, that was the difference in the game.  I think they scored four of their first 18 or 19 possessions there to start the second half.  That was the difference in the game.  I think we let our defense kind of carry it over to our offense.  We were getting good shots and kind of letting that take care of itself.  So it was good to get off to a start like that defensively.

Q.  Antoine, is there such a thing as defensive momentum?  If so, is this a good way to get things started here?
ANTOINE YOUNG:  There is a huge sense of defensive momentum.  If you get a stop one time, you feel more comfortable about the next possession down.  I think we've got to take possession one at a time on both ends of the floor.  If we do that, things will turn out well for us.

Q.  You guys both played well today.  This question is for both of you.  Going into this next game, you're going to be playing the winner of Missouri State or Evansville.  Two questions:  Do you have a message for any of the players playing on that team?  What is your message for your fans as you go in?  As you're the favorite, do you feel the pressure is more on you and more on your opponent?
ANTOINE YOUNG:  I think that first game here, we had a whole week off.  We've been waiting here for two days to play.  So we got off to a slow start there, but I think tomorrow we'll be ready to go, and I think our fans are going to be the same as they were today, hopefully even more excited.  It should be good.
Evansville and Missouri State are both really good teams and really guard you, pack it in defensively.  So we know it's going to be a big challenge for us, but we've got to continue to do what we do.
DOUG McDERMOTT:  I think our message is we should play hard.  Our fans are great.  I think they admire when we play hard, and if we do that, I think things should work out.

Q.  It looked like the one thing you didn't want to do is let Rice and Simons get going.  Was the plan to kind of let the other guys have their shots and concentrate on them?
ANTOINE YOUNG:  I don't know if we were just going to give other guys shots, but we were definitely concentrating on those two.  I thought we did a good job on them chasing Simons and trying to keep Rice out of the lane.  Some of the other players stepped up to make plays, but they're pretty good players, too.  So it took a good defensive stance to stop all of them.
DOUG McDERMOTT:  Both of those guys were good all year.  Clarke got a bunch of offensive rebounds, and Jeffers was hitting threes early.  So we had to adjust to that.  Once he hit a couple, we had to adjust to that.  I thought we did a better job of that in the second half.

Q.  Doug, winning a game like this where you had to come back and be physical, what does it do for you guys and your confidence moving forward?
DOUG McDERMOTT:  It's huge for our confidence.  I think we've been in this situation our last three games to end the regular season.  So, I mean, it's just going to keep building our confidence going into tomorrow where we play two really good teams, so we've just got to be ready.

Q.  Doug, it seemed like you got going in the second half.  Did you take it upon yourself to maybe up the game a little bit and get this thing going on your shoulders in the second half?
DOUG McDERMOTT:  Yeah, absolutely.  I kind of struggled there a little in the first half, and I knew I had to get myself going and let the game come to me.  That is something I did a good job of.  My teammates did a good job of finding me on those pick and pops.  So that got me going and got my confidence built throughout the whole half.

Q.  Coach, you talked about your defense early in the second half; but at the end of the game, they missed six shots in the last minute.  Can you talk about getting the stops at the end of the game as they were trying to come back?
COACH McDERMOTT:  We've put a couple different lineups out there.  We were awfully small there for a while.  We were really forced into that, because should they score, we felt we needed that lineup on the floor for the press break.  And losing Grant Gibbs in that situation is really devastating to us.  He's our best inbounder and is going to make the best decisions in those situations.
I thought we flew around a little bit, switched some screens, and we were able to get out on shooters and make them take contested shots.  We got some big defensive rebounds when we needed them as well.

Q.  It seemed early in the first half you pulled out Echenique and pulled him aside and talked to him.  Anything specific you said?  Because it seemed he came back out after that and really got back on track?
COACH McDERMOTT:  I was just trying to light his fire a little bit.  I thought he was back on his heels to start the game.  To Gregory's credit, he corrected it.  Also give the guys on the bench credit.  When I took him out and we went with Ethan and Will that's when we got back in the game.
For whatever reason, Gregory wasn't as active to start the game as he usually is, and it was good for us that he got it fixed, because he made some great defensive plays around the basket for us.

Q.  Yeah, Coach, I noticed looking at the stat line and watching the game that you guys were able to keep Drake from only scoring one three‑pointer the entire game.  Was there a certain thing you guys did to be able to protect the arc so well?
COACH McDERMOTT:  Well, we weren't going to leave Simons on dribble penetration.  We did early, and the guy that did came and sat by me and had a discussion with me about it.  Ben's one of the best shooters in the league, and if you let him get started, it's really hard to stop him.  There are a couple of guys that were willing to give up the three‑point shot, being off them a little bit to guard the dribble a little better.  Part of it is let's face it, they had some open looks, we missed them.
They had some open looks, we missed them.  They're tired from last night.  We're playing in the first game of the tournament for us.  I think anxiety and nerves get to you a little bit.  Both teams missed some open shots.

Q.  Coach it looked like Gregory injured himself.  Did he roll his ankle?
COACH McDERMOTT:  I'm not sure.  He was icing something in the locker room, and we'll get that evaluated tonight, and hopefully he's okay by tomorrow.

Q.  What did you focus on at halftime as far as the defensive things you were trying to get across?
COACH McDERMOTT:  We weren't quite as aggressive as we wanted to be with our ball screen defense, trying to get them to go up the floor.  And our recovery out of that aggressive show on the ball screen was a little bit slow, and it was forcing our help to go a little too long, giving up some perimeter shots as a result of that.  We got into the point guard a little bit more, and we thought we felt Drake was getting a little fatigued, so we wanted to keep the tempo going.
But we sat on Rice's right‑hand.  I thought we did a good job of that.  The guys that guarded him did a good job of that.  But defensively, as Antoine said, I thought we competed a little harder the second half than we did the first.

Q.  I wanted to wait until Doug left to ask this question.  I know you have his mind on this tournament and going forward the rest of the season.  But to ask yourself as a coaching father, have you ever conversations about this being his last year in college, and will he be pursuing the next level of things because he's had so much success?
COACH McDERMOTT:  No, we haven't had any conversations.  And when we do, I'm probably not telling you guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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