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March 2, 2012

Jordan Clarke

Mark Phelps

Ben Simons


Creighton – 68
Drake – 61

COACH PHELPS:  It was a real battle.  I think both teams gave great effort.  A very even game throughout when you look at the numbers.  Obviously, they've got their 7‑point advantage.  One more field goal.  They knocked down some threes, and I think they've got one more free throw.
But for us, the scoring drought in the second half ended up being a tough situation to overcome, while at the same time, I thought our guys did a great job battling back to get back into the game.  I think we ended up being down 11, maybe 12.  Got back in the game, and had a nice flurry at the end there.
A couple shots could have gone down, couple things could have gone our way, I think we could have gotten back in the game and made a real game of it there at the end.
Can't say enough about our guys.  They really, really laid it out there.  Jordan Clarke's a guy that we kind of look to set the tone and kind of show us how to be a tough guy and show us how to play the right way.  I thought he wore that badge tonight better than he ever has.  He had a double‑double.  Just threw his body around and did everything that he could possibly do to set the tone and set the example for the rest of our guys who, in turn, followed suit and really, really battled.
So overall a difficult game to swallow.  Lot of guys in there that are disappointed.  They laid it on the line.  At the same time, there is a lot to be proud of with the season, and so we move on.  Certainly we'll get a chance.  We'll have an invite from some of the other tournaments to play beyond this tournament here.  So we'll process all of that and move forward.
Really proud of our guys in a tough, tough game.  Doug McDermott hit some big threes in the second half and got a huge offensive rebound.  I think we were down three.  Had them miss a shot, and got an offensive rebound.  That one really hurt, but he's a terrific player and he makes big plays.  Really proud of these guys up here and proud of the guys in the locker room.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Ben or Jordan.

Q.  Talk about your mindset coming in tonight?  You logged some pretty heavy minutes after playing last night.
BEN SIMONS:  Last night we had a tough game with Bradley, but it was a one‑game season, really.  So we knew we had to lay it on the line.  There is no guarantee tomorrow to make it to Saturday.  So we played as hard as we could.  Gave Creighton a good battle.  In the end we were a little short, but we were proud of how we played and how we fought.
JORDAN CLARKE:  Our training staff did a great job of getting us ready.  We were in ice baths last night.  They made sure we were hydrated.  We thought it was more of a mental thing.  If we wanted to be tired, we were going to be tired.  If we didn't think we were going to be tired, then we weren't going to be tired.  And I thought we came out with the energy that we needed, we just didn't have enough in the end.

Q.  Ben, was fatigue a factor at some point?  You were 1 for 3 for three.
BEN SIMONS:  I don't know.  Creighton had a good game plan defensively.  Keeping a guy right on me, so I don't know how much fatigue is a factor.  Obviously, I was tired playing all 40 minutes, but I felt a lot better tonight to be honest with you.  Last night I was tired, but tonight I felt great.  Playing as hard as I could.  We just didn't have enough in the end.

Q.  Is it almost easier for a team to have already played a game than for what Creighton saw out of you guys tonight?  They had the slow start.  Is it almost easier after having played one game to get off to that quick start?
JORDAN CLARKE:  I think there is a little bit of an advantageous to it.  We got the jitters out early.  In the first game we were able to run upanddown the court.  We were familiar with the rims on things like that.  So it's a little bit of an advantage.  Obviously you're more tired going into the game.
But I think that it helped us to get a feel for the court, the environment.  It's a different gym, so, yeah, I think it helped.
BEN SIMONS:  I agree with that.  At the start of the game especially, like Jordan said, we had a feel for the court, feel for the surroundings and everything like that.  So I think there is sort of an advantage.  At the same time, we were playing pretty good basketball too.  So I think we can put both of those things together, that's why we got a quick start.

Q.  Jordan, if you can just describe overall all the emotions that you're feeling after a game like this?  You take the 24th ranked team in the country down to the wire and yet you're still heading home.  If you can talk about the emotions you're feeling?
JORDAN CLARKE:  Well, it's a lot of emotion.  It's tough because we never know what's going to happen tomorrow, but it's tough with the seniors.  You know, Kurt, Cory, Kraidon and Greg, that it could be the last time you suit up with people that you call your brothers.  But we felt that we laid it out on the line, and we're proud about that.  We felt like we can walk out proud with our heads held high because we left it all on the floor.
It's tough, but at the same time, we felt good about the way we played tonight.
COACH PHELPS:  Our guys had an expectation to win the game.  So when you have an expectation to get something done and come up short, certainly that hurts.

Q.  Talk about the decision to play your starters pretty much the entire game.  Is that something you decided to do coming in or is that the way the game unfolded?
COACH PHELPS:  I didn't realize that happened.  We needed our best players in the game as much as possible.  We tried to give guys breaks during the media timeouts.  We subbed like we normally do, we just got our starters back in more quickly.  I don't think that fatigue was a factor.
I thought Ben was terrific.  He ran around like Ben Simons always does for 40 minutes.  I think it's a testament to him to make that recovery from mono, wasn't by design.  We gave guys a shorter break tonight because it was such a tough game.  We had a harder time scoring.  We wanted our starters back in as much as possible.

Q.  Coach, could you just talk about what postseason play would mean for your team getting to continue to play and whatever tournament that might be?
COACH PHELPS:  I think it's great for the team.  It's great for the program to continue to play in postseason.  There are so many good basketball programs in the country.  There are 350 Division I schools, and the NCAA takes 68, and the NIT takes 32.  There are still a lot of really good basketball teams.  I think a lot of programs have parlayed some of those tournaments the CIT, the CBI, into momentum for their program and into the next year.
The thing for us though that means more than anything, if you do get a chance to continue to play, we have a pretty good basketball team.  We happen to play one of the top 25 teams in the country tonight, and I thought we gave them a great game.  Couple things could have gone our way.  We could have continued playing tomorrow.
The fact that we're playing some pretty good basketball, like Ben mentioned makes you want to continue to play.  Right now, tonight, guys are hurting.  But as they ease from this, I think they'll be excited about the opportunity to play again and be together again.
Jordan mentioned the other part.  We have a really close‑knit group.  Greg and Cory have been here together for four years, and Kurt, and Kraidon have been here.  It will be nice to continue to play.

Q.  How much of a difference does the crowd that Creighton brings energy wise to affect the game?
COACH PHELPS:  I thought they had a good crowd.  We had a really good crowd.  We may not have had as many numbers.  But I can hear the Bulldog fans throughout the game:  To be really, really honest, I didn't think it was that much of a factor.  I'm sure they enjoyed having their people here.  But it didn't seem like it was a detriment to us at all.  It could have been a positive for them.

Q.  Talk about the defense on McDermott.  Obviously, he hurt you guys down low and he shut that down a little bit and goes down and hits four three pointers.  How tough is he?
COACH PHELPS:  He's a terrific player.  He was 4 for 6 from three.  We had a game plan how we were guarding ball screens.  He got his threes off on ball screens, pick and pops.  I thought we were there a couple times.  They do a really good job making adjustments on how we play defense.
We switched some smaller guys on them in DeMoines.  That wasn't the answer to have guys like Kurt down there battling.  But we had a good game plan.  We got hurt a couple times on the ball screens.  He had some tough shots.  But he's a terrific player.  Really, really good player.
Again, that offensive rebound he had late, his only offensive rebound of the game was really a tough one, because we had just gotten a stop, and we were down three.  We were going to come at the other end.  But he's a great player.  He does lots of things to impact the game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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