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March 15, 2012
Syracuse – 72
UNC - Asheville – 65
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by UNC ‑ Asheville.
COACH BIEDENBACH: I thought we had a cooling off period. There's not enough time for cooling off for this one. Is there a cooling off period?
THE MODERATOR: I don't know.
COACH BIEDENBACH: Okay.
I couldn't be prouder of our team. They battled all the time. One of the greatest bunch of guys you'll ever be around on and off the court.
It's an honor to be in the NCAA tournament, play a No.1, No. 2, any seed. We couldn't have been prouder to be here.
We gave it everything we had. We battled the best that we could. These guys are great. They deserved a better fate than they had today.
I thought our turnovers at times got us in a little bit of trouble. We wanted to stop their fast break completely. The runs that Syracuse gets off of their high 2‑3 zone, you know, missed shots or turnovers, whatever, we did that for the most part of the night, but we didn't do it well enough.
I enjoyed the crowd a lot.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach. We'll now take questions for our student‑athletes.
Q. There were a couple of really close calls. The non‑goaltending in the first half, the ball out of bounds late in the game. Your thoughts on that?
J.P. PRIMM: You say goaltending. You had it right the first time.
Like I said, it's tough when things don't go your way. In college basketball, sometimes you have to play everybody in the building, you know. But I feel like that at that point in time the crowd definitely got behind us. Because, you know, everyone loves to see a 16 beat a 1.
It didn't happen tonight. But, you know, I couldn't be much prouder of the guys, you know, the effort that they put in today. And, like I say, we stuck with the game plan as best we could. We fought and we fought.
No one thought we was going to be in this game. We had the game. Like I said, sometimes you get the short end of the stick.
JEREMY ATKINSON: I mean, J.P. pretty much said it all. You can only just play through it. Ref needs to call it, that's it. Can't turn it back. Just got to play through it, play for the next play.
Q. What was it like at halftime with a four‑point lead against the No.1 seed in the bracket?
JEREMY ATKINSON: Matt Dickey the other senior guard said don't be surprised before the game if we're up. Play the first half like we play the second half. We tried pretty much to replay the first half. Came up short. A couple missed points, transition points for them, and they got the long end of the stick.
J.P. PRIMM: Like I said, it's tough for you to go up on a No.1 seed at any point in the game. But, like I say, today we surprised a lot of people. If they had to guess we would be up four at halftime, nobody in the building thought that. Our fans did, but no one else.
Like I said, it's tough sometimes, you know, when everybody else wants you to win because they're supposed to win. Like I said, I mean, tough calls down the stretch. Like I said, I mean, it's over, we can't change it out.
Q. J.P. did they give you an explanation on the lane violation? Coach, after you called your last timeout, you stayed on the floor to talk to the officials. I was wondering what it was about.
J.P. PRIMM: First the ref said, they showed it on the replay, I think the crowd let him know that it wasn't the right call. Like I said, the next time, I was like, Watch Syracuse's guy. As soon as he shoots it, he's going to crash. He had no explanation for it.
Like I said, when it gets crunch time like that, like I say, everyone is human.
COACH BIEDENBACH: I'm not going to comment on the officiating of the game. If I was out there, I was asking him if he was going to go to Primanti's to eat.
What do you think I was talking to him about at that particular time?
Q. Will you be able to take the satisfaction of playing these guys tough or is that just totally overshadowed by coming up short?
J.P. PRIMM: I mean, of course not. You know, we're not satisfied. We came in the game to win. Like I said, I personally felt like the better team didn't win tonight. That's my opinion.
It's not been one game that I went in thinking we're going to lose. That's my competitive nature. But, you know, we had our mindset, the 15 guys had our mindset, that that game at the beginning was going to be won by Asheville.
So to answer your question, you know, we're not satisfied just because we played 'em close. We knew we were going to play 'em close. We wanted that situation right at the end, just like we had it.
But, like I said, sometimes things don't go your way.
Q. J.P., you are up by four at the half, led by as much as seven points. When Syracuse came back and took the lead, what were you able to do to keep hanging around?
J.P. PRIMM: That's the difference between having a young team and an older team, I think. The older team, the veteran team that we have, we've been down games. We've been down a lot, in late games. But coach has told us, Grind it out, grind it out. There's plenty of time, y'all. Don't get discouraged. Don't start putting up crazy shots.
We grinded it out. We definitely had the crowd behind us. That helped a lot. But, like I said, I don't know, it's tough.
COACH BIEDENBACH: I'd like to ask the gentleman from Syracuse a question. You ask what we did to hang around. I want to read your article tomorrow and see what Syracuse did to get back in it when we were up 7, when we were up 4. I'll be very interested to read about what you have to say.
Tonight ‑‑ Syracuse is better than Asheville. Tonight we were better than Syracuse. Come Thursday at 3:10, they screwed us up, they moved us to 3:20 because the first one was too long. At 3:10, these guys played their tails off for 40 minutes and played better than Syracuse.
I have all the respect for Jim Boeheim, their team being 31‑2. He's a fantastic coach. They deserve all the recognitions they've got this year. This was the better team tonight.
Q. Can you talk about what your defense, especially the 2‑3 zone, was able to do today to slow down Syracuse.
COACH BIEDENBACH: Well, we took a little bit of the scouting that Brett Carey did and Dion Dacons, and Nic McDevitt, we have three great assistant coaches. We looked at what they did, you saw Cincinnati against them in the tournament. They have a great 2‑3 zone. They play a little differently.
In all zones, in all man‑to‑man, you got to keep them away from the basket and you got to rebound. We just played a good 2‑3 zone and mixed it up a little bit, playing man‑to‑man on one possession, zone on the other, just enough to try to keep 'em off balance.
At times, a couple times, I changed it at midstream and our guys weren't quite prepared for it. Our substitution patterns were a little different after Q got in foul trouble. We had a smaller lineup in there. When you start out small and you have to go smaller, it's tough.
But these guys, if you watched us, for you guys that aren't around Asheville or around the Big South, these guys played great defense most of the season. We got in a little rut, they came back. Shortcut a little bit, they went to work. The last part of the season, we were really good on defense. We were pretty good tonight.
Basketball is not a game of perfect. We made some mistakes and it cost us. When you play a team like Syracuse, that will happen. But they made plenty of mistakes, and some of them didn't cost them.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, thank you.
COACH BIEDENBACH: I got to stay? When is the cooling off period?
THE MODERATOR: August.
COACH BIEDENBACH: August (smiling)? I have our athletic director over here, Janet Cone. Can I have a cooling off period before August? Okay, good (smiling).
Q. The non‑goaltending call in the first half, the ball out of bounds were right in front of you. Do you think you got a bad call on those?
COACH BIEDENBACH: I don't want to comment on officiating. Mike Gore is over here about to strangle me and say, You can't do that.
I think to answer your question best, that big replay machine up on top, you heard the crowd reaction. I liked the crowd tonight. I thought they were great. If you can evaluate the crowd, can you get 18, 600 answers for that question? Okay.
Q. Did you purposely try to foul Scoop Jardine? Did you want to put him on the line today?
COACH BIEDENBACH: I didn't know his percentages were 49% on the season. He was higher than that as a sophomore, he went down as a junior.
Of course, we knew that. That's what Brett Carey does for a living. But we would have liked to have fouled him, and we did. But sometimes you have to foul the other guys. We fouled Joseph and we wanted to foul somebody else.
Their shooters, two of them, one is at 55%, the other one at 49%. Those are the ones you want to foul, but it doesn't always work out that way. They avoid the ball. Jardine wants the ball.
To answer your question, it was on purpose in that particular situation. He missed it and I thought we got the rebound.
Q. More of a philosophical question. Do you think they should keep officiating crews together instead of breaking them up and putting them together in the tournament?
COACH BIEDENBACH: Mike?
I think they should always keep the good ones together (smiling).
Q. I know the officiating is going to overshadow a lot of what happened. Can you talk about the second half that Southerland had for them?
COACH BIEDENBACH: He's a very good shooter. I was impressed with what he did, under the circumstances he did it.
That's what they did in high school, they're great players. We knew they had five guys that could hurt us from 3‑All night long. We did a pretty good job.
That was the first mistake. We went from man‑to‑man to zone. Jeremy Atkinson was on that side and he didn't get out because normally he would have been on the other side. With Quinard Jackson out of the game, he played that side. He was late getting there on the first one he made. Once you make that first one, you feel a little better about yourself.
That was really my fault.
Q. Most losses are frustrating. Would you be able to categorize how frustrating this one is?
COACH BIEDENBACH: I tell you this, the bigger the game, the more frustrating it is when you play well and don't win. This was the biggest game we played. If that can answer it right. This was really tough to take.
Q. Were you surprised with the size SU had, the amount of threes they ended up taking in this game?
COACH BIEDENBACH: No. In watching them on tape, what they do, we felt if we kept them out of the inside, we have a better chance. If we hadn't have made a couple of mistakes to give them open threes, you know, it might have turned out differently.
But, you know, they're good shooters, they're good players. You know, I thought they would be a little bit out of sync with changing the lineup and stuff. But it's Syracuse. Get rid of one McDonald's All‑American, move another one up. You know, they're pretty good.
Thank you, folks. It's been a pleasure being here. I'm from Pittsburgh. It's great to be in the tournament. You guys are all great, but I am going to read your article tomorrow to see what you had to say about that. I might have to get my tutor to read it to me, but...
Q. Just came back from your locker room. A number of your players said that you gave them very specific instructions not to discuss with the media the results of some of the officiating calls. They also said it was very unusual for you to give instructions like that. Could you articulate why you felt it was necessary to tell them that.
COACH BIEDENBACH: This is really‑‑ I mean, our team was really a good team. They put a lot into this. We had four seniors that played regularly. In four years, those guys have been great on and off the court, in the classroom, extra workouts, all the things you're supposed to do. I thought we played better than Syracuse tonight.
You know, we're a very good basketball team. We're not better than Syracuse. I'm not trying to say that at all. You guys know. You see the rankings and all the other things.
It's a tough loss to take when it's this big a game and we played so well. Basketball's meant a lot to all these guys, meant a lot to me over the years. J.P. said it better than anybody, you know, sometimes it doesn't go your way. You know, just happens that way.
That doesn't answer your question, does it?
Q. Not really. Give it another shot.
COACH BIEDENBACH: I don't think I can articulate it well enough. I just don't think that I could say what you want me to say.
Q. Why don't you say what you want to say?
THE MODERATOR: Our time is up. Thank you, coach.
COACH BIEDENBACH: Thank you, sir.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports