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NCAA MEN'S 2ND & 3RD ROUNDS: COLUMBUS


March 16, 2012


Rick Byrd

Drew Hanlen

Mick Hedgepeth


COLUMBUS, OHIO

Georgetown テや 74
Belmont テや 59


THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll start with an opening comment by Coach Rick Byrd.
COACH BYRD:テつ I felt like Georgetown was simply the better team pretty much from start to finish.
We chipped away, and we didn't let them get out of striking range.テつ We've got a team that can run option points pretty quick at times and kept hoping for that, and we'd cut into them and get into single digits and they'd make big plays at the right time.
So I think the better team won the game, and I'd like to say different.テつ But they deserve a lot of credit.テつ And well coached.テつ They shot 61percent from the floor and they made 12 turnovers.テつ That's a scary good offensive efficiency performance, and therefore pretty bad defensive efficiency number for Belmont.
And although we certainly had problems with their zone, I think the big difference was on the defensive end.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions for the Belmont student‑athletes.

Q.テつ Scott and Mick, the stat sheet shows they only blocked three more shots but how many more do you think they affected?
MICK HEDGEPETH:テつ I mean, those guys are big and long.テつ And obviously when we went in there they altered shots and had a big presence, and they did a great job scoring offensively and as well with their defensive presence.

Q.テつ Drew, what was not happening against the zone that normally you guys are able to produce against?
DREW HANLEN:テつ You know, I think we held the ball too much at the top of the key and got our offense started with‑‑ too late in the shot clock, therefore they were able to extend out.テつ I don't think we found the post or got it in the middle enough to kick out.
And I also think ultimately I think we forced a couple of shots inside, like you were saying, with their post players.テつ I think we forced a couple of shots instead of kicking it out to shooters like we're normally pretty good at.
That's something that Coach has been stressing all week, just get it inside the paint and look for shooters' weak side.テつ And I think that sometimes we try to make the hero play instead of just a smart play.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you.テつ Questions for Coach Byrd.

Q.テつ Coach, can you talk about the uniqueness, maybe the difficulty of playing against a team who gets all their assists from their big men?
COACH BYRD:テつ Well, uniqueness is a great word.テつ We really worked hard to defend their offense.テつ And we tried like crazy not to give up any back cuts.テつ We just tried to keep our man‑‑ I mean, the whole emphasis was stay between your man and the goal.テつ When they come at you, they're going to backcut you.テつ If they come and take a handoff, we can help with his man and we can get away with that, but we can't get away with the backcuts.
Because the backcuts then create‑‑ if they don't get their layup, that means they've got help from the bottom side and the guy stepping out is wide open.テつ There's so many things that happen when you let them backcut you.
But you can't replicate that in practice.テつ You can't.テつ And you can get pretty close to replicating a lot of offenses if you've got four or five days to prepare, like we did, but you can't do it with the speed.テつ They practice it over ‑‑ an hour plus every day they practice that stuff.
And, you know, some of it was‑‑ some of it was them making good plays.テつ But we had breakdowns.テつ We had guys making mistakes at critical times and letting their guy backcut them.テつ We had a‑‑ even real late we had a‑‑ they curled a play.テつ We're not going to switch their curls.テつ And we switched it and left a guy over there on the left wing wide open.テつ He made a 3.テつ If there was a nail in the coffin, that was probably the end of it right there.テつ And it was wide open.テつ And we did the wrong thing.テつ And we did the wrong thing on a couple of out of bounds plays.
There were some disappointing parts of it.テつ And I did a really poor job of‑‑ I didn't expect as much zone defense, and it would be interesting to know if John just felt like that was a good thing to play us or whether he was worried about how we were doing against their man‑to‑man defense and switched it and tried it and it worked and he stayed in it.
But we didn't spend much time‑‑ they play at less than a third zone defense.テつ And we've got good shooters, and I just didn't predict that we'd face zone or that we'd do as poorly as we did.
But it's a great one.テつ They're well taught, and they've got great athletes.テつ If Syracuse is better than that, I'm glad we didn't play Syracuse.

Q.テつ Do you feel like your guys have made progress to get back to the tournament?テつ Do you feel like there's something you could take way from last year?
COACH BYRD:テつ I'm really disappointed in this game.テつ Not because I think we should have won or that we are the better team or that we should have been favored and there were people picking us.テつ I don't think that was right.
Georgetown‑‑ Georgetown is a better team than we are, and I think they're kind of supposed to be a better team than we are.
But it should have been‑‑ it should have been a better game from start to finish.テつ And they established a six‑, seven‑, eight‑point lead.テつ We couldn't‑‑ we just‑‑ it ends up being probably mostly double figures in the second half.
And I just would like for us to have been more competitive.テつ I think Wisconsin ended up 14 last year.テつ But I felt like we were in that game better than I felt like we were in this game.テつ But, I mean, I thought Clark making those three 3s in the first half, and they weren't real easy ones, were really big for them.
They made some big, tough shots late in the shot clocks, and if we're going to beat a team at this level, we've probably got to catch them on a day when those don't go in, at least we've got a better chance.
I'm proud of our team.テつ I'm proud of our year.テつ Those seniors just won three straight regular season championships and two straight tournament championships and 57 games in two years.テつ And when I get a little perspective, I'll feel a little bit better than I do right now.

Q.テつ I surely understand that your concern is not Georgetown's future opponents, but having played them just now, do you see a vulnerability in their defense that upcoming opponents can exploit?テつ What is the best way to score against this Georgetown team?
COACH BYRD:テつ You're apparently asking the wrong guy (laughter).テつ Their defensive numbers are exceptional.テつ Their defensive numbers this year are exceptional.テつ And I was looking at holes in their man‑to‑man defense and preparing for their 2‑3.
But I will say this:テつ I think they're a better team than I thought they were.テつ Now, I saw them play some really good games.テつ If you can go to Syracuse and lose in overtime against the one or two best teams in the country and you can have some of the wins they had, they're obviously good.
But I had some days where I thought we might have won those games on those days.テつ But I think if they play with consistency, if they play‑‑ I mean, 30 for 49 and only 12 turnovers, that doesn't leave many empty possessions.テつ And they're going to play bigger, stronger, better people as they go along, if they go along.
But I do think they have a better chance to advance further than I would have before we played them.テつ I don't know if that answers your question or not.

Q.テつ Could you comment more specifically about Blake Jenkins' performance not only today but these past few weeks?
COACH BYRD:テつ Blake makes some big plays for us tonight, 17points and 25minutes is pretty darn good.テつ He gives us things that nobody else does, and I think a real‑‑ and we won 14 out of 15 games with him in the starting lineup.テつ Blake needs to commit to all parts of being a good basketball player.
And a couple of the mistakes I mentioned were focused defensive mistakes that he made and gave up baseline out of bounds layup and an open 3.テつ That's not the kind of thing that the casual fan notices, and if he can get better than that, if he'll make more of a commitment, he's an All‑Conference player in whatever league we play in.テつ And he's getting way better at it.テつ He's much closer.

Q.テつ You mentioned whatever league you play in.テつ You guys are changing leagues next year.テつ What do you think moving forward, how tough will it be to get back here?
COACH BYRD:テつ Well, obviously Murray State's got a great tradition, and they've had a phenomenal season.テつ And so it would be easy to say that there is a stumbling block in the way bigger, wider than any we've had in the Atlantic Sun.
Now, East Tennessee State moved into our league and had a great tradition.テつ Once Florida State and Georgia State and Troy State moved out of the Atlantic Sun, we haven't had a team like Murray State.テつ But we lose three important people, there may be a lot of guys between us in the top next year.テつ We've got plenty to prove, and Morehead State won a year ago, and it could be somebody next go around.テつ But the tradition at Murray State program, it's kind of where it's in the water.テつ They're going to win.テつ They have a lot going for them.テつ Great tradition.テつ And they expected to win.
So I think it's fair to say, and Tennessee State is getting much better.テつ But, you know what, Upstate is getting better and Florida Gulf Coast and Mercer is getting better and you never know what any conference might hold.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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