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March 16, 2012

Anthony Evans

Chris McEachin

Kyle O'Quinn

Pendarvis Williams


Norfolk – 86
Missouri – 84

THE MODERATOR:  The Spartans are with us, they have a date with Florida on Sunday.  We will have a statement and then go to questions.
COACH EVANS:  That was one of the most intense basketball games that I have ever been a part of, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Missouri, for their coaching staff, it was a great opportunity for us, our guys fought hard, all hats off, very, very proud of them.

Q.  Kyle, at what point in the game did you realize this type of upset is was possible or did you think that going into the game?
KYLE O'QUINN:  We always go into the game with a sense of confidence, we in the game and we came to win it, I never thought there was an upset alert, until that buzzer went off, I mean Phil Pressey got a great shot at the end, anything was up, the ball could have bounced a different way and we could have been on the other side, but thank God we're on this side right now so, at the end of the game that's what I thought would happen.

Q.  What is a team like with your guys, you know a lot about Missouri with them being on TV a lot, what is it like for you guys being a team that they might not know as much about and you come in with a little bit of a surprise for them?
CHRIS McEACHIN:  We feel like we're familiar with them, if they read the scouting report they would be familiar with us and just trying to play hard, trying to win.
PENDARVIS WILLIAMS:  That's the beauty of it, they don't know anything about us.  We came out hard and got the win.

Q.  Kyle, at what point did you feel the crowd turn in your favor?  Kyle I noticed that you played to the crowd.  Talk a little bit about that and how you tried to get 'em into it.
KYLE O'QUINN:  Being the underdog, everybody likes to see the underdog survive, not only survive, but win.  In the Virgin Islands we went in with 6 fans and came out with the whole gym on our backs, any kind of support especially when you come to a gym like this with that many people, with that much support compared to the other team.
CHRIS McEACHIN:  We felt the fans turned to our side when they chanted "NSU "on you and the whole gym was ecstatic, so we felt we could secure the win at that time.

Q.  You guys played a lot of games.  It's never a game where the two teams play exactly as hard as each other.  Could you tell a difference in intensity, in emotion, things like that in this game at any point between you guys and Mizzou?
CHRIS McEACHIN:  No, hats off to Missouri, they played really hard.  Both teams played with a high level of intensity and both teams wanted to win, you could tell‑‑ you saw that they wanted to win, we played just as hard and was getting loose balls, fighting for jump ball possessions and luckily it helped us win.
KYLE O'QUINN:  Out of 26 wins we have, every game we had to go out and win, no game was given to us, we had to fight from the beginning to the end, nail biters all through, so opposed to them playing out of conference game at the beginning, and beatin' up on the smaller schools we had to win a lot of games so we came to this tournament with that same focus, if you want to win we're going to have to win it.

Q.  Kyle talk about the battle for loose balls, rebounding.  Offensive rebounds, second‑chance points obviously a big part of what you were able to accomplish today.  What was going on there that enabled y'all to do that?
KYLE O'QUINN:  Well, when you see the possibility of winning so close, it's anybody's ball, whoever wants it more is going to get it.  Sometimes they may get it‑‑ whoever wants it more is going to get it, when you see the game that close it's all about who wants to go home.

Q.  Kyle you got called for a foul blocking Pressey's layup with 6 or 7 minutes left and they showed the replay on the big screens and the crowd seemed to just energize for you guys at that point.  Did you feel it and later on did you hear what they were chanting?  Because it was "we love you, NSU" it wasn't just "NSU."

KYLE O'QUINN:  Of course I didn't think it was a foul, sometimes when I block shots I know I'm pushing it a little bit actually that one I thought I got clean but Coach always tells me to keep calm and stay cool, it was an emotional game I showed some emotion, I apologized to the refs, but at the same time I did not know that they were cheering that.  Now that you say that, that feels good.

Q.  Chris, we learned a while ago that the No. 15 seeds are now 5‑105 in this tournament's history.  Were you aware of the odds‑‑ the history of the 2‑15 match‑up.
CHRIS McEACHIN:  Not really but I knew it wasn't good.  I knew the 2 seeds had an upper hand.  We thought we had a good chance with the match‑up, we thought we were bigger at all positions and we thought we had a good chance of winning this game if we played together.

Q.  Kyle, one simple question:  What's your future plans?
KYLE O'QUINN:  I don't know, hope somebody picks me up, go pro, I don't know.  I don't know!  What my future is winning on Sunday, how about that, let's take small steps.

Q.  Kyle, going back to the second‑chance points.  The tip‑in that you made right at about 30 seconds ended up being a decisive basket.  As the shot was going up did you have a clear lane to get that?
COACH EVANS:  It didn't hit the rim, thanks to Chris McEachin, it hit no rim and I got a clear shot, I didn't know the guy was going to hit me, I was concentrating on makin' it, good thing he hit me.  We turn it into a three‑point play.

Q.  Talk about the jump ball with Pressey with 34 seconds left, you crashed to the ground and you guys got the jump ball and it stayed in your possession?
KYLE O'QUINN:  When I tipped it up over Ricardo Ratliffe's head, it was anybody's ball, I got a second jump I got a bounce off the ground and we turned it into a jump ball, I didn't know the possession was our way, my focus was to get it out of their hands so it wouldn't go their way.
I knew I was not going to let it go, there was nothing stopping me from letting that ball go.

Q.  Pendarvis, you were standing at half‑court for those free‑throws and you were able to look around and you had a grin on your face a lot, what were you thinking in those moments?
PENDARVIS WILLIAMS:  That we had a chance to win and I was hoping that they knocked the free‑throws down so we could secure the win and get the upset.

Q.  Isn't somebody named Kyle O'Quinn supposed to win on St. Patrick's Day weekend?
KYLE O'QUINN:  Yeah, actually I am.  I got a lot of those clovers texting me "good luck, good luck, Kyle O'Quinn win! " I had to leave my phone at the hotel because I was getting too many of those kinds of messages.
THE MODERATOR:  Anything else?  Thank you very much, gentlemen.  Congratulations.  We will stay with the head coach, questions?

Q.  Coach, a program from a non‑power conference you spend the non‑conference of your schedule playing guaranteed games, going on the road, hostile environments.  How valuable is that type of experience in Novemberand Decemberto pay a dividend in a situation like this?
COACH EVANS:  It just paid off for us, because we had a chance to play Marquette university a couple of times, first time they beat us pretty good and the second time we played'em we played, Drexel, TCU and we took Marquette down to the wire.  So it gives you confidence, experience against high‑level teams, MEAC is a very good league, just doesn't get the exposure that the high‑level schools get.

Q.  Anthony you were smiling, was it that you are happy for them or Kyle O'Quinn making you laugh?
COACH EVANS:  He's been that type of kid all four years, keeps you on your feet, great kid.  Happy for everybody involved.  We worked hard, we got close in '08, we lost, we weren't able to come out here, this year we were able to get the win, my staff worked hard, players worked hard and they earned it.

Q.  Coach, how much did the comforting aspect of the crowd here in Omaha help your players to win?
COACH EVANS:  I think it helped them, gave 'em momentum.  Obviously not having your home crowd there like if you were home it makes a difference, when everybody jumps on your shoulders, chants "NSU" it was great.  I know it propelled us to get this win.

Q.  Anthony, it never seemed at any point in this game like your kids were rattled, like they were nervous, like they were shaken at all.  Is that because of the schedule that you played early on or is it something about this group that they can handle something like this?
COACH EVANS:  It's a little bit of both.  We played a tough non‑conference schedule to prepare us for this point.  I think this team has an inner confidence that they feel they can play with anybody and they went out and showed that today.

Q.  Coach, did you have this game as you went in with your mind‑set broken into increments to hang with Missouri, like 5 minutes, 10 minutes, can you explain that a little bit?
COACH EVANS:  I'm still relatively young, so I made a call to Fang Mitchell from Coppin State who upset someone in the tournament and that's what he told me, 4‑minute increments, stay close and at the end of the game anything can happen so I give him a great amount of credit for sharing that information with me.

Q.  Are you consulting him again?
COACH EVANS:  Absolutely.

Q.  It's only human nature to realize when is unfolding as this game progressed.  Did you have to tell yourself "remain calm" so the players would stay calm and not get caught up in the use for ya of everything that was unfolding?
COACH EVANS:  My assistant Coach Jones hit me on the leg one time because there was a call made that I reacted to it so he wanted to keep me calm so I could keep them calm so, yes, that was part of it, remaining as calm as possible so that we could finish out the game.

Q.  I would be curious to know what your impressions of VCU's talent level was last season and how big of a factor that is in winning if you think your team's talent level can play with a team like Florida if the Gators are not on their game.
COACH EVANS:  VCU had a lot of seniors, so do we, we have transfers, having spent four years in college so I think the experience helps you out in a situation like that, even though we haven't been there before, they've been through the battles, so they are battle tested.

Q.  Coach, when you got your assignment, knew the team that you were going to play and started looking at Missouri, tell me what you saw in that team that you said, okay, there it is, this is what we need to go after, this is how we are going to win this game.
COACH EVANS:  They play four guards, we have played that all year.  We felt comfortable matching up with their guards, we tried to neutralize that by playing help‑side defense, cutting off lanes and we were confident going into the game.  We weren't going to back down to anyone.
There has only been a few times when we have lost two times in a row this season so the team was confident and we were ready to play.

Q.  Coach, can you talk about‑‑ I know you probably haven't done scouting of Florida but your initial impressions of going up against Florida?
COACH EVANS:  Great, great program, I remember Billy Donovan I think I have a videotape of when he was Billy the Kid and played for Rick Pitino, and we're going to go back, watch film, they are great athletes, tough guards, we're going to have our hands full.
THE MODERATOR:  Okay, Anthony, and we will see you Sunday.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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