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March 16, 2012

Fran Dunphy

Ramone Moore

Khalif Wyatt


South Florida – 58
Temple – 44

THE MODERATOR:  Take an opening statement from Coach Dunphy first, followed by questions only for the student athletes.  Then they'll head to the locker room.  When we're finished with that, we'll take questions for coach.  Coach?
COACH DUNPHY:  I thought South Florida did a terrific job in the second half, made shots when they needed to.  Obviously we had a few open looks, few opportunities to finish plays at the rim.  We did not do that.  I thought their defense was very good.  I thought our defense was pretty good in the first half and obviously they shot lights out in the second half.  I thought we were in a little bit of trouble when we cut it to three, and I think Rudd made that 3 that banked in, but those things are going to happen.
We didn't get it done.  We didn't do a good enough job and turned it a few too many times at critical points, and again they stepped up and made the shots when they had to.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the student athletes?

Q.  Ramone, you guys are up 19-8, middle of the first half and things seem to be going real well offensively.  How do you think it got away from you guys after taking that 11-point lead?
RAMONE MOORE:  I think we put those guys on the free throw line.  I'm not sure how long we held them from making a field goal, but I think they got back in the game with a couple free throws and then we made a bad foul and then it came back and made a 3, which put those guys back in the game.  Our coach said we did a great job in the first half defensively, but we kind of let down, gave those guys life.
THE MODERATOR:  Any other questions?

Q.  Ramone money, also for you.  You seemed like you guys were able to get some penetration and kick early, too, and that sort of disappeared.  Did they do some different things defensively to sort of keep you guys on the perimeter and prevent some of that penetration?
RAMONE MOORE:  Yeah.  I would say they made, you know, great adjustments after the half, you know, made a lot of dumb mistakes in the beginning of the second half which allowed those guys to get on a run and got a nice little lead, which we tried to come back, but I guess it just wasn't enough.

Q.  Ramone, what did guys like Fitzpatrick and Robertson do in the second half to jump passing lanes and come up with a couple steals against you guys?
RAMONE MOORE:  I think those two guys were the key to their run in the second half.  I think Robertson did a great job.  He got out in transition, got two dunks, got those guys going, and Fitzpatrick, we knew coming into the game he was a great 3-point shooter.  He hit a lot of big shots down the stretch which helped their lead as well.  They were a tougher team tonight and it showed.

Q.  Khalif and Ramone, talk about the disappointment of you guys won 11 straight and were really rolling and just these last few games, for whatever reason, you weren't able to play your guys style in the A-10 tournament and now here.
KHALIF WYATT:  I mean, it's really disappointing.  I mean, I don't know, I don't know what caused it or anything, but, I mean, tonight so far they played better than us in stretches and we just couldn't, couldn't pull it off.
RAMONE MOORE:  Yeah.  I would say the same thing.  We're disappointed.  You know, Coach Dunphy said it's on him, but I think it's on us.  There's only so much he can do.  I think he does a great job preparing us.  We just didn't come out and do our job, and we got to put it on ourselves and too bad.  I can't do anything about it now.  It's the end of my career.  Just want these guys to learn from this experience and do better next year.

Q.  Ramone, was there any point in the game when you were on the court with Juan and Mike just saying, you know, this could be our last game together, it's now or never?
RAMONE MOORE:  Not at all.  I didn't say that.  I regret it.  I was too into myself because I was struggling during the course of the game.  So, you know, I never got a chance to say anything.

Q.  Ramone and Khalif, talk about just how tough it is going against that Bulls' defense.  What do they do that sets them apart a little bit, do you think?
KHALIF WYATT:  They don't do anything special.  Just long and athletic and just play solid defense and make sure they contest every shot.  I mean, they don't do anything that different.  They just play solid.  Just close out possessions.
RAMONE MOORE:  I'll have to say I think they're the best defensive team we played against all year.  Coming in, we knew those guys would hold their own on the defensive end.  They take pride in stopping their man.  Like Khalif said, they're long and athletic, do a great job of switching as well as the big man keeping the guards up front.  They play team defense, and I think it disrupted us tonight.

Q.  Ramone, could you reflect on for us your time here at Temple and what it feels like to end your career here?
RAMONE MOORE:  It's been great.  This man to my right I got give a lot of credit.  He's believed in me the whole five years here.  I'd like to thank Temple University to play here.  It's been great.  Still hasn't hit me yet that this is my final game, but I've learned a lot.  I love my teammates, and I'm going to miss these guys.
THE MODERATOR:  Two more questions if there are any more.

Q.  Ramone, along those lines, just the fact that you guys while you were here weren't able to put together that big run in the tournament, how disappointing is that?
RAMONE MOORE:  It's very disappointing.  I think coming into the tournament, you know, we wanted to make it as far as possible.  We got to give credit to South Florida.  They did a great job.  There's nothing we can do now.  Just look back on it and say we could have did more, but, I mean, wanted to go further, but it didn't happen, so we're very disappointed.
THE MODERATOR:  Anyone else?  Thanks, guys.  Questions for coach.

Q.  Fran, I'd like to ask you the same question I asked Ramone.  Early on, were you getting some of those penetrations and kicks and good ball movement.  Was it stuff you stopped doing, or did you see adjustments that they were making?
COACH DUNPHY:  Well, I think Juan getting in foul trouble hurt us a little bit the rhythm of who we are.  I thought we had a couple of plays that we needed to make maybe late in the half.  Khalif threw a pass to Mike.  If he bounces it, maybe Mike catches it and scores.  Khalif had a play at the rim as well that he made a great play on, didn't finish it.  There were a couple of those plays.  I thought the intentional foul hurt us, hurt our rhythm of the game.
Then Noriega at the end of it made that jumper.  He's such a terrific shooter, we didn't guard him like we should have.  We had our chances to expand our lead, and we didn't get that done.
To answer your question, I don't think it was anything special that South Florida does.  They just do a great job of keeping you in front and battling all the time, and we didn't respond like we needed to.

Q.  Fran, when you hold them 15 and a half minutes without a basket and the lead only goes up to -- I think you went from down 3 to up 7, did you kind of feel like -- then they get 39 before the half.  It's kind of a tough deal because you played so well defensively and you're only up 3, 4 going into the half, is that kind of a tough thing for them to deal with?
COACH DUNPHY:  Certainly we should have been -- had a bigger lead in the first half holding them to the shooting percentage that they had.  There were a couple fouls that went against us, and they stepped up and made their foul shots like they needed to.  For us, we needed to do a better job on the offensive end, and we didn't.  If we're going to hold them to 11 percent shooting in the first half, we just -- we didn't run our offense as good as we needed to and finish plays at the rim.  We had a couple of open looks about, but it just didn't work for us.
Of course the first part of the second half, we made some foolish decisions that lead to easy baskets for them.  When they had a chance, they stepped up and made shots.  They deserve a lot of credit for that.

Q.  You spoke pretty highly of Anthony Collins yesterday.  What did you think ever him tonight?
COACH DUNPHY:  He's got great patience and great poise out on the floor.  As a freshman I think he's terrific.  He made a terrific floater in the lane that I thought we had them stopped, and he did a terrific job there.  He just controls the game, and the way they play, he's a perfect player for them and I really like his game.  I think he's really a talented, poised kid.

Q.  Fran, how would you explain Juan's game?  He only shoots twice and didn't score in the second half, turned the ball over four times.
COACH DUNPHY:  He had a tough night.  Other than that, I can't really explain it.  He's a kid that wants to do very well, very badly, and just kind of got away from him in a couple of possessions, especially there in the second half.  He's had a fabulous career.  He's a great guy and feel bad for him right now, but hopefully he'll have some great days playing basketball over the next 10 to 12 years.

Q.  Fran, how would you describe how your bench played tonight and I saw maybe TJ got a little banged up in there and came back.  How does that really show his performance and his dedication to get back in the game?
COACH DUNPHY:  He's a tough kid, TJ.  Turned his ankle in the first half and he didn't play a whole lot in the second half.  We didn't go to our bench obviously too much in the second half.  Just TJ played and wished we could have gotten more minutes for Aaron Brown and TJ.  That wasn't the flow of the game.  We put ourselves in a bit of a hole and needed to try to dig out.  We got it back to 3 and the one long jumper by Rudd kind of took that wind out of our sails.  We should have been able to play through that, but we didn't.

Q.  Fran, do you think that after advancing to the third round last year the guys put a little bit of extra pressure on themselves this year coming into tonight's game?
COACH DUNPHY:  I don't think so.  I think they wanted to win.  They wanted to play as hard as they could and as smart as they could.  The game got away from us a little bit in the first part of the second half.  I thought they battled back like we needed to.  I think we were just about over the hump and then we needed to make a shot or two.
We couldn't get that done.  Pressure is a privilege, and so we were privileged to be in this situation, privileged to be representing Temple in the NCAA Tournament.  I wish we could have done better, but in terms of putting more pressure on themselves, that's what young people do.  It's what competitors do.  I think that's what you want.

Q.  Can you just talk about the three seniors that are your starters and their unique careers here, Juan, Mike, and Ramone?
COACH DUNPHY:  They've won a lot of games together.  They've been to four NCAA tournaments together.  I feel badly that we ended up like this, but I hope that they will continue to play basketball for a long time to come and all three of them will -- Mike has already graduated.  Juan and Ramone will do that this year.  Very proud of everything they have given to Temple.

Q.  Fran, can you share with us what you said to your seniors after the game?
COACH DUNPHY:  You know, we had a phone call from Bill Cosby before the game and one of his comments was "Just go out and play the best basketball you can, because you'll remember this game for a long, long time to come."
I mentioned that to our guys.  The abruptness of the season ending, especially for a senior, like where do you go now, what do you do?  There's no practice to go to, there's no routine that you're typically in anymore.  They'll work at their games and they'll try to get into post season -- into NBA camps and all those things, and hopefully they'll all have a chance to continue to play professionally somewhere.
But it's an unbelievable abrupt ending for these kids.  Again, I thought Bill was very poignant in his remarks, and I mentioned that to these guys.  It's one of those things.  It's a right of passage for a senior to take a step back and now it's all over and what do you do?  I think it's -- the finality of it all is staggering.

Q.  Fran, every season has ebbs and flows, and you obviously can't predict when they come about.  You had a little bit of an ebb towards the end.  Did you feel in practice leading up to this game you tightened things up?
COACH DUNPHY:  I did.  I can't tell you that I can explain the first five minutes of tonight's game or the first five minutes of the U Mass game, but it really hurt us, both ever those stretches.  Somehow, some way we didn't tighten our stuff up enough.  I thought our guys were in pretty good shape physically and mentally with our practice.
Again, I wish I could put my finger on it.  We'll watch film again with those guys that are coming back, and we'll see if we can tighten it up even more and look forward to in a week or so we'll get with the guys that are coming back and try to prepare for next year and see if we can get back here.
THE MODERATOR:  Any other questions?  All right.
COACH DUNPHY:  Thank you.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach.

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