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March 13, 2013

Alex Caruso

Bill Kennedy

Elston Turner


TEXAS A&M – 71

THE MODERATOR:  We'll ask Coach Kennedy for some general thoughts on the game, and then we'll take your questions just for the two student athletes and then excuse them back to the locker room and then finish up here with Coach Kennedy.
Coach, if you'd begin.
COACH KENNEDY:  It's a good win.  Tony had his team ready to play.  Both teams came out on fire the first five, six minutes and it was a tournament-type game and we were fortunate to make enough plays to get a lead and we handled their run in the second half and I thought that was the big key.
THE MODERATOR:  All right.  We'll take your questions just for the two student athletes.

Q.  Just for Elston, how were you feeling with the hand and did it bother you at all tonight, just did it have any effect on you?
ELSTON TURNER:  At times it did, but, you know, it's my last year and I got to play with it no matter what, and, you know, my teammates did a great job just telling me to stay composed and to fight through it and, you know, that's what I did; my teammates are the ones that kept me going.

Q.  Elston, looking forward to tomorrow, you guys play Missouri.  You beat them by two at home.  What do you think about your chances tomorrow against them?
ELSTON TURNER:  It's going to be a battle.  I mean, they think that they should have won that game and, you know, we think that we're able to play with anybody in this conference.  So, you know it's going to be a tough test and Missouri is a great team, NCAA Tournament team.  We got to play -- have our best game of the year and we're going to take the whole team to do it, not just one, two people.  The whole team is going to have to step up.

Q.  Elston, this may be getting a little too specific, but right after the four minute, right before the four-minute media timeout in the second half, you missed a jump shot.  Team got offensive rebound and you put it in.  It looked like obviously it was a four-point game at that point.  It looked like that was kind of the final push you guys needed to make a play.  That was the play.  Do you recall that play and did that swing the momentum?
ELSTON TURNER:  I think it was, you know, as a chain of things.  It went one play.  We made -- I missed a shot, but it was the hustle that Ray got the offensive rebound and, you know, we just moved the ball around and you know, I mean Ray lifted the layup, next play came down and made a crucial block.  It was a team effort.  It wasn't just one or two plays.

Q.  Elston, just talk about your confidence level after a win like this.  You came into the tournament losing four of your last five, what this does for this team.
ELSTON TURNER:  Our confidence, we don't think about how many we've lost in a row or how many we've won in a row.  We approach the game the same way, always going to give it a hundred percent.  We're just going with the flow.  One game at a time.  You know, we don't want to go home, so, you know, we're going to do whatever we have to do make sure we stay here.

Q.  Elston, going back to the finger, talk about exactly what you had done to it, if there's a splint in, how much tape is on the thing?
ELSTON TURNER:  It's a little splint on it.  I put a piece of gauze around it, too, and taped it to my index finger.  I put three pieces of tape around it and, you know, you can't really feel it unless somebody throws a hundred-mile-an-hour basketball at you.  I'm playing through it and, you know, I'm going to keep playing.
COACH KENNEDY:  Or they slap at it.
ELSTON TURNER:  Or they slap at it.
THE MODERATOR:  Any more questions for either of the student athletes?

Q.  Alex, your general thoughts on the game, please?
ALEX CARUSO:  I remember playing Auburn the first time, I had careers highs in assists and points.  I kind of came out pretty comfortable.  They tried to change up their defense a little.  I just found -- I posted early, got them going and doing whatever we could to pull out a victory.  They made a little run in the second half and we did a good job weathering it and come out with a win.
THE MODERATOR:  Anybody?  One more question?  Okay.  Thank you, fellas.  You can return to the locker room.
We'll continue on with Coach Kennedy.

Q.  Coach, really your thoughts on facing Missouri tomorrow night.
COACH KENNEDY:  I think Missouri is one of the most talented teams in our league, very deep, very good offensively.  It's going to take a special performance against their team.  Six guys average in double figures.  Very explosive with guys coming off the bench that can get 20.  They're a team that I think when they get in the NCAA Tournament can make a run to the Final Four.  I think they're that good.

Q.  Inside in particular on the interior, how do you feel like you match up with Missouri?
COACH KENNEDY:  Very few teams can match up with Missouri inside; Oriakhi, the way he plays and the experience he has with Connecticut going to the championship game.  Laurence Bowers being a fifth year senior, one of the better front lines in the country.  That's going to be one of the toughest matchups for us.
They've got so many weapons on the perimeter.  You can't just try to take away one guy because you've got other guys that can beat you.  It's going to take a team effort.  I think it starts with trying to contain pressure and keep everything in front of you and hope they miss, and then you really got to do a good job of blocking out and give them one shot.

Q.  How concerned were you going into the game about how effective Elston could be with the finger situation?
COACH KENNEDY:  Well, he broke his finger, so, I mean, I was very concerned.  I didn't know how he would respond.  He played -- practiced yesterday and it looked like he had a chance to play and we were going to play him no matter what.  He didn't know that, but, I mean, we were going to play him.
He got frustrated I think in the first half, you know, but they kind of chopped at it a few times, but he did a good job of getting his composure and playing through it.
THE MODERATOR:  Other questions for Coach Kennedy, raise your hand.  Any others?  All right.  Thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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