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March 21, 2013

Sean Armand

Tim Cluess

Lamont Jones

Taaj Ridley


THE MODERATOR:テつ We're now being joined by Iona student‑athletes Taaj Ridley, Sean Armand, and Lamont Jones.

Q.テつ For all three of you, if you would talk a little bit about Ohio State's defense, what you see from them and how difficult do you anticipate them to be to score against.
TAAJ RIDLEY:テつ Well, as far as their defense, I feel if we spread the floor and we run how we've been doing all year, I feel it won't really be that much of a factor.
The size, yeah, they're pretty big, but if we play with heart, then it will be a good game.
SEAN ARMAND:テつ They're good at positioning on defense.テつ They take pride in that.テつ It's a tough team, experienced team.テつ They're one of the best defenses in the nation from stats.テつ It's going to be a good game.
Like he said, we spread the court and play our game.テつ It can be less effective, but we've just got to play small.
LAMONT JONES:テつ I just think we've got to play our game, just come out and play Iona basketball.テつ We come out and play the way that we know how to play, knock down shots, play together, play with poise, play with confidence, I think we'll be okay.
Like Sean said, they're one of the best defensive teams in the country.テつ We're one of the best offensive teams in the country.テつ So two teams like that collide, and it can be a great matchup.
We've just got to play to the best of our ability as I'm sure they're going to try to play to the best of their ability.

Q.テつ Lamont, when you guys walked into the arena for the first time again, did you guys think back at all to last year's game?テつ How tough was it to get that one out of your heads?
LAMONT JONES:テつ I mean, I don't know what my teammates thought, but personally, me, no.テつ It happened a year ago.テつ It's not something that I try to think about.
At that point in time we lost, I took what I could take from it.テつ I'm sure these guys took what they could take from it.テつ But it's not something that fuels my fire.テつ It's a totally different team, totally different identity, personalities, nine new players.
So we can't put the pressures of what happened last year on nine new guys and a different team.テつ We've just got to go out and play the way that we've been playing this year and try to get a win.

Q.テつ Sean, have you guys played somebody this season that you can look at Ohio State and say, well, we can take some things from this game against this other team that's similar to what we'll be facing on Friday?
SEAN ARMAND:テつ Not really.テつ But size‑wise, we played a big Georgia team, and if I were going conference, Loyola has a guard that's good off pick and roll like Craft.テつ And they've got a lot of 6'7", 6'8" guys that's athletic.
If I had to pick a team to compare to like size‑wise and athleticism, it would be them.テつ But that's about it.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Taaj, Sean, and Lamont, thank you for your time.テつ Good luck tomorrow.
We're now being joined by the head coach of Iona, Tim Cluess.テつ We'll start with an opening statement by Coach Cluess, and after that we'll open the floor for questions.
COACH CLUESS:テつ We're just thrilled to be here and be part of the NCAA Tournament.テつ I'm really proud of my guys for winning the league championship and having this opportunity.
We know we're going against a great team in Ohio State.テつ We're going to go out and give it everything we have and play as hard as we can and hope that we do really well.

Q.テつ I'm interested in your impressions of Ohio State after seeing them on tape and maybe in person a little while ago.
COACH CLUESS:テつ They're bigger in person.テつ No, they're a very, very good basketball team, we know that.テつ There's a reason they won the Big Ten and one of the best teams in the country.
We have our work cut out for us, and we're hoping we can just play our best game of the year.

Q.テつ Coach, if you would, just talk about the whole approach offensively with all the points you scored, the way the guys share the basketball, and just some of the basics of your philosophy there.
COACH CLUESS:テつ I really believe for us to be good in our system, it's about getting the ball up the floor and sharing and finding the open player.テつ We like to get 15 to 20 assists a game if we're playing well.
I think, if we share the ball, we can make up for our smaller size by getting the pass and making the open shot, and it gives us a chance to compete against larger teams.
Most of the time the teams I've coached in the past, as well as now, is the undersized team, and I find that works for us very well.テつ We like to get up to around 80 points a game if we can.テつ We know this is a different game, and we're not able to dictate tempo like we like.
But, ultimately, we want to get players in our program as we go forward that are bigger, stronger, longer, and play the way we like to play.テつ It's a real fun style for the players to be a part of.

Q.テつ Tim, you've got some new faces this year.テつ How different or similar is this year's team to the one you brought here last year?
COACH CLUESS:テつ We have nine new players.テつ So it's very different than the team from last year.テつ I don't think we have the experience on the floor that we've had in the past.テつ I think guys are kind of trying to find their roles a little bit as the season as evolved.
Last year we had Scott Machado to play alongside MoMo Jones, and we had Mike Glover inside.テつ We don't have that second player who can break it down by himself on the dribble like Scott was able to.テつ Scott averaged 10 assists a game for us.テつ So we're missing that.テつ Mike was a 6'4 1/2" center basically, and he was powerful and explosive for us.
Dave Laury is doing a nice job, and Taaj Ridley is doing a nice job.テつ Dave is a little different in the fact that he's 6'7", 6'8", and can handle the ball like a guard.テつ So he does give us different options in what we do.テつ So it's a very different team.

Q.テつ In this crazy season that we've seen in college basketball where nobody seems to want to hold on to No.1 and all of that stuff, do you talk to your team, or is it a thought that's kind of there about why not Iona?
COACH CLUESS:テつ The way I said it to them is basically somebody here, more than one team in this tournament, are going to pull upsets and be the team that everyone is speaking about a week, two weeks down the road.テつ Why not us?テつ Why not all of us dream a little bit right now.

Q.テつ Tim, just curious, when you guys saw your draw and saw you were coming back to this building to start the tournament again, what was your immediate reaction?
COACH CLUESS:テつ Instead of playing 15 minutes, I'd like to play 40 minutes well.
You know what, it was a great opportunity for our guys last year.テつ We didn't play well the second half.テつ We didn't shoot the ball well.テつ At our size, we needed to.テつ In fairness, Brigham Young played a great second half, and they made all the shots we were doing in the first half.
I was proud of our guys last year and everything they put forth.テつ They gave it the greatest effort that they could.テつ And we feel, because of what happened last year, I think that's part of the reason why we started playing better this year.テつ Guys started paying attention to detail more after we had that little tough stretch in the middle of the year.
And we used last year's game as motivation to drive us towards this year.テつ It gave us a chance to return.テつ Had that not happened, I don't think we'd be sitting here right now.

Q.テつ Tim, with the nine new guys this year, how do you prepare them for their first tournament game?テつ Or do you leave that to Momo, Sean, and Taaj to take them through what they went through last year?
COACH CLUESS:テつ We talked about playing in the tournament and how you have to approach it.テつ In all fairness, at the end of the year for us, because we hadn't played well all through, every game was like a playoff situation for us.テつ If we lose, we knew our season basically was over.
We were in so many close games and in playoff atmosphere so often, we talked about just playing that same way.テつ Play like it's a conference tournament.テつ Don't hold nothing back.テつ Leave it all on the court, play your best 40 minutes as far as effort goes.
We know we're going to make mistakes on the court, make some shots, miss some shots.テつ We know they're going to make runs.テつ Don't let it be about not having effort, not trying to take a charge, not boxing out, do all the little things the best we can.
The rest is kind of out of our hands, and we have to see how the rest works out.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Tim, thanks for your time.テつ Good luck tomorrow.
COACH CLUESS:テつ Thank you all very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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