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March 22, 2013

Fran Dunphy

Jake O'Brien

Scootie Randall

Khalif Wyatt


Temple – 76
NC State – 72

THE MODERATOR:  We're now being joined by the head coach of Temple, Fran Dunphy, as well as student‑athletes Jake O'Brien, Scootie Randall, and Khalif Wyatt.  We'll start with opening statements by Coach.  After that, we'll open the floor for questions for our student‑athletes.
COACH DUNPHY:  We're thrilled to be moving on.  I thought our first half was about as good as we could play, made shots, did a pretty good job on the defensive end, knowing full well they're going to make a run in the second half.
What I was probably not anticipating was the way they shot it from the 3‑point range late.  I thought Leslie's 3 was a big, big basket for them, and then we let Wood up for one time, and then I thought T.J. was right on him another time.
We just had enough to survive and move on.  So, again, we're excited about our opportunity and proud of these guys.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for our student‑athletes.

Q.  Khalif, how much pain were you in toward the end of the game trying to shoot those free throws?
KHALIF WYATT:  Not that much.  I guess I just reaggravated my thumb.  I hurt it in the second half.  When I got fouled, they were kind of smacking at it a little bit.  So it was a little sore, but it was all right.

Q.  What led to the comeback in the second half, Khalif?

Q.  For NC State, yeah.
KHALIF WYATT:  They got out in transition and made some plays.  Brown is a really good play maker, and he got out in transition and made some great plays.  And we let Wood up for air a couple times, and he made some tough shots.  That definitely helped fuel their comeback.

Q.  Khalif, the other day you said that you guys had something to prove.  Do you feel like you did that today?
KHALIF WYATT:  I think we did a good job of coming out here.  We were ready to play.  We had some good intensity.  Just want to enjoy it for this moment.
We're going to watch this next game and get out there and prepare for Sunday.

Q.  Jake, you came to Temple University from Boston U to play in the big games under the bright lights and to appear in an NCAA Tournament.  I know you've been asked this question, but now that you have a win in the NCAA Tournament in possibly what could be your last game, how do you feel?
JAKE O'BRIEN:  This is a great feeling today.  We're going to enjoy this win right now, and for me coming here and being able to play for this program and have the success we have, it's a great feeling.
With that said, we have another game Sunday, which we're looking forward to.  So us seniors are hoping to extend our careers a little longer.

Q.  Khalif, can you just take us through the thumb injury.  What exactly happened there?  Were you worried about coming back in the game at all?
KHALIF WYATT:  When it first happened‑‑ well, I got by my defender, and I went to make a move, and my hand just got caught in whoever was guarding me jersey, and my thumb got bent up a little bit.
When it first happened, I thought it was worse than it really was, but it was just a little jammed thumb, I guess you would call it.  So just wrapped it up and tried to get back out there as quick as I could.

Q.  Khalif, could you just take us through the final seconds there at the free‑throw line, what you were thinking, the pressure, what you saw, what you heard.
KHALIF WYATT:  Yeah, my teammates did a good job of getting me the ball, and they trusted me to make two shots at the end.  The NC State guys were talking a little bit.  So I just had to block it out and come through for my teammates.

Q.  Scootie, you guys didn't score the last 4:40.  They shot 70 percent, but you were still able to come out with a win, so to speak.
SCOOTIE RANDALL:  As a team, you've just got to find a way to get it done.  In each and every game, a team makes that run.  So I think they made their run, and then at times we had to buckle down on the defensive end.
Our shots wasn't falling.  We weren't getting to the foul line and stuff like that.  But down the stretch, we had to find a way to get it done on the other side of the court.
I think we did well on the defensive end, but it can only get better.

Q.  For Khalif and Scootie, conversely, in the first half, you guys were shooting really well, and it seems like State's defense wasn't really able to catch up to you guys.  What was working for you in the first half to be able to get out on that run?
SCOOTIE RANDALL:  I think our intensity was high coming out at the start.  So I think a lot of our guys is ready to go today.  We moved the ball a lot.  We played great defense, which led to our success on the offensive end in the first half.
I think that's something we've got to look at, and we can take that and run with it.

Q.  Khalif, can you‑‑ you obviously played a very different style of game than most players.  I was wondering if you could maybe explain a little bit about how you developed the different aspects of your game, who helped you along the way, and maybe what you've added since you've been at Temple.
KHALIF WYATT:  I just watch a lot of basketball.  I just always loved to play.  So I just try to‑‑ really just try to see the game and just play at my own pace and don't try to get sped up and try to make the right plays as many times as I can.
I guess, since I got to Temple, Coach Dunphy has definitely made me‑‑ well, him and the rest of the staff definitely made me a better player and better person.  Definitely owe a lot to my coaches and my teammates.

Q.  The A‑10 is off to a great start in this tournament.  From a player's perspective, was there something about that league this year that prepared you particularly well for the NCAA Tournament?
SCOOTIE RANDALL:  Well, with Butler coming into the league and VCU, a lot of these teams are tough.  In the past, we haven't had a lot of success.  So I think this is a great year for the A‑10.  I think we've got some great teams and some great players.
We just love to compete.  So I'm happy for the A‑10 that we've had success so far.  Hopefully, we can continue to have success.

Q.  Jake, 13 first‑half points.  You didn't score the last six minutes of the game.  What was happening, I guess, in the second half and the first half that was different?
JAKE O'BRIEN:  They were definitely defending me differently.  They were right up on my feet every time I caught the ball.  These guys, Khalif and the rest of the guys, just stepped up and made plays.
It's not always going to be an open shot.  So it's my job to try to impact the game in other ways, defending and rebounding.  Other guys were making big plays, especially Khalif.

Q.  Jake, I've always been curious how‑‑ when you sort of developed your‑‑ you got a little bit of a wind‑up shot.  I think, when you were a young kid, you couldn't shoot like that, or it would get up.  Now that you're bigger than most guys, you can get that shot off.  But when did your sort of long perimeter game develop?
JAKE O'BRIEN:  You know, I've always had the ability to shoot outside.  For whatever reason, that's kind of in my game growing up, throughout high school and now into college.
I've always just kind of stepped away from the hoop and stretched the defense.  That's my game.  I can't explain why, any rhyme or reason why I play the way I do.  That's just my game.
THE MODERATOR:  Jake, Scootie, and Khalif, thank you.
Questions for Coach Dunphy.

Q.  Towards the end of the game there, you had your hands on your face.  It was a little nerve‑racking.  How did that go towards the end?
COACH DUNPHY:  I'm surprised I didn't have my hands covering my face or all of my face.  Yeah, the whole game was nerve‑racking.
You knew it was going to come down to the end.  We had a nice lead, but NC State is too powerful a team to have it be easy for us down the stretch.  I thought we, again, let Wood up for air a couple times, and then Leslie's 3 was critical too.  We had an 11‑point lead.  The loose ball was on the ground for a couple of seconds, and he stepped up at the end of the shot clock.
It's those kinds of moments that you say to yourself this can't be happening.  But our guys had enough to hold on, and I'm very proud of their efforts.

Q.  Fran, can you just talk about Khalif tonight.  I know he's been good all season, but it looked like he was struggling with that hand injury.  To come up big and hit all those free throws at the end.
COACH DUNPHY:  Luckily, it was his left hand that was bothering him.  He's got ice water in his veins.  He's as tough a competitor as I've had an opportunity to coach.  He just wants the moment.
So we were lucky enough to get him the ball a few times and have him get fouled.  He's certainly the guy you want on the foul line.
He's got an extraordinary game, and we need him to have one right now.  That's who we are as a group.  As we move forward without him next year, whenever that happens to be, we're going to have to develop different ways of playing because we're so dependent on him at this point.

Q.  Fran, what did you see from Anthony Lee tonight?  What's his status for this Sunday?
COACH DUNPHY:  Well, he's going to play.  What did I say?  He had a couple of opportunities inside.  He had a great jump hook in the first half.  He had a couple of opportunities to finish in the second half, but they stripped him a couple times.  He did go for 1‑for‑2 at the line.
Is he going to play?  I sure hope so.

Q.  What does beating a team like North Carolina State in the NCAA Tournament mean in terms of‑‑ for Temple's program getting back closer to the historic heights under John Chaney?
COACH DUNPHY:  Yeah, that's important.  Any time you can win a game in the tournament, it's very, very important to your program.  So we'll have an opportunity to enjoy it for a couple of days, and we'll be playing whoever is the winner in this game.
John Chaney was a spectacular basketball coach.  He was a Hall of Famer.  He had a wonderful way of playing the game in terms of winning, and they were unique.  Our program now is not unique.  We just kind of play simple basketball, trying to go at you with the best we've got.
But to answer your first question, it's very important for us to establish ourselves as a team that can win in the NCAA Tournament.

Q.  Your team jumps out to their early lead, State ties it at 15‑15, and then your team goes on that 18‑3 run.  Can you just talk about what happened there midway through the first half that allowed your team to really make the strong run.
COACH DUNPHY:  Yeah, I can't take you play by play, but certainly guys making shots, Jake O'Brien making a couple 3s helps you.  We just did what we needed to do.
I thought our defense was the key to all of that.  They didn't score a lot of points in the first half.  Obviously, they scored a ton in the second half.  But I thought defensively we were aggressive, we were getting to the right spots, and they turned it a few times.  They turned it ten times in the first half, which helped us.
For us, turning it only five times for the game is critical for the way the game unfolded, and they shot the lights out in the second half.  So we needed to take care of the basketball, and I thought we did that pretty well.  But you know they're going to make a run.

Q.  Fran, could you describe the defensive game plan.  You typically haven't played teams that are sort of that front court dependent on scoring and maybe have the one guy who could kill you from outside.
COACH DUNPHY:  Well, Wood is‑‑ as you saw late in the game, he was tremendous.  We just lost him for a split second, and he knocked those two 3s out.  But they're really a great offensive team.  And they're balanced, which is difficult.  Balanced lineup‑wise, and then they're also balanced inside and out‑wise.
So for us to maintain the lead, again, we needed to do some things on offense.  I thought our offense led to a couple of easy baskets for them in the second half.  So I think that's probably what I might say is that we are‑‑ when we run good offense, we're typically a decent defensive team, and we do some things offensively that aren't very good.  The opposition is going to get easy baskets at the other end.
So they're a tough minded group.

Q.  Coach, you lose Juan, Ramone, and Michael Eric last year, and Dalton and Jake come in as transfers, you have to deal with a point guard in Will Cummings, and now you sit here in the round of 32.  Did you envision this type of accomplishment?  I know the work isn't done yet, but did you picture your team being in this situation now?
COACH DUNPHY:  You're certainly always hopeful.  Again, I made a statement a couple of times early in the year.  I think we can be good.  I wasn't sure how good we could be.  We had some inconsistencies, and we lost a few tough games.
But we had some really good wins, and we played well in terms of being resilient.  If we lost a game, we were okay the next time out.  I give these five seniors a lot of credit for that.  That's a veteran group.
We'll certainly be different next year, and you've got to reinvent who you are each and every year.  We're certainly thrilled to be in the position we're in.

Q.  I think you guys shot 63 percent from the line, but Khalif really made some big ones towards the end.  He was 12 for 14.  How important is that for him to sort of carry you guys from the line when it mattered most?
COACH DUNPHY:  Well, he's had an extraordinary year from the foul line.  I thinkI heard‑‑ one of the statements that was made is he's‑‑ the most foul shots ever made, I guess, by a Temple player in a given year.  But not surprisingly.
I think making them is one thing.  His ability to get them is really the extraordinary part to his game.  He's got great body control, and he knows how to lean in to get shots off but also to draw those fouls.  When he's on the line, you're feeling very comfortable, I will tell you.

Q.  Fran, can you talk about what you got out of Jake tonight and kind of the ripple effect when he's hot from outside.  And also the intangibles that T.J. gives you.
COACH DUNPHY:  Let me talk about T.J. first.  He's what every team wants and needs.  He could care less if he starts or comes off the bench or it's 5 minutes or 25 minutes.  It's just all about the team.  I think he is as much a character person as I've had the opportunity to coach.
And then today he steps up and make those two big foul shots because they were kind of saying let's foul this guy, and he stepped up and made those.  So I couldn't be more proud of him.
And Jake is just a unique player.  It's not like you sit there and say, okay, this is how we're going to use Jake.  Jake does what Jake does, and he's going to get himself shots.  Again, making them is one thing, but before you can make them, you've got to get them.  I think he did a very good job, especially in the first half, of getting shots.
In the second half, they're going to say, this guy is not going to beat us, and he's not the greatest athlete in America, but he's a guy, when he rises up to shoot a 3, you have a great sense that it's going to go in.
THE MODERATOR:  Coach, thank you.  Good luck Sunday.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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