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March 22, 2013

Travis Fulton

Khalil Kelley

Bob Thomason


Miami – 78
Pacific - 49

THE MODERATOR:  We'll go ahead and get started with Pacific.  We'll take an opening statement from Coach Thomason.
COACH THOMASON:  Molly, put these in.
REGGIE JOHNSON:  Is Reggie Johnson.
SHANE LARKIN:  Is Shane Larkin.
DURAND SCOTT:  Is Durand Scott. 
COACH THOMASON:  No. 1, it's been real fun coming to Austin.  First time I ever been to Austin.  The people we have met and the hosts and everybody have been so kind and so polite.  It's been a great experience for us.  Even though we didn't play particularly well tonight.
I'd like to thank and congratulate Miami on advancing.  Great team, great pieces, they played tremendous, shot the ball well, rebounded the ball well, played good defense.  And I'll be rooting for them rest of the time.  So maybe they can win a national championship.  If I had to go out in coaching, you want to go out to a great team, but also to a great coach and a class coach, and Jim is that.
So it's been a great time.  I wish we could have shot better the first half.  We're a pretty good free throw shooting team, which we didn't do tonight in the 30s, I think.  We're a pretty good 3‑point shooting team, which Travis finally got a little hot in the second half but everybody else didn't shoot very well.
So sometimes you meet those moments where you just don't perform very well, and that was us tonight.  So if I had to take a bad game in the last four, I would take tonight over the last three, because we got here and I'm really proud of that for the kids.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  Travis, obviously especially in the first half it looked like you guys were having trouble getting good looks.  A, was that true?  And B, what would you say about their defense and why did they make it so difficult for you guys?
TRAVIS FULTON:  I actually think we got some pretty good looks, we just weren't knocking down the shots like we know we can.  And yeah, they pressured us, but not to where we weren't getting good shots.  But I think it was maybe the jitters getting out of us early on and we weren't hitting those open shots like we normally do.

Q.  How much exactly did nerves play into the poor shooting start at the beginning?  And then just talk about dealing with their size.
KHALIL KELLEY:  Obviously there's going to be nerves in a big game like this.  I feel like we had some open looks, as Travis said earlier, but shots weren't falling.  Obviously with their size it's tough in there.  We haven't played a team that big.
So we had to really get used to trying to go in there and try and maybe kick it out or pull it up or try and just to shot fake and do different things.  They made it tough.  So we have to give them some sort of credit.

Q.  Khalil, obviously for you played a very good game, actually.  You came out energized.  Take me through that opening sequence for you, those five or six minutes and you were the only one not looked like that wasn't nervous.
KHALIL KELLEY:  I don't think it was about nerves.  I just wanted to come out and try and play hard and just see what happened.  I feel like the entire team played hard.  We just weren't making shots like we usually do.  Things like that happen.  I still feel like we had a great season and I'm still so proud of our team.

Q.  You mentioned their size.  Do you feel like were you in forest a little bit with all their trees and that kind of intimidating?
KHALIL KELLEY:  Not intimidating, but obviously it was tough.  There was times where I was trying to push them under or try and get around them and it was pretty hard.  They had some big dudes down there.
But I'm never scared of anybody, so I just wanted to come out and play hard and just show that I could play down there with them.

Q.  Travis, obviously you're one of the seniors, so it is your final game.  I know it's 20 minutes later, but sum up the season then just the two years you've had here at Pacific.  And that whole group that's had the two years together.
TRAVIS FULTON:  I've had great two great two years here.  I'm so glad I came here.  We have come a long ways from our 11‑19 season, whatever it was last year to come and do the big tournament this year.  That's what I've always wanted, I'm so glad I came here and I couldn't be more proud of our team and our guys, so definitely.

Q.  Your thoughts on this being Coach Thomason's final game and the experience you've had with him over those two years.
TRAVIS FULTON:  Well, it's been a great two years with coach here and it was great to play for him.  I know he gets on my butt sometimes, but I know it's because he loves me and that he wants me to get better.  So I stuck with it and I wouldn't let him get to me.  I know he was just doing it just because he loves me.

Q.  In the first half when they went on their 14‑0 run, they stretched it from 8‑7 to 22‑7.  How difficult was it going to be for you guys to dig out of that hole.
KHALIL KELLEY:  We knew it was going to be hard.  They're a great team.  It seemed like their defense was the toughest part.  Just, they all had good length, they were all quick.  So we had a hard time getting up good shots and it made it tougher to come back.  It made it seem even harder.

Q.  For Travis, how would you rate their back court and were you expecting Scott to go off like that when he had 3 threes in a row?
TRAVIS FULTON:  We knew he was a great shooter going into this game and when he gets it going, he gets it going.  And he did tonight.  We knew coming in that he could get it going and we just didn't do a good job on him.
THE MODERATOR:  All right, gentlemen.  We'll let the two of you go.  Take questions for coach.

Q.  Did you see a weakness in this Miami team?
COACH THOMASON:  I don't know, I didn't see what they ate at pregame meal or anything or how they did that.
But, no, when you have a point guard that's so quick and so demanding about the on ball screens and can create.  He's so unselfish, but he can shoot and score.  That's a problem right there.
And their two wings are really big and strong.  Obviously four is the best shooter of the two.  And we knew Scott can shoot and drive and we just said hey, if he has a great game, it's not going to work out very good for us.  You know what I mean?
And actually the first half him and Kadji didn't really play that well.  That's a problem.  We needed to shoot really well, get off to a great start, control the tempo of the game a little more.  I thought we had some good looks.  Travis shot a wide open three on the baseline and shot an air ball.  Tony Gill had an air ball in the second half.  Tony Gill made every shot he shot in the Big West.  I told Tony after the game I said, if you had to have a bad game I'm glad it's today rather than before the Big West game because we would have never won without him.
So the ‑‑ we needed our guards to play really well tonight.  Lorenzo was okay.  Rodrigo and them weren't as good as they normally are and Sama has been struggling of late.  But Durand gave us a little spark, played good.  Khalil probably played the best game he's played in the last month and a half.  So that's good for him working in the off season to get better his junior year.  So the kids are really nice kids.  Sometimes they don't concentrate on the court, but they peaked at the right time.
I thought all year they could win a championship.  I thought they had the ability to win the tournament.  But we had to play pretty well and we did.  And Miami's just a lot better than us.  I'm glad it's not a 4‑7 series, to tell you the truth.

Q.  What was kind of going through your head as that buzzer sounded?  Did you let some sentiment seep it, think about the finality or anything?
COACH THOMASON:  I was mad with a minute to go.  Why Timmy was bellying up at the side instead of chesting up.  No, you just coach to the end.  There's no sentiment.  I got through all that last may.  Move on.  You know.  And looking forward to it.  That's probably not the answer you want, but.

Q.  You were talking about‑‑ we talked about this coming in, like how good was Miami and you obviously played a lot of good teams during that tournament run you had.  So now that you played them, how good was Miami and is this the best team you've ever played in the NCAA tournament?
COACH THOMASON:  I thought that Kansas was pretty good when we played them.  They made a great run.  Washington was a terrific team when they were the No. 1 seed and we lost to them in the second round.  They got beat by Louisville later on, but that team was really good.
Khalil said it's the biggest team we played, but he forgot we played Gonzaga and they're really big.  Gonzaga is really big.  They might have more bigger guys than these guys have.  So it's not easy because they're so big and strong, but the problem is their smart, they play well together, they play smart defense, they don't gamble a lot.
They just don't give you a lot of mistakes, don't make silly passes.  So sometimes you play teams that do that and it gives you a little more opportunity.  We had an opportunity if we would have shot well to hang in there.  The first four minutes was good, it was 5‑4.  The tempo of the game was good.  Actually the tempo of the next four minutes was pretty good.
But when you don't score, I don't care how good the other team is or how not good the other team is, they're going to be ahead.  And then they relax and once they relaxed they shot great.  They went 12‑22 tonight and there's no way we can beat them when they're shooting like that.

Q.  Since you're retiring I guess you can speak your mind now about any subject?
COACH THOMASON:  I've always done that all my life.  That's some of the problems that I've had.

Q.  Curious, the sport that you're leaving, there's been a lot of controversy about the style of play and the grinding and the fouls and is there anything that you would change maybe start the season later, call fouls more or what would you do?
COACH THOMASON:  Yeah there was an article about the game a few weeks ago in our paper, it was a national by Jay Bilas, I think it was, and I really agree with him.  I think it's a concern.  I think it's a concern of the style of play, how physical it is.  Post guys really can't score without being fouled a lot.
I think the arc, that circle has to be figured out what that is.  They have put it in and I have no idea what's a foul and not a foul.  I've heard five things from different Refs.  I don't know how to coach it.  So they got to clean that up maybe move it one more foot out.
They're going to have to start being like the NBA refs where things are automatically a foul.  And that's going to stir the game up for awhile but then maybe it will be more of a flowing game, a fast breaking game, a movement game, but we got tremendous athletes out there and nobody can cut and move and do anything.  So I think that it's a concern how to solve that problem, that I don't know exactly about that.

Q.  What are you going to do now in your second career?
COACH THOMASON:  Well, tomorrow ‑‑ I think we're getting home tonight.  The reason is someone said that the charter will be there at 6:30, so I guess someone knew that we were going to lose before the game.  But at halftime I thought about calling the charter and saying we'll be there.
I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow but, I have played golf one time in five months and so I might call my buddy and go out there and play tomorrow if I get home tonight.

Q.  I was going to ask you about what you were going to do now, but does it, I know it is less than half an hour after the game's over, does it feel over?  Or is it going to take some time to sink in that this part of your life is done?
COACH THOMASON:  Yeah, people asked me all the time, like how are you going to feel?  I go, I've coached for 42 years, how do I know how I'm going to feel not coaching.  I don't know those answers.  I'm looking forward to it.  I know I got a bunch of tapes and a bunch of stuff to start exercising, and eating better pretty quick.
My wife says when are you going to open that box and I said well when the season is over.  So I'm sure that she will have that box open by the time I get home.  I told her I would take three months to figure out things you might want to do or not do.  But I'm really looking forward to it.
My wife's a little nervous, she's only known me as a head coach, so she will either like me better or we're going to have problems, but we have been married 40 years, so I think we're okay.
THE MODERATOR:  All right.  Thank you, coach.
COACH THOMASON:  All right.  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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