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March 22, 2013

Reggie Johnson

Shane Larkin

Jim Larranaga

Durand Scott


Miami – 78
Pacific - 49

THE MODERATOR:  We'll get started and take an opening statement from coach.
COACH LARRANAGA:  Well the first thing, we had the utmost respect for Pacific and the Big West champion and for Coach Thomason and the job he's done throughout his career.
The guy's coached at his alma mater for 25 years, done a fantastic job.  And we were very concerned because of their 3‑point shooting ability, but I thought our team did a terrific job establishing our defensive presence and by halftime we were able to build up a 20 point lead and we played, we defended the three very well.
Second half, we were able to stay out in front and continue to play well.  We were able to utilize a lot of our players and everyone that stepped on to the court played hard and well.  In the tournament, we believe that you have to play well to advance and we did that today.
THE MODERATOR:  Take questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  Shane, did anything go wrong today?  Was it almost scripted?
SHANE LARKIN:  Well, yeah, we played pretty well today.  Everybody shot the ball pretty well.  We rebounded, we defended, and we just stuck to the game plan.  Coach told us what we had to do before the game started and we went out there and executed it.  When everybody's shooting well like we did tonight we're pretty tough to defend.  So tonight we just played an overall great game.

Q.  Reggie, after all the years you've been at UM and everything you've been through can you talk about what it was like to finally play in a NCAA tournament game.  How did it matchup to your expectation and just how does it feel to have played a big role with 10 rebounds today?
REGGIE JOHNSON:  It's definitely a great experience to be out here and have an opportunity to play with these guys.  I was saying to Durand, we waited four years to play in this tournament and we finally got our first win.  I went up to him and gave him a big hug and told him that we're not done yet.  The experience was fun, it's on national championship, so we got to listen to Coach L and buy into his system and we got to try and do something special.

Q.  For Durand, during your career you haven't been really known as 3‑point shooter, but you have what, five 3‑pointers in two of your last three games.  Can you talk about that?  Has the shot been there or just talk about your 3‑point shooting?
DURAND SCOTT:  I give most of the credit to the coaching staff.  When they came in they made sure they broke each player's individual game down, figuring out what they're good at and what they need work at.  And especially with Coach Huger, he definitely helped me with my foot work, which definitely needed much improvement.  And then they kind of gave me confidence and told me like, you can shoot the ball, just go ahead and shoot it, they gave me the green light.  And then from there I just tried to shoot the best of my ability and I had a great game today.

Q.  Shane, you guys were up 8‑7 and then you made some free throws, made a steal, drove, dished a couple times.  Did you feel like at that point you were just kind of taking over the game?  Did it feel like it was just coming easy to you?
SHANE LARKIN:  I would say my teammates really helped me out.  They're always in the right position, they know where he they need to be for me to be successful and I try to be in the right position for them to be successful.  And just at that moment in time we kind of weren't playing very well, we had eight points, they had seven, whatever you said, and we just needed a spark.
So I tried to go out there and make something happen and luckily my teammates set the right screens for me to get to the basket and they were in the right spots and spotted up for me to pass if for them to shoot.
So my teammates did a great job of being in the right position and that's just the chemistry we have.  We know where we need to be and we just did a great job at that moment in time in creating a bigger lead.

Q.  Durand, I would like you to talk about just some of the assists that Shane throws.  He gave you two of them and he was already holding up three fingers before you made the shot.  And then Shane, I would like you to just talk about, you had a tough shooting night, but being able to have the assists and do the things like that.
DURAND SCOTT:  I told the last reporter that, before Shane got here, I was a point guard, so I know what it feels like to be in that position.  So with him being with the ball in his hand, I know all he wants to do is run the floor.  And I know he's going to put the ball where it needs to be, put everybody in the right position, get everybody shots, and obviously be aggressive himself.
So I just wanted to do a good job of running the floor and finding open spots.  And he did a great job of finding me and I definitely would knock the shot down for him, because I'm pretty sure if I missed it he would have been very upset with me.
SHANE LARKIN:  Like he said, I didn't shoot the ball particularly well tonight, but I just wanted to impact the game in other ways.  You're not going to go out and shoot well every single night.  So tonight I just wanted to really get my teammates involved and Durand did a great job being in the right place.  Reggie, Julian, Rion, Trey, Kenny everybody just knows where to be and Tonye, definitely, Tonye tonight was great, great for me, great for him.  I think that, was it a career high tonight?  Yeah career high.
So he was just in the right spot catching the lobs, Durand was knocking down threes, Trey, Rion, everyone just did a great job.  And when they're in the right spots and we have the correct floor spacing, I just get in the lane and somebody has to help and I just got to kick it out and they make the shots.

Q.  Durand, what did coach tell you guys before the game?  What was the pregame message and you guys seemed really loose when you came out.  Just seemed like you were having fun.  And you've been talking about that a lot, but what was the message right before the game?
DURAND SCOTT:  Well, basically it was just go out there and just play hard.  You know they're going to come out and they're going to put up a great fight, which they did, especially in the first couple of minutes, we were sharing baskets.  And coach especially tells us to stay poised and keep fighting and make sure you take care of the defensive end.  I think that's what we did tonight.  And that's why we were successful.

Q.  Durand, you mentioned that Shane would be upset if you missed the shots.  When you were the point guard, did you get upset if you had a guy open and he missed?
DURAND SCOTT:  Yeah, I guess I would.
(Laughter.)  But he definitely tells me, when I don't shoot the ball, he will come up to me and tell me I need to shoot the ball.  And he's not doing that because he's upset, he's doing that because he's a great leader and he wants this team to be successful.  So for me to not be able to be ready to shoot the ball and not make the shot would be a disappointment for him and for the team as well.

Q.  Reggie, how disappointing or how tough has it been for you personally not to have as much playing time since you came back from the injury and how did it feel to go out there today and kind of play like the Reggie of old?
REGGIE JOHNSON:  It was fun.  I'm about winning.  Coach is about winning.  So if it takes me to sit on the bench, I sit on the bench.  I want to play, I definitely want to play, but Coach L is going to do what's best for the team and that's that.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll let the student‑athletes know and take questions for Coach Larranaga.

Q.  Coach, can you talk about getting Reggie involved today.  How important that was.  He's just hasn't been contributing as much as in earlier and he seemed to really rise a little bit to the occasion today.
COACH LARRANAGA:  Well, I think what you have to realize is our team is based on team effort.  And every guy has his own role.  Every day it's a different guy who rises up to the occasion.  Reggie's been splitting that position with Julian Gamble, who is, to me, the combination of Julian Gamble and Reggie Johnson gives us a dynamic player at the five position.
Now, I think in years past Reggie got a substantial amount of playing time and Julian didn't get to play as much.  Now they're kind of just sharing that spot.  And I just observe what's going on and I try to make my decisions based on what I see and how I feel.
Tonight I thought when Reggie came in he set great ball screens for Shane, he defended very well, and he got a lot of defensive rebounds.  And whoever is ‑‑ on offense you say whoever's got the hot hand, you go with them, but it's true defensively as well, whoever is defending well and rebounding well, we go with that guy more.
So I think it's harsh to think that Reggie's not played well.  I think it's more of a combination of Julian and Reggie both doing a great job and sharing the position.

Q.  How much has Durand developed as far as versatility since you've been there?
COACH LARRANAGA:  Well, Durand Scott was a point guard when we first arrived and he is still a point guard.  But we have tried to get him to be a little bit more versatile with his scoring ability and especially his 3‑point shooting ability, which you saw today.  Because we felt like Durand and Shane Larkin could be a dynamic combination, because they're both so tough defensively, they both rebound the ball well for guards, they both handle the ball well, and the coaches, Coach Huger has been working with Durand on his 3‑point shooting and we do a drill called five minutes of threes.  And if you can make 50 in five minutes, that gives you the green light to shoot the three when you're open.  And Durand has made as many as 80.  And he still would pass up on those shots.
So between Shane and coach Huger, my other coaches, myself, we have just encouraged Durand that, hey, when you're open and you're in rhythm, take the shot.  You don't have to drive every time.  And he's good at both, he can play the one, the two, or the three.  He's tough defensively in all those spots.  That's why he was the ACC defensive Player of the Year, but that's also, his versatility gives us the ability to expect him to score in many different way, drives, free throws, and 3‑pointers.

Q.  You got 28 points, 19 boards from your bench today.  Not sure if you have gotten that kind of production in terms of shear numbers this season.  Talk about how the kids played off the bench.
COACH LARRANAGA:  Well, our message to the team before the game was the teams that advance are the ones that play well.  And the teams that really succeed are the ones that everybody plays well.  And I thought we did that today.  I thought Reggie came in off the bench, Tonye came in off the bench, Rion Brown and Erik Swoope, all four of those guys scored in the first half.  I think every one of them had a rebound.
And when you're helping your team in a lot of different ways, as a guy who comes in off the bench, that really helps us, because it keeps the flow going.
As a coach, you want to give your starters quality rest time, but the only way you can do that is if the subs are coming in and playing hard and playing well.

Q.  I know you've seen Shane play a lot, obviously do a lot of different things like he did today, but talk about the run when it was 8‑7.  He had a couple free throws, had the alley‑oop, made a 3‑point play, and just the variety of assists that he had there to Durand in the second half.
COACH LARRANAGA:  One of the things as a coach that you want to be able to do is trust your players, especially your point guard.  And since the very first day I saw Shane Larkin play I thought he was great.  And he's only gotten better at making decisions, at developing his skills, at developing his role as a leader.
So today I may have called one or two offensive plays, but I said to him, you run your team and you make the decisions out there as to what you want to run.
And he was the one that just called the plays the whole game long.  And when you have a player of his skill level and basketball IQ, it's very, very easy to have confidence and trust that he'll do the right thing.
THE MODERATOR:  Okay.  Thank you, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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