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NCAA MEN'S 2ND & 3RD ROUNDS: AUBURN HILLS


March 23, 2013


Joe Jackson

Geron Johnston

Josh Pastner


AUBURN HILLS, MICHIGAN

Michigan State ¬Ė 70
Memphis ¬Ė 48


MODERATOR:  We'll begin with an opening statement from Coach Pastner.
COACH PASTNER:  Yeah, a few things.
First of all, I'm very proud of our young men.  They had a tremendous year.  Obviously it's not the way we wanted to end, but you got to give Michigan State full credit.  It's a great basketball team.  They've got a lot of good players.  They're big.  They're physical.  I mean, they're a very, very good basketball team.  So got to give full credit to Michigan State and Coach Izzo and his staff.
We just had a stretch there in that second half where we just couldn't score.  Just couldn't put the ball in the basket.  Like I told everybody in Friday's press conference, if you're making shots, we're going to be in great shape, and if we're not, it's going to make the game that much harder.
And, again, they really got us on the glass.  That was the big thing.
But I'm very, very proud of these young men.  We had a great season, 31 wins.  In the final regular season polls, finished No. 15 in the coach's poll.  Again, won the conference -- regular season in-conference tournament championship.  But obviously, you know, our expectations are to compete for more than just getting even to the round of 32.  So we'll get back and get back to the drawing board and look at this and clean some things up and ready to go for, you know next year.
MODERATOR:  The floor is open for questions for the student-athletes.

Q.  Talk about the first half.  Talk about the fight in the first half and getting back in the game.
JOE JACKSON:  Well, I mean, we expected them to come out and play hard.  You know, they're well coached.
I knew they were going to be prepared to play us.  I mean, we just tried to continue to play hard.  We didn't think they was going to come out like that and make all those shots and get and ones and all that stuff.  All our problems came on the offensive rebounding.  They just killed us on the boards.  I mean, every time that we had a chance to cut the lead, they got offensive rebound and they scored.  I mean, that's what killed us.
GERON JOHNSTON:  First half shots were falling.  First half we had three turnovers.  That's very limited.  That's good turnover -- that's a good turnover to have.
Second half we came out with, I think, eight of them.  That's unacceptable.  Coach Pastner preaches no turnovers.  Try to keep them limited, under ten as a game, and they beat us on the rebound like Joe Jackson said.

Q.  Can you talk about the inside/outside game they had with Payne and Nix and Gary Harris especially in the first half?
GERON JOHNSON:  Joe Jackson had seven rebounds.  So he did his job.
I had four.  I didn't do my job.  Need to be somewhere around eight or nine.  So I tip my hat to Joe Jackson.  He was in there banging with the guys that was down there in the post.
I wasn't.  I would hold myself accountable, but next year we'll be ready and get back to the drawing board like Coach Pastner said and try to do better.

Q.  Talk a little about next year.
COACH PASTNER:  Well, Corey, I think we just -- obviously this one hurts.  So you're going to -- I know you're going to have some pain from the loss.  We'll have to get back.
Our four seniors and D.J. Stephens, Ferrakohn Hall, Stan Simpson, and Charles Holt who gave everything for their program.  We're going to obviously miss them.
But we'll get back.  We got to get regrouped.  Get organized.  I'll meet with the guys and give them some time off, and then we will refocus in and look at the offseason, what we need to do and get back to workouts and gearing up for the 13-14 season.
GERON JOHNSON:  Coach Pastner did his job.  He told us what we had to do when we came into this game.  He told us if they beat us on rebounding and turnovers, we not going to leave out of here with a W.  So this blame going to go on the players.  He did his job.  He coached us the right way, and we didn't finish it.
So I'm going to take this one, and we can't dwell on this loss.  Got to keep thriving and try to be successful next year.

Q.  Joe, what about next season?
JOE JACKSON:  Just back to the basics, man.  You know, continue to work hard.
I mean, this loss hurts so much because I know, you know, type of hard work we put in, you know, the whole summer.  You know, to win games like these.
But, I mean, I don't really know how to speak on it.  Just continue to work hard and, you know -- and just help prepare the right way.

Q.  Can you talk about the struggles with the offensive execution in the second half?  Was that more about you guys not executing it or was there something Michigan was doing defensively?
GERON JOHNSON:  Set them up for jump shots.  Wasn't getting the ball in there to our bigs and making them work.  That's what it was, setting them up for jump shots.
COACH PASTNER:  And we've got to be able to -- you know, I've said it many times.  If you're making shots, it opens everything up, and we've been a very, very good three-point shooting team.  I think we're around 37, 38 percent shooting threes on the year, shot 21 percent.  Part of our game is the way we space the floor, make threes, and we got good shooters, but unfortunately today we didn't shoot the ball well and that makes it that much tougher.

Q.  Joe, how tough was it to overcome some of those momentum swings?
JOE JACKSON:  Well, it goes back to the offensive rebounding.  Everything that they did was offensive rebound.  He got four or five open threes, you know, just strictly off of -- I mean, just playing harder.  Adreian Payne did a great job on his game keeping balls alive and they just found him.
I mean, he probably one of the best shooters in the country.  So that was the perfect time to help the team.  They the best shots to get when you get offensive rebound.

Q.  You guys talk about the season.  Can you talk about that a little bit for us?
GERON JOHNSON:  I wouldn't say we had a great season.  We got 31 wins.  Our goal before the season was to win a regular season championship, and we did that.  Win a conference championship, we did that, then win a national championship.  It's one thing at a time.
We didn't do all three of those.  We failed.  So, I mean, it's not over now, you know what I'm saying?  You got to keep working hard, keep your head up, don't dwell on losses, and stay together, you know what I'm saying?  That's why you got four years in college.
JOE JACKSON:  Well, we played well throughout the season, but we were more focused on this time of the year.  We wanted the win more than ever this year because we feel like we got an older team and more mature team.
I mean, we've been doing some good things, you know, the whole season, but the whole focus was to win those games to get a better seed to play the NCAA tournament.
To come in and lose in the second round, that still sucks.
COACH PASTNER:  And, again, the whole thing is you got to make shots.  The game's about making shots.
You know, I watched the VCU-Michigan game beforehand.  VCU is a very good three-point shooting team, didn't make shots.  We didn't make shots.  You got to make shots in the NCAA tournament.  It's the whole equalizer.  You have to make the whole three-point shot, and we didn't make them.
MODERATOR:  That's, guys.  Floor is open for questions for the coach.

Q.  Can you talk about the first half?  Talk about what happened during that stretch where you got back into the game and what was your message to the team at halftime?
COACH PASTNER:  Well, they got that lead.  We called timeout.  We went to a triangle and two.  I thought that maybe gave them a little, you know, just threw them off rhythm.
You know, I told the guys there's a lot of time left.  We're going to make a run, and we went into the half down three and I liked where we were at and I thought they had trouble guarding our would he have been actions, as we like to call it.
But we kept going at it and at it and we just missed some open shots.  We missed shots in the second half.  We just had some opportunities we could not score the ball.
We missed short shots.  We missed some layups, missed some wide-open jump shots.  We just didn't convert, and got to give Michigan State credit.  That's a very good basketball team and, again, we were on that momentum swing, and then a couple times we had some opportunities and they just got second chance.
I mean, they got a plus 46 in two games in the NCAA tournament on rebounding, plus 46.  That's their game.  I mean, they're terrific at that.  They're probably the best in the country at offensive boards
Q.Did you put in that triangle and two for this?
COACH PASTNER:  Yeah, we worked on the triangle yesterday, and we did it.  It worked for us and actually worked for us in the second half.  The problem was we couldn't score.
And, again, I believe in offensive, too.  I believe in it, and I know that was the thing that we talked about, we got to be able to score the ball, but we just -- and, again, you know, I thought defensively for the most part, again, we were fouling at the end and some things like that, but I thought the triangle was good for us.  We put that in yesterday.  It worked for us.  We just didn't score.  We did not score the ball.  We had some opportunities.  We just didn't make the open shot.  And our key shooters, you know, we got good looks.

Q.  There were times where you were trying to get your guys to go to transition or a secondary transition game going but it didn't happen.  How key was that?
COACH PASTNER:  We didn't do a good job in this game on pushing the ball.  Where that's where you're strength and throwing it ahead and speed dribbling it up and we walked it up a lot of times.
Our best guy to push it up the floor was Geron Johnson when we got going, but we didn't have a lot of -- you know, we walked if up too many times, and can't do that against a team like Michigan State, especially when our strength, our team strength is speed and quickness.
But, again, you got to give Michigan State credit, Coach Izzo, his staff and his players.  I mean, their offensive rebounding, I mean, that's -- you just can't -- you know, they were plus 20 on us on the glass, and we missed -- I'm telling you, we had some big momentum changes where we turned the ball over and we missed some open jump shots and some layups that just were back breakers.

Q.  Coach, you've talked a lot about missing shots.  How much was the MSU defense and how much was it you guys not having a good game?
COACH PASTNER:  Well, I want to give all credit to Michigan State, and they deserved to win the basketball game.  They're good enough to win the whole national championship.
I mean, I think any coach will tell you, I mean shall Michigan State did a great job defensively.
But, again, as I said it yesterday, and I'm a big believer in this, if we make shots, it looks like I ran a good offense.  If we don't make shots, then the other team ran a good defense.  It's pretty simple in that.  And I believe in that.  It's just as simple as can be.  So we missed shots, so you got to give Michigan State's defense the credit.

Q.  How much was Adreian Payne hurting you guys on both ends of the floor?
COACH PASTNER:  Well, I thought he was an X factor.  I told our guys, and I told our staff, he was an X factor.
He's a pro.  There's no question he's a pro.  I mean, he's really good, I don't know I saw him in high school a bunch playing in AAU ball.  I knew he was good then, but, man, I mean, he's good.  He's a pro prospect.
If he plays like that every night, they're going to be hard to -- they're going to the Final Four if he plays like that.  I think he's their whole key for them to get to the Final Four.  If he plays like that, they're hard to beat.  Very, very hard to beat.
And by the way, Oakland University, the hospitality here was A plus.  You got good people all throughout.  So if anyone's writing here locally, make sure you give a great shot out to the Oakland University.  They have really people, tremendous hospitality.
MODERATOR:  Thanks, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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