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NCAA MEN'S FINAL FOUR


April 6, 2013


Malcolm Armstead

Ron Baker

Cleanthony Early

Gregg Marshall


ATLANTA, GEORGIA

Louisville 72
Wichita 68


THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall and student‑athletes. We'll ask Coach Marshall to begin with an opening statement.
COACH MARSHALL: I want to congratulate Louisville on winning today and making the plays when they needed to to secure victory. And I want to thank the gentlemen to my left and everyone else in my locker room for taking us on one incredible ride.
I think they've gained fans, support and love across the world, and they certainly proved that not only do they belong, but they can play with the best.
THE MODERATOR: We'll now take questions for the student‑athletes.

Q. Ron, what did you make of the tie‑up late in the game?
RON BAKER: The tie‑up?

Q. The held ball.
RON BAKER: I was forced to dribble the ball because I lost my balance. I thought the ball was loose before the whistle was blown. I tapped it to Malcolm. They already called jump ball, so...
That's what I was trying to lean for.

Q. Can you talk about the six turnovers late in the game during the crucial point where the Cardinals were coming back.
MALCOLM ARMSTEAD: You know, down the stretch, you know, we just was loose with the ball. We just didn't take care of it. Pretty much you said it when you said the turnovers down the stretch. I can't give you an explanation. It just happened.

Q. Cleanthony, can you kind of balance the emotions of playing one of your better games and coming up short at the end.
CLEANTHONY EARLY: It's just mixed emotions of feelings. It hurts to have to lose, it be the end of your season.
But these guys fought till the end. We had a great season. We have to keep our heads high and know that the grind doesn't stop. We're always invested in getting better. At the end of the day, we have to keep working and top our O‑highs.

Q. Ron, can you describe their pressure. Wears away at you and keeps the pressure on.
RON BAKER: Yeah, first you get used to it and then they increase the intensity of their pressure. It kind of hits you in waves sort of. Towards the end of the game, it kind of took over.
We fought, but came up a couple plays short in the end.

Q. Cleanthony, you guys got the 12‑point lead in the second half. The kid, Henderson, who was probably the one guy you would leave alone to shoot, makes two threes in a row. How deflating was that at that point?
CLEANTHONY EARLY: It just hurt. It kind of hurt us, like you said. We had a defensive plan to just be in the gaps and force them to shoot those shots. They just happened to knock them down.

Q. Cleanthony, I thought a really important play you guys made was after there was a loose ball on the floor, you drove up for the basket, the foul. Can you describe to me what happened on that play, maybe how it kept you going.
CLEANTHONY EARLY: I just seen two defenders and I tried to attack the middle of them, and they reached in and the ref called a foul. I tried to put it up as quick as possible just in case it goes in. It happened to go in.
It was a good play.

Q. Malcolm, got up to an 8‑0 lead and appeared to handle the atmosphere, the crowd. Why were you able to come out so strong early?
MALCOLM ARMSTEAD: Just being confident and poised. We just was executing the game plan, trying to do what we do. We was able to be successful early on.

Q. Do you think Louisville's experience, having come back from last season and the Final Four, do you think that had any impact on your young squad?
MALCOLM ARMSTEAD: I don't think so. You know, we have experience, too, but just not as well as being deep in this tournament as well.
But we just, you know, made mistakes. It was us, you know, a lot of times. But their pressure had a lot to do with it, too, as well.

Q. Malcolm, why do you think you were a little off tonight?
MALCOLM ARMSTEAD: Just missing shots. You know, a lot of my shots were, you know, uncontested. So it wasn't my night offensively as far as scoring the ball. But, you know, I can't control that. The only thing I can control is defense and still being positive for my teammates.
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to thank our student‑athletes from Wichita State. We'll continue with questions for Coach Marshall.

Q. In general, how long do you think an official should take before calling a jump ball?
COACH MARSHALL: Well, as soon as both players have control of it to prevent a wrestling match, I guess. So if both players have their hands on it, it should be a held ball.

Q. When Malcolm got his fourth foul with 5:22 left, was there an internal debate, how to handle that going forward?
COACH MARSHALL: I don't think there was any debate. We discussed it. But we have to then try to keep him in as much as we can on offensive possessions. So any time we were subbing offense, defense, but only on dead balls. So when they scored, there were a couple of times when we would have loved to have had him in, but we didn't want him to get his fifth foul with two, three minutes to go, so...
They were really driving us, Siva and Smith were really driving those ball screens, as well as Hancock.

Q. You went 26 minutes without a turnover, then there were a flurry of five turnovers in seven possessions. Was that something Louisville did? Do you think you wore down?
COACH MARSHALL: Louisville gets credit for that. You know, in the course of a 40‑ minute game against some of the best pressure you're going to see every time the ball is inbounded, we had 11 turnovers, so that's not bad.
Certainly when they were coming back, that was a part of it. But I've got to call a different zone press offense or man press offense. We've got to execute it better and make our cuts harder. Certainly part of it.

Q. You were up 9. Ron had looked like a pretty open three. It looked like you wanted him to take that shot.
COACH MARSHALL: Yeah, we had that same situation I think in the Gonzaga game when he had a wide‑open three, passed it into Ehimen. All these kids, these young men, they believe in each other, man. In this case almost to a fault. He's wide open at the top of the key, great shooter. He throws it, goes to the line and misses it. Yeah, we'd like for him to take that shot.
Next year I think he'll be a little more confident to take it. I don't think he lacks confidence now, but he believes his teammate could catch it, turn and score, which did not happen.
I think the two shots that Henderson hit were right in concert with the two 1‑and‑1s that Ehimen missed. You got to get some points there.
Then the six‑point run for them becomes a three‑ or four‑point run.

Q. When was the last time you felt like this after a game?
COACH MARSHALL: I'm not sure I've ever felt exactly like this. But any time you lose your last game, only one time in my career where we won our last game, and that was in 2011 in Madison Square Garden in the NIT, it's hard. You know, it's hard to lose your last game. Everyone does it except for three or four tournament winners.
This one's especially hard because of the run we went on. We set a school record for wins, in the Final Four for the second time in school history. There was an Elite 8 back in 1981. There's been three Elite 8 runs now.
This may be the most important basketball game that I'll ever coach. It's definitely the most important to the date and it's probably the most important that Wichita State's ever played in.
It's tough because it's such a group of young men in that locker room that you just grow to love, you know. They're fun to coach. They're great character kids. They're tough as nails, tough as nails.
But we didn't say good‑bye. We didn't say this is it. This is just a beginning. This is just a beginning for us. A lot of good young players in that locker room. All they're talking about right now is working hard this summer and getting better, so...
I'm pretty excited about it.

Q. When you did handle the press well for long stretches, what were you doing?
COACH MARSHALL: Kind of the same thing we did against VCU. Boy, I felt really, really good until we had that flurry of turnovers. I didn't realize it was five in seven possessions, which is certainly big.
You know, they do that to everyone. They're going to make a run at some point. We were looking really good there for 32 minutes or whatever it was. We just needed to be a little more secure with the ball.
There were some bang‑bang plays, ball went out‑of‑bounds. It was their ball, whatever. I thought Carl had it one time, had it taken from him. I thought a big play was when we got a defensive rebound, Mal got a defensive rebound, they came from behind. I think he thought it was a teammate. I don't know what he was thinking. But they got that one. That wasn't against the press, that was just a tricky play, and credit to them for making it.

Q. Can you talk about the game Cleanthony Early had and some of the big stick‑backs he had late in the game to keep you in it.
COACH MARSHALL: He's a dynamite athlete. He's like a Pogo‑stick athlete. He can spring up multiple times. It's not the first jump always, sometimes it's the second or third jump. He just has that ability.
He was right around the rim, hit a couple jumpers, made six or seven free throws. He's a really good player. I'm glad he's on our team. I'm looking forward to coaching him.
There's a couple of things we're going to work on specifically I've already got in my head, but I'm not going to talk about them. And I think he's going to be even better next year.

Q. I noticed against their press you had some success throwing almost a deep ball into the front court. Was that something you put in especially for this game?
COACH MARSHALL: No, that's a Hal Nunnally special from Randolph‑Macon College. He was probably running that before you were born. That's something I stole from him. He's deceased now, but he was quite a coach.
I think it alleviates a little bit of the pressure when you do that. We got them once for layup for Nick Wiggins. We threw a couple of bad passes or we would have got them a couple more times.
When you do that, that takes away a guy that could possibly come and help inbound the ball. Against Louisville they have five defenders guarding four guys, so you better be very diligent in getting the ball inbounds. That's the first key. It disrupts your rhythm and whatnot, but they do a great job at it. They're wonderful athletes. They go real hard for a long time.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, coach.
COACH MARSHALL: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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