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April 7, 2013

Derrick Clark

Tyler Cooper

Derrick January

Demetrius Miller

Jonathan Morse


Drury: 74
Metro State: 73

COACH CLARK:  Drury played an outstanding game.  They made a run and they played like champions today and this is the truest statement I can say is we didn't lose the National Championship, Drury won it, so again, I have to give all the credit to Drury on that.  Having said that I'm not going to allow our guys to walk away from this thing, the wounds are fresh right now, we're hurting but that's a part of life right there.  It's not the last thing that's going to go our way.  Drury got the job done and they kept fighting and made plays at the end there, simple at that, it was a heck of a National Championship, and that's what it should be.

Q.  What did coach tell you in the huddle as the game ended there?  What were some of the things that the coach said?
COACH CLARK:  That's a private moment, we can't share that, I'm sorry.  That's something we will take with us and file away.  That's for us.  Sorry, Eric.

Q.  Talk about that last play.  Is that what you wanted?
COACH CLARK:  They did a good job defensively, bottom line is we had the ball in the hands of one of our best players.  We tried to get them on the run on the screen, they did a good job of defending it, I couldn't be upset because we drove the ball to the basket, we weren't able to execute a play on that so to answer your question, yes.

Q.  Miller, talk about your team's fortunate trying to get her and the lead by halftime.
DEMETRIUS MILLER:  We played to win, they gave us fits in the first half and we tried to execute as good as we could, we forced them into early turnovers and that led to the big lead we had.

Q.  Jonathan, talk about what Drury was doing, they kept it up and you guys never extended the lead to keep it out there.
JONATHAN MORSE:  We did a good job in the first half forcing turnovers which led to our lead in the first half.  Give them credit, they hit a lot of threes coming down the stretch in the second half and they converted.  They got a lot of easy layups, mistakes on our part, but give them credit, they converted and we didn't.

Q.  Demetrius, I couldn't say, talk about staying with Hall.
DEMETRIUS MILLER:  He's their best player and our job was to keep him uncomfortable, and he was make threes, it was a good challenge and we took it on head‑on.

Q.  Tyler, talk about your journey at Metro state, it a great journey for you, talk about your career and what it's meant to you.
TYLER COOPER:  Yeah, been at Metro two years with these three guys.  It's been great, the ride has been awesome.  We had a team that contended both years, and it's tough, but I couldn't ask anyone‑‑ being next to these three guys and coach, that's all I could ask for.

Q.  Jonathan, talk about your time in Atlanta and would you want the championship to be kept in this kind of format?
JONATHAN MORSE:  It was a great experience being here in Atlanta with all three divisions.  As pretty spectacular memories I'm going to hold onto it for the rest of my life just being here, going to the Final Four yesterday was spectacular.  We came here with an opportunity to win a National Championship, I would love it if NCAA kept it here.  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for anybody that has an opportunity to play for a National Championship.

Q.  Derrick, what did this mean to you, this ride, what did it mean to you?
DERRICK JANUARY:  It's been a great journey with these three dudes beside me and Coach Clark.  I've learned a lot about myself not only physical it will with basketball but life lessons as well and that's what's special about being part of this program so I will cherish these moments and remember them the rest of my life.

Q.  You guys had trouble scoring in the last couple of minutes, what was going on there?  Just the pressure of the game or missed shots or what?
JONATHAN MORSE:  (No microphone.)

Q.  Coach, talk about these guys and this is your third year here, they mentioned two years contending here in the National Championship.
COACH CLARK:  They're invaluable, minutes and points don't tell the whole story with these guys.  What happens is this.  When you have a special program you have a culture that is established over time.  You see, we had to step back a couple years ago and establish that culture once again.  It's extremely healthy and these guys to my left is the reason why.  They gave it everything we had in terms of attention to detail, loving each other, you couldn't ask for a better group of seniors.  And they are a great example for the next wave of guys to be.  This is what you want to happen.  The guys buy into what you're doing.  They believe to the depths this of their soul right here this thing right here.  What more can I ask for as a coach, you see?  I've seen a maturation process with each and every one of them.  They came in the door one way and they're not the same person and I'm talking about in a positive way right here.  So I don't have enough time to tell you how important these guys are but hopefully things will sink in.  They're going to be dearly missed and I'm going to miss having them around and seeing their faces and interacting with them, you see, but they're extremely important.

Q.  When Hall was on the line, last shots, what were you figuring?  He was going to make them or what was going through your mind?
UNIDENTIFIED ATHLETE:  To have the opportunity to win the game.  I didn't care if he made 'em or missed them.  We had the right guys on the floor and we needed to make a play and it didn't go our way.  It happens.  I had faith in my teammates that they would do the right thing and win the game for us.

Q.  Coach, and you I talked earlier this week.  You told me about a disappointment that you had last year, obviously you've got a disappointment this year.  What do you tell your kids going into next year to keep this from getting them down.
COACH CLARK:  First of all, they shouldn't be down when we leave that locker room.  Like I said, the wounds are still open from this thing right here, it's going to take time to heal.  They can't walk out of that locker room in a half hour, forty minutes and feel like this has been a big disappointment because then you're taking away from the enjoyment of this thing.  We did some things that are unusual, we tried to be uncommon this year, to steal something from Tony Dungy right here, and we were uncommon in the fact that we played for the National Championship just a few minutes ago.  So they can't look down on it, they will look back on this in time and smile on this.  So there ain't no disappointment in this thing beside the obvious, you know, but take this experience for what it is.  It was big‑time.

Q.  You seem composed after the Alex Hall free‑throws, what was your advise to the guys in the huddle?
COACH CLARK:  I wanted to get it to Mitch or B.J., they were our best players on the floor and I can't lose my mind in that situation.  Anytime there is time on the clock I feel like we're going to win and I have to get that across to our guys.  We weren't trying to foul him in that situation.  It happens, that's what happens in basketball games.  As I said, it was in the hands of one of our best playmakers and in that situation we tried to get him a screen but he was going toward the basket and he made an attempt on the basket, so I'm going to sleep okay tonight on that.

Q.  Coach, your team missed a couple of front‑ends of one and ones.  Is that pressure?  Looks like you can shoot pretty well.
COACH CLARK:  We shot 73% but you don't get an opportunity very often to win a National Championship with the game on the line, but I can't say that, because then our guys‑‑ I would never use the word "choke" but that's not the case.  If you said Coach get in that situation again and pick the guys you want shooting, Nicholas and B.J. would be in my top three, they have been making free‑throws all year.  Unfortunately it doesn't always bounce for you that way but I have 199% confidence that that's possible, for those guys to shoot those free‑throws again, and the funny thing is we put so much energy and effort into free‑throws but how do I simulate that situation right there.
Again, if I had to do it again, I could go back in time, I want those guys shooting those free‑throws.

Q.  Coach talk about getting your team here and having your team here in the Final Four city, the idea of it continuing in the future.
COACH CLARK:  It's incredible, it's incredible because, you know, for about a six‑day period you felt like you were big‑time Division I and that's not diminishing Division II.  I feel happy for the Division III teams that were here to experience this, this is as close as our guys are going to get to participate in the Final Four, they did participate in the Final Four and to have that crowd, that's the best crowd I ever seen and this is my fourth National Championship game in some form or fashion, we never had a crowd like that, we never played in a venue like that, where that game meant a lot to a crowd of people and it's a testament, and it's a brilliant idea, I hope that they continue it.

Q.  Coach you guys prize yourself on defense.  Talk about what you guys did right on defense tonight.
COACH CLARK:  We started the game in a big‑time way.  When you look at the stat sheet we forced 19 turnovers, that's not a bad deal for a team that doesn't turn the ball over a lot.  It got us the lead early.  We had some lulls offensively , where they got a couple of easy baskets off our press, they attacked it, got a couple of layups and it's like anything if you are a player and you get a layup or easy basket it's going to give you confidence.  The X‑factor in the game when it boils down is Patterson, going 4 for 6 from the three.  We knew we could shoot the ball, obviously you put effort into guarding Alex Hall and Brandon Lockhart, and Alex Hall got 21, Brandon Lockhart had some turnovers, so that's pretty good job, but what happens is you have somebody that will step up, and typically that will turn the tied so give Drake Patterson credit for making those shots.

Q.  Coach, I wanted to ask about Drury's opening in the first half, what were they doing differently?
COACH CLARK:  I don't think they were doing too much strategically, I think we got caught a couple of times in our press, the bottom line is I put effort and energy into the first possession in the second half because I knew how important it was, and probably the worst thing that can happen is they make a three on that deal.  We get a stop, all of the sudden you keep that momentum that we were riding.  But you have to give them the credit for that.  The kid made a shot, he made that three and, you know, championship games you don't get to this level if you think you're dead in the water.  Those kids had confidence just like we did.  I tried to get our guys settled down and the biggest challenge is trying to get that edge back because we came out breathing fire and I think they tipped it a little bit in the second half but I don't think there was anything major in terms of adjustments, their coach is a heck of a coach and he did a great job of coaching in this particular game.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach. 

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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