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November 25, 2013

Jim Boeheim

Trevor Cooney

C.J. Fair


Syracuse – 75
Minnesota – 67

COACH BOEHEIM:  This was probably as good a win as we've first had in a tournament.

Q.  Can you talk about (No Microphone)?
COACH BOEHEIM:  Yeah, they had a very tough defense.  They pressured the guards, and then they forced you into the bigs, and their bigs were playing solid, strong, Big Ten basketball.  We just had to fight through it.  We had to adjust how the refs were calling the game.

Q.  C.J., can you take us through that play where you got the blood on your cheek?
C.J. FAIR:  I forgot who passed me the ball, but I cut down a lane and I went up for the dunk, and I felt like I hit my face.  Then as I came down I seen blood on my hand, and then from there I knew it was something bad.

Q.  C.J. and Trevor, it seemed like the dunks, C.J. yours, and then Christmas about three minutes later with about a minute to go in the first half, I think it was Christmas.  Talk about those two dunks and then about four minutes into the second half the next big dunk.  How much energy did that give you guys?
C.J. FAIR:  I mean he is efficiently getting dunks and threes; they're big momentum shifts.  And Trevor started off hitting consecutive threes, and then me and Rakeen got a couple dunks to get the crowd into it, and I think we set off the crowd from there.
TREVOR COONEY:  Yeah, when you get dunks like that, it just pumps you up on defense and gets you motivation to get that next stop and keep going.

Q.  Can both of you just talk about Minnesota in general?  I mean, coming into this game a lot of people considered them huge underdogs.
C.J. FAIR:  Yeah, yeah, they were definitely‑‑ people say they're the underdogs towards us, but we knew coming into this game was going to be a tough game because of the style of defense and the pressure.  But I mean it was a good test going forward.  We can still keep getting better.
TREVOR COONEY:  Yeah, anyone that's going to push up on you for 40 minutes is going to be a tough game.  I thought that was a good challenge for us today, and we responded well and beat the pressure, and we were able to get some easy baskets that way.

Q.  Coach, can you talk a little bit about your experience and just knowing what's coming up in the next couple days here specifically?
COACH BOEHEIM:  Well, I think the danger is obviously when you get pressed for 40 minutes.  It's a difficult bounceback.  Many times you'll come to a tournament it's a 50‑point game, 60‑point game, and it doesn't take a lot out of you.  This game is going to take a lot out of us, but we'll be ready.  We'll bounce back.  Certainly the pace of the game, how difficult the game was is something that you have to take into consideration.  But we'll have to play a couple other guys and look for some more minutes tomorrow.  But that will be a challenge.
I thought Cal was‑‑ I watched a lot of that game, and I think they're much better than they were last year, a much better team.  I really was very impressed with how they played.  It will be a tremendous challenge for us.

Q.  Can you talk about two players, Malik Smith, and then Joey King, both of these guys maybe not on a lot of scouting reports.  King didn't play the last game.
COACH BOEHEIM:  Yeah, we didn't talk about King.  We had talked about him before and knew he was a good player.  He had good numbers for them, and he hit a big three today and made some steals.  He's a really good player.  I thought that we knew Smith shot it every time he got it from wherever he was.
So we wanted to get up on him.  The last two he was a good ten feet behind the line, and after that we just moved up further.  I don't think he got another look after that.  But he has some kind of deep range.  They can shoot the basketball as well as anybody in terms of their whole team.  You've got five guys that can shoot threes and they can put the ball on the floor and get to the basket as well.
Again, I think Richard has done a tremendous job putting that system in in a very short period of time, and they completely understand it and they handle it, and they really are good at what they're doing.  The key to the game, we're fortunate.  We tried to drive at the big guy.  We wanted to get him in foul trouble, and when he was out, we made a ten‑point run.  He's a big difference maker when he's not in there.  When he came back in, we couldn't get to the basket the couple times we had before.
But that was a big key to the game really being able to get him in some foul trouble there.  He's a really good player, good passer, very good defensive player.  They've got a very, very good team.  I'd be shocked if they don't have a tremendous year in the Big Ten.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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