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MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT


March 8, 2014


Justin Gant

Greg Lansing

Jake Odum

Khristian Smith


ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

Indiana State テや 62
Southern Illinois テや 59


THE MODERATOR:テつ Sycamores are here.テつ Jake Odum, Justin Gant, and Khristian Smith represent the student‑athletes.
COACH LANSING:テつ My question is how does Khristian Smith with one basket get asked to come to a press conference.テつ That's got to be an all‑time record.テつ It was a big one.
I'm just awfully happy for these guys and the guys in the locker room.テつ We didn't play well, and I didn't set them up offensively very good.テつ I was a little bit out of it today.テつ I just wanted to win so bad.テつ I was probably worrying more about the officiating than coaching my guys.
We have some fierce competitors on this team.テつ Obviously, Jake willing his team down the stretch here, but I give Southern nothing but tremendous credit.テつ I told Coach they started out 6‑15.テつ We got them well when we went to their place, and they kicked our tail pretty good.テつ They just play like crazy, and they have some dynamic guards there, and they're difficult to guard.
We stretched it out a little bit, and they weren't going to let us get away from them.テつ Very fortunate to come out with a win, but these guys competed hard, and we did just enough.テつ We have a chance.テつ We have a one‑game season right now.

Q.テつ Jake, I know you said yesterday the first one went in, and you had a good day.テつ The second half, when you scored seven in a row right away, just talk about what transpired during that time period.
JAKE ODUM:テつ I just wanted to be aggressive.テつ It was a close game coming out of halftime.テつ I wanted to look for it and get going to the rim.テつ My teammates were doing a nice job moving on offense, which was allowing me gaps to get in there.テつ Like I said, I got it going yesterday, shots were flowing, and it was a great feeling out there.

Q.テつ Khristian, talk about what you saw on your bucket.テつ Obviously, you were trying to make a play.テつ Just kind of describe it from your point of view.
KHRISTIAN SMITH:テつ It was lucky.テつ Coach Belcher told me right before we got out of the huddle to make sure I crash the boards.テつ Coach Lansing always preaches to break the other team's back by getting offensive rebounds.
I got one of them, and that was the one that counted.テつ I tipped it, but until it did, I wasn't sure it went through that net.テつ I'm glad it did.

Q.テつ Jake, can you talk about, in that situation, what you anticipate Southern is going to do defensively and how you counter that, and kind of knowing that, how you let that play out.
JAKE ODUM:テつ They're a really good man‑to‑man defensive team.テつ We knew they were going to be tough out there.テつ We ran kind of like a pick/slip thing with Gant, and he was open.テつ So I kind of pitched back.テつ Give credit to Khristian getting there in the paint and tipping it in.テつ That's a game‑winning play.
Like Coach said, he didn't have a bucket all game, but he went in there and fought and got down there dirty and got the game‑winning bucket for us.

Q.テつ Justin, second game in a row, big numbers from you.テつ You've been very aggressive in the MVC tournament.テつ What's been the difference for you?
JUSTIN GANT:テつ It's tournament time, so you lose and go home.テつ That's been really heavy on my mind.テつ We have a great group of guys and great leadership coming from our seniors.テつ I just wanted to go out and play my hardest for them and just give it my all, and it's been working out.

Q.テつ For any three of you guys, how difficult was it to adjust to the shot clock being up on the facade of the arena and all the distraction at the beginning of the game with the clocks being out?
JAKE ODUM:テつ The slow start, I don't think it was too much of a distraction.テつ I think we got going after that.テつ But the shot clock not being on there plays a factor because it's down to three or four seconds, and you look up, you kind of got to look away from the rim.テつ So that was taking some adjustment too.テつ I don't really think it hurt either team too much.
JUSTIN GANT:テつ I mean, it just took us a couple of possessions to get used to it, but after that, I felt we got into the flow of the game.テつ We get quick shots, so it didn't really matter anyways.

Q.テつ Jake, I know you guys have been outspoken about coming here, hoping to win three games in three days.テつ Your confidence level tomorrow that you can get a win against an amazing team.
JAKE ODUM:テつ I mean, you've got to have confidence.テつ This is what you play the game for.テつ I don't know about the rest of these guys, but I'm sure they're thinking the same thing.テつ I want a piece of Wichita State ever since they got us at our place.テつ We felt like we competed with them there.テつ They're a really good team.テつ In my opinion, the best team in the nation.
We feel like we can compete with them.テつ We know we're right there.テつ We know we've got to make some adjustments from the first two times we played them.テつ We're looking forward to it.テつ Our goal when we got here was to meet up with them in a championship and play out there and give it all we've got, and that's what we're going to do tomorrow.

Q.テつ Jake, given what you just said, what do you do to try to get your team ready to have that same mindset that you do?
JAKE ODUM:テつ Just stay in their ear here throughout the night, make sure everybody's locked in, focused.テつ Make sure everybody knows the plays we might be running tomorrow, some of their plays that they might be running tomorrow.
Lucas and I and Jake Kitchell are the only ones left in this tournament that have ever won a championship.テつ We do kind of know what to do.テつ We do have to stay in their ear tonight and make sure they're locked in.
Can't get too up on this win tonight, but it's a nice one.テつ After we leave the gym, we've got to get locked in and focus on Wichita State.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Gentlemen, we'll dismiss you.テつ We'll stay with Coach Lansing for questions.

Q.テつ Greg, you knew it was going to be difficult today.テつ It always is when you play Southern.テつ If you had to point to one difference, what do you think it was?
COACH LANSING:テつ I just think the will to win by this group.テつ They came here pretty single‑mindedly and wanted to get a chance to win a championship.テつ We talked enough about it, that losing three games before you come in there.テつ But we did just enough.
It was two teams absolutely fighting their guts out.テつ It was very ugly at times, and I know that wasn't because of the coach on the other end.テつ I take a lot of responsibility for that.
But these guys, they're such a good group, and I think the will to win the game, we got in that last huddle, I think, with 3:46 left, and that's just what we talked about.テつ We're the experienced team.テつ Coming down the stretch, we've got to make more plays than them.テつ Even if we didn't score, we had to shut them out.

Q.テつ Coach, you guys were able to take Desmar Jackson almost completely out of the picture.テつ What were you guys able to do defensively that limited his production?
COACH LANSING:テつ Manny Arop.テつ Manny Arop should be sitting in one of these seats up here.テつ He was unbelievable on defense.テつ He said, "Coach, I don't care what I'm doing on offense.テつ I'm just going to guard that way."テつ He did.テつ He made it tough.
Didn't play very well offensively.テつ He was 0 for 6 for three in the first half.テつ He was just getting those, and we wanted him to get to the paint a little bit and get to the free‑throw line.
He had help.テつ Justin does a great job when we switch four days.テつ Other guys had a hand in it, but Manny Arop deserves a lot of credit for that.

Q.テつ Coach, I remember it stuck in my mind after the Northern Iowa game, you sat there, and we come off three losses in a row.テつ What impressed me, you had this fire in your eyes, and you weren't worried.テつ You were very calm, collected.テつ How does that translate now that you're into the championship game of the MVC after those three losses?テつ How did you do that?
COACH LANSING:テつ I think a lot of people would say you've got nothing to lose.テつ I'm not here just to make it to the championship game.テつ We came here to win it.テつ We just started the year, and we wanted to win the conference.テつ We didn't get that done.
As I said, we lost two tough games on the road to two good teams that we're playing for the third seed, and I knew we'd compete against Northern Iowa, I knew we would, we just didn't do enough to win it.テつ We were kind of back with our competitive side.テつ Practices were terrific after that, so I felt good.
Every game I've gone into with this group, it's easy to relax because you know they're going to compete.

Q.テつ Coach, you talk about the will to win.テつ That's certainly led by Jake Odum.テつ He's gone on these personal runs in this tournament.テつ Is it almost to the point you're shocked if he doesn't do that now?
COACH LANSING:テつ Yeah.テつ Get the ball in his hands and basically clearing out and say, "Jake, go make all the plays, win every game for us."テつ I've gotten a little bit spoiled on that.テつ Certainly, more often than not, he does that.
There's nobody more competitive than this guy.テつ It's unbelievable, the things that he says and the things that he does and the will to win.
At any level, this guy, his competitiveness is as high as any guy I've been around.テつ I'm so darn happy for him.テつ I want it so‑‑ not just for him, but for all of these guys, for him to get that championship tomorrow.テつ I've got no concerns with how hard this one's going to compete.

Q.テつ Greg, can you talk about the clock situation, especially at the beginning of the game, where it delayed the start, and then how the team had to adjust to playing a different way.
COACH LANSING:テつ Other than putting off the post‑game meal and all this stuff, that really had no effect.テつ We got off to a good start.テつ We really did.テつ It was after the start we had a little trouble.テつ That kind of stuff happens.テつ You just go on.テつ Both teams were fine.テつ I don't think it affected anything.
You've got Jack Watkins coming in and apologizing about it, but this is the best run tournament in the country by the best staff in the Valley.テつ Like I said, we got off to a good start.
The only thing I think it might have affected is, like Jake said, the end of that.テつ Like Manny at the end of the first half, he's looking for it.テつ He didn't see it, I know that.テつ So he settled for that three.テつ But both teams had to deal with it.

Q.テつ When you hear the kind of what I guess you could call bravado coming out of Jake up here at the dais against a 33‑0 team‑‑
COACH LANSING:テつ Don't make that the headlines.テつ They're going to be calling the Wichita Eagle and telling them he wanted to play them.

Q.テつ What's your reaction as the coach when you hear that out of your leader?
COACH LANSING: You know me, I wish he wouldn't‑‑ all that's going to come out of that is the first part of that.テつ He also said how he thinks they're the best team in the country.テつ I do.テつ We all do.テつ There's not enough adjectives to describe what I think about Wichita and their team.
He's competitive.テつ And he did‑‑ the disappointing loss that we had, our whole community is building up for that one game, and we lose it.テつ You put all your guts into it, and you want to win that and contend for a championship and you lose it, that's only natural.テつ Anybody that plays this game goes, "I want to play them again when we get to St. Louis."テつ And we've done just enough to do that.
Be careful what you ask for, though.

Q.テつ Greg, same thing I asked Jake.テつ What's your confidence level?テつ I know you believe in your team, and I know you believe you'll compete really well tomorrow.テつ What's your confidence level that you can win the game?
COACH LANSING:テつ Staff is‑‑ my staff is the best staff in the country.テつ They're the ones that prepare those guys.テつ That's why we're so good defensively.テつ Got a group of guys that are going to fight like crazy, and I hope it's good enough.テつ We're going to give it everything we have, and if it's not good enough, they go into the tournament undefeated with a great chance to win the whole thing.テつ If it's good enough, we're going to get in there and do something too.
Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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