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AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT


March 13, 2014


Larry Brown

Marcus Kennedy

Nick Russell


MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

Houston: 68
SMU: 64


THE MODERATOR:  We have Coach Larry Brown, student athletes, Markus Kennedy and Nick Russell, Coach, your comments?
COACH BROWN:  We got outplayed.  You know, when you go 4 for 19 the second half and we missed a bunch of free throws late, I don't think you're going to win many games.
You gotta give them credit.  We had pretty good control of the first half.  We talked about winning the first five minutes, and I just thought they punched us in the mouth and we just didn't respond very well.
Their guard, L.J. Rose, controlled the game, played great.  TaShawn Thomas when the game was on the line, played great.  You gotta give them credit.  They made the plays that were necessary.  They made the shots when it counted and I think they had the confidence that they could beat us.  We have had a lot of games like this, where we have had some adversity happen and we haven't handled it very well, and this was a typical one of those performances.

Q.  Coach, how much did lack of experience, playing this late into the season with these expectations of being a ranked team, did that play any factor in the game?
COACH BROWN:¬† I don't think so.¬† I think it is true we haven't been in big games.¬† It's obvious we have had a hard time handling games when we have gotten behind or had some difficulty, but we had great shots.¬† Marcus hits a 3 at the end of the game but other than that we're 4 for 19 and I don't think one of those shots was guarded.¬† TaShawn Thomas makes a great block at the end, we're 14 for 15 from the free‑throw line.¬† Game is on the line and we're missing free throws.¬† The biggest thing is their "will" was greater than ours.¬† I don't think it's about experience or anything.
This is part of our building process.  We have to develop a trust factor in one another and I don't think we've gotten there yet.

Q.  Markus, how is the ankle?  You did tweak it during the second half, did it feel any better as the game progressed?
MARKUS KENNEDY:¬† It still hurt, but there is no excuse for playing and losing the game.¬† I asked to come back in the game and I was ready.¬† This is a mind‑set.¬† My ankle hurts but it wasn't enough to keep me out of the game and I asked to come back in and I came back in and I felt I was ready to play.

Q.  Coach, three straight losses, not exactly how you want to finish the regular season.  Can you talk about how you go into the NCAA Tournament?
COACH BROWN:  I'm not thinking about that.  I'm just disappointed because the same stuff happens over and over again.  Things don't always go right, you know, and it's how you handle situations, that's what I'm concerned about.
We lost to two great teams at the end of the season.  I don't think anybody is going to look at a Louisville or a Memphis loss and be worried, but I kinda had it in my gut what was going to happen today.  Houston, I thought, felt they could win.  I was thrilled the way we finished the half.  Kinda felt, you know, maybe we started to understand that every possession matters and every possession defensively is important.  But, again, we didn't handle it but we got four days, five days to work on things and get better, and I'm confident we will be ready when we have an opportunity to play again.

Q.  Nick, when you guys got up 10 in the second half, were you feeling confident that things were going to go your way?
NICK RUSSELL:  I knew they wasn't going to give up and we was going to start the battle for the second half, 20 minutes.  We said that we had to come out and win the first five minutes but they came out stronger than us.
THE MODERATOR:  Gentlemen, thank you for your time.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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