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ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT


March 16, 2014


Langston Galloway

Halil Kanacevic

Phil Martelli


BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

ST. JOSEPH¬íS ¬Ė 65
VCU - 61


HALIL KANACEVIC:  We could go back to the 40 right now if I've got to feel this way again.  Just happy for that, that's how I felt.
LANGSTON  GALLOWAY:  I mean, we talked about it yesterday; this is a championship game, and it didn't matter if we were tired, hurt, anything. We just wanted to go out there, play hard and leave it all out there and try to get this win.  It was a great, great feeling; so we could play this any time, anywhere, right now.
RON ROBERTS, JR.: :  I didn't really feel that fatigued, especially when we knew what we were playing for.  They played the same amount of games as we did, so that's not an excuse.  So we just wanted to go out there, play harder than them, have more energy, and it's a great feeling now and it's all worth it.

Q.  Halil, what did you say this time, because we know you're the guy that always motivates everybody, when things were getting a little tough and they were on a run and took the lead in the second half what did you say to pump everybody backup?
HALIL KANACEVIC:  Nothing.  I had a time where I was frustrated and my emotions almost got the best of me and these guys did a great job just keeping me in it.  So it's not always me.  We've got a very good group of personalities here and he does a great job managing those personalities.  I'm the one that's emotional, he's a little quiet, he's a little quiet, helps me a lot.  They are my sound board.  Sometimes I don't say the right things and they help me a lot, so give credit to all these guys.

Q.  Langston, a lot of big shots this weekend, is it possible for that last step back three to stick out and what was going through your minds at that time?
LANGSTON GALLOWAY:  I mean, Coach and this team, they put a lot of trust in me to take the big shot, and I just wanted to step up for my team.  I knew it was a critical time and I had the ball in my hand, so I just wanted to make a play, and the ball fell.  I didn't get close to pushing off so nobody would disagree with that.  Definitely a good way to knock down a shot for the team.

Q.  You talked yesterday about DeAndre', about obviously the defensive end, looked like a veteran and on the offensive end he looked like a freshman.  Today on the offensive end he looked like a veteran on that end, too.
COACH MARTELLI:  I really think that the play of the game for us that got us back, we were a little skittish, was his dunk.  I'm not sure that you're going to see a better dunk.
You could put a different jersey on a kid and say he's from a BCS conference or whatever you want, but that dunk ‑‑ and then the only thing that we want to work with him‑‑ and this is honest, is I don't‑‑ we don't need all those reactions.¬† In fact, we are going to have a coverings with Langston going into the NCAA Tournament.¬† You don't need all these gyrations, you know what I mean?¬† Like they all come up with these special gimmicks for making a 3‑point shot.¬† Make a 3‑point shot and get on to the next play; and DeAndre', the same about the dunk.
He was much better offensively.¬† He had eight assists, and against that pressure‑‑ and don't take anything‑‑ they changed the way they guarded us.¬† It was much tougher today than it was in Philadelphia when we played them.

Q.  You guys did a European trip, right?
COACH MARTELLI:  We did.

Q.  How much did that help make this come true?
COACH MARTELLI:¬† Well, here it is.¬† That's a Pope‑blessed rosary ring.¬† That's what worked‑‑ (laughter)‑‑ nope.
Here's what happened.  When we got together in June, there was something different about the group.  DeAndre' got to campus and it was just different.  There was a seriousness of purpose.
There was a‑‑ I'll bet that they dreamt about this day, that day, and when we went over there, the thing that was revealed to me was character, the character of the group.¬† We had two rules, you're not allowed to stay in your room, and number two, if you're out of your room, you have to be with somebody else on your team.
And my wife and I would kind of walk around and when it wasn't an organized part of the trip, and we would look up and three guys would be getting pizza together and you would think, those three guys don't seem to hang out; or another group over here taking pictures together; and there was no pain in the trip.¬† Because I'll be honest with you, I was waiting for the first one that complained about the food or the hotels are different; that breakfast is different.¬† They were so‑‑ they were so‑‑ and I say this in the kindest way, they were so childish on the trip and so appreciative of the trip, that I knew when I came back, you know what I just have to get this going in the right direction, come up with the basketball part, because the character of the team is clear.¬† It's a strong‑‑ it's a championship character.

Q.¬† Last year, you seemed occasionally frustrated with Halil; how do you feel about him this year?¬† Have you seen some growth?¬† Can you talk a little bit about‑‑
COACH MARTELLI:  I think he's a pain in the neck (laughter) I'm glad he's my pain.
No, what‑‑ two years ago, it was hard to get him just on basketball.¬† He had five or six technical fouls.¬† I haven't had, in my career, I haven't had players accumulate five.¬† He had five or six in one year, and it was all‑‑ it was all the noise that surrounded him.¬† And he reacted to that noise.
He told me in June that it would be different, and he has been different.  And really, he does as much coaching as I do with the group, and, you know, look, he graduated from college.  He won the Atlantic 10 Championship.  That's a pretty full plate.  Now he's going to the NCAA Tournament.

Q. Can you talk about how you guarded Weber who had been tearing up the conference and the tournament?
COACH MARTELLI:  Well, his speed is just phenomenal.  And look, you can do all the campaigning that you want; the national media has already decided that Aaron Craft is the best defender in the country.
Briante Weber is the best defender in the country.  The kid has 120 steals.  So they can give the award to whomever they wants but that kid's the best defender in the country and I was scared to death of his defense and his presence around the ball, and you're absolutely right.
Without Melvin Johnson, like we played and beat a wounded team, and Weber was the one coming in.¬† Graham is a magnificent player, an all‑league player, but Weber was taking the ball wherever he wanted this whole tournament and the games going into the tournament, and he was‑‑ we just tried to keep him in front of us as much as possible, and make him take some challenge shots.
We did a lot of switching on the perimeter, too, so that they couldn't turn the corner with‑‑ they had him greater‑‑ they had a bigger advantage in foot speed than we would have.

Q.  When you came in and gave your opening statement, you said you know this is a type five league and you would get six teams in. Last night, Mike Krzyzewski compared the A10 to the ACC and said that he didn't know if A10 teams could handle that schedule.  What did you see this week that reinforced your belief that this is a top five league?
COACH MARTELLI:  I'm not familiar with whom you're referring to (laughter) who is the guy?

Q.  Mike Krzyzewski from Duke.
COACH MARTELLI:¬† Oh.¬† (Laughter).¬† Look, I think that‑‑ here's what I say, and I said the same thing about Wichita State and I said the same thing about my team in 2003, 2004.¬† If we were playing their schedules, we would have different players, because we would have greater recruiting advantages.
Look, the decisions that are being made that are already been made at 6 o'clock tonight are numeric; who did you play, how did you do and where do your numbers lay out.  It will be a great celebration for the Atlantic 10 tonight with six.

Q.  When you play VCU, turnovers happen but it seems to be the ability to not allow those to steam role.  How did your team keep from having repeated turnovers?
COACH MARTELLI:  Well, to be honest with you, I think we dribbled the ball a lot.  We dribbled the ball probably too much at times, and we really didn't get the second pass involved.  And watching the tape, one of the things that they were doing a lot of is the pass from the wing to the top.  They were really denying and jumping that.
And today, their press caused us to have turnovers.  In Philadelphia, it was passing and catching.  We didn't do a good enough job passing and catching.  But I just think having really a fourth ball handler in Halil, allowed us to stem the tide.
I think we could have done even a better job with it, but certainly to come out of that game with 12 with a great atmosphere, I salute the VCU fans.¬† They were tremendous and they made it a pseudo‑ home game for them, and we reacted to that; I think with we got the eight‑point lead in the first half, we didn't handle it as well.

Q.  Did you know at halftime you're going to play all the starters for 20 minutes and did you think they could do it?
COACH MARTELLI:¬† Well, I thought that in the first half, to be honest with you, I have in my notes, and I could show you this, that I wanted to try to get short rest for everybody.¬† In the first half, the two guys that went in, it was a little bit too much for them, so we were just going to ride it out.¬† We didn't have foul trouble.¬† You know, like I said yesterday, you had those time‑outs that are so long.
What the players remarked was that they were playing for a championship; so I had to give them the best chance to win a championship.

Q.¬† Just for accuracy‑sake, so I get this wrong and my soul is in I am more toll petitioner I will, did you actually get an audience with his holiness?
COACH MARTELLI:¬† No‑‑

Q.¬† Bummer‑‑ Atlantic 10 championships?
COACH MARTELLI:  No, and I'm really disappointed because he's a Jesuit and he's a Jesuit school.  I just figured he would Tweet me and we would have a chance to meet.  (Laughter) but he didn't.
And ironically, ironically, while we were there, he met with the Argentine soccer team.¬† But I guess he didn't want to meet another balanced‑headed Italian American, I don't know.

Q.  Do you follow him?
COACH MARTELLI:  No.  I don't follow anybody.  I shut my Twitter down on December 8.  That was the day that the world ended in Philadelphia if you ask our fans.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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