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March 20, 2014

Archie Miller

Dyshawn Pierre

Vee Sanford


Dayton – 60
Ohio State - 59

THE MODERATOR:  Coach, an opening statement.
COACH MILLER:  Obviously, an incredible finish, but we're really proud of how our guys prepared and approached to battle against what we consider an elite team.
I thought both teams played pretty hard.  It was back and forth.  But at the end of the day, you know, in this tournament, like everybody knows, a few plays here and there have to go your way.
Dyshawn's three free throws in a row, and then, obviously, Vee's shot off the glass.  It could go either way, 50‑50, but they made them today.  It's a big reason why we won the game.
THE MODERATOR:  Thanks, Coach.  We'll take questions just for our student‑athletes at this time.

Q.  Probably during the regular season, your free‑throw percentage wasn't what you wanted it to be, but today you were perfect from the line.  What was going through your mind when you hit those threes?
DYSHAWN PIERRE:  I was trying to stay calm, stay focused, and I knew we had to make those free throws for the team.  Luckily, I did.

Q.  Just a quick followup.  How eagerly are you watching this game knowing that you could potentially go up against Tyler Ennis?
DYSHAWN PIERRE:  I'm not really thinking about that right now.  Right now it's about the team.  We just want to advance.

Q.  Were you nervous?
VEE SANFORD:  No, I wasn't nervous.  I just thank God and thank Coach for trusting me.  We've probably drawn up a play like that and I messed it up previously, but he just kept his trust in me, and I'm just thankful that the shot went in.

Q.  And just as a followup, what did that shot mean to you knowing you transferred here to Dayton and to seal this win, this back‑and‑forth win against Ohio State?
VEE SANFORD:  It goes above me, us as a family and as a team, it's all about how hard we worked and how we've bounced back through our hard times.  So it goes on above me.

Q.  Vee, during the timeout with ten seconds left, they design a play to get you the ball.  What did Coach say?  Can you take us through that?
VEE SANFORD:  Mainly, he wanted me to go right and kind of just open up the floor.  He knows that's my strength.  If I had opportunity to get to the basket, you know, I have a high percentage of hitting the shot.
So it was a well drawn up play, and I'm just thankful that I was able to execute it.

Q.  To either of you guys, there's been some talk coming in that maybe the Atlantic 10 wasn't getting as much respect as you deserved.  Do you feel like with tonight's win you guys have vindicated that talk and vindicated you guys being here?
DYSHAWN PIERRE:  We kind of try to cancel out all the noise and kind of focus on this game.  With this win, we're happy with it, but now we've just got to keep focusing on moving forward, next game mentality.
We're happy that we got the win.

Q.  Guys, can you take us through what you guys were thinking at the time Ohio State made that big run in the second half.
VEE SANFORD:  We were just trying to stay positive.  Our main thing is they're a really good team.  Good teams are going to go on runs.  The main thing is just to hold our composure and be able to handle it.  So I felt like we did that pretty well.
DYSHAWN PIERRE:  Can you repeat the question, please?

Q.  Just wondering what was going through your mind during the 10‑0 run that Ohio State had during the second half?
DYSHAWN PIERRE:  Just staying with our team game plan, just staying together.  At the end of the day, we knew that, if we stayed together, that we'd be there at the end of the game.  Luckily, with Vee's tough shot, we were able to pull it out.

Q.  Vee, there was talk about little brother versus big brother.  Maybe you guys get bragging rights, right?
VEE SANFORD:  We didn't look at it like that.  It was just another game to us.

Q.  Really?
VEE SANFORD:  Honestly, it was.  Coming into the game, we wasn't thinking about who they were.  It was just, you know, it was a game.  It was five‑on‑five.  It didn't matter who it was.  We just wanted to advance.
So that stuff was irrelevant, and we put that out the door.

Q.  Vee, can you talk about how you handled their defensive pressure and how you think that went and the challenge that was.
VEE SANFORD:  They're really good defenders, and I felt like the main thing we just stuck with is just being tough.  We knew Craft and Scott are really good defenders on the ball, and they swipe down.
So we knew they were going to get some calls, but we just wanted to stay tough and keep playing through.

Q.  Dyshawn, they played Oh, Canada before the game.  Did it kind of strike you off guard?
DYSHAWN PIERRE:  No, not really.  I saw the flag and heard the anthem start playing.  It was pretty cool, but didn't really take it anywhere really.
THE MODERATOR:  Guys, congrats.
I'll take questions for Coach Miller at this time.

Q.  Coach, against Saint Joe's, kind of deja vu.  You didn't like the play call you had at the end of the game.  This time it happened again, ten seconds, this is it.  Did you feel confident in giving Vee the ball at the end and just a complete play?
COACH MILLER:  Yeah, you know, the Saint Joe's game, I've been thinking about that all the way through.  I didn't put those guys in a situation where we were going to be able to get a good shot.  We took out all the confusion this time.
He was able to get the ball up at the top.  Once we got it up at the top, we spaced and just kind of ran up and got out of the way just to see if we could create any kind of confusion up on the top.
I think Aaron may have took his head off the ball for just a quick second, and Vee, if he can get on the side of you, can get to the rim.  If he'd have made it, missed it, the guys did a good job.  But I just wanted to make sure we got a shot at the basket.

Q.  Archie, just the significance of this victory for your team, for yourself to beat Thad Matta, your mentor.  I don't want to say does it sink in, but can you put it into perspective at this point?
COACH MILLER:  I mean, a lot of people are going to make a big case about it being Thad or it being Ohio State, but you advance in the NCAA Tournament, that's hard.  That's really hard.  It's hard to get here, and it's hard to advance.  So it's always a good thing.
But I don't think we came here like it was a circus act.  I don't think we came here trying to hopefully hang in there and go home, and, Boy, it was a great run.
Our guys have been very consistent.  We've talked to them the same way for about two straight months.  We didn't get real complicated.  It wasn't about Ohio State or where they're from or blah, blah, blah.  It wasn't.  It was about us.
I thought our guys approached it.  They did the same thing we've been doing, and we gave ourselves a chance to win the game.

Q.  Archie, any thoughts register as Aaron goes down for that last shot?
COACH MILLER:  I thought it was going in.  I thought it was going in.  I've seen those a bunch since I've been at Dayton, but more importantly, I've watched Ohio State, in particular.  I've watched those guys win that game a thousand times.
He's a bulldozer with the ball.  He got it down there in about three dribbles, and he got a good look.  It just ended up rimming out, and we got lucky.

Q.  Archie, after that game, you stated your case why you guys should be here.  The Atlantic 10 got six bids.  Do you feel like with this win you've sort of shown why that happened?
COACH MILLER:  A‑10 is great.  Coaches are great.  I've said it a couple days ago, there's great players in our league.  The seniors in that league have been through it.
The fact we got six bids, we earned all six.  Now if we'd have lost today and someone says they shouldn't have gotten in?  Probably.  It's all irrelevant.  We are in.  We earned the right to be in.  The other teams in the A‑10 not only earned the right to get in, I thought they were seeded pretty good.  I wouldn't expect anything less of our league to keep advancing.

Q.  Coach, Kendall Pollard, probably one of the unsung heroes of this game.  What did you see from him to get his minutes increased?
COACH MILLER:  I didn't think D. Mo had a good stretch.  He had a four‑ or five‑minute stretch where he didn't play real well.  To let him go out there and keep doing it, we didn't like that.  So we gave Kendall a chance and wanted to give D. Mo a blow.  He did a great job while he was in there.
While that happened, Ohio State went small.  When they need something to click, they go Loving or Ross in together with your five, and next thing you know, you're in a tough spot, either getting back or in the half‑court.
Kendall's role this season has grown.  I have confidence in him.  He's a good player.  He's going to be even better.  But we were able to play small the rest of the way as well, which we haven't done all season.  I thought that's a great thing for a freshman to be in there in those moments.

Q.  Coach, you had the same exact number of rebounds, same exact number of assists, same exact number of steals.  What was the difference in this game that allowed you to win?
COACH MILLER:  I would say we were able to win the game just based on how the flow was going.  We capitalized off turnovers.  I thought we had ten steals in the game.  I thought we got some transition baskets, some run‑outs.  We were able to play.
I also thought that we probably had about a three‑ or four‑possession stretch where we had numbers in transition where we shot ourselves in the foot or the game could have went even a little bit more extended.
I mean, we had four straight turnovers in one run when we had numbers.  That wasn't good.  It kind of really took the game air, the confidence out of our team for a minute.  Our defense gave us a chance to win as well.
Looking at the percentages, just in general, I thought our defense gave us a chance because they're such a great offensive team‑‑ I mean, defensive team.

Q.  Sam Thompson scored 8 out of the 10 in that 10‑0 run.  What was the adjustment after that, because he only scored one more basket?
COACH MILLER:  He got a couple of sets out of a timeout.  They run a ton of lobs.  You've got to be ready to go.  I thought he did a tremendous job on the offensive glass where we made an end block out.  Then early in the game, he banged two threes, which from our standpoint, we didn't want to give him the three, but obviously we were trying to protect the dribble drive.
He's a really talented guy.  He was bouncy around the basket.  He got a couple there.  You know, I think some loose ball plays, nothing that was really designed.
So once the game got under control, we started to block out a little better.  We were trying to keep awareness as everything went on, just the lobs and the things that we run for him, to stay below him.

Q.  How do you feel you handled their perimeter pressure defense?

Q.  And what was the key to doing that?
COACH MILLER:  I thought we handled it great.  I watched so many games where they dismantle you off a dead ball free‑throw, and they make a lot of plays when they go small.
We were composed.  For the most part, our turnovers were self‑inflicted.  I didn't think very often they created the turnover.  Maybe one.  Craft made a heck of a play on the underneath out‑of‑bounds steal.
I thought our press offense was organized.  I thought we did a good job there.  Then I thought in the half‑court we were able to move the ball and get it to where we wanted to get it.
The thing you've got to do that's amazing is on penetration and post‑ups and offensive rebounds, how many hands they get on the ball.  It's just the amount of deflections that they get in the paint is just crazy.  It's an unorthodox feeling usually as a player when you have a hard time picking it up and getting it up.
I was worried about Vee on the last play, Craft knocking it off him or getting a hand on it.
They're really good on defense.  Their perimeter quickness is tough.  Off the ball, they do a great job.  But I thought our guys were strong with it and able to handle it.

Q.  Then as a follow‑up, did you have a number in mind, you know, turnovers, if we keep it to this, we're in decent shape?
COACH MILLER:  If I told them we wanted to play with 12, we'd play with 24 or something like that.  Keep it simple.

Q.  Coach, Vee was 3 of 10 going into that final possession.  What gave you the confidence to call his number?
COACH MILLER:  He's the guy that can get the shot.  He's the guy that can get the shot up.  He's been in that situation a lot for us.  Most people have watched us play have seen him come down that right lane line probably 20 times this season and banked that banker right off the glass.
I was worried about him getting bottled up.  We wanted to get him a lane where maybe he could get it downhill.  I thought Devin did a great job coming up and slipping.  Vee was able with the first step to get the first dribble by him.  That was a big key in the other play.
Vee made that shot a lot.  He's terrific inside of 15, 16 feet making those type of shots.  We have a lot of confidence in him.  He's the one guy we can call his number, and he can get one.

Q.  Were you expecting maybe a collapse and a kick?
COACH MILLER:  No.  They want to stay home on the three‑point shooters, and we spread the floor very open.  They'll take their chances with the Big Ten Player of the Year on defense with ten seconds to go and let him see if he can't win the game.

Q.  How uneasy of a feeling is it during that 10‑0 run when for five minutes you can't get a basket?
COACH MILLER:  Well, you know, it's uneasy.  It's uneasy during any game when momentum shifts.  This team is oblivious to it.  We've been through it a lot.  We've come back a lot.  We've done a lot of things in big moments this season.  We have a lot of guys that have been out there.
So I think over the course of the season every team gets used to it.  The thing we talked about a lot during the run was we were creating a lot of our own problems.  Turning the ball over on a break with a two‑on‑one, a one‑hand bounce pass through the lane to get stolen, underneath out of bounds.  Didn't properly execute.
There's simple things there where if you just do them right, they don't create some of that.  They do a good job of obviously making things happen there, too.  You're going to have some turnovers.  But for the most part, we hung in there pretty tough.

Q.  Given the familiarity between the two programs or people in the programs, is there room for sympathy with Ohio State coming here with the expectations they've had in their program?
COACH MILLER:  I would just say the familiarity with the two programs is probably Coach Matta, his staff, and myself, more so than anything.

Q.  How do you feel‑‑
COACH MILLER:  Our players don't know Ohio State's players.  Maybe Jordan, but there was no sympathy in our locker room for winning the game.
For me, it's tough.  You line up against somebody who gave you a lot.  He thinks a lot of you.  He helped us just as much as anyone.  He's pulling for us at the end of the season.  And then you play him.
But at the end of the day, it is what it is.  If he would have won, obviously, he's going to say it's tough.  But the name of the game right now is advancing.  This is the biggest stage you can be on.  This is where our program is supposed to be.  And we've gotten here, and we want to stay.

Q.  Coach, your first NCAA win.  Are you going to sleep easier tonight?
COACH MILLER:  Probably not.  I'm assuming we're going to have another one that's going to be very, very similar in a couple of days.  So we're going to prepare.
I want our guys to go enjoy it.  This is the greatest thing in the world when you win the 12:00 noon game because you've got a lot of ball, and you can sit and watch the replay a lot.
THE MODERATOR:  Coach, thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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