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NCAA MEN'S 2ND & 3RD ROUNDS: SAN DIEGO


March 21, 2014


Markel Brown

Phil Forte

Marcus Smart


SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

Gonzaga テや 85
Oklahoma State テや 77


THE MODERATOR:テつ Opening statement from Coach Phil Forte.
COACH FORTE:テつ Congratulations Gonzaga, they played well.テつ They answered every run we made with big plays.テつ We threw a few punches second half and we said to our guys let's get aggressive, let's get after it, let's get aggressive and we didn't get off to the start we wanted, 9‑0 and played on our heels most of the first half and we came out the second half and got aggressive defensively and offensively and made a run, but give them credit they answered with big plays, really big plays.テつ Obviously we got in foul trouble which was‑‑ which hurt us, especially with LB not being in there and only playing 17 minutes.テつ That's not the greatest scenario for us.テつ But I thought our guys fought in the second half, they answered hard, us asking them to be aggressive.テつ Just wasn't our night.テつ Didn't make free throws, didn't make a few shots but give Gonzaga credit we battled.テつ Cut it to 3 and they make a 3 and they steal, make a layup.テつ They had answers for every run that we made so give them the credit.テつ They played well.

Q.テつ For Marcus and Markel, how difficult is this finish, obviously for what's been a challenging finish for this program.
MARCUS SMART:テつ It's very difficult.テつ This team has been through a lot this season, a lot of down's and a lot of up's and it's especially difficult for me, Markel, being a senior, words can't explain it right now.
MARKEL BROWN:テつ Like Marcus said, it's difficult that we fell short of our goals for this year.テつ Congratulations to Gonzaga, they played a hard‑fought game but it's difficult for us to go out like this.

Q.テつ Marcus, can you talk about the battle that it was out there, especially in the second half.テつ You guys really had to get after it and you in particular seemed to kind of want to lead the charge with your aggressiveness.
MARCUS SMART:テつ Like Coach said he asked us to get just a little more aggressive and that's what I tried to do.テつ I wasn't the tallest or the biggest guy out there but I tried to play like I was, not on the offensive end only but the defensive end, also.テつ Markel and Phil stepped up to the plate when we had to, especially with us being in foul trouble with Le'Bryan and Kamari Murphyand Mason Cox came in and gave us some big minutes.テつ We just fell short in the end.

Q.テつ How much trouble did their big man, Przemek Karnowski give you guys?テつ What challenges did he present in seemed like you didn't have an answer for that sort of size in the middle.
MARCUS SMART:テつ Like I said, that comes in the game with the foul trouble we had.テつ We tried to give him different looks but every time we gave him a different look we got a foul called on us and he did a great job of doing what he was supposed to go, being a big man, settling into the paint and doing what his team asked of him.

Q.テつ How much did the fouling and all the free throws change the course and tempo of this game?
MARCUS SMART:テつ It changed it a lot.テつ I mean, you know, I can't remember the foul count, how many free throws both teams shot but it was a good amount.テつ And it kind of slowed the game down, gave us a chance to get back in it, but just fell short like I said earlier.

Q.テつ Marcus does this at all change what I assume is your plan, to go pro after this season?
MARCUS SMART:テつ Not really, but that's not my focus right now, this team is my focus.テつ I'm still a part of this team right now.
This loss is painful for us, so, you know, like I said.テつ That's the least of my worries right now.テつ I'm worried about this team and my teammates and this great group of guys I got back in the locker room and these two right here.テつ I don't know.

Q.テつ For any of the players, Kevin Pangos has been bothered most of the season by turf toe and has struggled much of the second half of the season.テつ I just wondered if you guys saw any signs of that out there today and any thoughts on his game?
MARCUS SMART:テつ Na, just like every other athlete he played through it.テつ You couldn't tell.テつ If he had it, you couldn't tell and that's what a coach asks of a player, to be tough mentally and physical and play through things, and he showed that tonight.

Q.テつ Markel, you helped keep this thing together.テつ Obviously you went through a lot of challenges.テつ So was making the tournament, was that an accomplishment, an achievement in your eyes, being able to keep it together and make it to this to this point?
MARKEL BROWN:テつ In a sense you could say that, because only 64 teams make it to this point and to be considered one of those teams is always an accomplishment to be a part of this tournament.テつ We fell short of our goals, but it's always a positive when you get into the NCAA Tournament.

Q.テつ Marcus with the fouls you guys went offense/defense with you which kept you which obviously kept you in the game but you weren't on the floor for the defense.テつ Did you feel like it affected things or was it hard to sit on the bench at that point or did you feel like it was necessary?
MARCUS SMART:テつ I felt like it was necessary.テつ They were trying to keep me in the game and it was hard being on the bench not being able to help my teammates out there.テつ They were out there fighting and giving it all they had and I had to come out for a short span and then go back in and get it all, and then I had to come back out.
It was definitely difficult for me to sit there and watch that because knowing that when I had the three‑game suspension, it brought back memories.

Q.テつ Markel, you've had a very productive four years here, and now that it's over can you reflect back on your time at OSU?
MARKEL BROWN:テつ I've had a great time here at OSU.テつ I have had a chance to being under the best coaches in the America.テつ They made it worthwhile when I was there.テつ They progressed me every year I've been there, I've gotten better every year playing under Coach and it's been great.テつ I'm going to miss these guys, playing out there, wearing this Jersey, man, it's just‑‑ it's hard to go out like that.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, gentlemen.テつ We will continue with Coach Phil Forte.

Q.テつ Travis, I wonder if you could give a coach's eye view of what makes Gonzaga a tough match‑up.
COACH FORTE:テつ Well, as I said, they got great pieces.テつ You know, great guards, who‑‑ they got guards who pass the ball, they got guards who can score it, and then they got big men who can score.テつ They got a versatile 4 man, a 5‑man that obviously we had trouble with and were concerned about.
They just got really good pieces and they came off the bench with some depth.テつ I just‑‑ from a true point guard to wings that can score, they just have a lot of weapons, all five guys on the court, all five guys on the court can hurt you in different ways offensively.テつ Then they defended very well around the rim.テつ We just weren't aggressive in the first half for whatever reason and we responded in the second half getting to the rims and things we wanted to do but they just‑‑ they have a lot of weapons, a lot of weapons.

Q.テつ Travis, you've had a pretty wild season this year when you think back on all the things.テつ I'm sure you couldn't have anticipated all of the different stuff that was going to happen to you this year.
COACH FORTE:テつ No, it has been an interesting year.テつ You learn so much through it.テつ As I told our team, you know, hopefully a lot of the things we went through will help these guys individually, help them reflect back on some of the things we went through and how we handled some of it, because I thought we handled some of it really well.テつ We did handle it really well and hopefully it will help them down the road when they face adversity, in a year, two years, three years, talked to the guys about that.テつ Some of the things we could control and some of the things were out of our control.テつ But we were a feisty group.テつ We had some limitations as a team but we were a feisty group and I loved our aggressiveness and how we fought the second half.テつ We ran up against a team similar to us, that were playing the best basketball of the year, really good basketball.テつ Their strengths inside hurt us, Przemek Karnowski having a great game and Bell got 'em off to a good start, we couldn't sustain anything.テつ We were on our wheels for the whole first half.

Q.テつ Travis, the game that Marcus played today, it was brilliant at times and he struggled at times but he always played hard, was it quintessential Marcus Smart out there?
COACH FORTE:テつ Yeah, I told him in the locker room, his head was down, and I said "Did you play hard today?"
He said yes, and I said "You completed and played hard for every second."テつ May not have been our best, but our guys competed the second half, competed.テつ Obviously I was trying to get 'em going at the end of the first half, trying to get things‑‑ trying to get us a little fired up and I just thought the beginning I thought got us on our heels.テつ I thought our guys were a little shocked, so I was trying to get us fired up, trying to get us fired up at halftime and tried to get our guys goin'.テつ They came out and responded how we would have hoped.
They just‑‑ a lot of teams this year when we have come at 'em like that, have folded and we continued to convert.テつ Gonzaga hung in there, made big plays.テつ We did turn them over but unlike us we didn't convert for whatever reason.テつ Normally we convert.テつ And that's the difference between any wins or losses.テつ This time of year we didn't get to play to our strength and they did.
Foul trouble, we were a little concerned about that, we talked about that, but as we told our guys at halftime weapon can't worry about that, we have to play harder, have a chip on our shoulder and get after it.テつ We did that, but Gonzaga kept answering.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Any other questions for Coach Forte.
COACH FORTE:テつ Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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