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March 22, 2014
BUFFALO, NEW YORK
Dayton Â– 55
Syracuse - 53
THE MODERATOR:Â We're joined by Dayton head coach Archie Miller and student‑athletes Devin Oliver and Dyshawn Pierre.Â Coach, if you'd get us going with an opening statement, and we'll take questions for the student‑athletes after that.
COACH MILLER:Â First of all, just an unbelievable environment to be in.Â We're really proud of our guys in terms of their approach and coming in here.Â There's very few guys on our team that have NCAA Tournament experience, and we've played a couple teams here in the last couple of days that I would say is quite the opposite.
So really proud of the character.Â They really believe in one another.Â We're a tough group right now, and we just continue to improve.
A lot of it is the guy to the right of me.Â He's a senior.Â I know Vee and Matt aren't up here, but those three guys have done a tremendous job, not only improving as the year's gone on, but they've really been an unbelievable group of guys to coach.Â Credit to all our guys.
Obviously, Syracuse is a heck of a team.Â It was a great environment.Â We're fortunate.Â But just proud to be here, sitting here in the winning circle.
Q.Â Dyshawn, again, it comes down to your free throws.Â Any more pressure than last time?
DYSHAWN PIERRE:Â Not really.Â Just trying to make sure I came through for our team.Â I'm happy I was able to knock them down.
Q.Â Dealing with that zone defense, how did you cope with it throughout the game?Â How do you think your teammates coped with it?
DYSHAWN PIERRE:Â It was really tough.Â We realized they pressure the ball really well.Â They were able to jump out and contest our shooters.Â We were able to attack the zone by throwing it in the middle of the paint and just sharing the ball and making sure that we got open shots.
Q.Â Could you guys talk a little bit about how satisfying it was to come to Buffalo, really close to Syracuse, and get a win in Syracuse's own backyard.
DYSHAWN PIERRE:Â It feels good for sure.Â I mean, anyone getting into the Sweet 16 feels good.Â We really stuck together tonight.
DEVIN OLIVER:Â Just what Dyshawn said.Â It's an incredible feeling.Â It could have been a high school team.Â If we're going to the Sweet 16, nothing's better.
Q.Â Devin, there was a play at the end of the game where you attacked the rim, got blocked, hustled back on defense, and were able to help make a defensive play to throw it ahead.Â Can you just talk about the toughness that it took to pull this one out.
DEVIN OLIVER:Â Yeah, a lot of toughness.Â I know on that particular play I had to get back or Coach would have let me have it.Â I think that's one of the best things about this team.Â We're together.Â We're a very tough group, like Coach said.
When times get tight, you know, in that last four minutes, guys stick together, a player like Dyshawn makes some big free throws, and we just will ourselves to a win.
Q.Â Devin, when Jordan stepped out on the line, what was the first feeling that went in your head?
DEVIN OLIVER:Â Got to get a stop.Â You know, you can't go over to Jordan and get all over him.Â You know, it's a tough spot he was in.Â I think it maybe even could have been called a foul.
But you've got to pick him up and get that next stop.
Q.Â Dyshawn, if you can, if you can replay the last few seconds of the game.Â You missed the free throw.Â Please maybe explain what is going through your mind as the ball is going back up the court and you see the ball in the air.
DEVIN OLIVER:Â It was me.
Q.Â What's that?
DEVIN OLIVER:Â To miss the free throw.
Q.Â Oh, I'm sorry.
DEVIN OLIVER:Â It was me.
Q.Â Thanks for jumping in there.
DEVIN OLIVER:Â No doubt.Â I don't want Dyshawn to take the blame for that.
Q.Â Am I forgetting something here?
DEVIN OLIVER:Â I mean, what can you think?Â Like I said on Jordan's play, same thing.Â You got to get back and get a stop and just continue to play.Â At that point, you've got to let it go.Â It's over.
Q.Â What's going through your mind as the game is in the balance for the two seconds that the ball is in the air?
DEVIN OLIVER:Â Just hope we don't lose because then you kind of feel like it falls back on your shoulders.
But then again, that's the beautiful thing about this team, you've got guys like Dyshawn who have your back and who make those free throws after you miss them.
Q.Â A situation where you grabbed the early lead, kind of clinging to it, and they clawed back a little bit, but they never got that big run against you.Â You always held it really close.Â When you were getting the early lead, were you thinking this is going to hold up, really?
DEVIN OLIVER:Â Well, we know Syracuse is a good team, obviously.Â So we know we just had to keep it close all the way to that last four minutes.Â We knew they were going to make their run.
Basketball is a game of runs.Â They were basically in a home environment.Â So we just tried to maintain, remain consistent, and then push out a win at the end.
DYSHAWN PIERRE:Â We just tried to trust in each other and make sure that their run wasn't too big, make sure that we kind of attacked back when they were making their runs and make sure we're there at the end of the game.
I think we did that pretty well tonight.
Q.Â How good does this feel?Â You guys have knocked off two higher seeds now.Â Everyone is talking about this game.Â But just this feeling, what's this like?
DEVIN OLIVER:Â It's unexplainable, man, especially for me.Â I had a coaching change early on in my college career.Â Coach Miller came, and it's been a process.
Last year was a little bit more of a down year.Â To come back this year, my senior year, with this group of guys to be able to get to the Sweet 16, it's unexplainable.Â Just really happy for this group of guys.
DYSHAWN PIERRE:Â It's incredible.Â We really worked hard for this in the off‑season.Â We're happy we're able to make it this far, and hopefully, we can keep pushing.
THE MODERATOR:Â Devin, Dyshawn, thanks for your time.Â Congrats.Â Good luck.Â Take followup questions for Coach Miller.
Q.Â Thursday you said you thought Aaron Craft's shot was in.
COACH MILLER:Â It was definitely going in tonight.Â That thing was on line, and he went for the win.Â The thing that went through my head was the game at Pitt, when I saw that highlight on SportsCenter 7,000 times when he banged the three on Pitt.
Similar situation.Â You don't have any timeouts you're trying to get organized.Â We were going to foul on a made free throw by Pierre.Â Devin has missed so many in the last couple weeks.Â He just assumed you were talking about him.
It was Dyshawn.Â He made the first.Â It's a two‑point game.Â And on that miss, you got to get matched up.Â You would hope to be able to corral the ball and stop him a little bit earlier.Â On a make, we were going to foul on the dribble.Â Lo and behold, he missed.Â He's coming down.
We got stopped.Â It was stopped deep.Â I thought he was going to go to the basket.Â When I saw him raise up, I didn't feel good about it.
Buffalo has been good to us the last couple of days on the buzzer shots.
Q.Â Coach, is there anything specific you did against Jerami Grant?Â He didn't even attempt a shot really until end of the second half.Â It's one thing to miss shots, but he really couldn't even get any looks.
COACH MILLER:Â We were very concerned about him coming in.Â I think sometimes when you're able to put two on the ball, so to speak, and they can pick on you, they throw the ball back to him, and he has those lanes to drive.Â That's when he's really tough to deal with at the basket, on the drive.
We switched a lot.Â We tried to just keep a body in front of him, and then when he caught it, try to load the floor on him a little bit, try to play the drive the best we could.Â He wasn't on the glass as much as he's been maybe because we blocked out, maybe because he didn't go.
Nothing special other than just not trying to give him the lanes on the catch where he could put the ball on the floor.
It was also a physical game.Â There was a lot of plays in and around the basket that were challenged.Â It could have gone either way.Â A couple that went in, a couple that didn't.
Q.Â Coach, during the preparation, how much was poise and patience talked about with your players?
COACH MILLER:Â Well, we spent a lot of time in the last however many hours it was talking to our players about the feel of the game.Â You know, the feel of the game against Syracuse is a different feel.Â Nothing is normal.Â No rhythm shots, not the amount of reps that you've had in practice.Â Nothing feels the same.
So we spent a lot of time just talking to our guys about I'd rather have a shot clock violation than a turnover.Â We'd rather work the clock the best we could to see if we could get it to the paint as much as possible.
And patience was talked about.Â You're going to have to earn the right to score on them, and it's very difficult to do.
Q.Â Did it surprise you that Ennis didn't drive the ball those last two possessions for them?
COACH MILLER:Â Well, one breakdown on a switch where we conceded the layup, and then we did a great job on the second switch.Â Devin did a good job eliminating the driving lane, and I thought he challenged the 16‑foot pullup.Â Then we got the rebound.Â That was a big play.
Obviously, on the last one, he went for the win.
Q.Â How much are you flirting with disaster or feeling that way when you have a very narrow lead in the first, you had opportunities to extend, then you were up by seven, I think it was.Â And you have opportunities to extend the lead and maybe dictate a little bit, but the shots aren't going in, turnovers, all that stuff.Â What's that?
COACH MILLER:Â I mean, you're playing against a great team.Â I mean, you're playing against one of the best teams in the country, and to play them in Buffalo, to expect to push ahead, so to speak, it's not really going through your head.
Battling every possession defensively, watching our kids compete, giving ourselves a chance to be there, be there, be there.Â At the end of the game, we wanted to be right where we were, which was we had a chance to win the game.
If you'd have told me at the end of the game, you'd have a one‑point lead with a minute or whatever, you're taking it.Â You're just going to take that.
Fortunately tonight, they didn't hit some shots that they probably normally hit.Â The defense was great, but you also could play them ten times, and I don't think that some of those shots would be missed.
So a little bit of luck is on your head.Â And you need that, I think, obviously, in this tournament.Â You've got to be fortunate.
Q.Â Coach, Allen Griffin played at Syracuse‑‑
COACH MILLER:Â He's trouble.
Q.Â I noticed your assistants were crouching on their hands and knees pretty much all of them on defense, on defense, on offense.Â What was his input as far as prepping?
COACH MILLER:Â Allen does a great job, as do all of our coaches.Â They do a great job.Â That's why we've had a good season.Â You have to have good people around your kids.Â And Allen playing there, maybe they make a big deal about it, but you're playing against their players.Â They've got really good players.
Allen knows a couple of tendencies just like some other guys would know, but from a scouting perspective, we took it all on, just like we did against Ohio State.Â It's a team approach.
We have a great staff.Â It's one of the reasons we were able to endure a bad January is because we had good people around our kids.
Q.Â Coach, people here in Buffalo, they know all about Syracuse's success, the brand names, Ohio State, Syracuse, definitely well‑known.Â But maybe to the casual fan that was taking it in this weekend, what does this mean for your program?Â You proved it on the floor, obviously, but Dayton basketball going forward, to beat Ohio State, Syracuse.Â Just kind of what does that mean to you guys?
COACH MILLER:Â Credibility.Â You know, I think the big thing is credibility and what we do works.Â We didn't walk into a place and have just a stockpile of young kids in our program.Â We inherited eight scholarship players, four of which were seniors.Â The first thing you think about is how much turnover is going to go on.
And as you approach year two and three, how young can you be?
But I think at the end of the day, it was we never deviated from developing the guys we had.Â We never deviated from the plan of bringing guys in to fit the style of play.Â And we never deviated from evolving and getting better each day and sticking with the plan 365 days a year.
That's what's gotten us to this point.Â It wasn't just this team.Â It was the whole starting point and sticking with it.
So what we do have now is credibility.Â Now we have to sustain that over the course of forever.Â That's what the talk was when we got here.Â We have a good program with great tradition.Â Now we have the ability to build, and I think that's what it's all about.
Q.Â Coach, you just said great tradition.Â First Sweet 16 since 1984.Â You were 5, if I did the math right.Â What does that mean?Â Great basketball city for the NCAA Tournament.
COACH MILLER:Â I'm just happy.Â I'm happy for the institution.Â I'm happy for our fans.Â When I say great tradition, there's a lot of people that have been going to our arena 20, 30, 40 years who have seen great moments.
We've had good teams, and there's been great players that have come through, but we haven't been able to break through consistently in a long time.
I'm just happy for our administration.Â I'm happy for our city.Â I'm happy for our fans.Â I'm happy for our players.Â This is where they deserve to be.Â There isn't a better place to play basketball than the University of Dayton.Â There's a lot of great places, but if you're a player at our place, you experience the same stuff that you can experience at a Syracuse in terms of the way they're cared about and treated.
I'm just happy for everyone involved in and around our program.
Q.Â So we talked about what this means for the institution and all that.Â What does it mean for you?Â There are thousands of coaches who will never even get to this position.Â What does it mean just personally for you, where you are right now?
COACH MILLER:Â You've got to have a little humility.Â I've come up in a basketball family.Â I think everybody knows that.Â But I've been very fortunate to be around some great coaches.
Started off in college, and somebody gives you a chance.Â Then you're around good people, and they help develop you to be ready, hopefully.
I'm grateful, and I'm thankful.Â Now that I'm here, I don't think anything further than tomorrow.Â That's not how I'm wired.Â It's about tomorrow, and we'll figure a way out.Â Kind of move towards Memphis.
THE MODERATOR:Â Coach, congrats.Â Good luck.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports