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April 3, 2014

Larry Brown

Nick Russell

Shawn Williams


SMU - 63

COACH BROWN:   Got to give a lot of credit to Richard and his team.  They were really well prepared.  Got down seven and I thought he got their kids to dig in a little bit.
We didn't handle prosperity very well.  Had some terrible turnovers in the guts of the game, and I think it turned the game around.  But I'm proud of my team.  Obviously both teams were kind of disappointed we weren't able to play in the NCAA, and I think all the teams that were here showed a lot of character picking themselves up and making a run.
Feel bad for my seniors, because I inherited them and I feel real fortunate that Matt gave me the opportunity to coach them.  I don't feel good about them bowing out this way, but they are going to have an imprint on our program for a long time in a very positive way, and I know I've benefitted by being around them.  I'm confident every kid on our kid would feel the same‑‑ would echo the same things I just said.

Q.  Can you talk about the foul shots, and were you going to try to miss on the second one?  Was that the plan?
NICK RUSSELL:  That was the plan, to make the first and miss the second, but it was totally backwards.

Q.  Can you talk about your last game and after you fouled out, what did you think you did well and what did the team do well here at the end?
SHAWN WILLIAMS:  I think both teams played hard down the stretch.  We kind of turned the ball over and made some mistakes we can't make in order to win the game, but they did a good job.  I'm just fortunate to be able to play with a great group of guys and be coached by one of the best and a great coaching staff.
You know, my college career has been a lot of ups and downs, but this has by far been the best year of my career.

Q.  Can you talk about the play, five seconds left, you got fouled, can you talk about what the design on that play was and whether you were looking to shoot or get the ball out of your hands?
NICK RUSSELL:  Originally, me or Nic did a catch, and it was supposed to be a high ball screen.  After that, it's just a shot but it never got that far.  To be honest, I had no idea that they were going to foul at all.  I didn't know if they would foul me.  But they did.  But originally, I was going to catch it, a high ball screen.

Q.  Can you talk about the season in full and maybe what the rest of the guys can take by going so far in the tournament?
SHAWN WILLIAMS:  I mean, for the young guys, really, it's a good function for them.  They know what it takes to win games.  It's unfortunate that we didn't make the tournament, but we still had a great season overall.
I know there were some games we lost in the regular season that we wish we could have won but we know why we lost those games and, you know, next year, they won't do the things that we did this year so they can win those games.  But when you have a coach like Coach Brown, a lot of things will happen, a lot of good things will happen and I'm sure next year they will be okay.
NICK RUSSELL:  Looking back on the season, I think we won some big games and we lost some big games, so hopefully they can understand what it takes to make it to the NCAA Tournament, and every night, no matter who you are playing against, you've got to bring it.  And I hope this loss, the feeling that we all feel right now, I hope it fuels them for next year to come back in the summer and work hard and for it to push them.

Q.  For either one of the players, a year ago, you guys were two games under .500, you knew you would be better with a lot of talent coming in this year and obviously this isn't the way you wanted it to end but did this team exceed your expectations, having 27 wins and coming within five seconds of winning the tournament?
NICK RUSSELL:  You know, last year was kind of a down year but this year, we had a pretty good year looking back on it.
SHAWN WILLIAMS:  Coming into the season, I never would have expected the home‑court advantage to be what it was and for that to happen, so that was a good feeling.  In that aspect it exceeded my expectations but I feel like this was a talented team and some great guys and I wish we could have won this and also get into the tournament.

Q.  One basket I think in the final 1:41 of the game; is that a result of their pressure or you guys a little out of sync?
COACH BROWN:  I think we got to the foul line a number of times there.  We hit a three; all the rest of the time we got fouled.  Our problem was they got 21 points off of turnovers.  I thought we did a pretty good job in the half-court defending, but the game, we're up seven, and we have three‑on‑two fastbreak, charge twice, and then we have a backdoor layup for a dunk and turn it over and they converted.  You've got to give them credit.  And then Hollins makes an NBA three.
But you know, when you lose a game like this, one team executes late, and another team maybe comes up a little short, I think that's basically it.  But you give up 21 points on turnovers, generally a turnover results in a pretty easy basket.  It happened in the first half.  You know, they were struggling to score, got some layups and then it happened at the most critical time.

Q.  You kind of did it in your open, but can you retrospect, 27 wins with this kind of team coming off last year, still a relatively successful season.
COACH BROWN:  You know, I echo what Shawn said.  Our expectations are a little different.  I know everybody at SMU is real excited, and I think from a personal standpoint, I love these kids.  I mean, these two guys; what Matt Doherty left me is unbelievable.  Cannen Cunningham was as sick as a dog tonight, tried to play; Ryan, unbelievable kid.  I inherited those kids.  I'm not feeling real good.  We were ten‑for‑17 from the free throw line.  That ain't going to get it done in a two‑point game.  We have critical turnovers.
So I'm not looking at 27 wins.  I'm just looking at two seniors that I was hopeful that we could send them on their way with a championship.  Because Richard Pitino got to be thrilled, this is a major tournament, the way it's run now.  I'm so thankful the NCAA has done it this way, allowing teams that win their conference, if they lose in the playoffs, to come and then really pick some quality at‑large teams.  So I'm proud for him.  I admire what he's done.  But I'm not real happy right now.

Q.  You mentioned some turnovers you would like to have back.  Did Minnesota apply the same kind of defensive pressure that has father's team at Louisville ran at you?
COACH BROWN:  We had three‑on‑two break (laughing).  We had two charges on the three‑on‑two break, and we dropped the back door layup, three in a row.  That's not defensive pressure.  We broke the pressure.  We got two dunks, same play.  Begged them to stop at the free throw line, but try to win the game, and I admire that.
But he doesn't‑‑ obviously your name is Pitino, you're going to be a great coach and you're going to have a passion and this kid has done a phenomenal job.  But that's Minnesota.  Rick was at practice, I'm sure he told themways to beat us because they beat us twice.  But at the end of the day, we determined the outcome of that game.  We missed free throws, we turned the ball over, and I didn't see the press affecting our turnovers.  We just made someplays that we, unfortunately, we didn't handle very well. 

Q.  Along those lines, is that something about‑‑ will something like that improve having gone through this?
COACH BROWN:  Well, you saw us play last year, right?  We didn't have a point guard last year.  But what does that tell you right now?  The plays that we made‑‑ it's a young kid trying to do the right thing and just didn't get it done.  But coaching, here is the deal; we didn't get in the NCAA.  We picked ourselves up and we competed at the highest level against quality teams and gave ourselves a chance to win.  I don't have one guy in that locker room that wasn't trying to win the game.  And if I do my job, I've got to correct the things that went wrong, try to make kids better.  That's what coaches do.
But I don't buy this thing, you learn from losses.  I'm just thankful, again, for the Garden, for the NCAA, for the NIT, for giving my kids a chance to participate in this and see all these fans from SMU.  People are not in Dallas; so you don't realize where this program was and how appreciative we are of the people that have come and supported us.  I just want to make them proud of us.  That's the end result, but congratulations to Richard. 

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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