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March 22, 2015

Dana Altman

Dwayne Benjamin

Joseph Young



THE MODERATOR: The Oregon Ducks are with us now. Dwayne Benjamin, Joseph Young represent the student-athletes. Dana Altman, the head coach, is in the middle. We will ask for a statement.

COACH ALTMAN: Well, it hurts. The guys found a way to stay in the ball game, 52-52 there, we had an opportunity, but Wisconsin is a good team, obviously. We couldn't get 'em to turn it over against our press. They only had six turnovers for the game. We were only able to get 7 points off those turnovers, and I thought that was a big key. We expended a lot of energy trying to get 'em out of their rhythm and trying to get a few turnovers, but their experience and their guards handled it very well. We weren't able to get 'em to turn the ball over. They got their rhythm there at 52-52 and made some plays. I really liked our effort, I thought our guys fought. We did outrebound them, which gives me an indication that we played awfully hard and were aggressive. We just didn't finish a few plays that we had to make down the stretch both offensively and defensively.

Q. This is to the players. Obviously you never led in that game. When you're playing from behind against a team like Wisconsin, how much of a toll does that eventually take on you?
DWAYNE BENJAMIN: I mean, just like Coach said, they don't really turn the ball over, and we try to press 'em really bad. It wasn't workin'. They handled it very well, so when you playin' from behind, you want to get turnovers and speed 'em up and we just couldn't get over the hump and get them to turn it over and us get points off of it. We couldn't get a run.

JOSEPH YOUNG: Like Coach said, we didn't turn 'em over that much, and it's a pretty good team, team that really value the ball and gets extra shots. I feel like they got a lot of second-shot opportunities, which Coach harped on before the game that we should've got, but, hey, they wanted the game more. I thought the guys really competed. We're a young group, a lot of adversity from the beginning of the year, but they really fought, and I'm really proud of these guys. Even though we was down, we came within 1, still was in the ball game, but we just didn't make the plays. But really commend Coach for really just keeping us composed in the game and telling us there is a lot of time left, and when we cut it down to 1, we should have just made plays, and we can't do nothing about it now.

Q. Joe, you scored 30 points, but you're just a little bit slow getting out of the gate tonight. How big of an issue do you think that was just in the way the game played out, that you guys were down 11 at one point in the first half?
JOSEPH YOUNG: Well, it's not about me scoring all the time, you know? I'm starting at the point guard, I got to distribute the ball. I gotta make sure my teammates are satisfied. I can't just come out and shoot the ball every time, and I wanted to distribute, and I took the shots I had and they wasn't going in, so I just wanted to make plays. And then once we got goin', started making plays and started shooting it, it started going in a little bit, but like I said, these guys did a good job and really commend them for their effort this whole year, from the off-season to now, and I hope they learned a lot.

Q. Dana, with as experienced as Wisconsin is, did you go into this one thinking you could speed them up, and I guess what did you see them do to kind of counter that?
COACH ALTMAN: Well, with their low turnover ratio, we just wanted to take 'em out of their rhythm. I was hoping to get a few more turnovers than what we did, but we really just wanted to take them out of their rhythm. They're a very good team when they get a flow going and they move the ball from side to side and kinda get their rhythm, so we wanted to take that away. I thought our press helped us do that. Again, we didn't get the turnovers that we had hoped, but it did take them, I think, a little bit out of their rhythm.

Q. The job you guys did on Frank Kaminsky tonight, it looked like he was quiet for long stretches, but I know he was a difference maker maybe in the end. How do you feel like you guys handled him?
COACH ALTMAN: I thought our guys really slid their feet, did a pretty good job of taking away easy baskets from him. You know, the last rebound put-back there was kind of a dagger, but I thought our guys did a good job. You know, 6 for 13 from the field, 16 points is -- if you can hold him down, I mean, until they shot the free-throws late, I thought our defensive effort was pretty good. I'm not sure how many free-throws they hit down the stretch, but it was a 63-50-something ball game, 57 maybe, when we had the problems at the free-throw line, which really hurt.

Q. Coach, now that his career is over, can you talk about what Joe has meant to this program the last couple of years?
COACH ALTMAN: He's meant a tremendous amount. You know, the amount of pressure we put on him this year to perform game in, game out, you know, we -- he shouldered a lot of responsibility. He and Elgin were a 1-2 punch for us down the stretch. Dwayne and Jalil, Dillon all stepped up at times, but Joe had the ball in his hands a lot, and we put a tremendous amount of pressure on him to make plays and bring it every game, and he did a great job. He did a great job. Player of the Year in our league, and he was definitely someone that, you know, through a rough patch there we got beat on the road, Washington, Washington State, didn't play very well, 2 and 3 in the league, and we really called on the seniors, Joe in particular, Elgin, the experienced, to keep the team together and go, and they did a great job. His leadership kept those freshmen going and kept our team going. He did a great job; Jalil helped, Elgin helped. Those three returners did a great job for us.

Q. Dwayne, when you hit the three that tied the game up, what's going through your mind and what kind of sense did you get from your teammates at that point?
DWAYNE BENJAMIN: I just tried to make a play. I haven't been shooting the ball well and then Coach Altman called the play for me, and I just really tried to make a play for my team and just tried to keep us in the game as much as I could do to help.

Q. Joe, can you talk about what the last two years have meant for you being at Oregon and being a Duck and everything that you've been able to accomplish?
JOSEPH YOUNG: Man, Coach, this team, the community, the alumni, the boosters, the fans, it's truly an honor from a transfer, just coming from out of nowhere, to really accept me and to really come in and be a big part of the program. And really trusted me in a lot of situations, and it's truly an honor, and I'm really truly blessed. I'm truly blessed that Coach came and really talked to me about coming back, and I'm glad I came back to learn some more stuff. Coach taught me a lot of stuff and just learned on and off the court. He harped about getting my degree, and I am graduating! I know he's happy about that! Just the team he put together, you know, from the off-season, and we came in and all the doubts, we was going to be No. 8, and Coach really helped us keep our composure and kept us confident, and he wanted us to really show the world what kind of potential we had, and he really believed in us from the beginning. I really commend the coaching staff, and I commend the guys; even though they're young, they learned a lot. Hopefully they can take what we learned this year into their sophomore year and some of them senior years, junior years; and it's just truly an honor to be a Duck, and I'm proud to be a Duck.

Q. Dana, could you give your quick analysis of how the season went, given you guys were picked 8th in the Pac 12 and were playing to get to the Sweet 16 here?
COACH ALTMAN: We have good players and good guys that worked their tail off. You know, we went through a lot of ups and downs with ball games that were close and found ways to win 'em, and guys stayed with it and just kept getting better. We went through, like I said, to start the conference, 2-3, then just to go 11-2 after that, and find a way to finish the season strong, and we got better. Tonight, we had ourselves in a position against a very experienced, very well-coached, very good team. And I'm sorry that we couldn't get it finished off for these guys so we could keep playing, but it's been really fun to work with the group, and we had great leadership from Joe. I liked the way they made progress, I just wish we could have finished it today.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen, best of luck.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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