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November 29, 2002

Matt Bonner

Billy Donovan

Matt Walsh


BILLY DONOVAN: I think coming into an event like this with such little time to prepare I was concerned with how some of our younger guys would respond just coming off a loss having a one-day holiday, and just talking to them I felt like Matt Bonner, Brett Nelson, Justin Hamilton, I knew what I would get but some of the younger guys, I didn't know what I was going to get. I thought that our guys came out played with energy. I thought it was a great experience for our young kids. We got up by 18, 19 points, Kansas fought all the way back. Cut it to five or six. We held on and increased the lead a little bit. I thought we did a good job closing out the game. So the game was obviously won by 10 or 11 but it was a lot closer then that. I'm pleased and happy with the way our kids competed and played. I don't think this time of year right now, we're certainly not playing our best just based on injuries and lack of experience and certainly probably Kansas North Carolina Stanford aren't playing their best either, but to play in this type of venue early in November I think would do nothing but help our team going forward.

Q. Billy 4 players with 14 3s in total...

BILLY DONOVAN: I think with the way Kansas plays defense they really get out, they overplay and deny. It makes it very difficult to run offense. I think what they do in the half court I think we try to do sometimes in the full court. So really what happens is you have got to have guys space the floor -- I thought Justin Hamilton coming off that high pick and roll, getting down the lane, got the ball to Walsh, Bonner, Nelson, Robeson where they had people running at them to either shoot it or put it on the floor. I thought we had great, great spacing, and it's difficult when you play defense like that when the floor gets spaced, but we got absolutely annihilated on the backboard. And we also got annihilated from the free-throw line. They took 20 more free throws than us. The three-point line is the equalizer and we had a stretch there where I thought we had some pretty good looks. Matt missed like three in a row, we were wide open. All of a sudden he got it going, Matt Walsh hit a big one, Brett Nelson made one. We had some guys shooting the ball. When you shoot the ball well -- I think that's why we lost to Stanford; didn't knock down shots. I thought our guys did a better job of making the extra pass, and moving into the three point line, whereas I thought we struggled against Stanford from that standpoint.

Q. Billy since other than the N.C.A.A. tournament games where does this game rank some of your top wins?

BILLY DONOVAN: I said this before probably not a lot of teams out there in the country that have had a chance outside of ourselves North Carolina, Stanford, and Kansas to play in this type of venue where we have had a chance to play against each other. I know the intensity, but to me it's still November right now. Kansas will become a better team. I think we'll become a better team. So I think when you start talking where does this rank and those type of things, I don't know if Kansas is the No. 2 team in the country, I don't know if we are the number 7 team in the country. I think everybody is trying to find their way right now. I know Kansas will have a great year. They have got very good players and an outstanding program. But I think you get caught up in all the rankings, where everybody is at right now, from a coaching standpoint just trying to get your team better, you realize this type of game will help that.

Q. Kansas had like a 26 -3 run. They cut all the way down to two. Were you aware of the situation when you hit that 3 from the corner?

MATT WALSH: No, I wasn't aware. I could tell they were making a run. I just got a good look. I think Justin drove it, kicked it out, he got me a good look. I wasn't thinking about their run or anything like that.

Q. Anything that went on in practice yesterday that you did to try to get ready to rebound from the Stanford loss?

BILLY DONOVAN: Well, I think yesterday our guys, I was not very happy with their attitude at all. I think that they came in, especially the young guys, wanting me to feel sorry for them. I thought once practice got started they really picked up their energy and realized that it is a great opportunity to play against a great team, find a little bit more about ourselves. And then I think last night I noticed I think their personality changed a little bit. We had a good shoot-around, guys seemed very, very focused and excited about playing. But I think -- it is like anything else when you are dealing with young guys, chances are -- I mean, I think Rashid lost 3 high school games in his career. Matt and Matt hadn't lost many. Those guys -- you don't know if they know how to respond coming off a loss. I think -- they did it. They really got better. I made them watch the whole Stanford game on Thanksgiving and I think that they get better as far as making the extra pass and doing the things we needed to do offensively to put ourselves in the position to win. I thought even though we got killed in the back board I thought our guys really physically competed up front.

Q. Matt Bonner on offense, you are able to step out take their big guys away. Something you were looking to exploit?

MATT BONNER: Something the coaches were looking to exploit at first. For some reason I was blind in seeing that. But they are good coaches and they did a good job of motivating me and giving me the confidence that if no one is open to try take my guy off the dribble. Once I got in the mindset of doing that, I saw that it could be done, it opened a lot more things on offense.

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