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March 21, 2013

Dana Altman

Dominic Artis

Damyean Dotson

Arsalan Kazemi


Oregon – 68
Oklahoma State - 55

THE MODERATOR:  We're joined now by head coach of Oregon, Dana Altman, student‑athletes Arsalan Kazemi, Damyean Dotson, and Dominic Artis.
COACH ALTMAN:  Very happy for our basketball team, our fans that made the trip.  The guys really played hard.
I thought for the most part we played well.  The turnovers concerned me, but Arsalan did a great job on the boards, got a lot of help from his teammates.  We were able to beat them 12 on the boards, and I think that was the difference in the game.
We went in the game, we wanted to be aggressive on the boards, we wanted to be aggressive defensively and we wanted to be aggressive offensively.  And I thought our guys did a great job of that.  DA got it started off with a steal and layup early.  And really happy for these two freshman guards.  They're the future of our program and to get experience like that, it was really important.
More happy, though, or happiest, for our seniors.  Tony Woods wanted to get a win in the NCAA tournament.  He had been there before and not accomplished that.  E.J. Singler, Carlos and Arsalan, that opportunity as a senior to go get an NCAA tournament win and the opportunity to play for a Sweet 16 is something.  So I'm happy for these two guys sitting next to me, but I'm really happy for those seniors who have done a great job for us.

Q.  For Dominic, what were you guys able to do to get Marcus Smart off his game?
DOMINIC ARTIS:  Really focused on team defense, keeping him off the glass, not letting him get easy buckets.  Trying to keep him out of the lane, went over the top on all picks, just made him fade, and tried to keep him uncomfortable from what he likes to do.

Q.  Was that your best game since you've been back from the injury and what was it like playing near home for you?
DOMINIC ARTIS:  Yeah, I would say so.  I made some shots that I usually hit, so got me going.  And then focusing on defense really helped the team.
As far as being back home, just seeing my family and friends from high school and everything really gave me the extra adrenaline and helped us come out with the win.

Q.  Dominic, Coach mentioned that the steal of Marcus Smart right at the beginning of the game, if you remember it, take us back through that play.  Do you feel like that set the tone for the way you guys played tonight?
DOMINIC ARTIS:  I had seen him do that same pass to the four man previously, I think about two plays before.  And I thought I could have got it.  So I seen him setting up to do it again and I just took a chance at it and came up with the steal.

Q.  Arsalan, you guys had a big rebounding edge and you personally had a big game.  Do you get in a zone sometimes where you feel like every ball that is off the rim or around the rim you're going to get?
ARSALAN KAZEMI:  Sometimes my teammates, they tell me I grab their rebounds, but when I jump I don't look who gets the ball, I jump to get the ball.  I apologize if I get their rebound, but I just jump to get it.  That's how it works.

Q.  This is three or four games in a row you've had a hot start.  Is there something coming out of the locker room, you're feeling good or seeing the rim well?
DAMYEAN DOTSON:  I don't know what it is, I try to stay aggressive on offense and just shoot open ones.  Coach always tells me to just shoot the kick and shoot ones, that I can get my feet set and all that.  And I've just been working on it and it's been going in for me lately.  Just staying aggressively on defense can help me, helped me stay focused on offense, keep being aggressive when I'm open.

Q.  First, what little you might know about Saint Louis, then second, with the old NBC experience, some memories playing against them in the past?
COACH ALTMAN:  Well, Saint Louis is a veteran team, very well coached.  We're going to have to play very well.  They play a little slower tempo than we like to play, so I think that will be important, who gets the tempo in their advantage.
But I've known Jim Crews for a long time and he's a very good basketball coach.  I haven't seen him play much.  I watched a little bit of the game today just trying to relax.  So I know they're very well schooled and very fundamentally sound, with Coach Majerus and now Coach Crews.  We're going to have to play really well.

Q.  Is this the best Dominic has looked since the injury?  What does that do for your team when you have him playing that way?
COACH ALTMAN:  Absolutely.  I keep telling him it takes longer for a freshman to come back from an injury when you're out six weeks, than it would a junior or senior because he doesn't have the experience to draw upon.
That steal early, I really thought ‑‑ and one he hit, that was really a tough shot.  So he bounced back a little bit.  He had four steals.
And I thought everybody looks at his offense, and we do need his offense, but those four steals set a tone for us defensively.
We didn't shoot the ball well today.  But the 12 rebound advantage, and the steals that turned into baskets.  If we had been more careful with the ball and solid with the ball, we could have had a real big win.  But I thought the guys did a great job on the boards, DA, in this case with those four steals, really set a tone.

Q.  You mentioned the rebounding advantage, how critical that was.  What do you attribute that dominance too, and Arsalan's 17 rebounds, what was the key there?
COACH ALTMAN:  We are the No. 1 rebounding team in the PAC 12.  We felt going into the game that was the one area that we could dominate the game in.  We really did.  They're a plus one on the boards, but they like to go with that small lineup and really try to spread you out.
And we hammered for the last three days, Fellows, we've got to beat these guys on the boards.  And that's our advantage.  So we don't have that advantage with Saint Louis U, but we did have it this afternoon.  And Arsalan, in particular, really did a great job in making that the difference in the game.

Q.  I know you haven't made a big deal of this, but Travis Ford was saying that to him it's been the talk of the tournament where you guys were seeded and clearly you guys were not a typical No. 12 seed.  And he thought the committee would admit to that mistake.  Would you agree with that?
COACH ALTMAN:  Well, I don't know how to answer that.  We went in the game feeling that we were a good basketball team.  Where they put us, you know ‑‑ we won the game, so I feel pretty good.  I feel bad for Oklahoma State because they had a great year.  I mean, they finished one game out of the title for the Big 12.  We finished one game out of the title for the PAC 12.  And we played well in the conference tournament.
So, I don't know about all those things.  We downplayed it, because we weren't going to change it.  There was nothing we could do about it.  We've just got to go play.  Our guys did a great job of blocking it out and just saying, it's a number.
We did the old thing, it's a four‑team tournament.  We've got to go beat Oklahoma State and we're either playing New Mexico State or Saint Louis.  The guys did a great job and didn't listen to everybody talk about us being under‑seeded or over‑seeded or whatever.  And we concentrated on the game, the rebounds.
But it's unfortunate for Oklahoma State.

Q.  Like you mentioned, the rebounding going in was probably an edge that people might have expected you guys to have, but I would think that a lot of people would have expected Marcus Smart to have an edge on your guards because of his size.  What did you guys do to counteract that and how important was that today?
COACH ALTMAN:  I thought it was really important.  Our quickness was important, I told DA and Johnny, there's no doubt he's more physical, much more powerful than you guys are, but I really believed they were quicker.  And we had to get him away from the basket and try to use that quickness.  And I thought DA and Johnny did a good job of that.
At times we put Carlos and Dot on him just to change it up, when he felt like he was overpowering those guys.  We changed it up and put a bigger body on him.  I just thought Johnny and DA did a great job, though.
He's a phenomenal player, and watching films just the way he takes over games and the way he gets his team to play and the way he makes plays for his teammates, there's no doubt in my mind, if I was an NBA guy, I'd want him on my team.  He's going to get better and better, and with that body he is going to be a handful.  There's no doubt about it.

Q.  They had a lot of turnovers early and were missing free throws.  Did you detect any tightness on their part, did you detect you might have an advantage in terms of nerves?
COACH ALTMAN:  No, I don't think so.  I just thought we were the aggressor.  We missed some free throws.  We turned the darned thing over too much, too.  You go in the NCAA tournament, they're not an experienced tournament team and we're not.  There are going to be a few of those games.
The locker room before the game, that wasn't our typical locker room.  They were bouncing around.  They were pretty jumpy.  So we had a lot of early turnovers, also.  So both teams, you know, that's nervous energy.
But I thought our guys focused in on the things we thought were important, that they thought were important and just did a tremendous job.  Like I said, I'm so happy for the seniors and to see Dot and DA come out and play that way as two freshmen in their first tournament game is really encouraging.
I thought we had good contributions from Ben Carter off the bench, Wave off the bench.  I don't think anybody came in and really let us down.
I thought Johnny and Carlos in particular, who have been our 6th and 7th man all year ‑‑ you know, Carlos, his unselfishness in allowing our staff to bring him off the bench, rather than complain he's not a starter, has been as important for our team as anything.  He just comes off the bench and plays.  And I don't know how many minutes he played, but he was solid today.
He hit some big shots when they made that little run and got it close to ten.  I don't think we let it get below ten in the second half, and I thought that was important.  You keep it above ten and you just feel like you've got a little confidence.  It gets below that ten and you're in this pressure situation, it gets a little different.  Our guys did a tremendous job there and Carlos was a big reason for that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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