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March 23, 2013

Dana Altman

Damyean Dotson

Carlos Emory

Arsalan Kazemi


Oregon – 74
Saint Louis - 57

THE MODERATOR:  We're joined now by Oregon head coach Dana Altman, student‑athletes Damyean Dotson, a freshman guard, Carlos Emory, a senior forward, and Arsalan Kazemi, a senior forward.
COACH ALTMAN:  Very excited for our basketball team, in particular the seniors who really led us, did a great job setting the tone with the boards in defense.  Dot played great today, just hit open shots and guys made him shots.  It was a team effort.
So happy for the guys because they executed everything.  We missed some layups there.  Arsalan, you could have had a double‑double again, you missed that dunk, but 16 rebounds, just really good.  Dot hit a lot of shots.  Carlos was solid.
We turned the ball over too much, which is a big concern knowing what we've got in front of us.  But all in all it was just a really good effort.  The guys really got together and it's their team and they just did a tremendous job.

Q.  Arsalan, can you talk about 33 rebounds in two games, I think it's your second and third highest total this year.  Is there anything in particular you've been focusing on to do so well there?
ARSALAN KAZEMI:  It's NCAA tournament and ‑‑ in general I'm not selfish, though, but if I had a little bit in me, I just left it aside.  I told myself I can get a rebound for my team, and right now is not the time.  It's a big stage.  Some players come and try to show people what they can do and what they can't do.  I said I can help my team with rebounding, and I'm going to go out and get as many rebounds as possible.  And I think I'm helping my team by giving them a chance to get wins.

Q.  Arsalan, I'm sure you thought you could beat these teams.  But to beat them so handily, convincingly, being in control so much the whole game, does that surprise you?
ARSALAN KAZEMI:  It doesn't surprise me because since the beginning of the season we have a really balanced scoring on our team.  Every time someone is down, another player comes in and backs them up and play really good.  We had that since the beginning of the season.
There wasn't many games our whole team couldn't play.  And we had that and we just came out here and we know we were the underdogs and we just came out and we gave our best effort.  We played really good team defense.  We just have to cut down our turnovers, as Coach said.  But other than that it was a great team effort in these whole two games.

Q.  Damyean, you've had a really good postseason.  Did the switch flip for you or something like that, why do you think you're playing so well right now?
DAMYEAN DOTSON:  I'm just trying to stay aggressive, offense and defense, and just do whatever Coach tell me.  He tell me to shoot the catch‑and‑shoots, and that's what I've been doing.  And just try stay aggressive and be a good teammate for my team and do whatever Coach want me to.

Q.  Carlos, your hand or wrist when you had that collision, and was it okay after that with some ice?
CARLOS EMORY:  Yeah, just throw a little bit of ice on there, it should be ready to go by the time we get to Indiana.

Q.  Arsalan or really whoever wants to take this, a lot was made about your guys' seeding coming in here and winning to games.  What kind of statement do you think you made this weekend?
ARSALAN KAZEMI:  I think we showed that throughout the season, I mean, at the beginning of the season they had us as a ‑‑ we going to finish 7th in the PAC 12.  We proved them wrong and we came here.  And we just decided as a team we're going to go out there and we don't care who we're going to play.  As I said before, it's 64 great teams and they all can play.
And it was kind of like a four‑team tournament for us, that we had to win the championship here.  I think we beat the two teams we were supposed to beat.  And we have to look forward from here and play Louisville next.

Q.  Coach, this was a very good defensive team that you played and, in fact, the first couple of minutes of the game you guys had trouble getting shots off and you were turning the ball over.  To end up shooting 52 percent and 8 for 11 on threes for the game, how surprised are you at the totals there?
COACH ALTMAN:  Very surprised.  Our transition really helped us get some good shots.  We got out and before they got that defense set, because as you mentioned, when they set their defense, we struggle.  We were straight up and down to start the game, we looked like we were on our heels again.  And I was really fearful of that, because they get up under you.
This is a team that won 16 of the last 17 games.  Beat Butler three times, home, road, neutral site.  Beat VCU twice.  You don't win 16, 17 games, 11 of them on the road, if you don't have a good basketball team.  And they're juniors and seniors.
And the physicality of their team, Coach Majerus coached that way, Jimmy has got them playing D. You look at their defensive numbers, they were outstanding.
We really wanted to try to get the ball up the floor quickly so they couldn't set their defense, because I really felt like we'd be in trouble if they got their defense set, and we were those early possessions.
But then when we got the transition going a little bit and they didn't get a chance to set it, I thought that's when it turned in our favor.
And then we just had a good shooting day.  But we took good threes.  I keep telling the guys, you've got to take good ones.  And Dot, all six of his were somebody penetrated and made him a shot.  And he just knocked them down.
So he's a very good shooter when he takes good shots.  And those were all good threes today and that was the difference in the game, us knocking those threes down.

Q.  With Dotson, he averaged 10 points per game for season.  Obviously played well in the PAC 12 tournament and now he's playing even better.  He's done a bit of progression for him, is there a point when things seemed to come together for him as a freshman?
COACH ALTMAN:  No, no, he's been good all year.  He was our lead scorer there for a long time.  He took a spill in the Oregon State game and really hobbled around for a week and played poorly on our last road trip because of that.  He just got back to being aggressive.  Our whole team did.
We wanted to win the conference championship so bad we got on our heels.  And I didn't do a good job of getting them ready and getting them aggressive.  And, man, when we did in the conference tournament it changed our whole team.
We beat them 11 on the boards.  I think we beat Oklahoma State 12 or 13 on the boards.  That's two games where you beat somebody double digits on the board, that's being aggressive.
I wanted them taking some chances defensively.  I wanted them taking some chances offensively under control.  So we got back to playing aggressive.  For a couple of games there we were just on our heels and really lost our focus.
So to answer your question, Dot has made great progress all year and I'm telling you, there's so much more there.  He and DA, they've got so much upside, we're fortunate to have some of those guys, because they've got a lot of upside.

Q.  Obviously you didn't know until maybe shortly before the season that you'd be able to have Arsalan on the team this season.  Once you knew that and once he became a part of this team, how much did that impact what you were able to do defensively, especially against a team like tonight where it seemed like you were able to keep them out of the paint?
COACH ALTMAN:  He's been a real difference maker for us.  He was talking about when we were going through all that, Coach, if they don't declare me eligible, that's fine, I need to work on some things, and I'll just wait, and that's fine.  And as a coach, you know, you're going, man, you'd fit in so good on this team.  We're not a good rebounding team without him.
So I'm glad it all worked out.  I'm glad for him.  Like I said, he's just a great young man and he's got a tremendous future ahead of him, whatever career he chooses, he's going to play basketball for a while, and whatever he chooses to do.  His personality, his intelligence, I mean, he's got a world of potential.
He'll be successful whatever he does, because he treats people really good.  And he's a real good ambassador for our basketball program, for our University.  He's just done a tremendous job.

Q.  You've been involved obviously in a lot of these tournaments, but with this team now going to the Sweet 16, what are your emotions?
COACH ALTMAN:  When we started the tournament I told the players I've been fortunate enough to be on teams ‑‑ this is my 12th NCAA tournament as a head coach and as an assistant, and I was just as excited when they announced our name as I was for the first one when I was 27 years old.
So it's really good.  And for me I get an opportunity to do it a number of times.  E.J. doesn't.  That's who I feel great for.  Tony is back.  Carlos, we were sitting back there and said, man, I just don't know what to expect.  I said just savor everything and enjoy it.  And Arsalan came to Oregon so he'd have this opportunity.
So it's great for me.  I'm excited but, man, it's just great to get to see those guys in the locker room all fired up.  And for our fans that have waited for this.  And for our state, it's good.
I'm excited, our players are excited.  I hope our fans are, because this team has really come a long way since we started practice October 12th, and really good guys.  I'm really happy for them.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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