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March 29, 2013

Dana Altman

Arsalan Kazemi

E.J. Singler


Louisville – 77
Oregon – 69

THE MODERATOR:  We've been joined by the University of Oregon, Coach Dana Altman and the student‑athletes.  We will ask Coach Altman to make an opening statement, and then we'll go to questions for the student‑athletes.  When we're done with them, we'll let them go back to the locker room and we'll continue with Coach Altman.
So Coach?
COACH ALTMAN:  Disappointed today.  Didn't feel like we put our best foot forward in the first half.  Dug ourself a pretty big hole and weren't able to come back.  Louisville is a very good basketball team and very talented, and Smith got going to the basket, and we just never got him slowed down.
But I'm very proud of the team.  Outstanding group of guys to work with.  Showed a lot of character, bouncing back from a disappointing end to our season, and they showed that same character all year, overcoming obstacles with injuries.
So I really enjoyed working with the group.  One of the most enjoyable years I've had working with a group of young men, and just disappointed that we didn't play a little bit better in that first half.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach.  Now we'll take questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  For E.J., at halftime Coach was saying he was a little disappointed.  What was the mood like in the locker room?  They kind of had the spurt right before that, so you go in down 14.
E.J. SINGLER:  We've been in that position before this year, so we were just looking at it as just another game.  And we had to make some adjustments at halftime, and I thought we did.  And we played a lot better second half.
But like Coach said, our first half we really dug ourselves a big hole and we tried to fight back as much as possible, but Louisville's a really, really good team, and they just played better than us today.

Q.  Fellas, what has this run been like over the last several weeks, just the fact that you come in seeded a little bit low, took that as a bit of a slap.  To come out, get the wins that you have, what has this run been like?  That's for all three of the guys.
ARSALAN KAZEMI:  It has been great.  This is the most fun I've had, playing college basketball.  And it was just great, just practicing and, I mean, I didn't want it to stop, but it's sad that it's over now.  But it was great, and it was a great feeling that knowing that only 16 teams out there that are still playing.
DOMINIC ARTIS:  It was just really exciting, this being my first year and everything.  Just getting the experience for the first time, it was real nice.  And just appreciate everything the coaches and seniors have done for us.
E.J. SINGLER:  This being my last year, first three years never made it to the NCAA Tournament, so it's been awesome to experience it in my last year, and just soaked it up, had as much fun as possible.
Like you said, a lot of people didn't believe we could make it where we were.  Just proud of our guys for just playing so well down the stretch and just battling together to make it as far as we did.

Q.  For Arsalan, the last week when Louisville ran up so many turnovers on Colorado State, their coach was talking about how you can't tell from the film how quick they are.  You guys seemed to neutralize them a little bit better, and, in fact, I think they had one more turnover than you did.  What did you study that helped you to contain them a little bit?  Except Russ Smith did seem to be a little bit quicker than anybody in America today.
ARSALAN KAZEMI:  I mean, I'm sure after we won the game against St. Louis, our coaches watched a bunch of film on Louisville and they came with a lot of new press breaks on it and we practiced on it.  We had a lot of time to work on it.  We practiced on it for three or four days.  We were comfortable with their press.  They didn't make us turn it over much.
It's been all about our defense.  All year, we've played great defense, the games that we won.  And today it wasn't there the first half.
THE MODERATOR:  Fellas, thank you.  Congratulations on a great season.
We'll continue for questions for Coach Altman, please.

Q.  Coach, you were more successful the second half.  What kind of adjustments did you make at halftime, and how would you advise the next coach to take these guys on, what to do to beat Louisville?
COACH ALTMAN:  Their team speed, in the first half, got off to a bad start.  They got some transition baskets easy.  Second‑chance opportunities.  I know they had six points on put‑backs very early in the ball game.  And it just set a bad tone.
Obviously, that pick on the top of the circle there with Smith bringing it at us, we just didn't contain his speed.  He got by us and powered some into the rim.  We went small.
Typically, Tony would block a few of those.  I didn't think Tony was having one of his better games, so I decided to go small.  I don't know if‑‑ if the guys got that recommendation, they probably wouldn't have won 32 ball games.
So I don't think there's an easy answer to that.  Russ Smith is a talented young man.  They've got a lot of talented players.  When he got going, we didn't have an answer.

Q.  Did it seem that Smith just wasn't going to let them lose?  I mean, every time you kept‑‑ you were on the verge of being blown out so many times, you came back, and then he'd make a play.  It would be an assist or a drive.
COACH ALTMAN:  I agree with you.  He made big plays.  I think when we got it down to 6, I'm not sure if he or Ware got to the rim and got one in, but one of those two guys.  Ware hurt us also.
So, again, they're a talented basketball team.  Disappointed we didn't come out a little bit looser and more prepared, and that's as much my fault as it is the team, because we just were stuck in the mud those first ten minutes and dug ourself a hole.
When you let a good team like Louisville be the aggressor, because they're ahead, never make a play from behind, they're tough to beat.

Q.  Coach, you mentioned that‑‑ you said Woods didn't play particularly well.  Is there anything in particular that he was doing that you didn't‑‑ that you didn't like or was it trying to keep up with Louisville?
COACH ALTMAN:  Well, the speed of the game.  He didn't get up and down the court.  He didn't change any shots in his 11 minutes.  He had two turnovers, just didn't make a difference for us.

Q.  Coach, talk about your two building blocks.  You have your two freshmen guards, played very well.  Damyean had a good second half and Dominic played well the whole game.  What can you look forward to and what can you build on with the two building blockings in the back court?
COACH ALTMAN:  I think the freshmen are going to be good players, D.A. and Dot (Damyean Dotson).  Very talented young men.  Dot has been playing like a vet; the first half he played like a freshman.  Then he bounced back, had a great second half, which shows you a lot about his competitiveness, a lot about his character and toughness.
So D.A. and Dot are going to be very good for us.  They're two guys we can build around.  Their experience will help them.  They had freshmen years that were successful.  And if D.A. had to fight through an injury, which is also a learning experience.  So I thought both young men did an unbelievable job for us.
And I think they're going to be really good players.  They're really good young men to work with, and I think they can really provide‑‑ we've got to get a core group together that we can build some things around, and I think those two guys have the character, the work ethic, those types of qualities we're looking for now.
We're going to lose some big leaders.  E.J. Singler is a good young man.  He's a great leader.  Arsalan, Tony, Carlos.  We lose four pretty good seniors.  So we've got a lot of work to do.

Q.  How much did the foul trouble in the first half hurt you guys?  You had three guys with two, with about six minutes left.  And then I think somebody picked up a third with four minutes left.
COACH ALTMAN:  Yeah, a little bit.  We lost our aggressiveness.  Everybody is looking around, going we're in foul trouble.  That makes you take a step back.  We were already a little bit on our heels.  So it didn't help us.
But, again, our problem started right from the jump when we gave up some easy seconds shots.  We gave up some easy baskets in transition.  It set a bad tone.  We were trying to recover from that all day.
The foul trouble did slow us down a little bit because then we weren't quite as aggressive.  Johnny, I know, picked up his early.  And Johnny is our aggressiveness right now.  So D.A. had to‑‑ we had both our point guards with two, and Carlos had a couple.  So those are three of our more aggressive players.  So it didn't help us any.
But, again, just poor start, I think, probably was a bigger factor.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach.  Thanks for a great season.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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