Postgame Quotes: Memphis vs. Texas A&MMarch 22, 2007

POSTGAME NOTES

2007 NCAA South Regional
Alamodome - San Antonio, Texas

(2) Memphis 65, (3) Texas A&M 64
Thursday, March 22 Postgame Notes

Memphis notes
-- The Tigers extended their school-record winning streak to 25 games, the longest active streak in the country.

-- Memphis advanced to the Elite Eight for the second consecutive season, a first in school history.

-- The Tigers also moved on to the Elite Eight for the fifth time in school annals (1973, 85, 92, 2006, 07).

-- Memphis has won 11 consecutive NCAA Tournament games in the state of Texas and is 11-1 all-time. The programs only loss in the Lone Star State was an 87-83 setback against Creighton during the 1962 NCAA Tournament. Tonight was the Tigers first victory in San Antonio in NCAA postseason play.

-- The only other time Memphis trailed at the half this season was at Tennessee on Dec. 6, 2006 (43-22). The Tigers went on to lose that contest by a score of 76-58.

-- Memphis improved to a perfect 5-0 when scoring 60-69 points this season.

-- Sophomore Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 15 points and surpassed the 800 mark for his career. Douglas-Roberts now has 807 points in his two years as a Tiger.

-- Senior Jeremy Hunt finished the contest with a game-high 19 points and pushed his career scoring total to 1,119.

Texas A&M notes
-- Texas A&M ended its 2006-07 season with a school-record 27 victories.

-- The combined margin of Texas A&Ms last six losses was just 11 points. The Aggies finished the campaign with a 3-6 record in games decided by five points or less. The average margin of A&Ms seven losses this year was 3.3 points, the second-lowest mark in the nation.

-- Texas A&M was making its third Sweet 16 appearance in school history. A&M also reached the round of 16 in 1969 and 80.

-- The Aggies dropped to 1-1 all-time at the Alamodome.

-- The Aggies lost for just the fourth time in 28 games this season when leading at the half.

TEXAS A&M POSTGAME QUOTES

COACH GILLISPIE: It was a tough loss, a really intense game. Both teams played really hard. They did a fantastic job only fouling us four times on the second half. We didn't get enough foul shots. We fouled too much in the second half and gave them too many. Congratulations to Memphis.

Q. Acie, can you put into words any emotions as far as your season and career coming to an end tonight?
ACIE LAW IV: I'm just disappointed in the way that I performed. It's a tough loss. We fought hard, fell a little short. And Memphis played a great bull game. I didn't give too much thought to my career, just sad, disappointed in myself for how I played tonight.
Did you think that lay up with 47 seconds was going in on that kind of home run pass?
ACIE LAW IV: I thought I made it. I left it a little short. Little plays like that just cost you the ballgame. You have to convert those plays. And that play came back and hurt us in the end. That play cost us the game.

Q. That sequence where, at the end there, they had three or four put backs in a row. What was your perspective on that? It must have been frustrating, not being able to get that rebound. Did you think a foul was warranted, take me through that.
ANTANAS KAVALIAUSKAS: Which one are you talking about?

Q. The last sequence when they had three or four put backs before the foul, where Anderson hit two free throws?
ANTANAS KAVALIAUSKAS: I didn't see there was a foul on that. It was my job to get a rebound and I didn't get it. It cost us the game.

Q. Acie, can you talk about the atmosphere with the 30,000? A lot of Aggie fans there. Can you talk about the atmosphere tonight?
ACIE LAW IV: It was a great atmosphere. It was a great place to play the Sweet 16 ballgame. I want to thank the fans to show us the support they did. It was a huge turn out for us. It was a great atmosphere to play a college basketball game. We didn't play well enough and credit Memphis for coming out and playing well and go get the win and moving on.

Q. Acie, it's been four years and you're a senior, as well, can you talk about where you're leaving the program. And just looking back on the four years, last year getting to the second round, this year, Sweet 16, and where the program can go from here, where you guys are leaving it one this program has made huge strides.
ACIE LAW IV: It's come a long way. And we fell short, but I really believe that we came a long way. We had a great season. And I think that the future is very, very bright for this program. It's headed in the right direction. And the sky is the limit for these guys.

Q. You guys won the rebounding battle and also got them in foul trouble. What was going on, you and AK had trouble scoring, did they do something different? Was it tougher with the smaller guys on you?
JOSEPH JONES: We just our teammates were throwing them to us and we didn't finish plays and it cost us the game.

Q. Was some of the missed lay ups, how much of that had to do with what they were doing in terms of blocking shots and the athleticism inside?
ANTANAS KAVALIAUSKAS: They were great inside, but it's all being tough, and how tough we were inside. And me, I wasn't tough enough. One lay up cost us the game. And that hurts.

Q. Acie, can you talk about their dribble penetration, just how effective it was and how tough it was to stop?
ACIE LAW IV: It was difficult. They got good players and they do a good job of weaving the ball around and driving through the gaps. They did a good job to continue to attack and get to the free throw line and converting the free throws. They came with a game plan and executed, and had a great ballgame. Congratulations to them.

Q. Acie, after it was over you guys huddled at mid court, can you tell us who said what or what happened there?
ACIE LAW IV: Just got one last break, it was the last time that we was going to be together lays go them up, just being together out there on the floor and we just came together as a group. We wanted to get one final break.

Q. When you have a taller defender on you, how does it make you different on you? What you can do defensively versus a guy your size or smaller?
ACIE LAW IV: I have to do a better job of finishing plays. They put a bigger guy on me tonight, and I didn't do a good job of finishing plays. Something I've got to get better at. It's a matter of being tougher and taking it to the basket and being strong enough to finish the play. When we needed it the most I wasn't able to get it done.

Q. I asked coach C about this, what did you see on what happened with 3.1 to go and what was explained to you?
COACH GILLISPIE: I'm sure they got it right. Someone touched it and it went out of bounds. There has to be some time elapsed and I'm sure they got it right.

Q. If you could talk a little bit about what the play was designed that last play, was that the play that you wanted? Did you want to go somewhere else with the ball?
COACH GILLISPIE: We were going to try to throw it to Acie, but he was cutting through there and got hit in the eye. He had to kind of slow down. It was not a foul. But he got hit in the eye. So he kind of had a reaction to that special we were supposed he was supposed to continue on, and we were going to try to get it to him on a curl cut, but we wanted for him to continue to move until he got the ball. And let him go try to make the play. But he got hit in the eye and he had to kind of stop.

Q. How frustrating was it not being able to get that one rebound in that sequence, put Anderson on the free throw line?
COACH GILLISPIE: They got the last four offensive. They missed four shots and got offensive rebounds four times and you pride yourself on defense and you pride yourself on finishing your defensive positions with defensive rebound and we just didn't get it done. So that makes it a little bit more frustrating to lose.

Q. Congratulations on a good season. Now your name, as you know, will probably be brought up with some vacancies around the country. How do you handle that with your players?
COACH GILLISPIE: I don't worry about that.

Q. Not at all? You don't tell them anything, things they need to hear, that kind of thing?
COACH GILLISPIE: I'm honest with my players.

Q. Did you talk with them after the end of the game about your situation?
COACH GILLISPIE: Would you? Goodness, gracious?

Q. Can you talk about their dribble penetration and I think you even threw some zone out there. Just how tough it was to stop them?
COACH GILLISPIE: It's good. They do a really good job. They have a great plan. They have great players. They really go after it hard. We did a really good job after the half, I thought. They scored 28 points in the second half and we just didn't score enough ourselves. We missed too many free throws, but defensively I really thought we started to help. You're going to have some break downs. But their shooting percentage was low enough for us to win if we converted enough baskets. They're hard to guard man to man.

Q. Can you talk about what it's like for you to sit up there and watch all of your players take accountability, saying I could have done more, I could have done this?
COACH GILLISPIE: That's why they played tonight. That's why they've been special so long, they're going to continue to be special. Everyone wanted to say I could have done this, I could have done that. And that's why you saw three of them. We have a lot of guys on our roster and that's exactly the same kind of attitude and the same kind of character qualities that all of them possess so it makes you very, very, very proud as a coach.

Q. Do you feel like your team was aggressive enough tonight going to the hoop?
COACH GILLISPIE: Apparently not. We normally shoot a lot more foul shots than that and usually make more lay ups and don't get as many shots blocked. We only forced them to foul four times in the second half, so apparently we weren't.

Q. What did you do right to keep them off the offensive glass most of the game, and what broke down that last possession?
COACH GILLISPIE: I thought our rotations were great for the most part. I thought our guys really battled hard. Penetration is the hardest thing when teams penetrate that's the most difficult time to get defensive rebounds, especially when they have good athletes like they do, because it forces you to rotate. I thought we did a great job for the most part on the offensive rebounds. The last possession, long shots always lead to long rebounds. We were in the inside position on those shots, but we just didn't it could have very easily bounced to us.
It didn't bounce to us and they went after it, and give those guys credit. We were in the right position. We defended a lot of shots, we just couldn't get the defensive rebound when it came off and sometimes that happens.

Q. I know it's tough to reflect on a game like this, could you talk about what Acie Law has been to your program?
COACH GILLISPIE: He's been everything for us. He's been a great person, No. 1. And he's going to continue to be that way. He's got a great life ahead of him. He has a great basketball career ahead of him. He's going to be one of the most influential people that we build our program and the way that we think that we can. We're going to look back and say, hey, he was the guy that started it all. He's much more I'm more proud of him as a person than I am as a basketball player and that's saying a lot. I'm really proud of him graduating this semester. I'm really proud of him becoming the leader he is, becoming the man that he is. I can't imagine if you were his parent how proud you must be to see being able to raise a child like that and what kind of person he's going to be. And what a great he's just going to make such a contribution to society, on the court and off. It's really fantastic to see him like that.

Q. The teams you played this year, how do you think Memphis stacked up with some of your others? You played a great game, by the way.
COACH GILLISPIE: Thank you. They've got a nice team. We played a lot of really good teams, as well. So you would think that all the teams that are playing right now is going to be really good. They are really good. The Big 12 is a very, very difficult league. No disrespect to them, we played a lot of good people. I'm not saying better. There's a lot of really good teams in college basketball these days.

Q. Do you feel that Joseph and an Antanas had the opportunities as the game wore on and just didn't finish? Were you surprised you got teed up that quickly early on?
COACH GILLISPIE: I was surprised about that, because I didn't see anything bad. And I was told you can't react to a call. And so that's the first time I've heard that one. As far as getting the ball in the paint. We got the ball where we needed to most of the night. Again, they did a real good job of moving their feet, apparently, and didn't put us on the foul line much and we didn't finish enough plays to win.

Q. Can you talk about how much it means to you as a program to see the fans get caught up in the tournament and Lexington last week and here in San Antonio?
COACH GILLISPIE: It's fantastic. They've talked about how great the 12th man is, I've heard it before I came here and it's been a major they made a major contribution having the play here today. They helped us win a lot of games throughout the year. They were fantastic last week on our first weekend and they were as good as they possibly could be tonight. I'm like Acie, I'm sad we let them down. I would have liked to play one more time. But we don't get that opportunity. But they did their part and we fell a little short in doing ours.

Q. Talking to some of your better players, obviously were disappointed in losing tonight. 0 16 in the league a couple of years ago, the Sweet 16 this year. Can you talk about the corner that the program has turned over the past couple of years that you've been head coach?
COACH GILLISPIE: We'll see if we've turned any corners. We came here to win. And just like everyone else comes here to win. We came here to win. And I'm not into moral victories, we made some strides, but we came here to win and we didn't get the job done. Time will tell if we're going to be able to develop a top notch program. We're on the right track, but we have not reached any kind of destination.

MEMPHIS POSTGAME QUOTES

JON LECRONE: Before Memphis gets here, I just want to give you a quick explanation on the end of the game sequence, and our process. Tony Barnhart, who has that responsibility, I can't find him, so I guess I drew the short straw. He made this explanation on the end of the game sequence. The ball was inbounded and was touched. So we have a live ball situation where the clock is supposed to start. The clock did not start. And if it had started properly, it then would have stopped when the ball hit the scorer's table. That did not happen. The play was reviewed by videotape in real time. The officiating crew put a stop watch on it and after several times it came down to 1.1 seconds that should have elapsed. Now the game clock is reset at 2 seconds. That's the explanation.
Tony Barnhart is working on a statement that will be distributed in the media workroom a little later, probably within an half hour or so. We'll have that for everyone, an official statement.

COACH CALIPARI: Really a hard fought game by two teams playing out of desperation at the end. I'm proud of my guys. We just fought and did what we had to. We had foul trouble that was ridiculous. We had played guys I haven't played all years, in this game, in this environment. And we just hung around, that's all we were trying to do. And in the end made a couple of free throws, made a couple of baskets and walked away with a W, in front of 30,000 Aggies, which makes it even more of an amazing thing. But just happy right now. Happy for these players.

Q. Antonio, could you talk about the free throws, did you use the visualization technique, and when you had done it before and had you considered it in that sort of situation?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: Being a basketball player, you look for situations like that. You want the game in your hands, if you've got the mentality as a player. I had that. When I got to the line I knew my teammates were tired, we were all beat down, and I said, let me get this game over with. I missed free throws earlier, and I just had to knock them down.

Q. Antonio, when you got fouled I think that that was your third offensive rebound in that sequence, can you talk about that whole sequence where you guys were desperately getting the offensive boards?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: When Jeremy put up the three, I was ready at the basket and the ball just fell in my hands and got out, got another shot, everybody struggling for the ball, and I put it up and that's how it was.

Q. Jeremy and Chris, really, what did you guys do offensively, today it seemed like you made an aggressive effort to take everything to the rim. Can you talk about that?
JEREMY HUNT: We knew on a couple of drives from my other teammates, I felt like they were, I just gave them a pump fake and went around them. And the bead man wasn't stepping up. It was a free lay up. If they don't play me, coach always tells me, shoot the ball. So I just in my mind I said if they play me I'm going to drive it to the hole. And Chris did a good job going there, too.
CHRIS DOUGLAS ROBERTS: That's what we did. We wanted to be really aggressive today. Our coach told us to either man up or go home. And we really aren't trying to go home. And so we knew that this was going to be an aggressive game, and they were going to be aggressive, which they were, they played us tough. We kept on driving. We kept on driving. And that's our offense, we try to get to the basket.

Q. Chris, how healthy is your ankle right now? Were you surprised you would be so effective today?
CHRIS DOUGLAS ROBERTS: It's pretty healthy. Honestly, it really didn't matter how I was going to feel coming into this game, because I was playing. I worked around the clock to get it healthy as it is. Honestly, it didn't matter. But it's been a real good feeling real good right now.

Q. Antonio, was it two or three offensive rebounds that you had? Did you think you were fouled at any time during that sequence enough to warrant a foul being called in that situation?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: Of course I got fouled. The first time I didn't even touch it. The second time, kept pushing me, so they blew the whistle. That's just how it was.

Q. Antonio, earlier in the game Jones got loose for A&M for a lay up that he missed. Then with less than a minute left Acie got loose and you were with him down the floor. Did you remember anything from the earlier lay up that Jones missed on defense when Acie was on you there?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: No, not at all. When he started he caught it and I just tried to run and I cut him off a little bit and that slowed him down and he ripped it out. That helped us a little bit. I was just trying not to foul.

Q. Jeremy and Chris, do you guys feel any sense of vindication? There's been so much talk about your conference and how it's not that good and you come here and win in San Antonio?
CHRIS DOUGLAS ROBERTS: We all played with a chip on our shoulder, and we've been playing like that since earlier in the year. We heard everything we could hear about how bad our conference is and we had a cake walk but now we're winning, and in an NCAA Tournament and we're playing the elite of the elite, and we're still winning. So I don't know I definitely think we're feeling good right now. We're proving people wrong.
JEREMY HUNT: He took the words out of my mouth, really. They pretty much said the same thing about last year's team. We made it to the Elite 8. Think about that. This year's team is pretty much the same, they're down on us. We was just wanting to prove everybody wrong. We came out and played so hard. Like he said we just keep winning.

Q. Did you have a sense that you were a part of the game that was really special when you were out there?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: Of course. Being in that type of environment, that was a tough environment to play in. You look around and you see a little piece of blue and see a squad of maroon up there. It was a tough atmosphere and very loud. You really had to look at coach and get what he was trying to say. It was tough on all of us, but we all fought it out and it was tough.
CHRIS DOUGLAS ROBERTS: Like Antonio said, as a basketball player and a competitor, you love being in a situation like this. Honestly. We are all on the same page. We just wanted to, like he said, we're playing really well right now. We're on a roll.
JEREMY HUNT: It's actually fun in games like this, when you come out and your crowd is out numbered. I looked over and I was like, whoa, we've got our set of fans, too, and they're pretty loud. When our fans started yelling, their fans started yelling, and I'm like, oh, my God. In situations like this, like they said, we live for moments like this. And there's nothing else to say, we just keep winning.

Q. Any of you three guys, what were your thoughts on the play where they took 1.1 seconds off the clock? Were you involved in any of that, you were surprised they took that kind of time off and do you think it made any difference?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: Well, that had nothing to do with us, that play. We were out defending the ball. The referee is making the call. They looked at the clock, they watched it, went to the screen and watched the clock and made their decision.
JEREMY HUNT: When they took time off, we knew that it was going to be a tough shot. We weren't going to get them get anything easy. If there was a shot to take, it would be the shot they took from half court. That's basically what we were focusing on. We didn't want them to get anything close to the goal.

Q. How was all that with three seconds left explained to you?
COACH CALIPARI: Just simply I knew my guy hit it, and the ball hit in bounds, because I was staring at it, which means the clock doesn't start until it hits something. And if it went into the 6th row, like boom and it took three seconds, the game would have been over. And my man touched it. It hit in bounds. Until it touches something in play. And that's why I said the guy didn't start the clock, because I was standing right there and saw it. And he came over and said your man hit it, it hit in bounds and it wasn't touched until it was moved, 1.1 seconds. If it would have been three seconds, two, we would have been fine. But I was standing right next to him. Did everybody see is that? It may make you mad, but that's what happened. It's right there (laughter.)
Q. Talk about how the environment played into your time out strategies and trying to keep the atmosphere
COACH CALIPARI: We were 10 1 last year and 9 2 this year on true road games. That's 19 3. So my team's it's almost like the challenge. This is what we wanted, to come to Texas in front of 30,000 and prove ourselves. And what happened, truly the pressure was on them, not us. The foul trouble we had was, for us to survive it, I was surprised. And I did our people that watched me, I like to go home with three or four time outs, because I don't want the game to stop. I want the game to just keep going. So I'll go home, most games with three or four time outs. I had to use them today, because it could have gotten away from us at two or three different points.
I'm proud of this, Andre Allen played poorly, but made that 3 point play. Anderson missed and we fouled on both misses of him. He misses a free throw but comes back and makes that play, those two free throws. Willie Kemp who has struggled the last games came out the second half and played well. The only reason I took him out is because he passed on the three. You don't pass on a three. That means to me that you're not playing to win, you're making sure that you don't no, that's the only reason I took him out. He's a freshman.
But I was proud of how they responded and it was like a gut check at times.

Q. Louisville, Cincinnati, Marquette, De Paul, they all leave. Your program is supposed to fade, they're supposed to rise up. Second year in a row you're playing, they're watching.
COACH CALIPARI: The only thing I'll say is what a basketball league does is give you a schedule in January and February. It gives you your schedule in January and February. When we're playing at Arizona, at Gonzaga, at Tennessee, playing in Maui, the teams in the tougher conferences are playing Popcorn State. It's just switched around. Now, we got in our league and our league was stronger this year than it was a year ago. We were just a better team. We were 13 1 last year. Three teams are building practice facilities, one built a new building, 10 thousand seats in Central Florida, rise is adding 12 million dollars in their arena. There's more investment in this league than any league in the country. All of us have all our players coming back except Central Florida and we're adding people. We'll get two or three teams in the NCAA Tournament with a couple in the NIT. The league killed them. Yeah, maybe we could have won by more, I don't know.

Q. On the A&M final play with two seconds left, what was your defense on Law? Did you expect them to do something to get them, maybe that long bomb again?
COACH CALIPARI: We put our big 7 footer back in that gap so there would be no back screen and a run toward that sideline toward their bench. They were going to have to throw something over the stop, which we were going to switch or throw it to the back court to take a heave. That's we were going to switch deep and make them throw it to half court with our.
7 foot two guy standing there. If you know what I'm saying, the back screen and run toward their bench and make we weren't going to give that up. And I put the big kid in there for that reason, just stand there. He did a great job of just standing there.

Q. At this time of year certain names come up for certain jobs
COACH CALIPARI: Please, please, stop. I'm not look, I'm so happy with what's going on and where we are and this program and what we're doing, I'm new jobs, high school jobs, college jobs, I just don't deal with them. I'm coaching where I am. I've been here 7 years and I was leaving every year. I've been here 7 years. I'm worried about right now coaching this team, trying to do something unique. At a school that needs something unique to happen for it. And so there's good stuff in our city our city deserves this. Our city deserves something like this to happen. I'm doing everything in my power.
My focus is so much on these young men. We're running an offense. If you watch it it's a little bit like Princeton. It's European, and Princeton with the back doors. But there's patterns to it. It's not helter skelter. You may think it's helter skelter, it's Princeton. They're coming out running stuff. And so these guys and what they've been able to do, I'm so proud of them. Now I just have a question. Can we get one more? Can we get one more? I don't know. We're going to try.