Clemson-Michigan Postgame Quotes
March 19, 2009
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: Yes, I thought our defense today was really a big factor in this game. If you look at the stats between Oglesby and Rivers, 2-for-something from the deep outside and had great perimeter defense because Booker is so loaded inside and got a feel for offensive rebounds, it's incredible. We've got to hang in there.
Obviously they did a great job on the boards and there's some things you can't even do that. They're really good in there. I love the way our kids persevered after they hit the three 3s and we missed open ones and had the three consecutive turnovers. Our kids still hung in there. Zack had the big foul shot. KEVIN KLINTWORTH: We're open for questions for the student athletes only at this time.
Q. C.J., when you were the last person being announced in the starting lineup, you were sitting all by yourself. What were you thinking with that weight on your shoulders there all alone on the bench?
C.J. LEE: I was thinking what our team has been thinking. We have no pressure. Go out there and do the things we've been taught. I'm a calming influence on offense. I did that for the most part today except for some a few stretches. That's all I'm thinking about when I'm going through the game and defense. Q. Manny, you allowed the game to really come to you tonight but you know when you made the 3-point play, was that just kind of you knowing when -- you needed to kind of put the team on your shoulders again?
MANNY HARRIS: We work on that everyday in practice two-on-one. It got in between me passing the ball to DeShawn. I went up and got my body into him and luckily I made the basket.
Q. You guys could have lost tonight and in the eyes of most people this would have been a very, very successful season. How did you guys overcome the idea that you could have just walked in here, done whatever but actually caught on and beat a very good team?
MANNY HARRIS: To a lot of people, it probably feel like that but, to us, we kind of -- to ourself we expected to win, we wanted to win and that was the main thing.
Q. C.J., you can you talk a little bit about Manny's performance tonight and the timing of his shots and made the teammates better. C.J. LEE: Manny did tonight what he was doing all year. We ask so much of him on a daily basis. He did a remarkable job of knowing when it was his time to takeover.
Just throughout the game his patience to know when to shoot. I mean he's got three guys on him, he's kicking out for shooters and when he's doing those things, we're a tough team to play against.
Q. Manny, you experienced what Terrence Oglesby felt tonight, getting thrown out for an elbow. What is it like? Where your stunned?
MANNY HARRIS: It's frustrating. You go into the locker room and pray that your team can win. You know there's nothing you can do at that point. The only thing you can do is pray and hope your team can win.
Q. Talk to us about Oklahoma, how you think you'll matchup against the No. 2 seed Sooners, DeShawn?
DESHAWN SIMS: They do a lot of -- we haven't done a lot of scouting on Oklahoma yet. I'm pretty sure in the next 24 hours our coaches will have us prepared and ready to play.
MANNY HARRIS: Same thing. The coaches are going to have us prepared.
C.J. LEE: Our coach is going to do a great job of getting us ready.
STU DOUGLASS: We're going to be prepared. The coach will get us prepared. Q. DeShawn, you guys seemed to start a bit slow. Do you think it was nerves, anxiety going out there at first?
DESHAWN SIMS: Definitely. Eleven years, first time in the tournament. We sensed as a team we want to stay in the tournament. It wasn't a compliment for us to make it. Anxiety kicked in, little anxious. At the end we were able to persevere. It didn't take long for us to get a rhythm. That's why we have great teammates. We pulled each other together and were able to sustain confidence throughout the game.
Q. DeShawn, in the first half they were just grabbing offensive rebounds left and right. Anything Coach told you or you told yourself in trying to keep your confidence up and trying to do something more inside?
DESHAWN SIMS: It was tough. Guys were grabbing offensive rebounds and luckily I had teammates pick me up. Most of it was things I can control, just had some lapse during the game and in the second half I gave a better effort and I gave enough to get my team over the hump in the second half and we prospered.
Q. Stu, you know, you and Zack have kind of gotten used to being the starting five. Was there anything today that you guys did just to kind of calm the nerves a little bit, just to kind of get ready for your first tournament game?
STU DOUGLASS: You can't really say it's another game. That's how you have to prepare. And we came out and our coaches had us prepared and we just had to be confident and trust in ourselves and you can't get nervous and I don't think Zack was nervous and I definitely wasn't nervous.
Q. Manny, you guys used the bench a lot tonight, seemed like they gave you minutes even if they didn't give you points. Did you notice the difference in freshness maybe down the stretch?
MANNY HARRIS: Oh, yeah. The starting guys, we need little breathers and stuff to keep us fresh down the stretch and the guys, they came in off the bench, came in and gave a great effort and that's one of the big reasons why we was able to pull out the win.
Q. Stu, talk about the intentional foul and also what kind of impact it had on you guys. You really pulled away after that. STU DOUGLASS: You know, it was just -- he was coming off a screen and, you know, if it's intentional or not, elbow came up and hit me in the face. Stuff like that happens.
We've experienced that as a tam. I think we kind of rallied behind that. Oglesby is a great player and for them to lose him is kind of big hit on him and we played great perimeter defense but to have one down at that time took a lot of pressure off us.
Q. DeShawn, you've been here for three years. How was your preparation and your feelings before tipoff? How did that compare to all the games you've played here so far?
DESHAWN SIMS: It's safe to say that it was different, this game, not because it's the tournament game, because we almost got to the point where we were striving to -- it was is it the end of the road for us or what's next?
So it was a little different for me today. I didn't prepare as well as I have in the past and I'll be prepared to play on Saturday.
Q. C.J. the fact this could have been your last game, did that bother or cross in your mind before the game?
C.J. LEE: No, it didn't, honestly. I mean all year we've just been talking about 40 minutes of focus. The Coach is doing a good job of telling us to play in four minute segments. See you in four minutes every media time.
I really haven't thought about it being the end. I'm trying to play as hard as I possibly can to keep this thing going and the team, what I can give them.
Q. Manny, can you talk a little more about that 3-point play when you get the ball, they're coming back? What's going through your mind there? Were you pretty determined you were going to find a way to score at that moment?
MANNY HARRIS: Like we said, went over -- we practice that everyday in practice and the guy just was kind of shading me and DeShawn and I just wanted to make a play and that's what it ended up being and lucky I was blessed to make the 3-point play.
KEVIN KLINTWORTH: Okay. At this point we'll let our student athletes head back to the locker room. Thanks guys.
Questions for Coach John Beilein.
Q. John, obviously you've been on the other side of having to play -- or ejected. Is there anything in the huddle during that brief moment that you tell your team that, you know, maybe this was an opportunity that we can kind of capitalize on right away?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: I didn't even address that. He's a very, very good shooter. Hadn't made a lot of shots at that point. So I just said he's a good player but this doesn't make any difference right now. They've got other guys that are talented come off the bench. Don't let down one minute.
Q. Coach, congratulations. Obviously we don't know the winner of this next game but how do you think you would matchup, talk about the strength of your Michigan team and if you should be facing Oklahoma, how you matchup, obviously, with Blake Griffin?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: I'm the wrong guy to ask. I know nothing about them right now. I really don't. I don't watch any of those games that they've played. I know -- I remember seeing him as a young recruit. I played against -- actually his older brother when Calvin was coaching Oklahoma and we had a West Virginia team. I really don't know anything about him. You can bet in the next 42 hours I'll learn as much as I can.
Q. The strength of your team, Coach?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: Oh, you know, you got two -- you saw four of them right now, they're tough-minded kids and really want to win. They came out there, played with a great edge on their -- chip on their shoulder today as we were fighting to get into this tournament. We weren't in until the last couple days. And I think that's always an advantage going down the stretch when you're fighting to get in and then you get in. I don't think you lose an edge from -- not that Clemson did but teams are in those middle seeds that knew they were in. They didn't even win their last game or weren't fighting as hard as we were. It was survival the last two weeks for our kids.
Q. Coach, can you talk about the balance that Manny Harris struck tonight, aggressively taking the ball to the hole and setting people up on his team?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: And breaking the press as well. We could get the ball to him on the press, it was -- advance the ball very quickly. He just finds people very well and Zack hit some shots, C.J. hit a couple and then he finds -- always finds DeShawn, he's always looking for him.
He makes a big difference in our quickness and gets into the lane and he got -- he's the leading rebounder as well tonight.
Q. Coach, when Manny made that move at the end of the game, you were up by one with 30 seconds left, was that one of those no-nos?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: Absolutely. Just like the three in the corner that Novak took. I don't know if I would advise either one but there's some things you just got to watch and see what they're doing.
He did have some -- if we didn't have something good, we say if the numbers weren't right at that time, probably good idea to bring it out, but one point we were -- they were going to have to get it back. I don't know the exact number on the clock. What was the number on the clock?
Q. 37 when he made the move.
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: When he went in there. I probably look at him and say you have a great shot here, it's got to be like a layup. When Manny gets into crowds those are like layups to him. If we didn't have something there we would have pulled it out and made them follow us.
Q. You had some success against ACC teams this year. Is there any different preparation against an ACC team?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: I haven't had any success against the ACC. Q. You beat Duke. That's why you're here.
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: I mean -- you can look at just the score. Clemson is averaging 79 points a game and they had 59. I don't think anybody in that game was holding the ball, right?
This game is played -- we've learned in the Big 10 you do not survive if you are not going to guard people, you know, be able to guard people for 35 seconds and so, you know, that's one difference I know that when you're averaging that many points, it's hard when you can get that game where it's just a little bit different pace.
We would have been crazy to do this all day. You can see why, 21 offensive rebounds. They would have another 20 defensive rebounds if we played like that at well.
Q. Can you talk about the minutes you got from Zack Gibson and Anthony Wright and the hustle plays they made?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: It was great. When they started to make their little run back Zack had two tipouts that were huge for us to get it and then Anthony coming in and Manny -- a new thing we put in, Manny drives the baseline and hits Anthony in the corner and Anthony hasn't played a great deal this year. He shot very good in practice.
We felt he was the right skilled guy for their pressure and hit a huge shot for us and rebounded as well. We had a lot of guys that were ready to step forward today.
KEVIN KLINTWORTH: Last couple of questions for coach. Q. Coach, what was going through your mind when they cut that 15 point lead down to one inside a minute?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: You know what, we had the two 3s which I didn't mind taking. Stu took one, Manny took one wide open might have sealed the game. They went in and out and they made the two. Then we had the three turnovers.
I know -- we know we have a young team and we know we take care of the ball -- we don't have a lot of experience of taking care of the ball in the NCAA Tournament. I wasn't surprised. How could we survive this? And somebody has got to make one shot here and we got to get one defensive rebound here to be in position to win the game. Manny made the big shot and I don't think we ever got the defensive rebound we needed.
Q. You've been in this situation first game, first NCAA Tournament appearance with your team. How did this appearance of Michigan compare to the other schools you've been to?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: Well, I think that everyone of them, that first game has been an absolute -- I don't think the first -- I think three of the four have been actually last shot games, South Carolina, they missed one at the buzzer, we beat Creighton with a shot at the buzzer and the last time, it was very well decided and we lost to Utah once by a lot.
But they're intense for our kids. I think that it took a little wind out of your sails to lead and then all of a sudden hanging on. It's still a great W for us to win today.
KEVIN KLINTWORTH: Thank you, Coach.
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KEVIN KLINTWORTH: Next up is Clemson Head Coach Oliver Purnell, Trevor Booker and K.C. Rivers.
COACH OLIVER PURNELL: Obviously, we're terribly disappointed that we didn't win the game and here in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. I thought our big problem, of course, was we couldn't get the ball to go in the basket. I was pleased with our energy level on the defensive end of the floor. I thought defensively for the most part throughout the game we played pretty well. We made some errors against the Harris kid in terms of giving up some 3s but by and large I thought we -- we did a pretty good job defensively.
Certainly was an improvement over last couple of weeks. Offensively just couldn't get a lot of point blank shots to go in.
Late midway to late in the first half and then during the second half, of course, we went through the soap opera right there and were down 14, 15 after that and was all down and settled down, we made a heck of a come back.
Got started to get even more stops and we started to make some shots and gave yourselves an opportunity to get back in it but we dug ourselves too big a hole going into the half in the second half with just not being able to get the ball in the basket and then mainly not getting the ball in the basket.
Obviously we're disappointed with the TO situation because he's a young man that can give us some spark every now and then but if that's the case, if you elbow the kid, then he should be thrown out.
KEVIN KLINTWORTH: Questions for student athletes at this time.
Q. K.C., obviously a disappointing end to your career. What are you thinking right now after that game?
K.C. RIVERS: Right now, I'm just trying to look positive and not the negatives. Just let my mind be free, really, right now. I don't know what to think. It's been up and down ride, you know.
I cherish the fight I have in my teammates throughout the whole year. They helped me become the all time winningest player in Clemson history. Right now my mind is really blank.
I'm just trying to look at more positive than I am negative but right now I'm hurting.
Q. K.C., why don't you just talk about what you were looking for on the last shot and kind of how it set-up for you.
K.C. RIVERS: Well, I came off -- when I was running off it looked like it was going to be a good enough spot for me to catch and release but a little jammed up. I figured if I take it down a little further I could get a shot off and sure enough the little man switched on me but the quicker I had to turn, being a left-handed person, you got to turn and square and it's got to be a fast turn and I didn't turn as well and fortunately time ran out and the ball was short. That's what happened. I took the last shot of my senior career.
Q. Trevor, can you just talk about your efforts on the boards and how you kind of dominated the boards but couldn't turn it into really anything?
TREVOR BOOKER: Well, we did a good job of attacking the glass, especially the offensive glass but unfortunately we came up short. I think we got down a little bit too much in the second half and we took too long to try to fight back.
Q. K.C., did they do anything particularly on defense to frustrate you guys?
K.C. RIVERS: Nothing we haven't seen, you know. Just, again, we talked about not being tentative and we talked about not being frustrated at what we see and, again, some of the frustration, some of the tentativeness creeped in.
After we got beyond that, the time was kind of ticking short and still making that push but the push was too late.
Q. I guess for Trevor, talk about the overall disappointment of having such a strong start back in February and having it end the way it did the last month or so.
TREVOR BOOKER: Well, I think we accomplished a lot throughout the season. We didn't want it to end like this but I mean we still learned a lot. We came close as a team throughout the season but unfortunately it ended in tragedy.
KEVIN KLINTWORTH: Any questions for student athletes? Okay. We'll have these guys to head back to the locker room.
Questions for Coach.
Q. Coach, how did you try to reset things after the Oglesby situation? What was your approach to them?
COACH OLIVER PURNELL: Well, my approach was to remind them that we talked about both sides of the coin. We talked about being 15 up and as one hanging it together and get the job done and we talked about being 15 down.
I just reminded them not more than 24 hours ago we talked about the situation. And I think that positive thing is they were looking me right in the eye. They believed that.
And you know, obviously, we came close to getting the thing tied. Andre Young had a shot go down that would have tied it. Obviously K.C.'s was a tough look but could have tied it.
But, you know, you got to give Michigan credit. They got up 15 and hung in there. They were tired. They just hung in there. That's why you don't want to be down 15 to a good team because it's kinds of like a hot wire. Maybe you stay up on it and get it done, make a couple shots, get into overtime.
That happens so many times in this tournament. The way we were making shots in this game, probably wasn't going to happen. That was the real key to the game was lose -- us losing the game, couldn't make a layup, couldn't make shots.
When you look Demontez, TO, K.C., Potter, their shooting percentages, we just couldn't make a shot. And K.C., Potter had layups and obviously didn't make them and I think Demontez had four in the lane from about 7 feet.
Got to make some of those or you're going to put yourself behind the 8 ball and then the situation coming out of the half, all of a sudden you're a man down, particularly a good shooter down and by the time we kind of settled back in from that situation, we're down 15.
Our guys made a valiant effort and again when I looked at them in the eye and said we can do this, I think they believed me.
Q. Coach, you're down 15 with under 6 to go and you bring it within 9 with a timeout. What did you tell your team in that timeout after they hit two 3-pointers and how proud of you of your team with that 14-0 run?
COACH OLIVER PURNELL: I told them it was a situation that we envisioned and talked about, that we could be 15 up, 15 down. It's the tournament. But because of our ability to kind of hang in there as one, coming closer together we could get it done and I thought they believed it.
I thought that's one of the reasons why we gave ourselves a chance. So, yeah, I'm sure. I'm proud of the fact they fought hard, proud. Fact they came out here, ready to go defensively.
We hadn't played well defensively in the last couple of weeks. But, at the same time, you got to kind of put together a complete game. You got to finish strong inside. We didn't do that.
Q. Same thing to ask the players, your thoughts now about finishing the season the way you did after the way you guys started the season on such a strong run? COACH OLIVER PURNELL: I would kind of agree with both our guys. K.C. basically was saying he's kind of numb and that's how I am right now but Book said we've accomplished a lot of things this year and I told the guys, you've had a solid year but it's not good enough for me. I don't think that's good enough for the program. I don't think that's good enough for you.
And told the seniors I hope they learned a lot in terms of team and consistency and those kinds of things as they go off to play for somebody else or they go off into business. But from a program standpoint, we can't be satisfied. Got a lot of guys coming back, got some guys coming in and we're just not satisfied with having a solid year. We want to have a great year.
Q. The way it played out, you guys spent so much time talking and working on defense and getting your energy back on defense and the press and all whole thing. I mean did you ever envision just missing -- it's one thing you don't worry about, missing a layup?
COACH OLIVER PURNELL: Might miss some jump shots. We weren't concerned about that against the zone. You don't think you're going to miss a lot of layups. And if you remember, we talked about attacking Michigan or any other zone. Make sure that we have balance and we get the ball inside.
We don't want to get in a horse contest from the outside. Sure enough we got it in there and just didn't finish it. Really not a lot to say about the execution. We just didn't finish.
KEVIN KLINTWORTH: Anything else? Thank you, Coach.
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