March 20, 2009

 

THE MODERATOR:  We'll get started with an opening statement from Coach Miller and then take questions for the student athletes.
 
COACH MILLER:  Well, I thought we beat a very good team in Portland State.  Watching them on film, and I believe our team would agree, we really respected them, especially on offense.  They have a little point guard, Jeremiah Dominguez, to me he's one of the best we have played against and he's a handful.
 
But as our team continued to play the game, I thought our defense and size really started to wear them down.  I credit these guys for sticking with it.  A lot of times if you're a good defensive team you can really get to the other team's heart late in the second half, middle of the second half and I thought that really happened.  Offensively there were times in this game where it was the best we could play.
 
And I'll give you one stat, any time our team can turn over the ball seven times, that's as good as we can do.  And we're a very good team when we take care of the ball like we did today.
 
THE MODERATOR:  Take questions for the student athletes.

 
Q.  Dante, you had about a one minute stretch at about the six minute mark in the first half, you had a layup, you had a steal that produced a layup for B.J. and he hit a three.  Can you talk about that sequence and did you think that was kind of the spark that the team needed?
 
DANTE JACKSON:  I think so.  But I was trying to do whatever I could do to help our team be successful.  Luckily the ball kind of found my hand on the steal and then I was able to find B.J. for the layup and then I think it was C.J. here who or Derrick who hit me or hit me for the three in the corner.

 
Q.  C.J., you talked about how you really wanted to get back to the way you have been playing before, and you scored most of your points today in the second half.  Did you feel like they wanted you to shoot today?  And kind of how did you approach the matchup?
 
C.J. ANDERSON:  I just tried to be aggressive and take the opportunities that were given to me.  I think that because B.J. and the other guys were doing such a good job shooting the ball it opened up the lane a little bit for me.  So I just tried to be aggressive and make the shots that I was taking.

 
Q.  For any of the players, why were you guys so efficient on offense tonight?  What was the key?
 
DANTE JACKSON:  I think that we were efficient because we were able to move the ball.  Coach always talks about moving the ball and moving yourself and I think we did a really good job of that in the first half, which produced some open looks and B.J. and C.J. and Derrick and then the rest of the guys were able to hit some open shots and I think that's the main key.

 
Q.  Dante, did the three of you hit right to begin the game to beat the shot clock?  Did that give you any kind of extra confidence in what you were going to be able to do tonight?
 
DANTE JACKSON:  A little bit.  But then again, it was a long game, so you hit a shot in the first 35 seconds of a 40 minute game, it's really not    it doesn't mean too much.  So I was just hoping for the best the rest of the way.
 
COACH MILLER:  Don't forget about B.J.  He'll be disappointed if he can't talk.
 
B.J. RAYMOND:  I'm good.  Don't do it.  Don't worry about me.  Don't do it out of courtesy, please.

 
Q.  B.J., I'm impressed by how your team shares the ball.  Is that an evolution over the season or is that Coach Miller's task mastering or how does that happen?
 
B.J. RAYMOND:  We have a great play after the play and it starts with us moving the ball from one side to the other.  Everybody gets to touch the ball.  And everybody has confidence in the other players' ability to put it on the floor or make the right decisions.  So we love to share the ball and see our teammates succeed.

 
Q.  Dante, I'm going to get something out of you, if it takes me all night.  What about running through the screens, at least especially in the first half?  You got to be a little bit banged up, it seemed like every time Dominguez had the ball, you were slamming into somebody trying to follow him around the court.
 
DANTE JACKSON:  Unfortunately I wasn't pressuring the ball like Coach Miller wanted me to do, so I was getting backed pretty hard.  But we made an adjustment and I was able to    I took the coaching that the coaches were giving me and I was just trying to play hard.

 
Q.  B.J., can you talk about C.J.'s performance tonight and what he brought to the team with his 14 points.
 
B.J. RAYMOND:  Well, C.J., any time he is aggressive he makes our team better.  Any time he's putting the ball in the basket, when you see 14 points, he's doing it in a lot of ways.  That means he's being aggressive, he's getting shots for the shooters, but he's also putting fouls on the other team because of the way he plays, he gets to the free throw line.  And for him, scoring 14 points, for us that's a big lift for us because it helps us in a lot of ways and we just hope that he's just like that.  He's a pit bull and we appreciate it.
 
THE MODERATOR:  All right.  Thank you, gentlemen.  We'll take questions for Coach Miller.

 
Q.  Coach, you talked about the turnover stat.  How important are stats to you and are there others that you consider more important for your team?  Do you set stat goals and that kind of thing before a game?
 
COACH MILLER:  We do.  We're defense driven.  Generally when we have had great success it's holding the other team to a low field goal percentage.  I was very concerned at half time because Portland State had such a high percentage from the field going.  We're not a team that has necessarily won in a lot of shootouts.
 
And our defense in the second half was much better.  And like I mentioned with my opening comments, if you're a good defensive team, a lot of times it can wear throughout the course of the game where the results don't come early, they come in the second half.  And our players really stuck with it and I thought really defended an excellent offensive team in Portland State.

 
Q.  Sean, could you speak to the effort that Dante had tonight, especially in the first half and especially that minute or so stretch where he had a couple of baskets and a steal.
 
COACH MILLER:  Yeah, you know, when we recruited Dante, to me we were recruiting a winner.  He was a winner in high school, he approaches every day with such enthusiasm that it's contagious.  And as he's gained more experience and grown as a player, he now can carry that into games.  And for example, today was a big game, but he is so energetic, he's such a positive guy, he's such a great teammate that he's just someone that I think a lot of programs would love to have on their team.
 
At times he shot the ball better than others, but he knows for our team to be really good he's got to be a hawk on defense.  Guarding other good players at different positions.
 
And your questions about his effort today and they are very accurate in that I thought more than anybody on our team he really had a wearing down effect on the opposing players that he guarded.  And he gave us offense, four steals.  And you look at his offense, arguably he was as good of a player today for us as anyone.

 
Q.  Can you talk about C.J. and did you feel like they were trying to get him to shoot, having scouted his last performance knowing he was 0 9?
 
COACH MILLER:  No one feels worse about 0 9 than C.J.  He's been our team's heart and soul and he has been a part of a lot of big wins.  He struggled like sometimes can happen with players, especially if you're not a perimeter shooter, but I thought today he took a couple floaters, he shot the ball from 8 and 10 feet.
 
I almost had a conniption when I saw him shoot a 17 footer, but he played with confidence and he's a tough matchup off the dribble and he's very experienced.  And you heard B.J. describe him as a pit bull.  The reason that B.J. describes him as that is that he is such a competitive person.  He's fearless, he's got great confidence in his ability.  I would have predicted that he would have played well today.

 
Q.  Did you guys make an adjustment on Dominguez at half time after he had 13 points and had zero in the second half?
 
COACH MILLER:  It was just more of the same.  No.  To our players' credit we had a great team effort against him and I thought he wore down, which happens.  It's mid March, he's dribbling the ball a lot, he's not a big guy, late in the second half, middle of the second half, he took a pretty good punch throughout the game in terms of players giving great effort in order to stop him, but he's really a good player.  He really is.  He scared me to death before we played him.
 
And that first half was what I expected in terms of his overall ability level.  And he's as good of a player point guard as we played against this season.

 
Q.  Was it important for this team's kind of collective confidence to get so many guys involved tonight?
 
COACH MILLER:  Not really.  This team more than any Xavier team that I've been a part of, and I've now been a part of eight, is really battle tested.  When you just look at the NCAA tournament field, the teams that are in the round of 32, we have played an awful lot of them.  And for example, in order for us to advance in the next round we're going to have to be an excellent team.  But our team has played against teams like that throughout this season.  Played in very difficult non conference schedule and how we play is going to be no different in this tournament than we played in Puerto Rico, it's just a matter of to what level we'll be at.

 
Q.  You had Dante as a hawk and C.J. as a pit bull, what's B.J.?
 
COACH MILLER:  Bull headed.
 
(Laughter.)  Very head strong.  Very confident.  B.J.'s an interesting story, if you haven't covered us.  Played about nine minutes a game as a freshman.  About 12 minutes a game as a zone defense sophomore.  Was our team's sixth man last year, made some really big shots in this tournament a year ago and now he's First Team All Conference as a senior.
 
He's a throwback, guys like him, they want to transfer before they ever get to their junior year.  He's from a great family, played at a terrific high school and his competitive spirit, bull headedness in a positive way, really guides him and he's, again, another ingredient to this year's team.
 
We're led by B.J., C.J. and Derrick Brown, they have been the three most consistent players, they're also the three oldest players on our team.
 
THE MODERATOR:  Okay.  Thank you, Coach.
 
COACH MILLER:  Thank you.

 THE MODERATOR:  We'll have an opening statement from Coach Bone and then take questions for the student athletes.
 
COACH BONE:  Well, I'm proud of the guys.  I felt like we were extremely focused and ready to go and we did the best job we could.  I thought they left everything on the court and we just happened to run into a very good Xavier team, which we knew ahead of time, but they proved it tonight that there's a reason why they're No. 4 seed.  They were very difficult to stop on one end and hard to get good shots off against on the other.
 THE MODERATOR:  Take questions for the student athletes, please.

 
Q.  If any of you guys can just talk about the overall effect that Xavier's defense had throughout the course of the game.  It wasn't necessarily forcing turnovers, but just the wear and tear that they put on you guys, can you talk about that?
 
JAMIE JONES:  I just thought Xavier was, they're a real solid team, they're big and physical and I think they took us out of some stuff.  But I think that we just didn't have just the motivation at the end.  I don't know.  It was just tough, a tough team, a good team.

 
Q.  Jeremiah, can you talk about you guys take that one point lead and then things kind of unraveled from there.  Just talk about the letdown of the team, you guys get your first lead and then you're kind of climbing uphill from there.
 
JEREMIAH DOMINGUEZ:  Yeah, we had got the one point lead and we had some    after that we had two bad turnovers, one from myself and another.  And once you get    and they went on a run, they went on a 10 0 run and then once we hit that 10 0, it was just playing catchup ball from there.  And playing against Xavier, it's a tough team to come back from.  They're just so solid on defense and offensive side of the ball, so we put ourself in a hole and we couldn't dig ourself out.

 
Q.  You guys have played a very tough schedule.  How did these guys compare to the Washingtons, the Gonzagas that you played against.
 
ANDRE MURRAY:  They're a very similar team.  They're a very good rebounding team just like Washington, like Washington, Baylor, like Gonzaga.  So we have seen this before and I feel like we should have been ready, but we had a little bit a letdown throughout the game.  So it was very similar to the teams we played before.

 
Q.  Jeremiah, it's a bittersweet time for you, but you look back on your two years here, and you got to be proud of what you guys have accomplished going two straight NCAA tournaments.
 
JEREMIAH DOMINGUEZ:  Yeah, after transferring here I knew we had a chance to have a great team.  After those two years, I had the best experience of my life and I was happy to transfer to Portland State.  And I'm just happy that we got here the past two years and it's all done now, but I had a great past two years of my life and I'll always remember this.

 
Q.  Jeremiah, talk about what they did defensively to you in the second half.  You were held scoreless and they really paid a lot of attention to you.
 
JEREMIAH DOMINGUEZ:  Just them being solid.  I know when I came up on the balls they were trapping me the second half and they just made every shot difficult for me to get off and it worked.  So it was a good defense.
 
THE MODERATOR:  Okay, thank you, guys.  We'll excuse the student athletes and take questions for Coach Bone.

 
Q.  When Andre Murray hit the three, cut the lead to seven at the end of the first half momentum was kind of shifting, what did you tell your team at half time?
 
COACH BONE:  Talked about the fact that if we could get the game to the eight minute mark where we were right in it, then I thought we had a great chance.  Because it felt like maybe the four seed in Xavier, like a lot of teams, might tighten up a little bit and play not to lose.  And it felt like we would continue to play to win.  But it didn't work.
 
Xavier's very good.  They came out right away and set the tone, kind of put us in our place, and immediately outscored us and I don't know the stats, but it seemed like about 11 or 12 to two or three.  And they did a great job.  Xavier's a very good basketball club.  So I don't want to take anything away from our kids, the Portland State guys, but we ran into a very good team who played well.

 
Q.  Coach, can you talk a little bit about how tough it is to pull an upset in this tournament.  People always talk about upsets and March madness for a team from a small conference like yourself.  What does it take and how hard is it to win these games?
 
COACH BONE:  Well, I think you have to shoot the ball well.  And we shot it decent, but not like you have to do to pull off a win against a team the caliber of Xavier and a team that's experienced as Xavier.  They're not just all of a sudden a four seed this year, I think it was last year they got to the Elite 8.  They have had a tremendous amount of success over the year, over the years, and they didn't panic.  We hit the shot, went up 25 24, and they acted like it was, you know, nothing to them.  They have been there before and they played like it.
 
I think it's difficult to get in the tournament as a 13 seed and pull an upset.  But it's been done before.  We just didn't happen to do it today.

 
Q.  You guys played so hard last year against Kansas.  I know you were really proud of that team.  Didn't look in the second half that you guys had much energy.  Was that due to something Xavier was doing or did you just feel like your guys didn't have it?
 
COACH BONE:  I don't think I did a good job substituting guys.  I probably kept a few kids in longer than I should have and just really tried to milk it.  The timeouts are two and a half minutes long, the half time is 20 minutes long.  So I tried to use that in a way to really milk it with some of our key guys.  But I probably should have called a time out or two also early in the second half.  And I didn't do that.
 
So that first 10 minutes of the second half was wasn't very good for me.  I probably should have done a better job personally.  Maybe we would have had a little more energy.

 
Q.  Are you a big statistics guy and are there any stats that are more important than others to you when you look at your team and what you're trying to do?

COACH BONE:  Rebounds are.  Rebounds are very, very important.  It's usually the first thing I look at.  And then getting to the free throw line.  And unfortunately those are probably the two areas that we were the weakest at this evening.  We got out rebounded 34 21 and they had 10 offensive boards to our 4.  And then on the free throw line, two of our better shooters, Andre Murray and Jeremiah Dominguez, together went 2 8.  And you add up a few of those free throws and a few offensive boards that they got, not that it would have been a one point game, but maybe it's a six or eight point game with eight minutes to go, like I mentioned.

Q.  Can you just talk about your 3 point shooting and how well you guys have done that this year and how you feel that you guys really shot the ball from behind the arc tonight?
 
COACH BONE:  Well, we shot it decent.  We shoot right about the percentage that we did tonight, I think, 38 percent.  What I didn't expect was them to shoot so well.  They came out and hit 6 out of 12 in the first half.
 
And again, they played with a lot of poise, they seemed comfortable, when they got a good look, they buried it.  But that's kind of who we have been all year.  We shot 46 shots, 21 of them tonight were threes.  And we made eight.  Which is right about like I said the percentage we usually shoot.

 
Q.  I know you probably haven't thought about it too much yet, but what do you think this team's going to look like moving forward without Jeremiah running the point any more?
 
COACH BONE:  It will look bigger.
 
(Laughter.)  At that position anyway.  But we'll miss him.  There's no doubt.  The kid is just a gamer and I wish I could have done something to help him get better and more looks at the basket the second half.
 
We did, we ran a couple specials for him, but    in fact we ran a number of them in the second half to try to get him a look.  Xavier did a great job defensively.  We were running him off screens and throwing a couple little wrinkles in of what we usually do, tweaking some things, and doggone it if they weren't just there on the catch.
 
And then like Jeremiah said, they did a very good job of guarding the on balls the second half.  The first half that was our bread and butter.  No matter what we did, we ran on balls and we had good success with him.  And in the second half they either switched it or they showed hard and trapped it, and we were not able to overcome that to get him good shots.
 
But looking to the future, we're going to miss Jeremiah a lot.  The last two years we have had 46 wins and two trips to the NCAA tournament and I don't know I don't know if that would have been possible without him.
 
THE MODERATOR:  Okay, thank you, coach.
 
COACH BONE:  Thank you.

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