First Round Notes and Quotes: Miami(Ohio) vs. Oregon Post-gameMarch 16, 2007

Miami (Ohio) Quotes

THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get an opening statement from Coach Coles and then we'll have questions for the players today, Tim Pollitz, Michael Bramos and Nathan Peavy so start us off, coach.

COACH CHARLIE COLES: Well, we're officially out of the tournament now. I thought that the game was that we played a good ball game. I thought it was a good ball game. We came out on the short end of it, and I thought it was a game that we had a chance to win at different times. And definitely I thought that the last five, six minutes of the game we had enough energy, had we made a few more plays, that maybe we could have came out victorious. Brooks made, stepped up to the plate and made some plays for them. Then the rest of their guys did a real good job. So it was a game that we, I kind of felt coming into the game that we were going to be okay. I was checking things out and everybody was I timed them in I, you couldn't time them in the hundred, everybody's talking about their great speed, and I got my stop watch out and I can only time them what, how long is the basketball court? How long is it? And I didn't see any Jesse Owens' and I thought, boy, if Jesse is not there, then we ought to be able to keep up with them a little bit. And so we did. And so I think that they played more of our game than we played more of their game. And so when that happens, you got a shot at it. But I give them credit, good ball club. A good leadership from their players. Great, great gentlemen on the court. This was one of the better games that I think I've coached in in terms of ref'ing the opposing player, players, and our players and their coaches. I mean, it was almost like, hey, guys, how y'all doing. And so I had no complaints, none whatsoever. I thought that the officials were phenomenal. They stayed out of the way, they made great calls. And, hey, we just came up short. And we're you but we appreciate the opportunity to be here. We really, really do. THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.

Q. Nathan, this is your last game, I just wonder how you feel. You guys won on a shot, a last second shot to hit here and then you hit a shot that could have taken it to overtime today. Just what are you really feeling right now? NATHAN PEAVY: Being the last game as a senior, you know, it hurts. It's bitter sweet. Knowing that I won't be able to be with my teammates any more. So it's just a feeling that I thought we had a very good season, happy for that, we played very well as a team today. And that's what it's best been the case this whole season and I'm just going to truly miss all my teammates and the program and everybody that was involved with us. And it's just, I thought we played a good game and that's all I have to say.

Q. Their coach said that they were nervous and jittery out of the gate, did you guys get a sense at all that that was going on or did you feel more frustration from them? MICHAEL BRAMOS: Well, I thought they came out man to man and I thought we executed our offense very well. I don't know if they were jittery, but I think that our execution was just that good in the beginning with the man offense. And I think after that I don't know if it woke them up, but they went into their zone and they started playing a little better. So I don't know if they might have been a little jittery but I think it has to do with a little but bit of us on our offensive execution too. So that's all. TIM POLLITZ: I don't know if they were jittery, I just think we came out real strong and from the start, because they started, they played man to man at the start. Then once they put in that zone we kind of, they started to sink down and kind of get some steals here and there and they started to play their type of game. But I just thought it was a good game overall. Hats off to the Oregon because they came down the stretch and in the second half and made a couple more plays than we did. But that's all right though. NATHAN PEAVY: No, I really think they weren't that jittery. We came out to a good start and I think that them going to the zone kind of slowed us down a little bit. Then our turnovers kind of got them going. In that first half. But overall you think that we gave them a good run and we just had to make a couple more big plays at the end to beat them.

Q. You guys talked yesterday about how you had seen, you had played teams similar to this but none as fast as these guy, actually playing against them were they as fast as you thought or not? TIM POLLITZ: I don't really know. They were being hyped up as being such a fast team and I wouldn't I'm in the trying to compare them, but like you compare them to like Toledo or anything, I don't know if they were that much faster than Toledo. At least tonight I don't think they were that much faster than like a Toledo ball club. Because they're very fast too. But nothing taken away against them. Obviously there's games that they're more faster on the fast break than other games. So it all depends upon who you're playing against. And obviously when you play against us, we're trying to get back on transition defense a lot. So that obviously counteracts what they're trying to do on offense. So makes it look real slow. So I think that's kind of how it played out. NATHAN PEAVY: I was just going to say they were quick, but I think our schedule prepared us enough for, there's a lot of quick basketball players out there in our league and it prepared us for it. I, you wouldn't they're a quick team, but I wouldn't say they were overwhelmingly quick. We were out there, we got back on defense. I don't think you saw too many fast break opportunities for them. We just got back and they got back and I think that it just came down to the they got a couple plays at the end. So I don't think their speed really blew us away that much. THE MODERATOR: Okay. We'll excuse the players and take questions for the coach.

Q. Obviously frustrating when they had that 20 0 run. But what goes through your mind when you can't score and they keep going on and scoring? COACH CHARLIE COLES: We'll be back. We'll be back. I mean, we have had more runs on us this year and one thing I learned as a coach that we'll be back. At some point we'll meet again. That's just kind of the ball club we have. And our kids played enough great defense over the season that they would, you know, we kind of used to joke around with them early in the year that, hey, we don't think we're a very good, we're playing with a freshman guard at point guard who you have seen shot the ball with six seconds left to go in the half, he shot it, and the kid's played all year. And he's done pretty good job. But he's had moments like that. And then we play him with a converted forward at point guard. So we knew that at some point that that would be a weakness for us. And we identified it, on, and said, hey, let's, it's like a person with a bad leg, let's compensate for this bad leg and let's go. And when the score was 20 9 the guys will tell you exactly what I told them. I told them I said, hey, let's hit a lucky one. That's all we need. Can somebody throw one up? Bank it or something. Because we try to run four or five sets and couldn't get that going. Tried to keep it light because the one thing we don't want to do the one thing we didn't want to do with our guys, and I learned this about January of this season, is, hey, these kids have really, this is something we don't do well, but we do like seven other things well. And they're tough mentally. When we had our scoring droughts, if you check our season, when we beat Kent at home, Ohio at home, Akron at home, we were known for some tremendous driving. We had a scoring drought in Kentucky, which didn't seem that strange to me in Rupp Arena, you know what I mean, we played down there early on and one of the, one of the headlines said, Miami goes into nine minute drought or whatever. And we still played them well. And in the end we had a chance to, that if we hit some shots the last three minutes we might could have won that ball game. So that was something that we didn't do well but we weren't going to highlight it. 20 9, for our guys, that didn't mean a hell of a lot. Because we felt like even with a team as good as Oregon, that we're coming back. And we did. We got some movement going. And we came back.

Q. Are you surprised that they didn't try to make it a full court game with all the talk about their quickness, that they really kind of played into your hands with the half court game? COACH CHARLIE COLES: No, I hadn't seen them play much of a full court game. So teams are creatures of habit. And/or people of habit. And I didn't think they would be very good at a full court game. I was hoping for a full court game. Because I don't think they do that real well. If you would have said Toledo, I would of said, whoa, whoa, you know, because that is what they do well. They pick up three quarter court. But I think that Oregon is just fast. They get the rebound and go. And then they will put a little pressure on you. But I wasn't worried about their pressure because I thought their pressure would have gave us some open shots, would have allowed us to pass the ball better. And score would have been a little bit higher, but we would have been fine had they don't that. So it didn't surprise me at all that they didn't do that. I knew once the game, once I could judge the tempo, I wrote down on the board before the game, when, with our players, I just said, be in charge of the game. No matter what. We're in charge of the game. We want to establish some rules, boundaries and limitations out there, for Oregon to understand. And I think we did it. I think we did it. We didn't necessarily want it to be a 50 point ball game, but it was. That didn't hurt us none. So but it didn't surprise me, no. Because I don't think I don't think they would do that real well over a course of a game. That's just me judging from watching a bunch of tape on Oregon.

Q. Down three there, Mike's shot at the top of the key that's about as good of a look as you could get there? COACH CHARLIE COLES: Mike Bramos? Yeah, it was. But you know, gosh, boy, did I want that to go in. You know what I mean.

Q. Did you think it was going in? COACH CHARLIE COLES: No. I wanted it to go in. You know what I mean. I looked and said, please go in. Please go in. And it didn't. But, you know how that goes. I thought they did a decent job on trying to I think that they got that game, when a team doesn't beat another team quite as, by as much as they want to, I think that there's a tendency for a team to think that, boy, I don't think we played well. So if that's the case, I think that they kind of got that game maybe where they know now that they can play that game and then when they play Winthrop, Winthrop is much faster, they will feel more comfortable with that. So maybe our game may help them out a game or two from now. I don't know.

Q. Obviously their talent disparity on the court for an outsider was large. Did you ever at any point of the game look down the other side and say, man, I wish I had a couple of those guys? COACH CHARLIE COLES: Oh, yeah. (Laughter.) COACH CHARLIE COLES: I did that before the game. (Laughter.) COACH CHARLIE COLES: But you know what? I'll take Big Red though. I'll take Tim Pollitz. And I'll take Mike Bramos. And then I'm wishing for some of their guys, see. My two guys, a friend of mine told me early in the year, he said, you're two, three, and four men can play, should be able to play with most people in the country. And I feel that way. Michael Bramos kind of we played him on the outside this year, but he's six five, and he presents a physical presence there. That, boy, in those kind of games, when you play the Kentucky and Oregons, he looks pretty good. And then Tim Pollitz, you know, it's hard to figure out how he looks, except God, how, you know, you don't know kind of how to I think people don't guard him very well because they don't know how to get him, you know. Got kind of a big butt and he reminds me of two players who played in the past, not as good, but he reminds me of Adrian Dantley and Mark Aguirre. Two guys that were undersized, that could post you and they could post six eight guys. And so, but, after those two, there was a lot of, oh, I wish I had him, now I'll take him, I'll take one of their centers. I don't even need to have Taylor and those guys, I'll take one of those centers, big strong kids. Can get him to chopping some wood, find some trees and stuff in Ohio like they got in Oregon, keep him working hard, and if we had something like that, we would really be out of sight. Yeah. Yeah, I did. Yes, I did. Thank you so much.

Oregon Quotes

THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and have an opening statement from Coach Kent and then go to questions for the student athletes, Aaron Brooks and Bryce Taylor. COACH ERNIE KENT: As I sit here and glance at stats, it was almost an identical game played by both teams. The number of shots, the 3 pointers made, the assists, the turnovers. And they're a very difficult team to play against. That style of play. Very similar to Washington State. But for us we're 17 games now coming down to single digits and we're 13 4 in those games and it just became a game that we had to grind out and finish off at the end and I thought we did a good job and went to the matchup zone to get back in the game. They're a tough basketball team, very well coached, and they should be proud of themselves for coming out here and battling like that. But the key at this level is just to win and move on and I'm proud of these guys for hitting the free throws, getting the stops. Maarty played great. Bryce Taylor, two or three big 3's in the second half to close it out. THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.

Q. Aaron, your previous two shots were blocked and then you took it in the key again. Were you pretty determined to get to the line at that point or had you put the blocks out of you your mind then? AARON BROOKS: Yeah, you got to be a competitor and go in there and try and make plays. My jumper wasn't falling so I had to get to the paint. You can't really yeah it was a great play, but I figured if I got in there again I could probably make a play.

Q. Aaron, your opponent seemed to be very patient and very poised today. Were you at all surprised or worried that they were so close in the final minute of the game? AARON BROOKS: No, like coach said we have been through this before against a couple teams that we played. We have been in the Pac 10, we had a lot of games that was close. But the veteran leadership we have on this team helped us pull it out and that's what we expected. Everybody here in the tournament is here for a reason. They're a great team and we battled it out and we got the win. That's all that matters.

Q. Bryce, last week in L.A. the team shot the eyes out of the basket. Today it was a little struggle. What was the difference? BRYCE TAYLOR: The difference was it was just a much more slower paced game. We didn't get to get up and down as much as we like to and that usually opens up a lot of open shots for us. But it slowed the game down and also they were scoring a lot and a lot of the time those shots come off stops for us. So when they're scoring pretty much it says here 50 percent of the time, so it's tough for us to get in a rhythm getting up and down and sharing the ball and playing like we usually do. So you got to give a lot of credit to them for playing their style and not letting us get up and down.

Q. Ernie, you went with the matchup zone obviously before or after they scored on four straight possessions, was it simply how come you didn't come out right out of the gate with that zone? COACH ERNIE KENT: I felt like we were a little bit jittery out the gate. Just a little bit sluggish too. We played so doggone hard last week it's going to be hard to duplicate that energy early on. I liked the way the matchup zone gave us a chance to get some energy on the floor. Joevan came on the floor and we went on a 20 0 run there and got back in the game and got control of the game. So this team is very versatile. We used the matchup to beat Washington State and bash Washington, California. Man to man has beaten Arizona and USC. Both of them saved us today. We were sluggish in the first half. But to shoot 50 percent from the field and the three and a hundred percent from line in the second half. I thought we did a pretty good job of getting back in the game and closing out the game. But we knew it was going to be a grind.

Q. For both guys, do you guys feel tight today at all? Did you feel the pressure of being the number three seed against a team that was seeded so high? BRYCE TAYLOR: I feel like just every team that comes out especially for us it's our first time here, so it was important for us just to get a good sweat going and see a couple shots fall. Just to make those pregame or early game jitters go away. So I feel like now we got the our first game out of the way and we have seen that it's going to be very competitive. So we have to start preparing now for a Winthrop team that plays a lot different than they played and we feel like once we get started in the second game it will be a different start for us. AARON BROOKS: I think that it was a little bit of pressure. We had a pressure coming into a lot of games this year. Definitely you don't want it feel it but it's there. So now that we got this game out of the way I feel we can just come out and play. I think that this is a good win for us. Next game will be better.

Q. Did you get a chance guys to watch any of the Winthrop game? Were you in the Arena watching and if so just your thoughts on those guys? AARON BROOKS: I think they're a very athletic team. Great guard play. Veterans on the team. I think there's a couple they have some of the same people that we played my freshman year on the team. And they're just a good team all around. They like to get up and down. Our games kind of match a little bit. So it will be a funner game, we'll get up and down and shoot and play like Oregon basketball. BRYCE TAYLOR: Yeah, just over the course of the year I noticed a couple players from their team I believe their name is Torrell Martin and Bradshaw. I saw he had a great game today. So they just looked like they play with a lot of confidence and they feel like they have something to prove. So we know they're going to be ready for us on Saturday. Or Sunday.

Q. Was this game not fun? The way they the way you guys had to play it? BRYCE TAYLOR: We always have fun playing. But it's just a different style. So of course we prefer to get up and down and be able to run and gun and share the ball and drive and kick. But at the same time they slowed it down and the most important thing for us I feel like I'm speaking for everybody, you just get fun out of getting a win. So we got that first game out of the way now, so just excited to be playing in another one. AARON BROOKS: I agree. Nothing else to say about that. That pretty much sums it up.

Q. For Aaron, let's talk about those two free throws you nailed at the end of the game. AARON BROOKS: Oh, yeah, well this year I been in the position to shoot the free throws quite a few times. And it's kind of easier to shoot it when you're up a little, you know, when you're already up one. And my team got confidence in me to hit them so it wasn't really that big of a deal to me. We played great D after that and we shut them down and we got the rebound and Maarty hit two big free throws, so we got a lot of people that can shoot the ball at the end, it just happened to be me. THE MODERATOR: Okay. Thanks, gentlemen. Questions for coach.

Q. Will your guys performance today cut it against Winthrop? COACH ERNIE KENT: I don't think Winthrop plays the way this team played today. This team made the game tough. Just because again they shortened down the game, limit your number of possessions, you milk the clock and it was a learning experience for a couple of these guys being on this stage. They played defense for 30 seconds and came down the floor and T.P., one, two dribbles, boom. I said T.P. you got to understand something here, we played defense for 30, they just played for 2. We need to control the tempo of the game better. So it was almost a learning process at this level on that stage and everything. But whether or not it will cut it, I don't think Winthrop you can get into this type of a game. I don't think they're going to play that way and we're not. So that's hard to say. I would like to think we need to play better and I would like to be satisfied with getting a game underneath our belt with a group that's never been here before. Winthrop has been here two or three times. So we're going to have to play better just in terms of a little bit more sharper in that game with Winthrop.

Q. How much are you able to use the game two years ago to game plan against Winthrop? I think you beat them by 15 at your place? COACH ERNIE KENT: Well, some of those guys are still there. They are a veteran ball club right now. That's been to the tournament. And they are playing like they're on a mission. So we're going to have to up the ante in that ball game and we're going to have to do that and get ready to play and be in for a tough, tough ball game. So again, obviously everybody knows what's at stake, they do and we do. And we got a day off in between to kind of regroup a little bit and I think this team will play better the second time out having getting a game underneath their belt now.

Q. You said they were jittery and sluggish, at what point did you realize that and what can you do when you see something like that? COACH ERNIE KENT: Well, the jitters I noticed right off the bat. Just because they were kind of reacting slow, more slow than what we did last week. Knowing your opponent and knowing the stage and a lot of energy and everything else. The sluggish part came because I thought we didn't do a good job of executing the game plan of fronting the post and taking the ball out of the hands of the big guys. We went to the matchup, the matchup gave us a lot of energy, we got moving. Our feet, we moved our feet, it gave us an opportunity to get them to miss. It gave us an opportunity to get in transition where we're at our best, able to run and I thought we calmed down and started playing a lot better. Once we started getting stops and getting out running transition but the start of the game, man to man a little nerves, we weren't stopping them, they were getting easy layups, so the zone really gave us an opportunity to get going on them and from that point on I thought we had control of the game, even though they were making runs back and forth at us, we still felt like we were in control of the game and we were going to win the game coming down the stretch.

Q. Your guys are winning games almost with your defense lately. Are you comfortable with this situation for Oregon? COACH ERNIE KENT: Absolutely. We talked about that today. We heard a lot about their defense. You got to realize again we held them to 56 points. And we held USC down, we held Arizona to 50 points. We're a really good defensive team and Sunday is going to be another big challenge for us defensively. Hopefully with a chance to open up the offense a little more. But defense is the key. You got to set the tone that way and we did not do that in the first three or four possessions in our man and I thought we did that on our 20 0 run with our matchup zone.

Q. Two things, one you had so much success with the matchup zone and what brought you out of it and at the end what defense were you in on Bramos' last shot? That was Joevan at the top that forced him to shoot over him, right? COACH ERNIE KENT: Yes. What brought us out of the matchup zone was number 24. He hit two or three threes on us. We felt like he was getting away from us a little bit so we needed to lock him down a little bit from man. We actually went back to the matchup zone two or three times in the second half and we just kind of, we wanted to throw it at them to keep them off guard a little bit. We have done a very, very good job winning at Arizona, beating Cal in Eugene, beating Stanford in Eugene, beating UCLA in Eugene, Georgetown at Georgetown, and I could probably name about six other teams in that 17 game stretch we had of winning single digits is going to what we call the switch defense. We put the same sized players on the floor. Brooks plays more 6' 5" even those he's six feet and we switch everything. So it's difficult to run ball screens, flare screens, get open shots, any pick and rolls we just switch, switch, switch, especially when a team needs a 3 pointer. And we won a lot of games with that down the stretch and really surprising teams putting bigger people on the floor. Josh and Williams and others down there at the tournament. That came out of our switching defense. So it was a good adjustment on our part and I thought it really put a lot of pressure on them and it took them out a little bit further than what they wanted. I think their first option was coming to the corner and 24 was the next option and Duke did a good job of getting pressure on him.

Q. I know you the game was already in hand when that last three went in at the buzzer there. But what were your thoughts, what was the first thing that went through your mind? COACH ERNIE KENT: USC at home when they beat us, scored six points in something like three seconds and hit a shot like that. But really it wasn't necessarily escape, you sit there and say you do have a big cushion. Obviously it would have been a different situation in a 2 point game, 3 point game, if it were there a three point game we would have defended it differently. But having the lead in the game was just a matter of not letting them throw up a Hail Mary. And we would have done it differently if the game would have come down to that last shot, we would have defended it differently. If the game would have come down to that last shot. THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you. COACH ERNIE KENT: Thank you.