Postgame Notes & Quotes: Georgetown vs. Ohio StateMarch 31, 2007



THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by Georgetown. We'll ask Coach Thompson to make an opening remark and then questions for the student-athletes.
COACH THOMPSON: I'm extremely proud of our group of guys. I'm extremely proud of the year that we had. We all are very disappointed at tonight's outcome. But, you know, we played against a very good team that played very well tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Jeff, Roy or Jonathan, please.

Q. Looked like offensively you played probably about as well as you could against a really tough defender. Might have liked to play more in terms of foul trouble. Can you analyze how the game went for you against Greg in the post?
ROY HIBBERT: I just had to make smarter decisions when I'm out there, whether it's -- I got in foul trouble a little early. I need to be an all-around better player when it comes to knowing when to foul and when not to foul, so...

Q. I think you guys have only averaged about 10 turnovers a game through the tournament. You had nine in the first half. Did you just feel like you couldn't get into what you wanted to do, or were they doing something to take you out?
JONATHAN WALLACE: That wasn't the case. We felt that we were able to get the shots that we wanted. We just took some tough breaks, you know, early on as far as calls and as far as making plays.
But at times, yeah, we got a little careless with the ball. It's kind of uncharacteristic of us. We just had to fight through it. Kind of came up on the short end.
JEFF GREEN: Well, John pretty much said it. You know, we got everything we wanted, but we didn't execute on the offensive end. You got to credit a lot to their defense. They played together. They made us turn the ball over.
That's our mistakes.

Q. Jeff, five shots for the night. You are able to do some things without necessarily scoring the most points usually. Is that less involved than you would like to be? What did you see out there? Anything you would change if you could go back?
JEFF GREEN: I mean, I wouldn't change anything. I mean, we played hard, you know. Just things wasn't going our way. I went four for five. You know, I didn't want to force anything, so I just took what they gave me.
They played great help-side defense with the other guy helping on the weak side. It made it hard for my teammates to throw it down or try to find me. Like I say, you got to credit their defense. They played together. They had great weak-side defense. That made it tough on our teammates to try to throw the ball down to me.
I didn't want to force anything. Wasn't expecting to get a lot of shots. Their defense, you know, played a major part in that.

Q. Roy, you were talking about your fouls. One of them came real quick in the game. Two of them came after you had just done a bunch of real good things. Does emotion or adrenaline, excitement have anything to do with fouls?
ROY HIBBERT: I don't really think so. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time sometimes. I just needed to make smarter decisions when I was out there.
You know, there was a foul I got, you know, holding somebody. I just need to make better plays when I'm out there. I just need to play smarter.

Q. Roy, your minutes were good minutes, but perhaps there weren't enough. How frustrating was it for you to watch the game get away when you had to sit on the bench and Greg played so well?
ROY HIBBERT: I mean, I have faith in my teammates. We've been in the situation before where, you know, I've been on the bench, I have to watch.
I know -- I have faith they're going to pull through. We fought back. Ohio State played extremely good defense. They executed well on offense. They hit their free throws. I mean, it's frustrating a little bit, but I have total faith in my teammates.
But we've done this all year where we had to fight back, so...

Q. I know it's difficult at this moment, but can you appreciate the fact of what you have done for Georgetown, bringing Georgetown back to the national stage in the Final Four?
JEFF GREEN: Yeah, you have to. We had a great season, regular Big East champions, Big East champions of the tournament. To make it this far in this tournament, you know, it's hard to end it like this, but we had a great run.
So, I mean, we can't hang our heads down. You know, we beat some of the top teams in the nation to make it to this point, but tonight wasn't our night. We lost to a great team in Ohio State. We can't hang our heads.

Q. Jeff, there were two calls in the last three minutes that kind of could have swung the game a little bit. Can you walk through both of the plays for me?
JEFF GREEN: Well, the blocking call, I thought I was there, but the ref made a decision that I wasn't. I'm not going to argue with that. The game's over.
On the charging call, you know, he made a great call. I can't, you know, argue with that either.
You know, it was just calls that the ref made. You know, I'm not going to sit here and wish they turned around. But I'm just going to live with it. You know, they made the calls. I'm just going to, you know, walk away and not say anything.
THE MODERATOR: Jeff, Roy and Jonathan, thank you very much. We'll let you go.
Questions for Coach Thompson, please.

Q. If you could talk about what you weren't doing offensively that you wanted to do better, and also why you couldn't execute as well as you usually do.
COACH THOMPSON: As Jeff indicated, he probably articulated as well as I can. You know, their defense was very good in many ways. We had too many turnovers which didn't allow us to get shots at the basket, which didn't allow us to get into a rhythm.
That just comes down to the defense that they played. I don't necessarily think it was so much offensive execution. We just, you know -- we turned the ball over at key times, you know, which is not indicative of how this team has played. So you have to give credit to them for causing that to happen.

Q. It's 44-All. Roy goes out. Oden comes in. Oden scores right away. They get two transition baskets. How big was that sequence? In general, the speed of their -- when they had chances, their transition game.
COACH THOMPSON: Yeah, well, that -- the answer to that question is related to the question, the previous question. You know, he scored, and then I think we had - maybe I'm wrong - but I feel like we had two turnovers in a row which led to those transition baskets. That was key.
Teams that play on Monday night in April find a way to make luck happen. You know, they made the plays when they needed them to be made.

Q. You guys did a good job this year running set plays out of timeouts. When you get it to 56-52, what were you looking for on that play?
COACH THOMPSON: That was an out-of-bounds play, correct?
The way they were playing defense on out of bounds, they were trapping in the corner. So, you know, we popped one guy to the foul line, extended. I thought that if we dive, we were trying to have Roy just go right to the rim. I thought we had that. If not, Jeff just make a decision.
What happened was when Roy went to the rim their whole defense sucked in with him, which opened up a little alley for Jeff, which we told him, Either Roy is going to be open or you should be open. Then, you know, he just stepped in.
The kid -- I was blocked. I didn't see -- I didn't see the block charge. You know, the referee called a charge, so it was a charge.

Q. When you're trying to juggle Roy with foul trouble in the second half there, getting him in and out of the game, how much, if any, is based on when Greg is in the game? Do you try to match that or mirror that at all?
COACH THOMPSON: Not really. I've said all year in many ways it's about us and how we go about things and what's best for our group. I know there might have been one point where I wanted to get him in because Greg was out.
But for the most part there's no set pattern or rules to how I do things, it's just a feel and flow of things.

Q. Can you discuss the impact of Mike Conley, Jr. that you thought he had on the game, particularly in light of his being a freshman?
COACH THOMPSON: I said this yesterday or two days ago, I forget when it was. His poise is terrific. I mean, he just has an uncanny feel for the game and how to manage the game, how to manage his teammates. That's advanced for a freshman, for a sophomore. You don't need to put a year behind his name. He has a very good feel for the game.
He was terrific in that regard and understanding when the opportunities were there for -- when his opportunities were there and then how to help his teammates. I mean, that's such a key part of their success this year, just his terrific poise.

Q. You've alluded to this so many times about how you don't coach out of a book; you coach by feel. There was such a buildup in this game with the two big guys. Greg gets 20 minutes and Roy gets 24, so they aren't in that long. And then you get no bench points. How did that change your game plan?
COACH THOMPSON: It was just one of those things. It's not like during the course of the game I'm looking at the stat sheet saying, We don't have any bench points. As I said leading up to this, we have played many, many games where Roy has played - how many minutes did he play?

Q. 24.
COACH THOMPSON: 24 or less minutes. They have played many, many games where either Greg didn't play or Greg was in foul trouble. I think the buildup between those two going head-to-head is natural. It's understandable because they are, you know, two of the best, if not the two best, big guys, low-post center out there.
At the same time, I know we prepared and thought and knew that they were going to play significant chunks without him. They probably did the same thing. You know, relative to bench points, it just didn't happen today. It happened in the past. It didn't happen today.

Q. You said it's about us and how we go about things. To what degree did you go about things the way you like to in a game in terms of composure or however you evaluate that?
COACH THOMPSON: You know, you can sit here -- when you lose a game, you can sit here and find a million things you wish you did differently, could have done differently, should have done differently. That's the nature of this. That's the nature of athletics. That's the nature of sport.
When you lose, can you start to go back and start to pick everything apart. What I do think is important is our guys did compete. We got down, they hung on, we clawed back. We fought and scrapped the whole time. The ball didn't bounce our way. It happens. We lost to a very, very good team.

Q. What were your thoughts on Oden, and how does Ohio State change in your view when he's in the game and when he's out of the game?
COACH THOMPSON: Obviously they throw the ball to the block a little more when he's in the game than they do when he's out of the game. But I can't say it any other way: they are a very good team with or without him in the game. They have shown that all year.
So, you know, clearly he is a presence; he's a force at both ends. He does make them different just because you have to be a attentive to where he is.
When he's not in the game they're a terrific team. They've shown that all year.

Q. I think it was about 10:51 left in the game, Roy had been playing for a stretch. He was at the foul line. I thought you had DaJuan in at the bench to put in for him. Did you pull him back?
COACH THOMPSON: I know exactly what you're talking about. I had sent DaJuan to the table to get Roy. I don't remember exactly how long he was sitting at the table before there was a stop in play.
But from the time when I told him to get Roy to when there was a stop in play, I think Roy scored like six or eight points, got a couple of rebounds. I made a decision to leave him in there.

Q. You turned around whatever turnover problems you had starting with the Big East tournament till now. Was it a concern for you coming in that maybe this would be a game where those problems would pop up again?
COACH THOMPSON: Had we had turnover problems?

Q. 19 two in a row before the tournament.
COACH THOMPSON: Really? Okay. That's a yes (laughter).
You know, if your question is going into this game did I think we would have a lot of turnovers or there would be turnover problems? No, just because we have done a fairly good job of taking care of the ball. You know, did I put a game plan together anticipating turnovers? No.
You know, it happened. That's because of their defense. That's because you have to give them all the credit in the world for that.

Q. Jeff said he was going to take what the defense gave him; he wouldn't change anything about it. Would you change his shot total if you could?
COACH THOMPSON: It's easy to say yes to that right now. You look at the stat sheet, that's an easy yes. I mean, yeah. We made efforts -- I've said for three years now I trust Jeff Green's instincts. He made the decisions when to pass it out, when to shoot. It's not a situation -- we go through a game early in the year, a couple games maybe, I'm sitting here and I'm asking questions about touches, post touches. It's not a question where he didn't have the ball. He just made decisions.
As I said, Jeff Green usually makes the right decision. I trust his instincts and I trust the decisions. The kid is an extremely intelligent player.
We put the ball in his hands and he decided not to shoot. As I said, I'll live and die with Jeff Green's ability to make decisions.
THE MODERATOR: Coach Thompson, thank you very much.



THE MODERATOR: Congratulations to Ohio State. We will ask Coach Matta to make an opening comment, then we'll ask that the first questions be directed to Mike and Greg.
Coach Matta.
COACH MATTA: Well, we beat, no question, one of the best basketball teams we've played this year. You know, I thought that coming into the game, one of the biggest keys when you play a team like Georgetown is preparation. We were fortunate to have six days to prepare. Couldn't be prouder of our guys for executing the game plan.
You know, I think Greg goes down with two fouls, got three minutes in the first half, and once again our guys did a tremendous job of stepping up. Michael was tremendous. You know, into the second half, as I told Greg at halftime, he should be well-rested. I thought he stepped up, made some huge plays.
The big key was the defense down the stretch. It led to some easy opportunities, probably the difference in the basketball game.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Greg, how tough was it to watch most of the game in the first half? How much better to be out there in the second half?
GREG ODEN: It was real tough in the first half, just sitting there, because I wanted to contribute. But my teammates, they stepped up. They did a great job. They didn't let them get a lot of offensive rebounds.
In the second half, I just wanted to go out and play hard and rebound the ball.

Q. Could you talk about, first of all, looked like when you did get back in, they went right to you in the post several times? Then playing against Hibbert, what that was like for you?
GREG ODEN: Just that they wanted to have him go at me and me get some more fouls so I could get out the game. The things with me, I just had to keep my hands up. He got a couple shots over me that he hit. The thing was me being out there, being able to contribute in other ways. He's big, that's how he got those shots.

Q. Mike, a lot of the questions that you guys got going into the game concerned Georgetown's size on the inside and how you were going to have to overcome that. How important going in dealing with that was the way you guys played defense, trying to get the steals and trying to get out in transition to beat their size down court?
MIKE CONLEY, JR.: Yeah, we knew if we played a halfcourt game, you know, we were playing into their hands. They have a big front court. They can block a lot of shots. We didn't want to have to deal with that throughout the whole game.
You know, our kind of style of play is to get up and down. Once we got our style established. I think that really helped us out.

Q. Everybody, including you, Greg, said a million times about you and Hibbert, don't get in foul trouble. In four possessions, you make two offensive fouls. Did your adrenaline take over? What goes through your mind?
GREG ODEN: What happened? The ref blew the whistle (smiling).
It was just me being out there and being excited. I mean, I can't lower my shoulder. I can't move setting ball screens.

Q. Mike, could you expand on y'all's speed of the game, how your transition offense kept them on their heels, created a lot of lanes for you to the bucket?
MIKE CONLEY, JR.: Well, we saw in the North Carolina game, North Carolina, you know, got in them the first half with a lot of transition buckets. It really hurt them. We felt if we could do that, establish that in our game, we'd be better off and have a better chance of winning the game because they like to play, you know, a halfcourt style of game, run their offense. If they get you in that kind of style, you can definitely be beat.

Q. Mike, once Greg went out with fouls, did you take it upon yourself to step up and get the job done? You played together so long, you're a star in your own right. Do you feel everyone talks about Greg, giving you some love, too?
MIKE CONLEY, JR.: When he came out of the game, all of us had that mindset that we had to step up our level of play. Without him in the game, you lose a lot. We had to pick it up the best we could. I felt I did that the first half.
The second question, I don't really think about it too much, about me being overshadowed or anything. I just go out and play. Greg is deserving of all the attention that he gets. You know, I'm happy for him. I'm happy where I'm at. It's gotten me right here.
I can't complain.

Q. Greg, you had just come in the game. It's tied 44-All. Hibbert goes out. You score right away. I think you came up with back-to-back transition baskets. That little spurt gave you that lead again. Can you talk about how important that sequence was.
GREG ODEN: If I can remember it, I really don't. It was just us going out there and playing hard. We wanted to take advantage of big Roy going out, so we wanted to go inside, get some shots over their defense because I'm bigger than their other guys, except for big Roy. We wanted to attack on the inside.

Q. Were you a little bit surprised that Jeff Green wasn't more aggressive with the basketball?
MIKE CONLEY, JR.: Well, you know, we were pleased with the way he wanted to play that game. He could have took over the game any time, any point. I think it's some credit to the way we played defense and the way we had our game plan focused around him.

Q. Speaking of his lack of aggression, Greg, can you tell me, you were pretty aggressive, especially on that dunk attempt. Can you tell me about that?
GREG ODEN: I was out for 17 minutes. I wanted to get in there and just tear the rim down, you know (smiling).

Q. Greg, even though you're happy with the victory, are you a little disappointed you weren't able to go man-to-man against Roy for more minutes to see who would do what to who?
GREG ODEN: Not really. I mean, he shot over me a bunch of times, so you seen what he can do. All I care about is we won. That's really all that matters.

Q. Sitting for 17 minutes in the first half, how do you stay mentally engaged in the game so that you're not just completely sort of floating around there when you get out there in the second half?
GREG ODEN: Well, I got Danny, Joe and Mark Titus yelling in my ear the whole time. I can't really miss anything. Just trying to be there for my teammates, just be a cheerleader out there.
THE MODERATOR: Mike and Greg, thank you very much. We'll let you go.
Questions for Coach Matta.

Q. Could you describe your defense, particularly as it related to Jeff Green.
COACH MATTA: Well, I don't know if I've slept worrying about him and what he -- his capability. Last night I met with the four guys I felt we could guard him, showed them about a 10-minute edit of Jeff Green. I knew we weren't going to be able to stop him from scoring. But just having great awareness.
I thought that everybody that guarded him did a pretty good job. He's so talented because he can beat you with the pass. He can beat just so many ways. He was such a focal point of what we were trying to get established defensively.

Q. To some degree you're getting a little used to this with Greg being in trouble. Can you talk about, in particular, Harris and Hunter and Terwilliger rebounding, block shots, defense, for that long period of time?
COACH MATTA: Yeah, you know, those guys collectively did a magnificent job. They were active. Like you said, they rebounded, they altered some shots, they blocked some shots. Just did a great job. Ivan with five offensive rebounds.
I said this, I hated the fact we played the first seven games without Greg. But today is another example where it probably helped us because those guys never skipped a beat. They just came in and got the job done.

Q. The points off turnovers, you had 22 to 10. I think it was 13-1 at one point. You only turn it over eight times. Talk about the guard play, what you got out of transition when you were forced -- when you were able to turn them over.
COACH MATTA: That was obviously a key to the game, I think. We weren't sure if we could turn them over. We did a great job of covering down the way we wanted to and scoop some balls up, got out, advance passed.
I thought our guys did a nice job of finishing in the transition zone. That was one thing we thought we could do, and wanted to do, was try to speed the game up and get them playing up and down.

Q. First half looked like you probably switched defenses more than you had all season. Looked like Georgetown was having quite a bit of trouble figuring out what you were doing. Second half, looked like you went man-to-man mostly. Was creating confusion with them and maybe getting them to plan for a zone at halftime, then coming out in man, was that a big part of your defensive game plan?
COACH MATTA: Yeah. You know, we felt that the zone was pretty effective in the first half. We lost Wallace two times. He was two for two, six points. You know, they made an adjustment on the last play of the first half. We talked about it at halftime, said they're going to step the big guy out. Sure enough, they sliced us up there to start the second half. We got out of it, went to the man-to-man.
Quite honestly, I knew we were going to go to the man. We had worked so hard this week in breaking down their actions, cuts. Honestly, I don't know if we've ever spent as much time as we did preparing on the, you know, Princeton, Georgetown type actions.
I thought our guys really did a nice job of taking away the back doors, being active when they caught the ball in the post.

Q. Could you talk about your philosophy of having a big guy in foul trouble? You've been very patient throughout this tournament when Greg has been in foul trouble. Seemed to pay off when Hibbert got his fourth. Talk about what that's like having to sit him.
COACH MATTA: Yeah, you know, honestly I think people think a lot of times I've got this master plan in my mind. And it's a gut feeling. You know, the other night we put him back in in the first half down in San Antonio with two fouls. It's really kind of time/score situation.
You know, the way those guys came in, the job that they did tonight, I had never honestly thought about putting him back in in the first half.
You know, it really is more of a feel. It's more of a match-up. You know, we were -- we had planned when Hibbert went out of the game and Greg was in the game to go zone regardless of where we were.
You know, he guarded Green for a little bit. Then he went on Ewing. He did a heck of a job for us.

Q. Green only had five shot attempts. How much of that was what you were doing to him? Since the game is over now, can you tell the laymen part of what that was?
COACH MATTA: You know, I don't know if we did anything exceptional to only give him five. Let me put it to you this way: we were very aware and keyed to contain him. I knew we were not going to stop him. He's one of the best players I've seen in college basketball this year.
But it was, you know, just basically force him out, try to take him out of rhythm on his three shot, know that he's going to drive. He likes to spin. He's going to post. We knew what shoulder he wanted to go over. We wanted to dig it out because he liked to dribble before he did it.
Michael Conley was tremendous off the ball today. Ron got his hands on some balls. Did a great job with it.

Q. Just about Mike Conley, he's a freshman point guard, committed one turnover. I can only think of maybe one or two situations where he actually maybe didn't make the right call. What is it like as a coach to have that kind of leadership, speed, all the intangibles there in the back court as a freshman as well?
COACH MATTA: Comforting (laughter). You know, I said this a million times this year. I think from the first time I saw Michael Conley play, I thought he was the perfect point guard for our system. The job that he's done reading this team, I mean, he has such a basketball IQ.
He did some things today through scouting that I can't explain. I mean, it was amazing. A fake, when he knew they were going to do something on the other side.
When he gets the ball in his hands, like you said, he makes great decisions, he makes great reads. He has a feel of when to go, when not to go.
I love honestly watching him play. He's been a joy to coach. But the biggest key with Michael Conley, last one to leave the practice floor every day. As a coach, you love nothing more than for those guys to play well.
THE MODERATOR: Coach Matta. Thank you very much. Congratulations.
COACH MATTA: Thank you.

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