March 23, 2013
Marquette – 74
Butler - 72
THE MODERATOR: We will start with the student-athletes while we wait the arrival of head coach, Buzz Williams.
Q. Vander, just wonder if could you comment on your play in particular, these two games here, and what it was like to win two games like that.
VANDER BLUE: I got in the groove early in the second half, so I was able to get it doing with my teammates finding me taking shots I take every day. This is big. I know everybody on our team, we weren't ready to go home. We had two close games. We played in a lot of those games this year. I feel like what we've done this -- earlier this season has prepared us for what we went through this past weekend. And it's a team effort, man, everybody just giving their all. Everybody just pushing each other, let's get this one more stop and the game is not over. Multiple times today we could have gave up and lot of the game. Just something about this group that we just relentless and we just want to win and we're not ready to go home yet.
Q. This one is for Trent. You talked the other day about that commercial. Glad there's no more commercial?
TRENT LOCKETT: Yeah, like you said, the commercial was airing all year. So anytime we were watching the game brought us back to that moment when Rotnei sunk that shot, but rather get a win this time of year than back in Maui.
Q. For the two other guys, did this game, was this the epitome of what Marquette basketball is?
JUNIOR CADOUGAN: Yeah, I feel like every game that we playing it's going to be a grind out, hard boxing match just from the start to the end. You know, Marquette is known for grinding it out. We grind every day and we come ready to play every game.
VANDER BLUE: Yeah. I would agree with Junior. These are the games we're built for, this type of environment., everything is against us. We just always find ways to pull it out and just show our heart and our togetherness, because it's not about individual on this team, it's about fighting for the next person knowing -- me thinking about Junior and Trent just being this last go around, not wanting them to finish and losing here. It's all about more for the next person.
Q. Junior, it seems like -- seemed like after the Davidson game and half into this game, you couldn't really find a rhythm or anything. After the inbound pass when you got it from Trent, you started to get a bit more aggressive. What was going through your mind in the first half? Because it seems like throughout the year, you know, a lot of times the team goes as you go.
JUNIOR CADOUGAN: Say in the first half, you know, I was trying to do too much. I had to calm down a little bit. I guess I was too excited. Coach chewed me out in the locker room in front of the team because he knows I've been here, I've been through it, and he knows that once he chews me out, I accept it and build off of that. I came out with more poise in the second half, more concentration, and, you know, helped lead my team to victory.
Q. For any of you guys, you were able to hold Rotnei Clarke scoreless the last 15 minutes. What changed after that and how were you able to do that?
JUNIOR CADOUGAN: It goes back to the first half. We're trying to, I guess, pressure him too much and, you know, off the ball screens, try to play him up too high. We were just thinking too much. Second half me and Derrick Wilson did a great job of, you know, gearing him down and knowing what to do on the ball screens and contesting his shots and trying to wear him out so he could, you know, make the other guys beat us instead of him. We did a great job in the second half of wearing him down.
Q. Question for Vander. Could you walk us through the play where you hit that 3 in the corner and then the emotion right after you hit that. You seemed pretty calm, but I'm guessing inside it's a little bit different.
VANDER BLUE: I don't think it was a play. I think Junior just thought he could beat his man and they came and helped him, so we practice every day. I just feel -- I rose up, saw my man being flat. I rose up and shot it with no conscience because I knew we needed I had. I didn't want to celebrate too much because it was still a ballgame. We only tied the game. I wasn't thinking much after I made it, just we need another stop. I was more focused on defense than offense at that point in the game.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for the student-athletes?
Q. Trent, you waited your whole career to get to this moment. What's going through your mind right now?
TRENT LOCKETT: Yes. I'm in the unique situation given I'm a senior, but my first NCAA Tournament and I couldn't have asked for it to go any better with a better group of guys, better coaching staff. It's been a tremendous experience. And like Vander said earlier, we're not ready for it to be over.
Q. Vander, it seemed like in the second half there were times where you kind of just didn't have much energy, like you were exhausted almost. Was that from -- was that the case and was that maybe from chasing Clarke around or was there anything to that?
VANDER BLUE: I wasn't really exhausted. I was a little tired at some points, but when you're chasing guys like Number 24 and Clarke all night off those screens and they shoot so well, you're just thinking don't get caught on a pump fake, stay down and get through all the screens. You're going to get a little tired and you're scoring at the same time.
I left it all out there tonight. At some point I did get gassed because I just -- I left it all out there, I went as hard as I can go, and even when I was tired, I was still trying to make plays for our team.
Q. Vander and Junior, the press, what do you think that the impact was on them?
JUNIOR CADOUGAN: It's basically just playing man-to-man as hard as you could play 94 feet. It's not a zone press or nothing like that. Just going out like Vander said, just playing your heart out every day and just bringing it every day and translate to the court today. You know, we picked up the 94 feet I think the whole game and we finally wore them out and got the win.
VANDER BLUE: Our press is different. We don't press like Louisville. We're not just running jump wild. It's more to try to get guys tired more down in the clutch like tonight. We feel like we can get to those guys early and just stay on them essentially those last five minutes, six minutes, their legs are going to give in.
Our press definitely helped us tonight with Clarke, because I feel like he got a little winded himself at the end because we had been on him all night. It really helped us towards the end.
Q. When you throw the ball in with 2 seconds left and Butler has a chance to win like they have done many times before, what's going through your head and what you have to do to stay focused on that last play?
VANDER BLUE: Well, I was pretty upset at myself. I thought I should have called a timeout. I thought Jamil should get the ball. Don't let them score. Don't let them hit a 3 and don't foul. I think our team did a great job of executing at the end and making sure we got that stop, and Jamil did a great job of not biting on the pump fake he threw getting Number 44 to the free throw line. We did a good job executing that. Showed our team, we could have all still been worried about the turnover that happened. We knew we had to get the stop to win the game.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for the student-athletes? All right, fellas thank you, and congratulations.
If we could, Coach, opening statement, opportunity for you and then we'll take questions.
COACH WILLIAMS: Brad Stevens, Butler, Rotnei Clarke, all the other players are deserving of everything you've ever written, Twittered, said outloud, said amongst one another, the utmost respect.
Loved preparing to play them in November, tonight and I felt the same way against Davidson. Not sure that our team or our staff could have grown any more than we did in the last week because of the two coaches and the two programs that we played.
Very thankful, we could have easily beaten by Davidson, been beaten tonight. I thought that the character and the toughness and resiliency of our guys is maybe unlike any team I've ever been around, and I stand at attention in respect for who those kids are.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. You mentioned the toughness there. Does this game kind of epitomize what Marquette is about?
COACH WILLIAMS: That's just another Marquette game. We're not good enough to blow anybody out. We're just good enough to get blown out. And if we can turn it into a fight and make it ugly, then it probably trends towards it helps us the most. And, I mean, Number 15 made six shots in the first half, had 50 percent of their points. As good a shooter as he is, you kind of have to go all in in the second half and see if those other guys can beat you. And they almost did.
But I do think that what you guys saw epitomizes is a microcosm of our culture.
Q. Buzz, you said it's another Marquette game. Both of these games, if you lose, it's over. What were the emotions of going through this and maybe went into your dance moves afterwards?
COACH WILLIAMS: I shouldn't have done that. I was really excited. My to boys are here, my two daughters are at home. My wife has been in the hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, for over half of our stay here. It's been a crazy, crazy four days in Lexington and so -- what was the question, Pat?
Q. Just basically what has the emotion has been like going through this?
COACH WILLIAMS: You know, nobody wants to go home. Coach Stevens, their guys don't want to go home. Nobody that's still playing wants to go home. I tell our kids this all the time, unlike school, I think God gives you the same test over and over and over in your life, no matter your age, no matter your gender, no matter where you're from.
You get the same test over and over. Until you pass it, you're going to keep getting the same test. And tonight in comparison to November the 19th, it was the same test and we're thankful that we passed it.
Now what we've got to figure out is, can we pass the Sweet 16 test that we've been given the last two years. And so we'll find that out over the next four, five days.
Q. Coach, it seemed -- it's pretty well-documented that you guys play at your best when Junior is at your best, and against Davidson he might not have been, in the first half tonight he wasn't. But in the second half, he came right out of the gates and got things going. Do you think he was, along with Vander, obviously, the kind of thing that got you guys going the most?
COACH WILLIAMS: I think Derrick Wilson is the reason we're still playing. That's just my opinion. I think the job that he's done defensively in the 29, 30 minutes that he's played since we've been at Kentucky have been phenomenal, and I think that he has changed the course of our team. And I think the reason why Junior has played better in those two games is Derrick has played four to six minutes more than he typical does. That gives Junior a rest, that gives Junior a blow.
Junior and Derrick are guarding Number 12 and Number 15, and as the pace of play in March, even in the half court, is accelerated, and when you're playing teams that are motion-orient, that have four guys on the floor at all times, that can shoot, that put you in rotation in ball screens because of their skill, that wears you out. And so Junior played great.
I'm brutal to Junior at halftime because I know he can absorb what I have to say, not so much at Junior but so the other guys will wake up. But I think that our two games here are a direct reflection of the contribution that Derrick has given our team.
Q. Was there anything specific, what Junior did to raise your ire?
COACH WILLIAMS: I just like hollering at him. He can take it. Quit turning the ball over, quit just sitting there with bad body language. I added a couple the of different words, but just hollering. I mean nothing.
Q. Buzz, Coach Stevens said that with two seconds left when the turnover happens and they get the ball back and have a chance to, you know, tie it or win it, you made an adjustment in your defense that might have confused his guys. Can you describe what the change was and what were you trying to do when you made it?
COACH WILLIAMS: I like you a lot, but the answer to the question is no.
Q. You didn't move Gardner to the ball?
COACH WILLIAMS: That wasn't your question, Roger. Your question was, could I explain to you what we did and the answer is no. We're getting the same test we've gotten the last two years and want to pass it this year. I'm not being a jerk. No, I'm not going to tell you.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for the Coach?
COACH WILLIAMS: This is what I think, Roger: What happens is, there's a very fragile line in your life and your industry. As your industry has changed, people have lot of theirs jobs, their livelihoods. Families have changed, the Internet, Twitter, guys that take have no journalistic experience that have none of the skill that you guys have that portray themselves as if they're Roger, as if they're Pat, and they're garbage, but yet in Twitter-verse they get the same swag that you guys get.
Here is my point: There's a fragile line in our industry, too, and that fragile line is how hard it is to get a job, how hard it is to get a good job and of the small collection of good jobs, how hard it is to have a good job and make it a great job. The hardest thing in life to get is momentum and the hardest thing in life to keep is momentum.
And so I don't want to play in the NCAA Tournament anymore, and as humble as I can say it, I want to see if we can win another game in the NCAA Tournament, and so the reason why my question -- my answer to your question is no, because the next game we play is going to be a one-possession game, I hope, just like the last two I've played.
If you look at our box scores over the last eight games, six of them have been decided by one possession or less and we're 6-2. So, I'm not a genius. I don't want to be a genius. I don't want to be Mr. Tactician. I don't want our program known in that regard. I want -- I don't want to be tactical, I want to be tough. But in our toughness, that's what's missed. Within that toughness, there's a discipline that is required to have that toughness. We do some things but it's never said, and I'm okay with that. But I don't want to tell you that because I want to pass the Sweet 16 test -- are we playing Thursday?
THE MODERATOR: I'd have to check.
COACH WILLIAMS: How about the NCAA has got -- what time is it? We got to fly out of here. All money that's being generated, we can't go back over to the hotel and lay down and order a hamburger.
THE MODERATOR: I have nothing to do with it.
COACH WILLIAMS: I was asking you what time we played. You didn't know that either. I thought I would pile it on. Sorry, Roger.
Q. Buzz, can you just comment on Vander's performance tonight and especially in the second half?
COACH WILLIAMS: His competitiveness overwhelms our team. His fire burns really, really bright and it's not orange, it's white, it's that hot. And I love coaching guys that are hard-knock guys. I really like coaching guys whose fire burns like his, who for the first 18 months of his career was criticized at an all-time high because he didn't meet expectations, because that just builds a big edge and you're coaching him with shoulder pads every day. That's kind how I coach, so we get along great.
Q. Does the way that your team lost in November and then the way you win tonight, does that make this win mean any more?
COACH WILLIAMS: I don't think so. I understand the slant going into this game because of the notoriety that came from the shot, but November the 19th for Butler and Marquette versus March the 23rd, that's an eternity.
So, we remember all of us good and bad what happened in that game, but everybody is just trying to win the next game when you get to this point in time. When you're playing November the 19th in Maui, you know you're playing the next day and the next day so you don't really have time to analyze and adjust. When you get to this point, I'm telling those officials, you can't miss. You can't miss. There are lives and jobs and people and children and families at stake. You can't miss.
I think it's a little different ambiance in Maui. You know what I mean? So, they deserve to beat us in Maui, and in many regards tonight you can say that they deserved to beat us tonight. That's how thin, fragile the line is.
Q. First of all, you're playing Thursday.
COACH WILLIAMS: At what time?
Q. That has not been released yet.
COACH WILLIAMS: Because there's TV, money involved?
Q. Two questions for you. First of all, is your wife okay or is it something serious? And second question --
COACH WILLIAMS: She's tougher than any of us.
Q. You mentioned the Maui game. How much did that help your guys grow? And especially when you see Rotnei put up a 3 down the stretch, what did that do for them, how did it change them that allowed them to not get flustered or be able to hang on?
COACH WILLIAMS: Thanks for asking about my wife. The second thing is, I think the best thing about getting beat by Butler was that in the locker room, at that moment in time, our guys believed that maybe we had a chance to be pretty good. It was the third game of the year. You play two bye games and you go to Maui, everybody is excited, when you get beat, you go one of two ways, and I think the way we went was in the right way.
So, I've known Rotnei Clarke since he was a kid. Know all his family. In my 19 years of college basketball coaching/recruiting, I have never seen a player be as diligent and as consistent in his growth as a player.
I'm going and watching him when he's at Verdigris when I'm at Texas A&M and the guy is like Pistol Pete with all the ball handling and shooting. It was like a machine. When the ball is in his hands and he has crossed half court, he legitimately has a chance to make it no matter where he picks the ball up.
Q. Did you guys do anything differently on him in the second half, because he went the last 15 minutes without scoring? Did he just -- did you change anything up there in?
COACH WILLIAMS: Yes.
Q. Can you explain?
COACH WILLIAMS: No. Why would you ask that? You come to every press conference?
THE MODERATOR: Any more questions for the Coach?
COACH WILLIAMS: You just heard me tell Roger, ain't telling him. You're my boy, but I ain't telling you.
Q. Buzz, Butler said that on the last play that they were expecting you guys to play zone and the man might have thrown them off a little bit. Did you see any reason why Smith sort of lost of his footing there? Was it --
COACH WILLIAMS: I'm not sure. I did notice that he lost his footing, but I'm not exactly sure why. Any other questions? All right. Thank you very much, Coach Williams, and congratulations.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports