|"It was an unbelievable effort by UMass to come in here and shoot 55 percent like that. I'm befuddled because I thought we were ready to play defensively. At times we were good defensively, got a hand up, and they still made them. The fact of the matter is, sometimes kids rise to the occaision, and that's what UMass did tonight. Monte Mack and Charlton Clark coming into tonight's game after six games--and I may miss this a little--one of them was shooting 27.8 percent from the three-point line, the other was 28.6 percent. They come in herec and one of them is five of six. The other is two for three. And a couple of them we were trying to chase them down. The last one that Charlton made to tie the game up was against our zone. We didn't do quite as good a job of getting out on him as we wanted to, but we didn't quite get there. Again, I just have to congratulate them for doing that, but I'm ecstatic about how competitive our team was down the stretch.
"In the first half things weren't looking too good. In the second half they're still making shot after shot after shot, and yet we were able to come up with some things defensively. We got better, got a couple of steals, came down and Billy Thomas was big, made some big baskets. And Raef's rebounding in the second half was crucial for us too.
"You hate that it ends like that, because we had stolen the ball, we've got a three-on-one, and we throw the sucker away. That's stupid. But I'm ecstatic about the way our team competed. I'm not ecstatic about the way we played, but give UMass some credit because Bruiser (Flint, UMass coach) had them ready to play, and they were the aggressors in the first half, and made every shot in the second half.
"Billy had that look. I took him out at one time because he looked like he was tired. He'd made a couple in a row, and I said, 'I took you out because you looked tired.' And he said, 'No, I'm okay.' So I put him back in, and he made three or four after that, so I guess he was okay. Paul did some things for us. Raef's rebounding. We didn't get as good an effort a couple of times, and we made some really silly turnovers. Ryan dribbling the ball and just fumbling it out of bounds. It was a heck of a game by a lot of guys in uniforms for both teams.
I'm sure they're tired. In a nine-day period we played five basketball gaems and only had two practies. We've been to Chicago, we've been to Washington, D.C., and now we're back home. That's a fact. Did that hurt us tonight against UMass? No. We had legs, we had the energy level. But the fact of the matter is they're tired. Tomorrow is no practice whatsoever, as much as old Roy would like to practice twice. Exams are tomorrow. Ryan has two exams tomorrow, Nick has three, and Paul has two. So if you guys in the press want to say something to them, you'd better do it quick, because I told them to get their tails out of the locker room and back to the dorm."
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