COACH THAD MATTA & JAMAR BUTLER
Q. Saw Coach talking to you guys in the last minute of the game. He was probably talking to you in the locker room, too. What did he tell you after a loss like this?
JAMAR BUTLER: He was just telling us that this happens every once in a while. It’s a great team, and we stretched every one we made and went for 18. Just balls weren’t falling for us. You just explained to us that we’re going to have games like that. It’s going to happen every once in a while. Got to keep going to work and try to do better than we did.
Q. Jamar, as one of the few seniors on the team, what do you do? As one of the older guys, what do you do to tell the young guys that just come in after a loss like this? When you head back to Columbus?
JAMAR BUTLER: The main thing is they can’t see me drop my head and get down about this game. I don’t like to lose, but, you know, I’ve just got to keep leading and be a leader for them. Like I said, just try to get better each day.
Q. Is it good, I guess, to only have one day before you have to play again?
JAMAR BUTLER: That is a good thing. One more day we getting back at it. Step back up on the court again, and try to redeem ourselves.
Q. It looked, obviously, the game wasn’t away from you by halftime. But the last six minutes of the half when Kosta and Othello were on the bench. It looked like you didn’t have a good flow going, what happened at that time?
JAMAR BUTLER: Main thing, the shots weren’t going in. We had a lot of wide open looks that we usually make and easy lay ups and put backs and easy bucket that’s we usually finish. Just weren’t falling for us.
Q. That’s what I wanted to ask. Was that the way they defended you or was it just not falling?
JAMAR BUTLER: I think they held us to, I don’t know how many points. But I’ve got to give them credit. They played great defense. And like I said, no more wide open shots that we usually make that we didn’t make.
Q. Obviously, you were playing against man to man tonight. What was your plan on offense and what did they take? Did they take away anything from you, or like you said, the shots in this one just weren’t going in?
JAMAR BUTLER: We had the shots, they just weren’t falling for us. They didn’t take anything away from us. We tried to execute our system, and it worked. They got open shots, they just didn’t fall.
Q. Same thing I asked Jamar. You called a timeout to talk to him. You were talking with the starters on the bench the last minute of the game. I’m sure you were talking to them in the locker room what, do you tell them?
THAD MATTA: You know, you’re going to have games like this. I don’t know how many I’ve been a part of where the ball would not go in the basket for us. We were missing. They’re big and they’re very good defensively, all of that. I’m not taking anything away from Texas A & M, but we cannot put the basketball inside. I mean, how many we had that rimmed in and out. And what happened is we began to tie the offensive end to the defensive end, and they really just blitzed us. And I think that’s a sign of a young basketball team. We just did not have the juice we needed.
We had that one run where Jamar got us going there in the first half, but other than that, we were on our heels the entire night. As a player, that thing rattles in and out, and pops out again and again and again. It’s hard. And then to their credit, they were shooting the heck out of the basketball.
Q. Were they everything you thought they’d be on the boards?
THAD MATTA: Yeah, they really were. They do a great job. You know, that’s a veteran basketball team that was on the verge of the Final Four. They’ve been in the trenches. That’s the thing we knew going into this game, that they were never going to quit. Mark’s done a heck of a job with them.
Q. When the ball doesn’t go down, but does the rebounding thing bother you? I haven’t seen the final numbers, but at the half there was a huge discrepancy in the rebounding.
THAD MATTA: Yeah, when you shoot 24%, there’s going to be a lot of rebounds and it’s probably going to be a little lopsided. They averaged 15 offensive rebounds.
It was one of those nights where we get a free throw rebound, come down with it, they take it. We foul, they didn’t get the next offensive rebound. I mean, it was just whatever could go wrong tonight, went wrong. Like I said, I’ve seen these games before and, fortunately, I haven’t been a part of too many of them, and tonight I was.
Q. You said you had questions coming in here that were going to get answered. What got answered good? And what got answered bad?
THAD MATTA: Well, if we don’t make shots, we’re not a very good basketball team. I think that we showed Wednesday night that we could build a lead against a very good basketball team and sustain it. We also showed tonight when we got down, we didn’t have that fight we needed to get back in the basketball game.
At some point when you’re fighting back, you’ve got to make a couple of shots in a row. I think we started 1 for 18 to start the second half. It was 1 for 18 they were saying over there or so. And that’s just, you know. Once again, I’m not taking anything away from Texas A & M. They did a great job. But you think one could bounce in there for us one time.
Q. How do you know looking at this quick turnaround, they’ve got to play again in two more nights. Is that good because of what just happened?
THAD MATTA: I think it is, yeah. We’ve got to get back, regroup, and get ourselves ready to go.
To feel sorry for yourself or whatever, we can’t do that. We’ve got to get ourselves ready to play again. We’re, as I said in the stretch, VMI had a good win the other night, we know their style of play is very good. I can’t name another team in the country that’s playing four top 25 teams in the stretch of ten days, and that’s what we’ve got ahead of us.
Q. Did you have to schedule Sunday night’s game because that’s the only time you could play St. John?
THAD MATTA: Yeah.
Q. So otherwise you might have just taken off to somewhere in North Carolina?
THAD MATTA: I tell you. I had to live with Christmas last year for a week after that Florida game. I didn’t like that.