Athens, GA (Mar 27, 2009) - In Sweet Sixteen action from the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball tournament on Thursday, Memphis lost to Missouri 102-91. This is the transcript of the University of Memphis post-game press conference as provided by the NCAA and ASAP Sports.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, a few opening remarks from you.
COACH CALIPARI: First thing I would like to tell you, I was really proud of how these guys stayed in that mode to fight to finish the game. Gave themselves a chance to -- I think we were down as many as 24.
Told them after the game that nothing will take away from what they did. We didn't lose for three months. And these guys took on every challenge, but we kind of got punched in the mouth right from the beginning of the game. I thought J.T. Tiller really affected the game. We ended up having to try to put Antonio on him just to slow him down.
But my hat's off to Missouri. Mike did a great job. They beat us at our own game basically. If you would have said you will shoot 50 percent for the game, you outrebound them by three and have 14 turnovers, I'm telling you we win that game. So that tells you how well I thought Missouri played.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the shot there at the end of the half and what -- did that change your mind-set at all going in at halftime?
TYREKE EVANS: Not at all. I think they got a great start on it in the first half. We went into the locker room, Coach just told us to come out with more intensity and try to play harder and get the game closer.
ROBERT DOZIER: Pretty much what he said. Just want to come out. If we did lose, we wanted to say we gave it our all at the end of the game. I think that's what all the guys did in the second half.
ANTONIO ANDERSON: My teammates pretty much summed it up. Coach told us to come out in the second half early with some fight. He said that half is over. We just put that behind us. We weren't really too worried about the shot.
Q. Robert, Antonio, you have been on the other end of some of these situations where you get a 20-point lead and you stun somebody. Were you stunned in that nine-minute stretch and did you lose your composure at all?
ROBERT DOZIER: I don't think we lost our composure. I thought -- well, maybe on the defensive end a little bit. I think we weren't talking. And on the offensive end, we weren't finishing the plays we needed to finish. I think that was the biggest thing.
ANTONIO ANDERSON: Like Robbie said, we weren't stunned. We were playing defense. Sometimes we weren't talking, sometimes we were. They were just making some tough shots. It seems like every time we got our hands up, they threw something up, it went in regardless of whatever they put up. We just tried to keep fighting and keep fighting. That's how we tried to play it out.
Q. This is it for you obviously, Robert and Antonio. Can you put it into words, what it means? How would each of you like to be remembered as Memphis basketball players?
ROBERT DOZIER: I haven't really put too much thought into it. Hopefully we would still be playing but, I mean, we're not. I enjoyed my career here. I think I gave it my all. I got better and better every year.
So, I mean, that's pretty much all I can say.
ANTONIO ANDERSON: It has just been -- it has been a terrific four years with Robbie and the rest of the guys who I have been here with and Coach and the coaching staff. It felt like a family. Definitely going to miss it. And I just want to be remembered as a hard worker.
Q. Antonio, you had a hand up in his face at the end in that shot, did you not, the one at the end of the first half?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: Yeah. I knew he was going to try to take off, so I tried to time it a little bit and jump. Like I said earlier, every shot they put up in the first half was just going in. Whether or not it was half-court shots or bank shots. There was nothing we could do about that.
Q. Antonio, was it their speed that you guys had trouble with or just the fact that they played that system really well?
ANTONIO ANDERSON: It wasn't their speed because it was an up-tempo game. They got off to an early start. They were making some tough shots. We were driving, doing what we usually do.
It just played out that way. Like Coach said, we tip our hat off to them. They played a terrific game for 40 minutes. That's how it was.
Q. Tyreke, how much thought have you given to your future? What do you expect to do in the coming days with regard to possibly entering the draft?
TYREKE EVANS: I haven't sat down with my family and talked to Coach yet. I don't know yet what I'm going to do.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach Calipari?
Q. Can you talk about the shot there at the end of the half? Did you think it did have an effect?
COACH CALIPARI: When I saw it go in, I said you got to be kiddin' me.
But, again, I was just so disappointed in our first half aside from that shot. Lyons and Carroll just went right at us. We're a team that we lead the nation in field goal percentage defense. They shot 56 percent. And so all I talked about at halftime is let's be proud of each other in the second half, whatever happens.
And in the first, five six minutes we are down 24, it didn't change. Very physical game. Very bump and grind and we're getting shots, but we talked before the game, you got to play through all that stuff. You can't make an excuse.
I was proud of how they fought back after that. We got it to six and messed around. You know, they made every free throw and did what they had to do, Missouri. So ...
Q. Antonio is there at the end with his hands on his knees and it is the end for you and with them. I guess you were proud of the way they fought back in the second half. Does that epitomize what they have done here at Memphis?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, their numbers have been retired already. They have won more college games than any players in the history of college basketball. They are going to graduate in May on time in four years. And they have reestablished what we're about. And I'm proud of them.
It is going to be sad when they're gone. Even Robert, who did not play well in the first half, he gets 18 -- 19 and 16 rebounds. 19.16, and really only played about 12 minutes in the game.
So it is like family, missing family. That's it. Wanted it to extend for them, really did.
Q. I know it is sort of generalities here but, I mean, people aren't used to seeing Memphis down 24 points. What did Missouri do right? What did you guys do wrong?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, they -- we weren't able to play through where they come at you. We weren't able to play through some of that stuff. And the second thing was they broke us down defensively like we break people down.
Like I said, they beat us at our own game. It is not that they beat us shooting 3s. It is not like they beat us shooting free throws. It is that they beat us going to the rim and offensive rebound and getting layups.
And Tiller -- every time we got it to where we needed it, Tiller makes a layup. We talked about guarding the ball on the drive and really stunning off other men and just weren't able to do it.
But we haven't been down 24 that many times. It is also hard to coach in that way when you haven't been down like that.
Q. You did go zone on a couple of possessions and didn't get much out of that.
COACH CALIPARI: Tried everything. I was trying different combinations, zone, anything I thought we could get the tide going our way.
And really what we needed to do was to play with unbelievable energy, which we did for about a 12-minute stretch. We may have been stunned by -- because really all they did was run it up our backs. They got it in quick and ran it right up our backs. We couldn't get back there and form that wall which we were trying to do.
But we were trying everything. I was trying combinations. I tried a small team. I tried a big team. I tried everything. And we just -- we just didn't have it. And I want to tell you, Missouri was even better than I thought. Carroll just -- he just took us in the paint in the first half and just turned and shot balls. So did Lyons. And then Tiller did his thing and then they made shots. 56 percent, I'm not sure anyone has done that to us in four years, let alone in a NCAA tournament game.
Q. You know the inevitable questions are going to come about whether or not you guys were prepared and good enough and all those -- the caliber of competition. How do you defend against that?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, I think there is only one other team that has won as many NCAA tournament games as we have in the last four years. And I think that kind of tells you that in the NCAA tournament we're prepared to play, and obviously we didn't play as well as Missouri today.
And I will say it again, I loved how we finished the game. I love how we fought and tried and no one gave up. They were giving themselves a chance to do something special. Just unfortunate we put ourselves in that hole.
Q. You guys are so similar, if you were playing on Saturday, what would be your approach? Connecticut has got guys who are supposed to be in the NBA. What would be your approach to that type of team?
COACH CALIPARI: If I were playing Connecticut?
Q. You and Missouri are so similar, what would be your approach.
COACH CALIPARI: You have to go into the mind-set they went in with today which is "we can beat these guys."
I think what they did to us today in the first half, every 50/50 ball they got, every rough play, hands-on bumps, they just made those plays. We did not. And you are going to have to go in against a tough Connecticut team and do the same. You got to get the 50/50 balls.
They will probably have to do something to get the beat away from the basket because they are not going to drive in there like they did against us if D is in there. But it will be a great game.
I'm going to say it again. The job that Mike has done at Missouri, phenomenal. From what he went into, how he has built it over a period of time. They were 16-16 last year. They are in the Elite Eight with a chance to go to the Final Four and win the national title. What they did to us today, I'm telling you, Dana asked a question, no one has done this to us. We lost Elite Eight games but we were like right -- it was a four-point game, two-point game, to UCLA, to Ohio State. Kansas we are up nine and the coach screwed up the game. But, I mean, they punched us in the mouth and we did not respond.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
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