Athens, GA (Mar 21, 2009) - In 2nd round action from the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball tournament on Saturday, Gonzaga defeated Western Kentucky 83-81. This is the transcript of the Gonzaga post-game press conference as provided by the NCAA and ASAP Sports.
Q. Demetri, tell us a little bit about what was going through your
mind as you got the ball there and made that drive down there?
DEMETRI GOODSON: I just looked up on the clock and saw seven
seconds, Pargo was calling for it, but I just kept going down and saw
the lane, drove, took the shot and made it. It just feels good.
Q. Can you talk about what was going through your mind after
Pettigrew had the putback, before you went down and got the shot at
JEREMY PARGO: What was going through my mind was to get a good look,
no matter who it was. If it was Josh I can't even remember if he was
in or not. He was in the right place at the right time and he made a
big shot for us.
Q. Matt, Gonzaga has always been sort of the underdog in this
tournament or seemingly for so long. What did it feel like to play a
game where the underdog was kind of on the other side and it was you
guys that were trying to keep your poise and advance?
MATT BOULDIN: I'm not too sure. I didn't feel like the underdog, I
didn't feel like they were the underdogs by any means. We thought they
were better than their seed, that's for sure. But we just went into
this game like any other game, really. We had a game plan. We knew
they were capable. Really we just wanted to go into it like any other
Q. Demetri, has there been another time where you had a final play
to win a game like that?
DEMETRI GOODSON: Back in like 5th grade (laughter.) Yeah, it's been
a long time.
Q. Jeremy and Matt, I wonder if you could talk about how difficult
it was to contain the Western Kentucky guards.
JEREMY PARGO: Like we talked about yesterday, day in and day out,
watching film on these guys, they have some great guards that can do a
lot of different things. Mendez Valdez is very crafty. You saw in the
first half he lit us up pretty good. And A.J. Slaughter, you have to
do your best to stay in front of those guys, and I think they finished
with some big points for them, but I guess you can say we pulled it
out in the end and got the guy the ball that needed it.
Q. Can you talk about what happened, you guys were up nine with a
little over two minutes to go. What happened as far as defensively,
was it a breakdown at all as far as them getting some good looks and
getting back in the game there?
MATT BOULDIN: They were hitting a lot of three's. Whenever a team is
hitting a lot of three's and we're not converting on the offensive
end, they're going to fight their way back. I turned the ball over at
the end there, gave them an easy lay in. But they were just burying
three's, a lot of tough shots and we weren't converting on the
Q. Demetri, were you surprised to get that close to the basket,
almost looked like they expected you to pass the ball at the end
rather than take the last shot?
DEMETRI GOODSON: Yeah, I drove left and it was two guys there and
the big kind of went with, I think, Matt. So it opened up the lane, so
I just took it. I was really surprised to get that look.
Q. How does it feel to have a finish like that? Where do you think
it will end up in the media guide or the annals of Gonzaga basketball?
JEREMY PARGO: That's exactly what is going in the media guide. This
program has played some unbelievable games. I think this program had a
shot like that years back.
COACH FEW: Casey Calvary tipped one in, so it's 1, and 1A. The other
was Sweet 16.
JEREMY PARGO: Blake had the chance to have the same kind of shot.
COACH FEW: Great call, Pargo.
Q. Jeremy, can you just talk about the getting over the hump,
getting into the Sweet 16 after a couple of years of first round
losses and what it means to you as a senior to be advancing?
JEREMY PARGO: It means a lot for these guys that have years left
under their belts to play. For them to come out and play just as hard
as us seniors, they really want this bad. You can see it in their eyes
how much they want to win and advance and get a program an opportunity
to do something it's never done before. It's a tremendous thing to see
in everyone's eyes. And it's just an accomplishment for us to do this
and especially the way we won the game.
Q. Demetri, I'm told this is a shot you practice quite a bit, drive
to win. Is that something you've practiced quite a bit?
DEMETRI GOODSON: Yeah, like floaters and stuff like that, but never
game winning floaters. But, yeah, I do me and Pargo practice those
type of shots in practice.
Q. Coach, Demetri
COACH FEW: Let's go with Meech, nobody knows what you're talking
about when you say Demetri.
Q. Was he only in the game at that point because you had put him in
for defensive reasons?
COACH FEW: For defensive reasons, yeah. I thought he was doing the
best job of guarding the perimeters. We debated as a staff whether to
have Josh in there for the rebound or to have Meech in there, because
he was doing I thought he did the best job out of all of them on
Mendez Valdez. It allowed us to switch every ball screen and but sure
enough we gave up an offensive rebound, though it wasn't the position
Josh would have been playing.
But he has a knack. He's probably our best our staff will tell you
and our players will tell you, he is easily our best finisher around
the rim as a guard. And we have some great finishers, Pargo and
Bouldin and Steven Gray is a finisher. This kid has a knack for making
shots over bigger guys. From day one in our program it's something
So I was comfortable, actually, with he and Matt and Jeremy out
there. There was just no need to call a timeout. I knew we'd get
something going to the rim and probably a good look for somebody.
Q. Can you just talk about your defense has been so good all year,
and these guys got so many open looks, can you talk about the
challenges they brought up for you on defense?
COACH FEW: I'm not so sure they got that many open looks. They hit a
lot of shots and they hit a lot of contested shots. And they hit some
30 foot shots. I would disagree with you on the open part of it. I
mean they were they were amazing, the two guards are just Mendez
Valdez, with just how smart and crafty he is, and how he's able to
hesitate and create just a little bit of space and how confident he is
at any time to just let that thing go.
And then Slaughter is a really hard guard, because he can pull from
three, and yet he's just lightning quick. And he can get in the lane
and make you pay there. So with those two playing like that, we saw
that on film and knew it was going to be a handful for our defense.
And we were switching our ball screens. They were trying to cut our
bigs out of the herd a little bit. And they did a decent job with that
in the first half, but I thought we did a nice job in the second half
of shoring that up.
Q. Does that mean you don't have anything to work on for the next
game? You did
COACH FEW: We've got tons of things to work on, no. I didn't mean in
any way, shape or form to imply that. We've got tons of things to work
on. Obviously we're just happy to survive and advance. We're going to
celebrate this thing tonight and then we'll start picking things apart
and worrying about what we need to work on tomorrow and get after it
But we survived a red hot basketball team that was just on fire. And
they played with great confidence and they played with they've got a
lot of weapons. We out rebounded them, which I thought was going to be
a big key going into it. And again I thought we kept our poise for the
most part on offense. We had two kind of bonehead turnovers at the end
that were very uncharacteristic.
Q. How much of a challenge was it to try to take advantage of your
size inside against those guys?
COACH FEW: You know, it's just we laugh at that as a staff, because
I think people look at the heights on our roster and it's just not
what we've done all year. I mean we've been so much better with our
skill package and our pick and pops and our ball screen. We just don't
have a great post up player.
It doesn't play to Josh's strengths. Josh is far better when he's on
the move. Austin, obviously, with his body size is far better catching
and facing from midrange and things like that. We tried to explore it
a little bit and again we kind of got away from what we're best at
which is setting the floor, and setting ball screens and moving things
We were incredibly efficient on offense. We shoot 50 percent and 43
from three and 73 from the line. It's tough to get any better than
that unless you shoot 51 and 48 from three like they did.
Q. Can you just go through that last sequence at the end of the game
when Demetri took the ball the length of the court, how did you see
it? And also after the game you jumped really high and pumped your
fist what was going through your mind at the end there?
COACH FEW: The first thing was we talked in the timeout, we need one
stop and we've got we have a small lineup, we have to dig in, carve
out your space and get the rebound. We got the stop, we didn't get the
rebound. I said, if they score now let's get it out and go, unless we
don't have anything, I'll call timeout, but let's get it out, we've
got your guards out there and let's push it up and see if we can't get
something going to the rim. We practiced that a lot. And I was very
comfortable with Meech having the ball in his hands. He's a terrific
finisher, and he has a real knack for splitting gaps and getting to
And obviously when it went in and they were shocked, which I figured
Mendez Valdez would make that thing from three quarter court
(laughter), I had to check the trajectory on it. It's just a great
feeling. I so much wanted to reward Jeremy and Josh and Matt, some of
our upper classmen who have never experienced, really a Sweet 16 where
they were a real part of it. Jeremy went to Sweet 16 Adam's year. But
to experience why they're really a part of it is something I really
wanted for those guys.
Q. Just to follow that up, these guys have fallen short in the last
couple of tournaments from what they wanted to do. Is there something
every tournament game I imagine there's an urgency to win, but was
there something extra with these guys to get over the hump this year?
COACH FEW: You know what I would say with these guys is there's been
a quiet confidence and assurance and a pretty good amount of poise and
not panicking down the stretch and not panicking even in the middle of
these games. We got down I think five or seven there and they stayed
with it. So I think they've had a real mature kind of just possession
by possession approach that has allowed them to nobody's ever really
created huge space on us over the weekend. I think that more than
anything, and I'm sure that's a product of urgency a little bit.
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