Athens, GA (Mar 22, 2009) - In 2nd round action from the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball tournament on Saturday, Texas lost to Duke 74-69. This is the transcript of the Texas post-game press conference as provided by the NCAA and ASAP Sports.
PHIL WARSHAUER: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. Can you talk about the effort you guys and the performance you
guys gave and just coming up short, what the feeling is like?
A.J. ABRAMS: I thought we played hard. We kind of dug ourselves a
hole a little bit. But we showed a lot of character, not only in this
game but throughout the season of just having the will to fight back.
I'm proud of what we did. We, obviously, came up short of what we want
to do, but it was a good effort from all of us.
Q. Damion, can you talk about the play when Jon Scheyer went into
the bench and threw it up the court? What was your perspective on
that? And also, what happened to you at the scorer's table when you
were down for a while?
DAMION JAMES: It was a tough play when Jon threw the ball down the
court. Me, personally, it was a loose ball, so whoever got it, got it.
But the ref's called the play. I hit a nerve in my arm, and my whole
arm went numb for like five or so minutes, and it was hurting really
bad, and I couldn't feel my arm. But it's okay now.
Q. Could you talk about what your goal was when Rick put you in the
game with about 10 minutes left? I saw him talk to on you on the
sideline before he sent you in.
VAREZ WARD: Well, all year I've been kind of the defensive stopper
on the team. My goal was to try to come in and slow down Henderson a
little bit. He got off to a really good start in the first half. And I
wanted to try to come in and slow him down a little bit. That was
basically my role when I entered the game.
Q. Offensively, too?
VAREZ WARD: Offensively I was just trying to take care of the ball,
that was the main thing. I had a turnover early in the game, and I
didn't want to turn it over again. So just taking care of the ball and
making smart plays.
Q. Driving the ball? Was that also a goal, going to the goal with
VAREZ WARD: Oh, yeah. Going to the goal and just making smart plays.
Q. You got called for a foul on a rebound. From your perspective,
what happened there?
DAMION JAMES: It was another tough call. The dude was hanging on my
arm. It was kind of like a jump ball situation. It was just a tough
call in a situation like that. You know, it really hurt us. But it
Q. How do you feel the Blue Devils did defending you as a shooter?
A.J. ABRAMS: I had some open looks. I had taken some tough shots
early on that are knocked down. But as a group, I don't think they did
anything special to stop me. I think we looked to Varez to start
penetrating, and he did his thing as far as getting to the lane and
creating for others. So we just came up short.
PHIL WARSHAUER: We'll continue with questions for Coach Barnes.
Q. Jon Scheyer's pass he made down the court. Your thoughts on that,
especially the fact he didn't throw it back under his own goal and
that kind of thing? How that sort of, one of those little heady plays
that they seem to come up with in that last minute, minute and a half.
COACH BARNES: Well, I don't know how you want me to answer that
other than the fact he went out of bounds with it, and that is the
direction he threw it. Give him credit for that. When the ball went
out of bounds, at first we were told it was a non shooting foul. Then
we sub a little bit, and it ends up being a shooting foul. Again,
ended up being a great play.
Q. But just to follow up, I think Dave McClure in addition tapped
out the rebound missed free throw. It seemed like not just Jon
Scheyer's play and that one as well, there were a lot of these little
plays that they came up with. It was almost like 50 50 balls that
maybe they got?
COACH BARNES: They came up with them.
Q. You missed a lot of free throws. Got caught on some picks
outside. Had some defensive lapses and still with a minute to go,
you're in the ballgame. How did that happen?
COACH BARNES: We told our guys we would stick around, stay, and
actually told them at 4:00 minutes we were right where we needed to
be. We did the turnovers. Didn't take care of the ball as well as we
wanted to early. The missed free throws hurt you along the way. But
toughness. I thought we showed real toughness tonight.
At no point in time did our guys really flinch and think they
couldn't get back in the game. We felt at some point in time we knew
we were going to open up the court and start driving the ball. Our
defense definitely got going there, put some pressure on them. We
started switching some ball screens and forced them into some tough
Q. Looking back it seemed like you found that guy in the final game
who can go get his own shot when he wants it. Any way you wish that
could have happened earlier with Ward?
COACH BARNES: Again, it goes back. They chose to come out and guard.
We felt that the one thing we could do is take them off the dribble.
As you know, you've watched us all year. Lot of teams didn't guard us
there. They backed up in the lane. That's why we felt pretty good
coming in that if we take care of the ball we could shoot a high
percentage. But we felt we could get the ball to the basket.
Q. Obviously, this has been a disjointed team at times. During the
year you've had to remake it over and on over sometimes within a game.
Talk about the accomplishment of getting to this point being within a
couple of minutes of the Sweet Sixteen?
COACH BARNES: That's what I told the team after the game. We went
through a lot of growing pains. We had to adjust it seemed like all
year long looking for consistency. At some point in time every player
on our team this year helped us. With that said, I thought the one
thing that was really impressive with this group is the chemistry was
great from the beginning. It never changed. They just worked their way
It wasn't pretty. It was tough on everybody. It was never pretty.
But the one thing we did is we competed. We came in here tonight
really, fully expecting to win this game. We're disappointed. We're
definitely disappointed because we thought it was right there for us.
You know, we didn't finish it.
Q. Can you talk about the inside situation? The first few plays of
the game it seemed like you were able to go inside at will after that.
You got away from them though you had the blocks on the offensive
COACH BARNES: We were going to go inside. And Dexter, fatigue plays
a little factor in it, too. We were going to keep going in there as
long as we could. But they really started filling up the lane, too.
They started doing that and we were turning the ball over too much
trying to go in there and force feed it in there.
But, again, with Dexter as much as we can, we want to play through
him. But yet, A.J., you want to get him going, too. So you work the
game. I mean there are points in the game where we're going to try to
do certain things. We knew at some point in time we were going to open
the floor up and just start driving the ball at them and see how they
would handle it. But we wanted to wait to do that more so in the
second half. When we really got back to where we needed to be, that
was working for us.
Q. Just to be clear on the free throws after Gary's foul, if you had
known they were free throws and would there have been different guys
in the game to block out?
COACH BARNES: Yes. We could still have subbed at that point in the
time. But yeah, we were set up for a special situation, out of bounds
play. We talked that whole timeout about what we were going to do to
try to create a five second call, and then it ended up being on the
free throw line.
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