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Post Game Quotes

March 15, 2013

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Southern Miss Head Coach Donnie Tyndall
Opening Statement...
"I want to start off first off by saying that it is a great day from Southern Miss basketball, but also a very sad day as well. Some of you may already know this or have heard, but Wilbert Jordan who was a member of the 1968 Southern Miss team and who was also the first African American to receive a scholarship to Southern Miss history, passed away today so it is a very sad time and I want his family to know that our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time. In regards to our game, I have a great deal of respect for UTEP, they are a very talented team, they play extremely hard and they are one of the best defensive teams that we have played all season long. I thought a big key tonight is that we wouldn't settle for jump shots, we drove the ball, we post fed it, we worked inside out, dribble drive in and made sure we had post touches, that was a big key. We got to the foul line 24 times against a very solid defensive team."

On the first time Southern Miss has reached the Conference Championship...
"We have accomplished a great deal this year and a large part of that is because these two guys sitting to my left {Dwayne Davis and Jonathan Mills}. When you think about 12 conference wins, we broke a school record in C-USA, 25th win tonight ties a record for the school and to get to the title game for the first time in the history of the program, a lot of great things are go ing on in our program, and again largely attributed to these guys. They are great captains, great leaders, great players, and after that even great people. I am so very proud of them and their team and what they have accomplished, but we certainly hope that we are not done yet."

Getting players to buy into a new program and what point did you realize that everything came together...
"Well the first week of workouts I didn't even know if we could have a winning season, I am just being honest with you. The guys were not necessarily buying in, but I don't think that they understood the tempo and how we would practice and how we would work, and that isn't a knock to the previous staff, but just understand that there were only four players that returned from that team, so we had a lot of new people in our program that were learning what Division basketball was all about. We started the season off pretty well going 6-0 and then we go on a three game slide where we lose at New Mexico State, Arizona, and at Louisiana Tech, and I thought from that point forward our team bought in because they understood some ofthe mistakes we made in those three games and those three games resulted in losses. They understood that if we don't do the little things coach talked about we are going to lose."

On match ups tomorrow, depending on who you play, either Memphis or Tulsa...
"Well they are both unique in their own way certainly, soI'll start with Memphis. They are what 17-0 and they play tonight with a chance to be 18-0. They are one of the 10 most talented teams in college basketball. Josh {Pastner} is doing a great job of getting ready. They are incredibly unselfish with the ball. They can beat you inside, they can beat you outside, they have guys that can beat you off the dribble, in my opinion they are a team that has a chance to be in the NCAA Final Four, so I am saying how daunting that task would be if we played them tomorrow. Tulsa - talk about a team that is physical, exceptionally well coached at the defensive level, they don't give up any easy baskets, and we have to play them on their home floor, so that will be a huge challenge as well. So, either team that we have to play, we are probably going to have to play the best that we have played all year long to win a conference title and get that automatic birth."

Dwayne Davis
How you closed out the first half with a 13-3 run and they (UTEP) were scoreless for 4 minutes...
"We kind of know what's going on during the game and we try to get stop after stop and play Southern Miss Basketball. Coach Tyndall has preached to us defense all year and that was the key."

On the opportunity to play for the NCAA Tournament, playing for a conference championship; how special that will be...
"Unbelievable! We have won championships in the past, but there is nothing more important than playing in the Conference championship. So it means everything to us; something that we have worked all year for."

Jonathan Mills
How you closed out the first half with a 13-3 run and they (UTEP) were scoreless for 4 minutes...
"For us I feel that we just buckled down and played Southern Miss defense. That's what we look forward to the whole year, that's what we have been practicing on, and that's what Coach Tyndall expects from us."

Jonathon Mills
On the opportunity to play for the NCAA Tournament, playing for a conference championship; how special that will be...
"It means a lot to me, me being a returner. I played in the NCAA tournament last year and we were second in the conference last year and then we got clipped by Marshall, so for me to come back and play in the Conference Championship for me it's like a dream come true. I really do want to get back to the NCAA tournament."

Head Coach Tim Floyd

Opening Statement...
"Southern Miss is a good team with talented guards. (Dwayne) Davis has been playing at a high level. Julian Washburn picking up his third foul in the first half was key to the flow of the game. We wanted him to guard Davis, but we had to sit him for the next nine minutes while the game got away from us. He means an awful lot to our team. Davis was able to get on somewhat of a role. The first possession was telling, an offensive put back dunk. The last possession of the first half was telling in that they missed a shot but tipped it up three times. We didn't do a good job on the defensive boards. We also gave up points off of turnovers. Points off of turnovers were really big, and points in the paint were really big."

On keys to the game...
"Davis was very involved all night long, and he is a terrific player. He knocked down a big three from the left side in the second half and just had his way all night. We paid a price in a lot of areas. Our goal was for no middle drives, but they drove on us successfully all night. We didn't have the same success that we had in Hattiesburg, and we paid a price. It was a game of guards, and their guards were able to get it to the rim for the most part."

On the chance of a comeback in the second half...
"We couldn't get stops. That makes you feel like you could never get over the top. We just didn't contain or give our selves a chance to get back in the game because we couldn't guard."

On UTEP's future as team in the new Conference USA next year...
"I haven't followed the new teams coming in to the league next year. You get so consumed with the teams you have to play. As far as our signing class next year, that was pretty much completed in November with signing day. It is a nice class coming in with a lot of young returners like Cedrick (Lang) and C.J. (Cooper). I like the blend of old and young. I think these guys have gotten a lot of experience the last couple of years and have gotten much better. I can't tell you much about where this league is headed."

C.J. Cooper
On the keys to the game...
"We just had a lot of breakdowns and too many turnovers. They were driving and passing it off to their big men, and we couldn't stop them. We had trouble rebounding, and that was a big problem for us."

Cedrick Lang
On UTEP's struggles with interior play...
"Coming in to this game, we knew they were going to play a zone against us for forty minutes. We would get in to the middle and they would close in. We had a hard time getting offensive boards and didn't execute on the defensive end either."

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