THE MODERATOR: We’ll have a brief opening statement from coach and then go to questions.
COACH BOEHEIM: I thought we made a great comeback. Then we got ourselves in a big hole. These guys, like they have done all year, made an incredible comeback.
I should have taken Frank Howard out of the game, but I just thought that he had been playing well. I should have taken him out and put Trevor back in. It was my mistake. I let Mike have the ball when we had the tied game.
Just one of those things. Sometimes you think you can get by with it. I thought he played so well and had gotten us into good position, but I should have made that change right then.
We gave them a couple buckets. Mike made a big shot. We wanted to drive the ball at the end. I thought we wanted to get to Mike. We figured they would double-team him. We had something set up, but somebody didn’t get into the position they were supposed to.
I thought Trevor made the best of that situation. I would have liked to have seen him go all the way. I don’t think he thought he had quite enough time.
But it was a tremendous comeback. I can’t say enough about our effort. When you’re down 11 or 12 points with not that much time left on the clock, it was a huge effort in that last couple minutes.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Jim, you said you had something set up on that inbound play. What were you going to try to do?
COACH BOEHEIM: We wanted to get the ball to Mike and drive it. We couldn’t get it to him.
Q. Jim, before you started pressing about four minutes left, what were they doing well offensively?
COACH BOEHEIM: They’re a good team. I thought our defense was not bad. I thought our offense, we didn’t drive the ball enough. We really didn’t drive the ball until we got behind. We wanted to drive it more.
Malachi finally started to get to the basket. Frank got in the lane. I thought that’s when we got it going. We wanted to do that earlier, but we just never got into that.
Q. Coach, Cooney was out for an extended amount of time. Was that tactical or was he hurt?
COACH BOEHEIM: No, he was not hurt.
Q. Jim, how do you think the NCAA tournament committee is going to assess —
COACH BOEHEIM: No comment.
Q. With you being out?
COACH BOEHEIM: No comment. It’s up to them. I don’t know what they’re going to do. You don’t know. I’ve heard you say it many times. You don’t know what they’re going to do and I don’t either.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH BOEHEIM: I don’t know. I’m not on the committee. Every coach in the country that’s got any kind of record thinks they should get in the tournament. What do you want me to say? They’re going to have to evaluate what we’ve done based on all the circumstances and make a decision.
Q. What did you think of how DaJuan played today?
COACH BOEHEIM: I thought he got a little bit better. He has to be more aggressive. He’s still not where we need him to be.
Q. Michael, what did it say about you guys that when you were down 14, you remained confident?
MICHAEL GBINIJE: We had a lot on the line. We just wanted to come out and compete. When we got down, we had some competitors. We got after a couple people, just tried to move forward and tried our best to win.
Q. Jim, when they can go through nine, ten deep, what type of role does their depth play?
COACH BOEHEIM: None.
Q. Jim, it’s so rare to see Trevor come out of the game. He only played 24 minutes today. What was going on on the floor that made Frank for most of the game a better option?
COACH BOEHEIM: I thought Frank did an unbelievable job. He got penetration. He got in the lane. He had five assists, got to the basket. He opened up their defense for other guys. They had to help. He hit people. They were able to drive.
He did a tremendous job. But I should have taken him out when we got to the tied spot there.
Q. Jim, when that rule was put into effect about the coach’s suspension, was any information given to you guys among the coaches association about how it would play into these sorts of situations?
COACH BOEHEIM: What situations?
Q. The NCAA tournament.
COACH BOEHEIM: I thought, and I’m not talking about me, I’ve always thought the NCAA committee was not the infractions committee, I thought it was the NCAA basketball committee. I thought it’s their job to pick the best teams for the tournament.
I have read where some people think we should be punished by the basketball committee as well. I think we’ve had our punishment. I don’t think we should now be punished by the basketball committee. We’ve gotten pretty heavy punishments.
The players on this team didn’t do anything wrong, were not involved in anything. They should be evaluated on how well they played when they played their best. That’s the only thing that I think should happen. We should be evaluated on what kind of team we are.
I think everybody has their own opinions. The chairman of the committee said a coach not being there can be taken like a player not being there. How much is that important? I don’t know. How much is that taken into consideration? I don’t know.
I know we’ve beaten four teams in the top 30 or 35 in the country. We’ve beaten eight teams in the top 100. If there’s teams better than that, so be it. We’ll see what happens.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, coach.