Post Game Quotes



March 23, 2014

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Missouri Head Coach Frank Haith

Opening statement...
"Obviously we're disappointed with the loss today. We've got to give Southern Miss a lot of credit. They played their tails off. We're a better team. We know how to win. For our guys, I thought in terms of, not making the NCAA Tournament, I'm really proud of how they embraced this tournament. We didn't have great execution and didn't shoot the ball well today, but I thought our guys competed."

On this year's team...
"As I said earlier, we're disappointed that we didn't make the NCAA Tournament. We have to want to make it to the NCAA Tournament every year. I thought that this team had a lot of things happen throughout the year. Obviously we could have used Wes Clark today and Jabari had not practiced since the last game because he pulled his groin. We don't make excuses for anything, but he couldn't explode out there today and struggled. There are things like that, when you look at our big picture. We had three guys returning from last year's team, one starter, and 23 wins. I'm sure I'll feel good about that later on, but right now I'm disappointed because I felt like this team could've had some great things happen to us this year."

On what went wrong...
"There were things within our program, personal things with our players. When you talk about two guys that lead us, Jabari and Jordan, no one knows what's going on with those guys personally. I'd rather not get into that now, but they had things personally that I think did affect them in a big way."

On turnover to assist ratio...
"This is Jordan's first year and I think he struggled at times there. I thought he was getting better. I think that in college basketball, with guys leaving early, you just have to do what you have to do to make your team competitive. I thought Jordan made great strides this year, but he's still got to grow there. I thought Wes made some great strides throughout the year, but we were never quite fluid in that area this year. That's something we've got to work on."

On building the program...
"I think what we did as a staff allowed us to be competitive and allowed us to recruit. If we didn't have Earnest Ross, Keion Bell or Jabari Brown, I think our second year would be a little different than what it was, 23 wins. It was the same thing this year. It allowed us to have stability and get us on solid footing so we can recruit. Now we're seeing the foundation of J3, Wes Clark, Shane and Torren and I think we have a good recruiting class coming in, and we're still working at it. I do see us having to balance. If you don't do that, you bottom out and then it's hard to recruit. I think we've been able to recruit top players because we have shown consistency with winning."

On the future of Jabari and Jordan...
"I think all of our focus was in this game. We'll talk to those guys and I want them to get good information. I think a lot of kids don't get good information and I think both kids and their families will allow that to happen. We'll make a decision based on what is best for them and their families. Hopefully, we'll be a part of that process."

On Earnest Ross...
"I'm proud of Earnest. I told him before we walked in here that a lot of kids start looking ahead. In his last two games here, he played with tremendous heart. I look back at the play made in the Davidson game where he jumped in the stands to save the ball late in the game and I thought he really competed hard again today."

On meeting season expectations...
"I don't think we were perfect. I think we worked hard and competed. I think as the season goes on, I look at our front line of J3 and Ryan and going into the year I don't think we thought they would be our front line guys. But, because of circumstances, that's where they ended up. I thought those guys got better, battled and competed. When you look at the youthfulness of our front line, I think you would say we're flawed, because those guys are young. In the backcourt we didn't have a lot of depth. We just had a one-rotation perimeter player in Wes Clark. They played a lot of minutes and needed to be solid every game. I think something that we need to do as a staff is make sure we have great depth. We had some guys leave our program that would have played a lot this year. I think Stefan Jankovic and Negus Webster-Chan would have both been great contributors this year. Those things happen. When kids want to play more, they leave so we've got to make sure we have better depth and have guys that from a rotational standpoint allow us to filter guys and hold guys accountable. I think that will make us a better overall team."

___________________________________________________________________ Junior G Jabari Brown

On not getting the defensive stops that were needed to close the gap...

"Like coach said I think we have to give a lot of credit to Southern Miss. They are a veteran team. They weren't going to let the crowd that we had here rattle them or anything like that. We would hit a shot and they would come back and hit a shot. They're a tough team."

On this potentially being his last game at Missouri...

"I'm not thinking about that right now. We just lost and that's the only thing on my mind right now."

Senior G Earnest Ross

On the team's effort and execution in the loss...

"Well like coach said I think we had a lack of execution down the stretch, but there's no doubt we played with great heart and great intensity. We all wanted to win the game and sometimes when you don't give everything you have, you lose and today that's what happened."

On his time at Missouri...

"I had a great time at Missouri. The fans did a great job of bringing me in. Coach Haith and the rest of the coaching staff did a great job of coaching me. Like I said I wouldn't have wanted to spend it anywhere else."

On being motivated because it was his last game...

"At this point in time, in March, for any senior that is still playing college basketball, you have to be able to take a last-game approach. And today, that's what I tried to do."

_____________________________________________________________________ Southern Mississippi Head Coach Donnie Tyndall

Opening Statement...

"First off let me start by saying, I have great respect for Coach Haith and his team. They are very talented and have won 23 games for a reason. They are tough, very athletic. A lot of people across the country have not had the opportunity to watch our team play this year and I think today a lot of people sitting at home are saying Southern Miss is a pretty good basketball team. We showed our resiliency and our toughness, we defended the team by holding them under 40% on their own floor. Mizzou made two or three different runs and our guys did what they did all season long. They answered the bell when things did go their way whether it was driving the ball and getting it to the rim, getting to the foul line, or making big threes. I thought both teams competed for forty minutes. I thought our team was more fortunate to make a few more plays and show some resiliency down the stretch."

On rebounding...

"There is the line in coaching that states, `You get what you emphasize.' Every single day we emphasize defending and rebounding, whether it is on the practice floor or in film sessions. Our team is a little bit undersized, but last year we led our league in rebounding margin and this year we were second. It is just kind of what we do. We have some undersized guys but they have some girth about them and we play extremely hard. They know if they miss a block out they will be coming out of the game. So we do a pretty good job at that."

On playing against Minnesota on Tuesday...

"I've seen them play a few times. They obviously play a lot like Coach Pitino at Louisville who we played earlier this season. Richard has done a great job at Minnesota. They will be similar to the team we played today, long and athletic. It will be a tough place to play. They are going to play more zone than Missouri did. It is going to be another tough challenge but we have won 11 true road games and 14 times away from home. So we are going to try to do it one more time."

On beating Missouri on their home court...

"I heard a stat this past week that Missouri had not lost a home non-conference games since 2005. I said make sure you don't tell my team that. I will make sure they know afterwards. That is a tribute to our players and their grit and toughness. It is obviously a challenging place to play but our guys stepped up to the challenge." __________________________________________________________ Senior G Neil Watson
On playing close to home (Kansas)...
"I'd say it adds a lot to it. Being so far away from Kansas, me down in Mississippi, my family up there, they don't really get to see me play a lot. So them {my family} being here and being able to share in the win with my second family [my teammates], it's very motivational for the rest of the NIT."

On the amount of family here...
"I believe I had 14 people, uncles, aunts, little cousins, and then Mom, Dad, and my little brothers."

On possibly going to New York City...
"Me personally, no, I have not been to New York. I would love to go so I'm going to do what I can, do my part, to help the team get there. To the team it means a lot because we have several guys from the east coast. I think one or two from New York, and we have a couple guys from Jersey. They'll get to be closer to their families and their families will get to be at the game just like today when my family drove down to the game. Any time we can get a win and get to a place where our teammates can see their family, that makes us fight that much harder in games and in practice."



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