Saint Mary's vs. Memphis
NCAA Tournament Second Round
March 21, 2013 * Auburn Hills, Mich. (The Palace of Auburn Hills)
THE MODERATOR: Now we'll hear from Coach Bennett.
COACH BENNETT: Yeah, just left the locker room. It's probably the toughest locker room I've ever had to be in.
Our guys, couldn't be more proud of a team. They put everything they had into that game. Played a good Memphis team. We thought it would be a dog fight and it was.
So that's all you can do. We didn't shoot the ball great. Some of that has to do with their defense, but I couldn't be more proud of a team.
MODERATOR: Thank you Coach. Any questions for Brad Waldow, student-athlete.
Q. Brad, for the last two years, a lot of your scoring has come from passes from Matthew. Now that you realize you're not going to be with him, what has he meant to you for the last two season?
BRAD WALDOW: He's just a great person like all around. He taught me how to be like a winner on and off the court and a great role model, great person.
Q. Brad, can you talk about your mind-set going down into the waning seconds?
BRAD WALDOW: There was a lot of excitement, and as soon as Delli got the ball in the corner, we all thought it was going to go in. We knew it was going to go in, but it just didn't fall. That's it.
Q. Brad, how tough did D. J. Stephens make it out there for you?
BRAD WALDOW: It was pretty tough. He's a pretty big guy.
Yeah, he's a shot blocker. Coming from the weak side, it's tough like when you can't see the guy coming, but he's really athletic and a really good player.
MODERATOR: Coach Bennett is open for questions now.
Q. Coach, what do you think contributed to Matthew's off night?
COACH BENNETT: I'm not sure he had an off night. He shoulders so much of the load for us. I mean, we play off of him, and they had to put such a defensive effort into stopping him.
He didn't make all his shots. It's hard for him to get a good look the way they're playing him. They double team him on the ball -- in the on-ball, and no catch him when he doesn't get the ball.
He's not going to have -- if they play in L.A, he's not going to have great numbers but I think our other guys will usually benefit from that.
Our other guys did not shoot the ball well either. We had some good looks. I'm really not down at all. Our guys played the game the right way. Could have made some shots. I mean, Beau had a couple. Holt needed to hit some shots.
It comes down to that. If they are going to play you that way, some other guys got to make the shot. No way Matt is going to score when he's got two guys guarding him, which is exactly what they do, then they no catch him to try to get it back.
For him to do what he did is remarkable. Wish he would have hit that last shot, and so does he. And there's a reason he's not here right now and that's how hard he's taking it.
Matt wasn't the problem at all. Matt was the solution. Matt was why we had a chance at the end.
Q. Coach, can you talk about the final play that you guys set up?
COACH BENNETT: It was a scramble situation over there, to say the least.
We didn't have a timeout. Thank goodness they stopped the clock. There was a break so we could kind of huddle up, but our guys executed about as well as you could on that, and we had a decent look. Matt had a decent look. With that much time, they're not going to leave him open, but he had a shot that he could make, and that's all you can ask for in that situation.
For our guys to keep -- Eividas hit a big shot banking that shot in, and to give us a chance. Our guys were good. They picked up press. Giusti forced them into a turnover. Then we executed then.
Sometimes they just don't go in, and we didn't have enough shots go in tonight to win that game, but it was not lack of effort.
Q. What did you tell the team in that tough locker room? You've been saying for weeks, maybe months that you don't know how good of coach you are until Matthew's gone. Now he's gone. How does that hit you?
COACH BENNETT: Well, I say it a little bit tongue in cheek on that. I think I'm solid.
Yeah, I mean, it's -- he's like a coach on the floor. I don't think on the floor does him justice. I mean, he has set the blueprint for our program, and he's been in it for these four years, but I think he'll even help us win as he leaves because he's -- his leadership has been so strong.
So I think that's where we'll be tested, is how do we replace that leadership. And coaches can do that, but it's best when it's the players. So I've been counting the days with him, like since he was a freshman. Hey, this one's special. So we'll find out. I think we'll be good. We have some really good -- I think Beau Levesque and Stephen Holt will be really good leaders.
And they couldn't totally develop as leaders until these guys left. I mean, Mitch Young did a super job too and Kyle Rowley and Paul McCoy's going to be back, but even Tim Williams. That group of five guys, I told them, I've never been more proud of a team, and I've never seen better leadership out of seniors.
We have some good ones coming, and they'll have a chance to blossom and grow and try and leave their fingerprints on our program. But these guys, and especially Matt, have done as well as you can do it.
Q. What did you say to the team?
COACH BENNETT: Not much. There wasn't -- there was a lot of tears in there. Like I said, it was the toughest locker room I've been in.
And that's the way it should be; I told them that. This is the way it should be. You guys should care this much, and they did. So I just told them how proud I was of them.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
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