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NCAA East Regional Final: Texas Tech Quotes

Sunday, March 25 2018

Boston, Massachusetts

Chris Beard

Keenan Evans

Zach Smith

Texas Tech Red Raiders

NCAA East Regional Final

Villanova – 71, Texas Tech – 59

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Texas Tech Head Coach Chris Beard and seniors Keenan Evans and Zach Smith. We’ll begin. We’ll take an opening statement from Coach Beard. After which, we’ll open up to questions for the student-athletes and Coach. Coach, your opening statement, please.

CHRIS BEARD: Just want to congratulate Villanova on a tough, hard-fought game, and wish them the best at the Final Four. In preparation, we knew they were a great three-point shooting team and talented players, but we also knew how tough they were. We knew the identity of their team was the toughness and physicality, and that proved to be true.

Just want to congratulate them on a great season. And I just want to recognize our team. I’m just so appreciative of our seniors during the coaching change and sticking with us. And to almost get to that final weekend, I think, speaks a lot about those guys, their character. Proud of our five seniors.

And then I told our young guys, we’ll do everything we can in the next 364 days to be back here.

Again, congratulate Villanova. First-class program. Congratulations to them, and I’m just really, really proud of my team.

Q. Zach, toward of the end of the game, obviously, Coach takes out all the seniors, and he shares a moment with you all on the sideline. What did he tell you?
ZACH SMITH: He just told us how much he appreciated the journey, how much he loved us and appreciated us for sticking with him.

Q. Chris, how much did it come down to how good they were defensively today?
CHRIS BEARD: Exactly. Our defense gets a lot of attention. It’s our identity, which it should. We held Villanova to 33 percent shooting tonight. We made more field goals than them.

But I think the difference in the game was their defense. That’s one of the best defenses we’ve played against. You know, we got some good shots, but they were all contested. I think, from our standpoint on the basketball side of this deal, we really got whipped on the boards. We haven’t got outrebounded like that all year. It’s a real problem.

And then we just fouled too much. We’ll have to do a better job coaching that.

Q. Really for coaches and players, but we all know how talented Brunson is, but when he does things in the post, not just from the perimeter, how much more difficult does that make him?
CHRIS BEARD: I couldn’t hear the question. I know it was Brunson.

Q. We all know how talented Brunson is, but when he started to do things in the post and not just on the perimeter, how much more difficult does that make him to guard?
CHRIS BEARD: It was like watching Magic Johnson back down. They got Cooper in one corner. Really difficult. So our objective there was to try to take away the three-point shot. We made one mistake early, but other than that, we did pretty good on that regard.

But he’s a multi-dimensional player. He can play at the next level for a lot of reasons. I think his toughness and intangibles, just like the guy to my left, are at the top of that list.

Q. Keenan, in your situation where you know they’re trying to make every look you guy get difficult, how do you kind of still try to get some kind of shot up or some kind of look that’s clean or even get to the rim to get some free throws up?
KEENAN EVANS: Just my teammates, they help set ball screens. They try help me come off screen or set a good screen for them to get open and use our motion to kind of confuse them.

Q. Chris, like you said, you knew you had to get after the shooters, and you did. Is it too simplistic to say it’s a pick-your-poison thing with them hitting the offensive boards? Or what do you think the issues were there?
CHRIS BEARD: One, I just can’t state this enough, I think, myself included, somebody that’s looked up to Coach and watched Villanova basketball, you think it’s their three-point shooting, their small ball, their athleticism, but by far, their identity is their toughness. It’s one of the toughest teams we played this year. They outrebounded us by 20. I thought they demanded fouls on their end. And we just didn’t get to the free-throw line as much as we need to.

But ultimately, we’re a no-excuse program. So we’ll just have to go back and use this to help us coach better in the future. But the story is Villanova and their toughness. I think that’s their identity.

Q. Keenan, how much pride do you take in this group, you guys, being the one that takes Texas Tech to the Elite Eight?
KEENAN EVANS: Can you say that again?

Q. How much pride do you take in you guys, you yourself, your teammates, being the Texas Tech team that got to the Elite Eight?
KEENAN EVANS: We take a lot of pride just knowing that the amount of work we put in to get here, and we came short of what the ultimate goal was, but just for us digging down and us going through injuries; Zach coming back and playing his heart out, we took a lot of pride with it.

Q. To follow up on the toughness point you just made, I’m curious if the way Villanova won this weekend, you can comment on. I mean, you guys obviously held them to 4-of-24. West Virginia really physically pushed them, yet they were able to sort of win in different ways, not really to their offensive identity. I wonder what that says about them.
CHRIS BEARD: That’s what good teams do, our team included. We won games this year with the three-point shot, with our drive and the defense. I think Villanova is in that same category.

We made more shots than them: We saw the ball go into the basket 20 times; they saw it 19 times. Again, how did they beat us? Again, it was getting to the free-throw line and outrebounding us.

And I thought we missed a lot of layups at the basket from where I was sitting. I think we had some chances to finish, and we didn’t. On their end, they either finished, or they demanded the foul.

So I think, just like all teams, they have different styles they could beat you. They can obviously beat anybody in the Tournament with a three-point shot. They provedtonight that they can beat good teams without the three as well.

THE MODERATOR: Texas Tech, thank you, and congratulations on a wonderful season.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #181 at 2018-03-25 21:06:00 GMT

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