Post Game Quotes

March 25, 2014

TUESDAY, MAR. 25, 2014
ATTENDANCE: 5,444 (14,625 cap.)

Minnesota Player Quotes

Senior Guard Austin Hollins

On how he felt during the game...
"I knocked down a couple shots early. Once you see it go through the net, it helps a lot, as a shooter especially. There were a lot of gaps in the zone, so we were able to get a lot of open looks, and that helped as well."

On how he got out of his slump....
"You just keep shooting. You keep working hard and you keep shooting. You can't let it get to you. That's one thing we worked on in practice. My coaches and my teammates were really supporting and encouraging, they didn't let it phase me."

On finishing the season at the Barn...
"It's a great feeling leaving the Barn like this, especially as a senior being here for four years and coming out with a game like this. We aren't finished yet. We still have to go to New York. We want to end the season with a win."

On motivation from previous NIT appearance ...
"We went that far and lost in the championship game. We don't want to do that again. We've got a new team, a new coach, and we expect to go in there and win the whole thing."

Red Shirt Junior Forward Maurice Walker

On strategy on the glass....
"Coach said they were a great rebounding team. We just had to keep boxing out hard. There were a few that got away from us, but we got the job done."

On personal improvement....
"It's important to stay consistent in practice. I try to bring it every day in practice. Practice transfers over to the game, and if you work hard in both, the results will come."

On thoughts about Austin...
"We all love Austin. He's a clown at heart, but when it comes down to the time to be serious, he puts on his hard hat and goes to work."

Sophomore Forward Joey King

On Austin's performance and last game of the season at the Barn....
"Austin was stepping up the whole game. He did a great job closing it out at the end. They were knocking down threes left and right at the end, which, of course, was a problem, but Austin did a good job stepping to the line and making free throws. It was great to come out with a win tonight. "

On Coach Pitino's reaction....
"He was really proud of Austin. He did some great things tonight on his last game on his home court. Now we have to focus on New York."

On how he thinks they will do in New York....
"We've got a lot of chemistry right now. We just want to keep it moving, keep practicing hard."

Minnesota Head Coach Richard Pitino

Opening Statement

"This was a great win for us. Our goal was to make the NCAA tournament, but our team has really been enjoying this experience which you don't always see. They're playing with passion and pride. They understand that they don't want their seniors to walk off their home court with a loss. They understand the growth of this program. Our defense has improved so much over the last couple of games. Austin Hollins had an unbelievable night tonight, and that is the way he should have walked off the court. He deserves this kind of success." 

On the team's response since the Wisconsin loss in the Big Ten Tournament

"Wisconsin is a great team and we didn't play the defensive game we need to play. We understood after that game that if we played like that we would not win any games. Looking forward to next year, we're committed to the goal of having a good seed in the tournament and we know that we need to step up defensively to do that.

On going back to New York

"When I was growing up, my family and I would always go to New York for the summer. My uncle Bill was like a second father to me and we would visit him every summer. We'd spend time together as a family, so my roots are there in New York. My mother is excited to go back there. My brother lives downtown in New York as well as many of my aunts, and uncles. It's exciting for me because I've been a part of some great games as an assistant coach in Madison Square Garden. We're going to play in Madison Square Garden next year, but there is something special about earning a spot there."

On Austin's performance tonight and over the course of the season

"He was struggling in the middle of the season. He wasn't making shots and he had gone cold for a while. He didn't give up no matter what. When we went on the road and he had a rough game, when he came back here the next day he kept his head up and remained a vocal leader of the team. He keeps working no matter what and he's getting out of his funk and he is the kind of guy who deserves this success."

On coming into the NIT with momentum

"All of the guys on the team have gotten better. Austin had set a personal record for points scored in a game. It's good to see these guys work so hard every single day. Maverick didn't play for a few games, but he kept working hard. It would have been easy for him to give up but instead he saw the big picture and now he is playing so well. Joey King has a great work ethic and he is gaining tremendous confidence. So having this momentum is great because both the seniors and non-seniors want to end the season on a good note."  

Southern Mississippi Head Coach Donnie Tyndall

On what allowed Minnesota back in the game after a strong start by Southern Mississippi...
"We turned the ball over a couple of times, which lead to transition opportunities. The biggest thing is we took three or four really bad shots when (Minnesota) made their run late in the first half. Those bad shots are what we call shooting turnovers. They led to transition opportunities where we fouled or they made a three. In fact, one time they made a three and we fouled."

On Austin Hollins' night...
"(Austin) Hollins is a very good player. We knew coming in that he would be a key in containing him. He gets 32 (points.) We did not do a good job there. I thought we did a pretty good job on (DeAndre) Mathieu, but Austin Hollins was fantastic."

On the team's effort level late in the game...
"We are not going to quit until the final buzzer sounds. Even when (Minnesota) lead by 10 points, we cut it to six. To (Minnesota's) credit, they made their free throws."

On the season as a whole...
"I am very proud of the year we had. Twenty-nine wins is a school record. We won a Conference USA championship and had two postseason wins for the second-straight year. We have done a tremendous amount of positive things in the last two seasons. I am just disappointed that I will not get a chance to coach this group of seniors again. I am very proud of the fact that they are all going to graduate in May."





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