Xavier 79, BYU 77 - NCAA First Round

Xavier's Justin Doellman hugs coach Sean Miller after Xavier defeated BYU 79-77 in the NCAA First Round. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke )

Xavier's Justin Doellman hugs coach Sean Miller after Xavier defeated BYU 79-77 in the NCAA First Round. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke )

March 15, 2007

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March 15, 2007

Head Coach Sean Miller

Opening statement...
"I'd like to congratulate BYU on a great season. It was a tough, tough hard-fought game. It could have gone either way. As we watched a lot of film to prepare for this game, it became very apparent how well coached they were. They have such a unique team with their inside players. [Keena] Young is a terrific player and he was terrific tonight. As a team, they are so dangerous from three in that they are very difficult to guard. I give our team tremendous credit because we had to really reach back deep in the second half to beat them. The play of these three guys [Derrick Brown, Justin Doellman and Drew Lavender] really inspired the rest of our team. It was a hard-fought victory. It's our 25th of the season. I'm very proud to be the coach of this team and at Xavier. I'm happy for Xavier University. We're very excited about advancing. It's hard enough to make the tournament, and it's even harder to advance. We're glad to be in the seat that we're in."

On having to coach against close friend Thad Matta...
"It's obviously a strange feeling. When we saw the brackets we really tried to focus on the team, and beating a very good BYU team. This day wouldn't have even come if we had lost. Now that the time is gone, and the reality is we play each other is really amazing to think about. Thad [Matta] is a great friend of mine; we talk all of the time. He's done not only a great job at Ohio State but he did an equally great job at Xavier. We have a number of different players who played for him as freshmen. [Justin] Cage, [Justin] Doellman and [Brandon] Cole almost went to the Final Four that season with him as the head coach. They respect him a great deal. In addition to that he's done a real nice job with recruiting and put himself in a position not only in his coaching but who he is to have a great team. The more important aspect of this is the game itself.

"Obviously, we're going to have to play a perfect game to beat Ohio State. It's easy to watch them. You see them all of the time. I probably know them as well as anybody because of my relationships not only with Thad but the rest of the coaches on that staff. I'm their biggest fan. Unfortunately that time has ended for a couple of days. We're looking forward to the game. Most important for us, I'm really excited for Xavier University and the basketball program. What we have done as a program is so unique. It hasn't been one season or one coach. It didn't start with Thad Matta or Sean Miller. It started with Bob Stack, Pete Gillen, Skip Prosser and the great players who you think about - Tyrone Hill, Bryant Grant, some of the guys we have up here, David West. It has really been a great run. We're excited that we've been able this season and over the last couple to keep the tradition alive. It is certainly hard to do."

#1 Josh Duncan, Junior Forward

On what was going through his mind when he put Xavier up late in the game...
"What went through my head was last year's game against Gonzaga. I had a shot like that in the corner and missed it. Tonight, I was about to go up with the jumper when I saw the guy running at me, so I gave him a pump fake and drove trying to make the play."

On playing Ohio State on Saturday in the second round...
"We are excited to play them. We are going to have to play our very best to have a chance to win. I'm confident we'll do well."

#3 Justin Cage, Senior Forward

On playing against Ohio State and former Xavier head coach Thad Matta...
"It's another big game going up against the No. 1 team in the country. They have a great team. We know Coach [Thad] Matta is a great coach and I think it will be a great game."

On taking the lead late in the game and being able to hold on...
"We focused on trying to get stops on defense and making it hard on them [BYU]. Coach [Sean Miller] wanted us to focus on locking down on defense and rebounding. We started doing that and were able to get a couple runs. We were able to get the momentum swing and were able to hold on in the end."

#24 Drew Lavender, Junior Guard

On words of motivation from Coach Miller...
"He just told me to pick it up. I wasn't really playing like myself in the first half. He just told me to pick it up and that's what I did in the second half. Coach just told me to attack. I just opened it up in the last three minutes and made some floaters."

On playing fellow high school alum Ohio State's Ron Lewis Saturday...
"It's exciting that me and Ron went to the same high school. It's Xavier versus Ohio State though, not me versus Ron. They are the number one team in the country. We're just happy to be advancing. We'd play anybody in the second round and be happy. They are very good, we'll see what happens."

On key adjustments in the second half...
"I think we defended better and played as a team better. Everybody just gets down and works and everyone helps each other out. I think we have matured and grown a lot during the season. I think when BYU came back and tied the game up, I think everybody played calm and picked it up."

#5 Derrick Brown, Freshman Forward

On his valiant rebounding effort...
"Just going out and doing my role. My role on the team isn't necessarily to score points right now. As a young player, I have to go out and do the scrappy things - and that's what I did."

#15 Justin Doellman, Senior Forward

On playing in his home state of Kentucky...
"It's good to be down here in Lexington, playing in Rupp Arena. It was kind of like a home crowd."

On having NCAA tourney experience...
"I think it helped a lot. Our older players really stepped up. Josh (Duncan) hit one of the biggest shots of his life toward the end of the game and Drew (Lavender) hit two big free throws. With our experience, the older players really helped out down the stretch and we were able to pull it out tonight."