THE MODERATOR: We have coach Mark Schmidt and players Courtney Stockard, Matt Mobley and Jaylen Adams.
Q. Talk about the experience from -- let's start from Sunday night and what's gone on the last couple of days. Not a whole lot of sleep, I would imagine.
JAYLEN ADAMS: It's been a fun experience. It's new to all of us, so we're just kind of taking it in as we go. You know, from Selection Sunday all the way up until the first game, it's all new to us, so I'm just enjoying it and trying to not take it for granted.
Q. Has Coach Schmidt given you a little -- he's had a lot of experience in going to NCAA Tournaments through his coaching career and his playing career. Did he impart any words of wisdom to you?
JAYLEN ADAMS: Yeah, he kind of just told us to take it in. More the same, just enjoy it. It's an experience that not everybody gets to have, and it's kind of extraordinary to be here, so he just lets us know to enjoy it, but at the same time that we're here to win games. We've got to take it in, but at the same time, we've got to focus and prepare for Florida.
Q. Jaylen or Matt, what do you take from the experience of playing Florida last year in Lakeland, and can you use it as any kind of advantage in terms of tomorrow night?
MATT MOBLEY: I mean, we know a couple of their players already. We know a couple of their sets. We know what they like to do, but at the same time, they know what we like to do, so I think it's an equal advantage for both of us. We're going to go back and watch game film, watch what we did right, watch what we did wrong from last year, and take that into consideration for tomorrow.
Q. Matt, you've said before during the season before you guys got here that either you or Jay have to be going at some point. Yesterday in the first half really neither one of you were, but that guy was. How important is it to have Courtney kind of emerge and really like mostly the second half of the year where he's really started to produce more?
MATT MOBLEY: Yeah, like you said, if it wasn't for this guy, we probably wouldn't be sitting here right now. I think that's just a testament to our team. That's what makes it so dangerous. It's not just one or two -- it's not just our backcourt. We've got a whole team that anybody any given day can go off. We're just thankful for him and hopefully he's going to continue to do it for the rest of the tournament.
Q. Syracuse, Maryland, now UCLA. You're going to be David once again when we go out there tomorrow. Talk about playing that role of David versus Goliath and how much you play that up as a Bonnie when most people don't even say Olean properly?
COURTNEY STOCKARD: Well, I don't think we really look at it like a David and Goliath type thing. At the same time, it's a five-on-five game. They've got to come out there and lace their shoes just like we do. We just want to go out there and play our game and execute the way we execute.
MATT MOBLEY: You know, we don't fear anybody really. We don't really take on that David or Goliath role. We're just coming out to play basketball. We're going to go hard every day, and whatever happens happens.
JAYLEN ADAMS: Just piggybacking off what those guys said, we're not really intimidated going to the court like Coach said. They've got to lace them up just like us, so we've just got to go out there and defend and do what we've been doing all year.
Q. Courtney, similar to the question that I asked Matt before, do you think in the first half of the season, as you were starting to get comfortable after being off for so long, that perhaps you deferred to those two a little too much, and then as you became more comfortable, you yourself became more assertive, more aggressive offensively?
COURTNEY STOCKARD: I think my confidence just kind of rose as the season went on. Like you said, me being off for two years, I was kind of rusty coming out. I wanted to kind of get used to the game, kind of play off these two. And as we went further in the year, like I said, my confidence rose, and I was able to play my game a little more. And when these two can't get going, I try to be more aggressive. And when I'm more aggressive, their looks open up, so I think that's what helped this team a lot.
Q. The defense kind of carried the weight last night. You guys led the A-10 in scoring, but it was your defense holding UCLA in check for most of the game. Is that something we need to keep relying on, knowing the offense has scuffled a bit?
JAYLEN ADAMS: I believe so. It's something that we've hung our hat on all year is our defense. We know we can score the ball, but the offense isn't going to be there every night. Teams are going to adjust. And the one consistent thing that we're going to have to do is defend, and I think we've been doing that lately, and it's definitely something we've got to keep doing going forward.
MATT MOBLEY: Yeah, defense is what got us here to this point. Just like Jay said, offense isn't going to be there every day, but as long as we defend every game, we are going to give ourselves a chance at the end of every game to win, so we've just got to keep defending, keep blocking out, and everything else will take care of itself.
COURTNEY STOCKARD: Just more of what these two guys just said. We can't really -- we have to make sure we are consistent in our defense, and if we do that, I think we can be pretty successful.
Q. Matt, y'all have been here in Dallas for 12 hours. It was flying through the night after the game, and I'm sure you would have rather done that than go back home. Did you sleep on the plane?
MATT MOBLEY: Yeah, I probably got like an hour and a half on the plane. We got back to the hotel, got some food, went straight to sleep. So I think everybody is well-rested now. It's not really going to be an issue. We're all excited to be here, and we're just ready to go.
Q. From a game strategy point of view, getting ready so quickly to play Florida, did you guys do any prep work beforehand as far as who you might play, or is it, hey, we're just going to go into it, and is it more maybe what you guys are wanting to do than worrying about Florida?
MATT MOBLEY: I mean, this quick turnaround is really nothing new to us. We've played three games in three days before. We've had quick turnarounds all year long. We're ready to go, and we can't use anything as an excuse. We've actually scheduled -- our schedule is put in place just for this specific moment, tournament games you only have one game to prepare, so we're ready for it. Coach put us in great spot, and I think we're all ready to go.
Q. You guys have been a lot of comparisons to the 1970 Final Four team. You broke their record for most wins in a season, tied the record for longest winning streak, and have you thought about the historical part of making this trip?
JAYLEN ADAMS: It's something that we haven't really taken in yet. We understand that this is definitely a historical season. We talk about it amongst each other. But it's one of those things that we're not satisfied, and we're not going to be satisfied until it's all said and done, so we've just got to keep pushing forward. And at the end, we'll look back and see what we really accomplished.
MATT MOBLEY: Yeah, I think the same thing. I think right now, we're still playing, so we're not really taking in everything that we've accomplished, but I feel like whenever our last game is, a couple days after that, then it'll really sink in, and we'll all realize all the special things we were able to accomplish this season.
COURTNEY STOCKARD: Yeah, to piggyback off what they said, we just want to kind of focus on the task at hand that we've got right now, just worry about getting Florida out of the way, trying to survive and advance. When it's all said and done, then we can look back and see what all we accomplished.
Q. Kind of building off of what you were just answering, this whole season, all we've talked about is get here, get to the dance, get to the dance. Just the other day, the elation of getting to the dance, how do you not settle for getting to the dance and knowing you have so much more that could be out there tomorrow?
COURTNEY STOCKARD: I think we've just got to continue to keep that chip on our shoulder, continue to focus on what we've got ahead of us and not get complacent.
MATT MOBLEY: I mean, like you said, this has been a goal for us all year, and now that we're here, it's not like we just want to stop now. We always say we didn't come this far just to come this far, and now that we're here, we want to make the most of it.
JAYLEN ADAMS: I would say it's something we expect going into the season. It's something we spoke into existence that we'd be here. Getting here for us was definitely a goal, but it wasn't the final goal. I'm just looking forward to going out there and competing and finishing the season on a high note.
MARK SCHMIDT: It's an exciting time, and we're glad to be here. We had a great flight, 2:00 a.m., best flight I've ever had at 2:00 a.m. But it's been great, and really looking forward to the challenge of competing against Florida tomorrow night.
Q. There's been a pattern of some teams in recent years riding a first four win sometimes all the way to the Sweet 16 or more. How do you think that can give you momentum going forward?
MARK SCHMIDT: Yeah, I think the first game is always difficult. You have the first-game jitters, and we had them last night. But I doubt that we're going to have them again. I would think that Florida would have more jitters than we have. Plus as you said, we're coming off a victory. We have momentum. Our guys are feeling good about themselves. And like I said, they've already played a game, and I think that's to our advantage.
The disadvantage is not having time to prepare, the short turnaround, the travel and all that. But as I told our team, when you're 18 to 22 years old, you'd better not be tired. When you're dead, that's when you can rest. Our guys aren't dead yet. We're just going to play and see what happens.
Q. Going off the preparation and the fact that obviously very short turnaround, how do you guys handle that? Did you do any early prep work on perhaps playing Florida, and Matt said that you guys are prepared to play three games in three days, but I doubt seriously with a two and a half hour flight in between --
MARK SCHMIDT: Yeah, one of my assistants had Florida. We share those scouts. Once the game was over, he gave me what he had on Florida, and then I watched some tape on the plane. When I got to my hotel room, I watched more tape, and I'll watch more tape when we get out of here. But I think preparation is important. But I think sometimes at this time of year, you're going to do what you do. You're going to do what you do best. Florida is going to do what they do best. There's not going to be a lot of changes.
You watch tape and you find tendencies and stuff that they run and how you want to guard it. But for the most part, you're more worried about yourself. And for us, it's more important for us to get rest than it is to be out on the court preparing. We had a walk-through already for an hour and a half. We watched tape on Florida. We'll go back after this, after our shoot-around and do a little bit more. But it's more for us, it's more about getting our guys' legs back and then just doing more mental stuff, walking through rather than doing some physical stuff.
Q. Talk about the travel that Bonnie fans have done for you, Washington last weekend, going to Dayton, playing Tuesday night, and it looks like the crowd is shifting to Dallas as we speak here?
MARK SCHMIDT: Yeah, we have a great fan base in my opinion. We may not have the biggest fan base, but we've got the most passionate fan base in America. We have 29,000 alums, and it feels like wherever we go, there's 29,000 alums with us. Basketball is a huge thing at Bonaventure. We have great tradition, and there's great passion. If you went to -- if you saw the game last night, the rally center where we play at home, Dayton Arena became the rally center last night. Our fans are tremendous, and we wouldn't be here without their support. It's amazing to me, I've been the head coach for 11 years, and wherever we go, no matter where it is, we have Bonaventure people there supporting us, and it makes us proud.
Q. Your offense, the best in the A-10 this season, but it's been your defense that took you from D.C. to Dayton to Dallas for the alliteration. Can you talk about the guys stepping up and really locking in on that side of the ball, and again, how important that will be tomorrow?
MARK SCHMIDT: Yeah, we had a 10-2 non-conference record. We had some really good wins against Syracuse and Maryland, Buffalo. And then when we started our conference, I think we got a little bit soft and forgot that defense was a part of the game. We started the conference at 2-4, and we were picked to have a really good year and picked second, I think, in the
Atlantic 10. After we were 2-4, we came back to campus and talked about as a team how offense is fickle. It's going to be there one day, not the next.
It's the defense that has to be the staple, and our guys have done a really good job of focusing in on the defensive end. Early in the conference if we had scored 65 points, we would have lost. But last night, the way we played defense was the reason why we won, and that's carried us -- we've won -- I think we were 14-1 the last 15 or something like that, and that's -- and we had won 13 straight, and over that period, it was our defense that carried us.
Our veteran guys understood, our young guys followed suit, and that's why we're here. We have a really good offensive team. We average 80 points a game. But it's our defense that has gotten us here.
Q. The value of having a senior backcourt and particularly guys that are talented, what makes them both special and unique?
MARK SCHMIDT: You know, we're really lucky. I'm really lucky. Any coach, you talk to any coach in America, and what they want is the backcourt. You win with guards, and it's the reason why we're here. Jay and Matt have been tremendous for us. Jay is the quarterback. I'm a big Patriots fan, and he's our Tom Brady. He runs the show. And Matt plays off of him. They both can score at all three levels. They have a really good feel. They don't get sped up. They hit big shots -- even last night, both Matt and Jay struggled, but Matt hit big shots at the end, Jay was one for 15, I think, and hit that big shot, that pull-up. They're not afraid to take that big shot. They're not afraid to have the ball in their hands. They're not afraid to make a play, and any coach would tell you, that's what you want in your guards, and that's what we have.
Q. Just following up on that, how do you view their matchup with Florida guards, guys that have been there before?
MARK SCHMIDT: Yeah, we played Florida last year down at Florida. We lost by, I think, two or three. So our guys know who they're playing, and the Florida guys are really talented. We understand Florida is a really good team, very well-coached, talented, long. Different than UCLA. UCLA's big guys were skilled, Florida's guys are really athletic and long, and their guards, they shoot the ball well from threes. They can take you off the bounce. They space you out. So we've got a big challenge ahead of us being able to guard them on the perimeter, but also dealing with their size and length inside.
Q. You mentioned Jaylen and Matt struggling last night. The fact that you guys won despite that, does that make you feel kind of good, assuming that they're not going to have another bad games, two back-to-back games and being seniors and knowing that they're not going to worry about having a bad game?
MARK SCHMIDT: Yeah, I've always said, basketball is played with five guys, and our guards get a lot of attention, and rightfully so. But it takes five guys, guys -- role guys playing their roles, and Courtney Stockard, you saw him last night, he scores 26. When Jay and Matt aren't playing up to their capabilities, you need somebody else to step up. And on a good team, somebody else does step up, and we've had that -- Jay and Matt didn't play great every game this year. And when they didn't, we had somebody else, Idris Taggee or Courtney or Nelson or LaDarien step up, and that's a sign of a good team, and that's why we're here.
It's just not a two-man team. It's five guys working together and picking each other up, and Jay and Matt didn't have the game that we were accustomed to seeing from them, but we had other guys step up and make plays, and that's why I'm sitting here tonight.
Q. The community around you, the whole season, has talked about getting to the Big Dance. You're at the Big Dance, you've got a win under your belt. How do you make sure that guys aren't satisfied and don't settle for lack of a better term with what you've already done, knowing there could be so much more?
MARK SCHMIDT: Yeah, you know, we're not satisfied, and if you listen to those guys, when they were up here, we have goals just like everybody else. Our goal wasn't just to get to the NCAA Tournament. Our goal was to advance, just like every team that's in this tournament.
We have veteran guys, and I've always said that you're only as good as your seniors, and we have three seniors that don't want this thing to end, and they're going to do everything in their power to play as well as they can so they can advance until Saturday. So there's no concern on my end that we're satisfied. Our guys are driven. They're competitors. They competed last night. I expect them to compete against Florida and play well. There's no, we're comfortable, we've had a good season. We want to continue to win. We didn't come down here to give Florida a good game, we came down here to compete and win.