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ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE MEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

March 14, 2019

Tramaine Isabell, Jr. Travis Ford Hasahn French

Washington, D.C.

St. Louis - 71, Richmond - 68

TRAVIS FORD: Wasn't exactly how we drew it up. But let me first just say what a great job by Richmond. Chris Mooney had his team really prepared, ready to go and he does such a great job and his team really played well. I just thought first half we, if you've watched us play we're probably the most physical, maybe not the most physical, there's some physical, but as physical a team as there is in our league. And for us to only have one foul at halftime and only one free throw that just goes totally against who we are. I'm not talking about, I'm talking about we didn't play to our identity, we weren't playing physical and aggressive enough in the first half. We had a lot of opportunities in the first half around the basket. We'd either drop, we had a charge, walks, and just gave up too many points in the first half. Second half we changed it up, we changed up our defenses quite a bit and went to our more aggressive defenses to try to, more than anything try to get ourselves going is one of the reasons I did it is to try to get ourself going. We never could get away from them. We just couldn't get away. I thought we were playing pretty well second half but you look up at the scoreboard we're still down five, still down six, still down seven. And it took a couple big shots by these guys, making our free throws down the stretch. And just a massive effort on the glass, just a massive effort rebounding. I think you saw a group of guys when it got under that 10-minute mark that just let it all hang out and it was a very impressive effort by these guys so we got to get back and get some rest.

Q. Hasahn, great to see you again. Always going back to the days of you at pro scholars athletes. What what's it like coming back home here in New York?
HASAHN FRENCH: It always feels good. I love playing in New York. Happy my family was able to come to the game and I just want to make sure that they get to keep coming back to the game all the way to Sunday.

(Laughter.)

Q. It looked like from the beginning they were intent on getting you the ball and then you got the fouls obviously and had to sit for awhile. But you looked determined when you came back out for the second half to really get things going with the offense?
HASAHN FRENCH: Yeah I just tried to play aggressive. I know my team needs me to play aggressive on offense and defense and I just tried to keep doing that. And when I got inside I knew that if I got them on my back most likely they can't guard me. So just tried to attack and make sure I'm getting these guys assists.

Q. Hasahn, it kind bottled you up, was real physical early. Second, like the first half five minutes left to go seemed like you were feeling it. What was the change of mentally or physically of them?
HASAHN FRENCH: I noticed that I just really tried to play aggressive. I just tried to do that the whole time. And I knew if I kept doing that they really couldn't keep up. I know some of their guys would get tired, I knew their big would get tired if I stayed running up and down the floor and attacking them so I just kept trying to do that and it worked for me.

Q. Tramaine, I've been able to cover you from your days at Drexel. Would you talk about what has been the best part of your transition from the CAA to here, the A-10?
TRAMAINE ISABELL JR.: A lot. At Drexel, we played hard, we were in some games, got some big wins. But here I'm playing under a point guard in Travis Ford who holds me accountable to a level that I don't know necessarily I've been held accountable to. I'm playing with great athletes, like this guy next to me, Javon Bess, go down the line, Jordan Goodwin. It's a totally different atmosphere in the locker room, in practice. But I'm thankful to be here, I'm thankful to get this win and hopefully like Hasahn said we'll be playing until Sunday.

Q. Tramaine, so you're able to get sort of your scoring going more. But how, like how has it been sort of like how have you been able to fit into the offensive set while still like scoring more like in the past like seven, eight games?
TRAMAINE ISABELL JR.: Coach Ford told me it was going to be a transition. I had a lot of ups and downs throughout the season like losing confidence, whatnot. But coach told me that to stay confident and he got confidence in me, most importantly, and not lose confidence in myself. And he said around this time was when things are going to start clicking. And I think I'm getting, I mean we're 30 games in, coach said before the game like we had 30 games of preparation of practice of understanding each other and I think things are clicking. I'm understanding my teammates, I'm understanding where coach wants me to attack from and I think the game's just kind of moving a lot slower than it was when I first got here.

Q. You had to feel like that game was unfolding very much like the first meeting in St. Louis, almost identical with Golden getting off.
TRAVIS FORD: Press brought us back in the first game, press brought us back this game. We just did it with a little bit more time this time. I think even at home we had a shot to tie it at the buzzer after being pretty much like this, after just playing not very well at all. Playing on our heels. We knew this was a tough matchup for us, I knew that, we knew that. Every team has certain matchups, Golden gives us problems. He has, always has, we have tried every, double in the post, digging the post, his length, it just gives us some problem and his size. But we decided, I decided at halftime to go to a defense we didn't try at all first half, which was our 13 defense. And it's an aggressive half court trapping defense. And I told our guys here's what we're doing and we're going to roll with it. On every made shot we're going to be in 13. On every missed shot this is what we're going to do and we're going to take some chances and gamble. And it was more for our benefit than actually, I worried about turning them over. I wanted to get our guys going. I thought if we could get our juices flowing a little bit then good things would happen because I just kept, first half we were just on our heels, and we could never gain any momentum because they were scoring at such a high rate. We actually both were scoring they just made a few more threes than we did. But difference in the game was rebounding. Obviously I wasn't too happy at halftime. And there's certain stats we live on. And rebounding is one. And we were not even close to the margin we needed to be at against a team that we feel like that we should have some numbers on. I kept telling our guys we missed 14 shots in the first half and only rebounded four. So if you're not going to play our basketball we might as well start the bus and head on out he here right now, just go and tell them we're not coming back out. Because that's not who we are. We know we're going to miss, hey, you know, but we usually rebound the ball. I mean we really pursue the ball. Second half you saw a group of, they were hungry, I mean it was like, all right, and the rebounding brought us back. But rebounding brings a mentality for us as well. It's a mentality. It gets us going.

Q. Good win. Foul or defend, did you think about that on the last possession?
TRAVIS FORD: Say that again.

Q. Foul or defend, did you think possibility of fouling the last possession or you just wanted to the defense to play it out?
TRAVIS FORD: Play it out. I was ready to play it out. You get a feel for a game, play it out. We wanted to get, we got size on Gilyard, we put Javon Bess on him. I had Fred Thatch guard him most of the second half but I changed that last possession and put Javon on him for size. And then we wanted to switch everything. And we picked him up full court just to try to take some time which is a little dangerous with his quickness. But we had been so aggressive and had so much success with picking them up that we just stuck with it and said let's roll with it.

Q. For comebacks like this I think something that comes to mind is the concept of Team Blue. Could you kind of just like that sort of as a family sort of as how that kind of fuels the team?
TRAVIS FORD: Yeah, I think that Tramaine alluded to it a little bit, I think Tramaine Isabell has been one of the best players in this league the last three weeks. But I told him that back in November, I said you're not going to, you're probably going to struggle until February and March. I told him that. I told him that, doesn't mean you can't play hard, you need to learn to do all the other stuff, you learn to do all that other stuff, it will all come. And I think it's the first time he's had an opportunity to play with some pretty good players around him that kind of compliment him. He's one of the more skilled guys on our team. The other guys, we're a little bit of some bullies on the other side, he really compliments these guys. But these guys have embraced him and Team Blue's something that we really believe in, it's something that I talked about a lot at halftime, and it's first thing I wrote on the board when I walked in, that's Team Blue basketball. How we played the second half. That's how we play and Team Blue has a standard that we all know as a team we know what those standards are, we know what they mean, we know what Team Blue stands for, it's just not a name, it's just not something we say, it stands for something, we have a culture behind it and values behind it that are written out and if we play to those, we always give ourselves a chance. We may not win every game, but we'll give ourselves a chance. And every year Team Blue may mean something different, but this team knows what it means. We have been through a lot. To have 20 wins under our belt, this team's been through more injuries than people have any clue about. And then losing players, different things, be sitting here with 20 wins and come back like that, we got to get back to the hotel and try to get another one.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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