NCAA Seattle: Mark Few, Gonzaga Players

The Gonzaga head coach and players Kyle Wiltjer and Kevin Pangos talk about the Bulldogs 86-76 win over North Dakota State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Seattle...

THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started with an opening statement from Coach and then take questions for the student-athletes.

COACH FEW: It's just great to move on. Especially sitting there watching all those games transpire over the weekend and just how tough it was for everybody out there. We knew this was going to be tough. But, again, these guys stepped up and made enough big plays down the stretch, especially on the offensive end to hold off a really, really courageous and bighearted opponent. My. Hat's off to North Dakota State for just big shot after big shot, especially down the stretch. But I think this is the seventh year now I think we have won at least a first round game, which only us and Kansas have done, and so I think that's a pretty impressive feat by these guys, especially Kev's been here four years and obviously Wiltjer was a huge part of that today.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please?

Q. Building upon what I asked you down the hall, how good does it feel after the turf toe, the sprained ankle to play 40 minutes in March when your team needs you to make the shots?
KEVIN PANGOS: I definitely don't take healthy for granted after the year I had last year, but I just wanted to do whatever it takes to help my team win. So, down the stretch Wiltjer found me for an open three and the other guy backed off. So you don't think twice. If it's a good team shot, I'm going to shoot it. So it felt great to help this team win.

Q. How good is it to know at this time of year after the fact that he was ineligible last year to have Kyle beside you?
KEVIN PANGOS: It's awesome. I tell him I love how competitive he is. And that he just wants to win so badly, I can definitely relate to that. So to have guys on your team that think the same way as you and want to win as bad as you, you can't ask for anything more than that.

Q. Coach, you've obviously been the younger coach coaching an underdog team. Did you share anything with Coach Richman after the game?
COACH FEW: No, I just told him I think he's just done an amazing job for a first-year coach, the story where they don't even have a gym to work out in and they're working out in a warehouse and lifting weights in a meat locker or whatever they got going there. And they ran some great stuff. The concepts to attack us I thought were really, really sound. The more I watched tape on them the more I was impressed with him. So he's got a bright future and he was put in a tough jam. I mean, to follow a guy that went to the NCAA Tournament, I have some empathy with that. We had just made an Elite Eight run and then when Mons took off I had to take over. So there's expectations and all that, but yet he lost guys and to get them all the way back to the NCAA Tournament and battle like that, that's an impressive job by Dave.

Q. Kevin, you had 10 points in the late stretch in the game. What kind of got that going?
KEVIN PANGOS: I just found shots. My teammates found me and I felt like they were great team shots. I wasn't thinking and predetermining what I was going to do, it just opened itself up and then I just stepped up and shot it. And so that's this team though. They took away, they doubled the post on the one because they wanted to take that away, and I got the open shot. And each and every game it might be someone different. That's what's great about this team.

Q. Mark, it's been almost a decade since the tournament's been in Seattle. Your thoughts on the atmosphere in this building tonight.
COACH FEW: Man, it's been that long? Yeah, that's too bad. Because this is a great city. This was a great city for a Final Four. I remember that. It's been unbelievable. To see the fans around town recognizing the guys and supporting all of us, and obviously the noise level in there for the supporting us was something that was special and actually I think got us going a little bit. I just think it's -- with the downtown the way it is, with the arena sitting there right downtown like that, I think it's a fabulous place for not only first and second round, but for a regional final now too.

Q. Coach and maybe Kyle, did you guys know much about the Werner kid? And also when a guy like that starts going off and everything's going their way, what's kind of going through your mind?
COACH FEW: Well, these guys can talk to it maybe out on the floor, what they were feeling. But, again, what we did know about him, in fact, we had clipped I think that move, you know, over and over, he loves to go right. And all year we have been built on trying to take threes away, making them take tough twos. I think all of you would agree with me those were pretty tough twos. But to his credit, he was making them. But we needed to understand as long as they were taking tough twos, tough twos -- we really all since Sunday have been really, really focused on Jacobson and Alexander. I thought we did a great job. Even though Alexander got 19, he had to work for every single one of them. That's just how special Gary Bell is. But sometimes that leads to other opportunities. He hadn't been able to show that he could do that all year, and he did it against two excellent defenders in Domas and Przemek.

KYLE WILTJER: We were just so focused on the score. We were winning, so we just wanted to win the game. He was getting some tough twos, like Coach said, but he was getting buckets. So I would pick him up any day in a men's league team. He's going to be real good. We're just glad we got the win, and we're fortunate.

Q. Kyle, how do you feel like you guys asserted yourself on the interior, I guess especially in that first half?
KYLE WILTJER: We knew they were undersized so we really wanted -- they're not a very deep team they don't really play a lot of guys off the bench, so Coach really emphasized our bigs posting up hard and we're not going to get the ball every time but if we post up hard we'll pin fouls on them. In the second half we really got rewarded by being able to score some easy shots. We don't want to shoot all threes. And when we're playing, when we're at our best, we're playing inside out. That's when Kevin got the threes because we're putting pressure on them down low, getting buckets down there, and then it opens up things on the perimeter.

Q. There is obviously going to be a lot of talk tomorrow about getting over the hump and getting to the next game. Was there any message about that to your players tonight or do you just celebrate?
COACH FEW: No, I mean, hey, we celebrate. Any time you can get a win this time of year, you need to celebrate it. It's a special, special happening and you should never ever take it for granted. I don't take it for granted and I make sure as heck that these guys don't take it for granted. I don't know about getting over the hump. We have done it many times in this program, so for us it's about we need to play better, obviously we need to play better on the defensive end Sunday because of all the teams this weekend, I thought Iowa probably had the most impressive performance, at least that I saw. So, they're clicking on all cylinders and we got 36 hours to get back and get our feet under us and get rested and hopefully come out and play a great game.

THE MODERATOR: Okay, thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


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