ST. JOHN'S PRESS CONFERENCE

Ryan Gomes and Tuukka Kotti were able to enjoy their Senior Nights after the Friars 86-75 win over St. John's. And Tim Welsh's press conference had a decidedly upbeat feeling to it compared to others over the course of the season. Here are a few excerpts from Welsh's meeting with the media:

"On Senior Night, you're in a situation where the kids tend to press and get too emotional. But our seniors are very mature. Ryan and Tuukka really wanted to go out on a winning note. We wanted to finish with a good taste in our mouths. Ryan and Tuukka came out of the gates tough."

"Donnie's got about eight scratches on his shoulders, neck, his arms. St. John's is a very physical team. We knew it was going to be a tough game. We really only had one guard against all of their pressure. Their style bothered us a little, especially with only one guard on the floor against all that pressure, it was tough to get going. It was a little scary tonight with Donnie out there all alone against their quickness."

"Randall really cleared the backboard. He's getting better and better. He's got great hands, he boxed out well, he shoots in the seventy percentile. He just doesn't have a good comfort level in our zone yet. It took Marcus three years to really get comfortable playing zone. Randall will be very good, but he gets lost in the zone sometimes and lets guys slip in behind him. He's got a big body, though, and he creates a lot of mismatches. Teams will sometimes put their biggest and best defender on Ryan and that allows Randall openings."

"Overall it's good to get the last win at home. We're trying to build some confidence going into next week. You try to build confidence with wins. It really doesn't matter who we play next week, because whoever we play in the first round is probably someone who's going to the NCAA's."

"They only shot thirty-nine per cent, and anytime you hold anyone under forty per cent, you've done a good job defensively. The rebounds were even. We gave up forty-four points in the second half, which isn't good. I thought they hurt us with dribble penetration, overall I'd give us a B-minus defensively. We had to get some stops late in the second half and we did."

"Darryl Hill is a heck of a player. Hill's the one guy who can win a game for them. I told our guys that yesterfay and I reminded them again today. You can't be three feet off of him when he catches the ball. I was very disappointed with how wedefended him in the first half, but we played much better in the second half. He had eighteen points at halftime, but only eight in the second half."

"St. John's is a hard team to play. They've got four wins against teams going to the NCAA's or on the bubble."

When asked about Ryan leaving his shoes on the court: (laughing) "I don't have any idea what that was about. I think it was a good thing... I hope it was a good thing. But I really have no idea." (It was later revealed that assistant coach Bob Walsh had suggested to Gomes that he leave his shoes on the court, ala wrestler Rulon Gardner, who did just that after his last Olympic match in Athens.

"Ryan is a great kid. You can't ask for two nicer young men. They're very mature, and they represent the school in the right way. It's a credit to them that we've been playing hard through the nightmare of the last month. They persevere even though I'm sure they've been discouraged. We're all discouraged, but they don't ever show it."

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