Michigan coach Tommy Amaker
On the game ... "We always talk about deserving things and the team that won tonight deserved to win. I thought they played exceptional basketball from tap to buzzer. They got out of the blocks early, put us on our heels and we were fighting an uphill battle the whole way. That was not a good sign going against that team, especially with the way they played down the stretch of the season."
On if Michigan seemed sluggish ... "I don't think we were sluggish. Not at all. I thought they [South Carolina] played an exceptional basketball game early and put us on our heels. We were playing for a championship. Our kids did a great job in this tournament and all season. I think you give South Carolina credit for what they were able to do to win it."
On what he thought the difference was in the game ... "I thought the lead they were able to get on us early was the difference. The balance they had in their scoring, we didn't do a good job guarding off the dribble and I thought the plays they were able to make against us were key moments, especially when they knocked it away from us and we turned it over. Those are those momentum plays, when they get dunks and offensive tip-in dunks. Even though it seemed very even on the stat sheet, that is where stats can be very misleading when you try to evaluate a game. It was a 20-point game at one point, but we scratched and clawed to get back into it, but they held strong and certainly earned this victory."
On his early thoughts of the season ... "I think this year has been a positive season for us. We had 22 wins. We finished .500 in a wonderful, tough Big Ten league. We had to overcome some injuries. We battled here in the postseason. So, there are a lot of good things we can find that we can use for the future. The younger players that are returning for us can certainly understand how tough and difficult every step of the way is when you suit up, play in the Big Ten and play in the postseason."
On what Daniel Horton has meant to him and this program ... "He has meant everything. He has meant everything to me. He has been an absolute high competitor since the day he stepped foot on campus. I am going to miss him as a coach ... and as a teacher. He has been a special player for me to have an opportunity to interact with him and to coach him."
U-M Senior Guard Daniel Horton
On the loss in the championship game and knowing it was his last game ... "I am hurting. We lost in the championship game of a tournament that was very important to us. I think we played hard and left it all on the court. As far as it being our last game, we came up short, but I have always said, everything doesn't always go your way in life. We will handle this. We will bounce back as seniors and the team will bounce back as a program as well."
On South Carolina's athletic style of play ... "That is how we wanted to play as well. Like coach [Amaker] said you have to give them a lot of credit for the way they came out and started the game. We had a couple of breakdowns, but you have to give them all the credit for the way they started the game. After the first few minutes we played them pretty tough. We went up and down with them, and they made plays and we made plays, but I think the first seven, eight minutes decided the game."
On why U-M could not match USC's intensity at the beginning of the game ... "Sometimes it is like that. Sometimes teams come out and impose their will early. It was them tonight. I don't think it was anything like we were weren't ready to play or came out sluggish. They just played exceptionally well at the beginning. The last stretch of the season they played exceptionally well and they continued that tonight. You have to give them all the credit in the world. Again, I don't think it is anything we did wrong, we did have some breakdowns, but you have to give them the credit they deserve."
On his strong stretch in the second half ... "I just tried to continue to play hard and my teammates played hard as well. Every time we would make a run, we would have a breakdown or they would make a great play and silence the run. Some nights it is like that in basketball. They made plays. They didn't everything they wanted to. You have to give them credit for that."
U-M Senior Forward Graham Brown
On South Carolina's athletic style ... "We knew they were athletic in the post when we came into this game. We knew we could have an advantage down low by trying to hold our position down low. With them being so athletic we had to run the floor with them and try to limit them in the fast break. Those guys were just so long, they were getting rebounds over the top of us, kicking it out and that led to a lot of fast-break opportunities and a lot of breakdowns on our part."
On closing the season better, especially after the Big Ten Tournament ... "I think we did for sure. We really came together after the Big Ten Tournament. We obviously didn't come out the way we wanted to in the Big Ten Tournament, with not a lot of fire and passion. With the NIT we did. The first couple of games at home, it was obvious. We fought as hard as we could. We were in every game. We were out there playing our defense like we have been all season. We were fighting. We accomplished quite a bit in this tournament. We made it to the championship game and that is a great thing for us. We didn't pull off the victory, but sometimes that happens in this game. There is always going to be a winning team and there is always going to be a losing team. We fell short today, but we accomplished a lot. We are going to move forward and the program is going to gain from this."
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