Grand Canyon

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 20: in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament held at Indiana Farmers Coliseum on March 20, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Josh Duplechian/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

BRYCE DREW: Congrats to Iowa for advancing, really good team, they shot the mess out of the ball tonight. Garza 4-5 from three. You can't take away everything with Iowa's offense and our guys did a good job at least making them earn what they got.

As far as our team, we're really proud of the effort we gave. Again, we battled for 40 minutes and, for GCU and their first time in the NCAA tournament. Hopefully this will give a taste in our players' mouths again that they're going to want to be successful and come back and work even harder.

Q. Are you able to enjoy what you guys were able to do in the year, in the moment right now? What were some of the emotions like in the locker room after the game?

BRYCE DREW: We really wanted to play well and we wanted to win the game. I think your first time as a new school, again, our players, we had a couple of our players didn't even know what Selection Sunday was. They were like, Coach, what are we doing watching the show right now? So it's such a new learning experience for our players and for our school, and so usually in those situations you don't come out and perform that well, but we just played a really good team. We came out to try to win, thought we had a game plan, if we could have executed it a little better and they missed some shots, maybe we could have challenged them down to the wire.

But just really proud of our guys coming out and really battling and staying focused to try to win this game for 40 minutes.

Q. What did it mean to see your guys out there for the first time in March Madness and also to have a large contingency of GCU fans in the stands?

BRYCE DREW: You know, this is a special place. I think it's the best kept secret in college basketball. We're so new to Division-I and you can see the excitement that our university has for basketball. Again, our fans, best in the country. If you come to game in our arena. And you saw a glimpse of it tonight, just imagine 4,000 students doing that the whole game and before the game. It will change your perspective when you go to a college game. So we're really excited to be at Grand Canyon. This was an unbelievable year for our program, to get to the NCAA tournament, and with our support, we definitely want to keep elevating this program and try to get it to higher levels.

Q. What can you say when you see Luka Garza come out and make those two 3s early in the game and kind of set the tone, with such a great three-point shooting team they are?

BRYCE DREW: We battled all week. You can't take away everything with Iowa. What are some things we can play the percentages to give us the best chance to win, and we have gone back and looked at his stats. I studied his stats multiple times this week and our staff, and he averages 1-3 in Big-10 play in 20 games. He averages 1-3 from three over the course of their 30-game schedule. And so we wanted to play a certain type of defense, go out and contest him, and we were hoping those percentages would hold true and instead he's a Player of the Year candidate for a reason, he comes out and goes 4-5 first round in the NCAA tournament. So if he misses some of those shots early, maybe he turns them down, but he's the best scoring big in the country and I thought our guys really battled him, credit him for getting about half of his field goals out at the three-point line tonight.

Q. What did you think of your guys' battle on the big stage, what did you kind of see in their eyes or see in their play first chance in this kind of a game?

BRYCE DREW: We definitely had some mental lapses that we don't normally have. We definitely had some miscues that really hurt us. So some of that was on us, but when you're playing against a team as good as Iowa, your margin of error is so small. If one guy misses a box out, costs us. If one guy doesn't get back on defense, it costs us. And that's what good teams do, they take advantage of those miscues. And for us to win this game we had to be near perfect especially on that defensive end. And again you got to credit them for going 10-22 from three and really making key shots.

Q. What did you think of this experience playing in the NCAA tournament for the first time?

JOVAN BLACKSHER, JR.: I'm grateful, blessed, I'm grateful, grateful for this opportunity. We had our fans out here, they brought the energy, March Madness, it's just an amazing feeling.

Q. When you guys got into that hole and you guys made a little bit of a run, made some shots, but then they would answer right back. What was the challenge you guys faced on defense against those guys?

JOVAN BLACKSHER, JR.: We knew they were a good shooting team. This is college basketball, so they're going to hit shots, we're going to hit shots, so happened they got to hit more shots. So we just, we couldn't fold, we had to stick to our principles and contest shots, unfortunately they were making it, so we just had to run our structure.

Q. Did you feel any more nerves today than your normal game or did you, did it seem like a normal game when you were out there?

JOVAN BLACKSHER, JR.: I wouldn't say nerves, I would say more excitement. The energy here, energy from our fans, it just boosted me a little bit. So I wouldn't say nervous, I would say excitement.

Q. In the locker room after the game can you kind of take us inside the emotions, the finality of the season, but also were you able to enjoy it all, the journey to get to this point?

JOVAN BLACKSHER, JR.: Yeah, of course. It sucks that we lost, but to be here with these group of guys, our coaching staff, the brotherhood that we built, we just can't get over that. So, yeah, it sucks we lost, but to be here and with these guys, I mean it means everything.

Q. What do you think you guys could have done better as a team to stay in the game a little longer?

JOVAN BLACKSHER, JR.: Rebound. We definitely needed to rebound better and defense on the defensive end, just be more together, talk and then close out with the rebounds.