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“They were denying real hard,” Monroe said. “They were making it very difficult for me to get the ball in the post, they were sending extra help topside, so they were making it very hard for me to score and get the ball.”

Monroe was joined by Freeman and Wright on the dais following the game, all three of them struggling to find words. After a tremendous run through the Big East ringer, which took them from the NCAA tournament bubble to the precipice of a championship, they are left to pick up the pieces before learning Sunday who they will play next week.

From the dejected look on their faces, that won’t be an easy task.

“This group, we know we can play with anyone. We didn’t learn that coming out of this tournament, we knew that,” Thompson said. “Get over this quickly and move on. It’s March, and we are extremely disappointed, but this too shall pass, and we need to move on.”