Foul ending for Vols, 70-69

Michigan State hits free throw with 1.8 left in the game

ST. LOUIS - Tennessee's historic run in the NCAA tournament fell one step short of a trip to the Final Four Sunday afternoon in the Edward Jones Dome.

"There's nothing I can say that's going to make anybody from Tennessee feel better,'' said Bruce Pearl, who in his fifth season at UT has led the Vols to five NCAA tournament appearances and a first-ever trip to the Elite Eight. "I'm proud of my seniors and proud of our basketball program.''

Michigan State scored a dramatic 70-69 victory over the Vols in the Midwest Regional championship before an orange-dominated crowd of 25,242 and advances to play Butler on Saturday in Indianapolis.

The sixth-seeded Vols finish the season 28-9, with the 28 wins representing the second most wins (31) in school history. The fifth-seeded Spartans (28-8) will be playing in their sixth Final Four in the past 12 years.

Wayne Chism scored 13 points and J.P Prince added 12 to lead the Vols in scoring in the seniors' final appearances for the program.

The game was as competitive as anticipated, with physical play in the paint and a premium on execution.

The last-second drama played out after UT sophomore Scotty Hopson was fouled on a jump shot attempt near the top of the key with 11 seconds remaining, resulting in a trip to the free-throw line with Michigan State up 69-68.

Hopson, who finished with 10 points, tied the game at 69-69 by hitting his first free throw, but after a Michigan State timeout, he missed on his second attempt.

UT center Brian Williams (11 points) tipped the rebound high into the air, resulting in a mad scramble for possession.

The Spartans came up with it, just as they had on the majority of the other loose balls, with guard Korie Lucious securing possession in the corner near the 3-point line.

"If I had to point to anything, it would be the 50-50 (loose) balls,'' Pearl said, asked the determining factor in the game. "Then we didn't get back defensively, we didn't get matched up, and transition defense got us.''

Lucious passed to Draymond Green, who found an open Raymar Morgan (13 points, 10 rebounds) near the basket.

Williams anchored down between Morgan and the basket, and Prince came over to provide help defense.

Morgan pump-faked before going up with the shot, and an airborne Prince was whistled for a foul with 1.8 seconds remaining.

Morgan hit his first free throw to put Michigan State up 70-69 before intentionally missing the second shot.

Williams rebounded and called timeout with 1.6 seconds left, giving the Vols time to set up a final shot.

Chism inbounded to Prince who took a couple of quick dribbles before launching a shot from half-court that fell short as the buzzer sounded.

"You don't want it to come down to a half-court shot; you're just hoping for a prayer with that,'' Prince said. "It's a tough pill to swallow.''

Tennessee had extended its lead from 41-39 at the half to 50-45 when Chism hit a 3-pointer 15:43 remaining.

Michigan State battled back with a crucial 14-1 run, going up 59-51 at the 11:42 mark when Green scored three of his 13 points on a three-point play.

"They were capitalizing off of our missed shots or some of our bad play,'' Chism said.

But the Vols had more good plays left in them, too.

Tennessee rallied with an 11-2 run that Williams capped with a hook shot, putting UT back in front 62-61 with 6:05 left to play.

The teams exchanged the lead three more times before Hopson's free throw tied the game at 69-69.

"The second shot felt just like the first one I'd made, and I thought it was going in,'' Hopson said of his missed free throw. "I didn't step up ... I let the team down.''

Tennessee opened the game with its shooting ablaze; five different Vols combined to hit the team's first six attempts beyond the 3-point arc.

But Michigan State hung tough, with Regional MVP Durrell Summers scoring 10 of his game-high 21 points in the first half and the Spartans converting 11 second-chance points.

"I thought the big key for us was that we weathered that storm and we could say in the huddles, 'okay, they're going to cool off,' '' Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.

The Vols shot 56 percent through the first half, but the Spartans' 17-10 rebounding edge enabled them to keep the game close.

"We stepped up physically in the second half and were able to get that fixed,'' said Pearl, whose team evened the rebounding at 27-27 by the game's end. "But we've been winning with defense and rebounding, and I felt we lost control of that game when they made some shots that we just didn't contest.

"It's hard to reflect right now ... these just stay with you forever. This is painful. This is disappointing.''

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Comments » 58

VolInSabanLand writes:

Heartbreaking loss...but I'm very proud of my Vols. Great run and with any luck at all, could have been even more magical. Here's to many more deep runs in March.

give_him_6 writes:

I am extremely proud of you Coach Pearl and the job you have done since you came here. It wasn't easy for you. I know. I've followed Vol B-Ball for nearly 30 years now. But you have really gotten the fans "awake" and on fire for the Vols. You are a credit sir.

And to the Seniors Chism, Maze and Prince...Thanks guys for so many memories. You have represented yourselves, the team and the school with nothing but class and an amazing will to push farther than any place the Vols have gone before. You are all worthy of being called the best team Tennessee has ever fielded. I am so proud of your accomplishments and I can say this with pride..IT'S GREAT TO BE A TENNESSEE VOL!!!

wayoutwill writes:

I don't belive that I've ever seen a Volunteer team get off to such a hot start,only to look back and see that the other team is still breathing down our back.I don't think I've ever seen this Volunteer squad get beat to so many loose balls,aided by the seemingly endless Spartan bound bounces.They're good and I guess it's fairly safe in here to make the observation that we are better than they are,that we had the best team left,IF, we make it into the final four.That makes it a tough one.This team was on a mission,but the one thing that has haunted us this year,free throws,reared it's head and bit us in the arse one last time.It still beats ending the seson getting drubbed by Virginia Tech like our ex-idiot football coach did,(thought I'd throw that in),one last dig at the biggest jerk this side of the country ever saw or wants to see again.Thanks to Wayne(weezy)Chism,Steven Pearl,and J.P.(Fresh) Prince for keeping it together and making this run.I still hope Tyler makes it big in the NBA-Thanks for manning up and claiming ownership of both guns;guess we can call you the two gun kid?You made us all proud to be Tn. Vol fans this year,guys,and we know there's more great moments coming with the obvious COACH OF THE YEAR,Bruce Pearl in charge.GO BIG ORANGE!

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

This game will always, always, always HURT. I will add it to the OSU loss and the 2001 SEC title game loss to LSU as being painful memories of what 'could have been'.

I tend to agree with another poster: wish the ref had let it go into overtime.

soccervol writes:

Great job basket Vols!! Love em all! Thanks Bruce we know this is just the beginning!

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

And you what I was thinking:

we would beat Butler. We have (had) too much depth and too many ways to beat them.

Harleydls writes:

My disappointment is overshadowed by the pride I have in this team. Yes, they lost a game they could have won but what Tennessee team in history ever accomplished more than these guys. They overcame a huge distraction in January and really showed what they were made of. I'm sure the guys are disappointed, too but in time they will be remembered as one of the great teams in Tennessee basketball history. Bruce Pearl deserves to be named Coach of the Year for the save he made with this team. They could have easily rolled over without the leadership Bruce provided. Thanks to the seniors, Wayne, Bobby, and J.P. for representing Tennessee with class and brass. I think you each earned the right to claim your place in Tennessee BasketVol history. Good luck to each of you and Go Vols.

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

"There's nothing I can say that's going to make anybody from Tennessee feel better"

Coach...you don't need to say anything. We are all so very proud of the effort, heart, determination, and class that you and your boys displayed through the tournament. This team has gone through so much turmoil this year. No one in the national press believed in you guys when this tournament started and you proved them all wrong. You proved that UT Men's Basketball is a nationally ELITE program. We are all so very happy and proud of you guys.

Thanks for the memories Coach! Can't wait to see what you're cooking up for next year! GO BIG ORANGE!!!

steamboatticket#484773 writes:

How many feet short was Prince's final shot of the game? Does anybody have an estimate? Or should I ask how many yards short? I'm guessing five yards. Maybe I was just freaking hallucinating. Someone please tell me I'm wrong! How could that happen?

ClockworkOrange writes:

To The Seniors-Wayne-J.P.-B. Maze-Cunningham-we as Volfans love ya and will NEVER forget your efforts. The greatest four consecutive years of any sport at UT-period! Good luck at the next level. As to Scotty, do you really want to go out like today? We all want to see you reach your summitt-which could be Mt Everest if you want. Tonite I'm heartbroken, but in a good way. GO BIG ORANGE!!!!

ClockworkOrange writes:

Hey VOLFANS, at least we lasted longer than those vaunted KENTUCKY WILDCATS!!!!!! How's that championship trophy goin for you Calipari and Ashley Judd. Your NBA team won't be around next year. So sorry!!! Go Vols. We played the most exciting games in the sweet 16!! I think we got the attention of the nation, the media and some recruits. Now let's get Tobias and friends up here and make it a step further next year. It's great-to be- a TENNESSEE VOL baby!!!

MissUT writes:

My thanks to Coach Pearl and this great UT basketball team for the great memories you have given us. Thanks for the long hours you have put in on the practice court...the time in the weight room...the time in rehab. I know there were probably many times you wanted to be somewhere else!! But you gave all for your team. I am so very proud of you...I wish you the best in your future, wherever it takes you. Just remember...once a Vol, always a Vol...

rocky_topper writes:

Great job guys! I have thoroughly enjoyed basketball this season. You seniors who kept your nose clean while there will ALWAYS be remembered as such! Great representation to the university, and providing us big orange fans something to be proud of.

GBO

richvol writes:

Very proud of this team. If anything we proved we belong with the elite teams in the country.

lomas98 writes:

I think getting to a final four is one of the toughest things to do in sports. Every game both teams bring their A game. In the regular season, if TN got off to a hot shooting start like that, they probably win by 10. Nobody wants to go home and winning 4 games in the tournament is tough and then you got 2 more to win the whole thing. Just think if Ohio would not have beat GTown. If TN beat them, that is a gauntlet of 3 teams in a row to play and then the final 4. If the NCAA expands this tournament, it will be even harder to win it. These chances don't come along very often and too bad we couldn't capitalize, but I am proud of the way they played. It is absolutely amazing that Michigan St. has made 6 final fours in 12 years. We as TN fans are finally able to feel what Kansas, UConn, Duke, and so many other big time basketball programs have felt like at times, which will make it so much better when we do break through. It is painful today but the ride was awesome and the exposure our program got may just turn some recruits heads for the future. Hopefully we can have some players like Hopson and Hall step up next year to go along with the young talent we have coming in. Leadership will be key as we learned what leadership means in Chism.

BrassMonkey writes:

Great job B-ball Vols. You looked so great on the court this March it got me thinking that UT might want to start a football team in Knoxville. Just a thought.

VolsFanSince2010 writes:

in response to ClockworkOrange:

Hey VOLFANS, at least we lasted longer than those vaunted KENTUCKY WILDCATS!!!!!! How's that championship trophy goin for you Calipari and Ashley Judd. Your NBA team won't be around next year. So sorry!!! Go Vols. We played the most exciting games in the sweet 16!! I think we got the attention of the nation, the media and some recruits. Now let's get Tobias and friends up here and make it a step further next year. It's great-to be- a TENNESSEE VOL baby!!!

UT and KY both lost in the elite 8.

vol88 writes:

Thanks so much CBP and the team. Ernie and Bernie, move over for JP, Wayne and Bobby. Thanks seniors! Can't wait until next year!

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to VolsFanSince2010:

UT and KY both lost in the elite 8.

Perhaps just because they played the day before we did... which is meaningless.

great_2B_Vol writes:

I really want to thank the Vols for such an incredible run and especially the seniors!

But, I hope the guys coming back will use this game as a lesson of how important free-throw shooting is. Scotty Hopson cannot be a 50% free-throw shooter for this team next year and Brian Williams was 1 for 4 with 2 airballs. I hope they shoot at least 200 a day between now and next season.

Great season Vols!

great_2B_Vol writes:

in response to steamboatticket#484773:

How many feet short was Prince's final shot of the game? Does anybody have an estimate? Or should I ask how many yards short? I'm guessing five yards. Maybe I was just freaking hallucinating. Someone please tell me I'm wrong! How could that happen?

You're right. JP had a great game, but for anyone who has played basketball knows that it's not hard to at least hit the rim on a half-court shot. The announcers on TV said the ball slipped or he never got full control of it. JP was our best player down the stretch and was a big reason we kept advancing. I was not a fan though of the saluting or whining every time he was called for a foul.

shoelessvol#236864 writes:

What an incredible season! NO ONE would have thought in January that we would even make the tournament much less have a legitamate shot at the Final Four. It's really a shame that it had to end. We would have beaten Butler and then who knows?

My hat is off to Coach Pearl, who should be National Coach of the Year, but won't get it. To the seniors and their leadership and to the rest of the team who bought in to what had to be done, and sacrificed for the TEAM! They gave their ALL for Tennessee! We will be back!!

PennVol writes:

in response to great_2B_Vol:

You're right. JP had a great game, but for anyone who has played basketball knows that it's not hard to at least hit the rim on a half-court shot. The announcers on TV said the ball slipped or he never got full control of it. JP was our best player down the stretch and was a big reason we kept advancing. I was not a fan though of the saluting or whining every time he was called for a foul.

Would've loved to have seen JP call time out after catching the ball at half court. Could've maybe had 1.0 second left to inbound from half court and throw a lob to the basket for Prince on the last play.

gatorbaitheaven writes:

That was the best game of the day. Yall should be very proud of your team. They could have gave up early in the year with everything that went on. They fought right up to the last tick on the clock. Good game from both teams!!!!!!!!!!

OldNumber7 writes:

Pearl, OUTSTANDING JOB! This program has been headed in the right direction ever since you arrived. Keep learning the lessons and fighting the fight. It's been better every year - can't wait til next season!

jakethevolguy writes:

A couple of possessions earlier Bobby Maize was hacked across both forearms as he was attempting a layup and no foul was called. If that wasn't a foul, then it shouldn't have been a foul called on J.P. at the end of the game. Just sayin. I thought the official let them play for the most part and did a pretty fair job. I just can't understand why that was not a foul on Bobby when he was mugged and J.P. gets called for a touch foul.

TopTenn writes:

Good run Vols. Nobody gave this team a chance to make the Elite Eight.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to gatorbaitheaven:

That was the best game of the day. Yall should be very proud of your team. They could have gave up early in the year with everything that went on. They fought right up to the last tick on the clock. Good game from both teams!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks, gatorbait.

It really was an awesome game. My wife was grateful our team lost, because I didn't scream so loud that her ears would bleed. lol

arkyvol writes:

maybe to kentucky, duke, or u.c.l.a., this would have been another ho-humm season, but for tennessee, its the most sucessful ever. pearl is the greatest. i hope he takes us all the way someday.

dma38256#264746 writes:

in response to VolAlum2003:

"There's nothing I can say that's going to make anybody from Tennessee feel better"

Coach...you don't need to say anything. We are all so very proud of the effort, heart, determination, and class that you and your boys displayed through the tournament. This team has gone through so much turmoil this year. No one in the national press believed in you guys when this tournament started and you proved them all wrong. You proved that UT Men's Basketball is a nationally ELITE program. We are all so very happy and proud of you guys.

Thanks for the memories Coach! Can't wait to see what you're cooking up for next year! GO BIG ORANGE!!!

My feelings exactly...Bruce Pearl IS the COACH OF THE YEAR....

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

The what if's in this game are endless..Hopson missing the free throw didn't matter.But the misses by Brian did..I can't get down on him because the misses were because he was exhausted and the kid played his heart out..When State hit a 3 pointer with 2:48 left; I knew then that one little extra point would cost us the game and it did!!!!Also Wayne missed his signature shot(one Ive seen make a 100 times)had it gone in we would have won!! Allowing Morgan to trot right up to the basket without at least blocking him off his route was inexcusable..Williams was badly out of position and all Prince could do was foul him and hope for a miracle because that was an easy 2 for Morgan!!All in all this team gave me 4 months of the most enjoyable basketball of my life..I went to extreme lengths to make sure I didn't miss a minute of any game and that is something Ive never done in 40 years of following UT basketball..Thank you Vols for memory's that I will cherish the rest of my life!!!!

TommyJack writes:

Now isn't the time to nit-pick. Props to the team and to CBP y staff.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to jakethevolguy:

A couple of possessions earlier Bobby Maize was hacked across both forearms as he was attempting a layup and no foul was called. If that wasn't a foul, then it shouldn't have been a foul called on J.P. at the end of the game. Just sayin. I thought the official let them play for the most part and did a pretty fair job. I just can't understand why that was not a foul on Bobby when he was mugged and J.P. gets called for a touch foul.

You are right that was clearly a foul and may have cost us the game..Truly a terrible no call.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to wayoutwill:

I don't belive that I've ever seen a Volunteer team get off to such a hot start,only to look back and see that the other team is still breathing down our back.I don't think I've ever seen this Volunteer squad get beat to so many loose balls,aided by the seemingly endless Spartan bound bounces.They're good and I guess it's fairly safe in here to make the observation that we are better than they are,that we had the best team left,IF, we make it into the final four.That makes it a tough one.This team was on a mission,but the one thing that has haunted us this year,free throws,reared it's head and bit us in the arse one last time.It still beats ending the seson getting drubbed by Virginia Tech like our ex-idiot football coach did,(thought I'd throw that in),one last dig at the biggest jerk this side of the country ever saw or wants to see again.Thanks to Wayne(weezy)Chism,Steven Pearl,and J.P.(Fresh) Prince for keeping it together and making this run.I still hope Tyler makes it big in the NBA-Thanks for manning up and claiming ownership of both guns;guess we can call you the two gun kid?You made us all proud to be Tn. Vol fans this year,guys,and we know there's more great moments coming with the obvious COACH OF THE YEAR,Bruce Pearl in charge.GO BIG ORANGE!

Your 100% correct; State got countless bounces that miraculously went their way and 2nd chance points that cost us the game but that's the way basketball is.. Still it's a bitter loss not easily forgotten..I can't count all the small things that went to states way

brod writes:

i'm heartbroken and sick because they played so well and michigan st. got lucky a few times with loose balls going to them. the only thing that i can say is that you have to get back after a missed free throw or a team like msu will find an easy basket. and they did. thanks for the memories guys, and thanks coach pearl for keeping it together after the incident. i will be watching next year expecting another good season of tennessee basketball.

oldbasshead writes:

Just want to say a heartfelt thankyou to coach Pearl, the assistant coaches and the team for a thrilling tournament and season. Also, a special thankyou to the seniors who have the most to lose and often carry the most responsibility. You represented UT and yourselves in a most admirable way.

Vol_Doc writes:

I agree that this was a great (and historic) run, especially with what CBP had to deal with. However, am I the only one that thinks UT should have fouled earlier in MSUs last drive? You can't do much with less than 2 seconds on the clock.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to Vol_Doc:

I agree that this was a great (and historic) run, especially with what CBP had to deal with. However, am I the only one that thinks UT should have fouled earlier in MSUs last drive? You can't do much with less than 2 seconds on the clock.

No, but by the same token, you're making them work harder to get the 2 points by not fouling. I guess it sucks either way you look at it.

Gumby#1381110 writes:

Great season Vols! I'm proud of you. This team went further than any team at UT ever has and you exceeded expectations, great job! It was a heartbreaking loss, but think of all the teams out there that weren't even in the elite 8, but would have loved to been in your shoes.

stevefrommemphis writes:

in response to ClockworkOrange:

Hey VOLFANS, at least we lasted longer than those vaunted KENTUCKY WILDCATS!!!!!! How's that championship trophy goin for you Calipari and Ashley Judd. Your NBA team won't be around next year. So sorry!!! Go Vols. We played the most exciting games in the sweet 16!! I think we got the attention of the nation, the media and some recruits. Now let's get Tobias and friends up here and make it a step further next year. It's great-to be- a TENNESSEE VOL baby!!!

Yes, Ms. Judd must have been beside herself Saturday night, poor thing.

Kentucky will just get a new NBA team, unless the NCAA cracks down and cleans things up. But I'm optimistic that the clean-up may be coming soon.

Great season by the Vols, and I'm optimistic about the future. After so many years of futility in basketball, it's so enjoyable to have something to pay attention to during the winter.

volboy81 writes:

5 years ago, who would have thought we'd be where we are now...we'll get to the Final Four one day and win it all sometime! Thanks to Wayne, JP, Bobby, etc...we'll miss you! You laid the ground work for great things to come in Tennessee basketball!!
GO VOLS!!!

VolunteerLifer writes:

We lost the game because we couldn't rebound on our defensive boards, and lost scrambles for loose balls repeatedly. You've got to credit MSU for playing very hard and very smart. We also had two bone head plays that no one is talking about, near the end. both Maze and Bone tried to put shots up in the shadow of the goal against the big trees down low, and we lost the ball on each possession, and it hurt bad each time.

But, hey, we were playing on house money yesterday as far as I was concerned. This team accomplished the goal I had in mind for the season when it got to the elite eight. Yesterday was just a bonus to me.

What a terrific year and a historic team. Many thanks to the coaching staff, the players, and espectially the seniors. These guys have put our program among the elite in the country, and we will make the FF soon.

lomas98 writes:

in response to jakethevolguy:

A couple of possessions earlier Bobby Maize was hacked across both forearms as he was attempting a layup and no foul was called. If that wasn't a foul, then it shouldn't have been a foul called on J.P. at the end of the game. Just sayin. I thought the official let them play for the most part and did a pretty fair job. I just can't understand why that was not a foul on Bobby when he was mugged and J.P. gets called for a touch foul.

There should have been a foul called on Maze, but I don't think JP's was a touch foul. When an elbow is involved and you come down on someone, it is going to get called. I think the elbow actually hit the ball, but the ref is going to call that everytime. I thought we actually got lucky that a touch foul was called on Hopson on his jumper. If he was a great shooter he would get that call a lot. I was surprised they called that. Wish they would have called on Maze because he probably would have hit them, but there was a minute still left to play.

CoverOrange writes:

If you add up all the calls that shouldn't have been with all the non-calls that should you would probably find that refs are right about 50% of the time. It's almost a roll of the dice. Is it your turn and your time to get a whistle?

I know we've got a top class coming in next year, but as we have seen with Scotty, how they will do is far from known. I think we are really going to miss Wayne and JP and Bobby.

UTopia writes:

Pearl definitely did the best coaching job in the history of the program this year BUT... The last 30 seconds of the game was a major lapse.
We should have called time-out to set up a play, and held the ball for the last shot. Shooting with 11 seconds was inexcusable (and that is on the coach NOT the player).
We held the outcome of the game in our own hands but just handed control over to Tom Izzo by doing that.
It was still a monumental season and should be celebrated. Pearl is building a program not just a team. I am more proud of him for kicking Tyler Smith off the team than for making the Elite 8. A program has to be built on character.

lomas98 writes:

in response to UTopia:

Pearl definitely did the best coaching job in the history of the program this year BUT... The last 30 seconds of the game was a major lapse.
We should have called time-out to set up a play, and held the ball for the last shot. Shooting with 11 seconds was inexcusable (and that is on the coach NOT the player).
We held the outcome of the game in our own hands but just handed control over to Tom Izzo by doing that.
It was still a monumental season and should be celebrated. Pearl is building a program not just a team. I am more proud of him for kicking Tyler Smith off the team than for making the Elite 8. A program has to be built on character.

Do you think Pearl told Scotty to shoot with 11 seconds left? I don't think coach is yelling from the bench to shoot. Hindsight is 20/20, but by calling timeout you give one of the best defensive teams in college basketball time to regroup. We are a helter skelter team and always have been. Scotty thought he got a good look and shot. It is not on the coach that a player pulls the trigger.

Mr_Brownstone writes:

so proud of the coaching staff and players. i think i can speak for the fans that we are soo thankful. congrats on a great season; wins over #1 and #2 and first ever elite 8! i will really miss chism.

VolInIndy writes:

Am I wrong in thinking Hopson shouldn't have been shooting with 11 seconds left. Don't you wait to five or six to give enough time for an offensive rebound but not much time for a shot on the other end on a defensive one?

MillisaAnn writes:

Sorry that the Vols lost I think that that if Williams and Hopson would had made their free throws we might had won.

VolInIndy writes:

in response to Mr_Brownstone:

so proud of the coaching staff and players. i think i can speak for the fans that we are soo thankful. congrats on a great season; wins over #1 and #2 and first ever elite 8! i will really miss chism.

Glad you said staff. I think that is one of Bruce's strengths. He knows you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with. Having said that, now if he would only get Tony to reduce SPs minutes.

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