#AztecMBB-New Mexico Postgame Quotes
Jan. 26, 2013
San Diego State Postgame Quotes
Head Coach Steve Fisher
On the game:
"This is the way we should play in terms of effort and togetherness, and when you do that, you have a chance to win it so this should not be once a month and only when you play a team that's higher than you in the conference. This should be an everyday affair. As good as we were as a team, I have to start with Jamaal (Franklin). For those that only look at a stat line, you don't appreciate what he brings to this team. He's the soul of our program. I talked about what he had done before but if you're not in that locker room, if you're not out on that practice floor, if you're not on that bus, if you're not in the hotel, if you're not on that plane, you can't fully appreciate what he brings to this team. He played the best defense he's played since he's been at San Diego State and that permeated through everybody. We were saying that we were going to guard them, we were not going to give them easy looks and that's what we did.
"The team was terrific. J.J (O'Brien), who's a constant team player and I mentioned that at Nevada, had a good stat line. (I) took him out at the 13-minute mark and didn't put him back in. I went over to talk to him and he said, `You don't have to say a word, look what we're doing. I'm fine,' and that's how he plays, with no agenda. It's nice to see him have the stat line that he did and you could go on and on about our freshmen to James Rahon to Chase Tapley, who got two early fouls and who made back-to-back baskets to not only keep us where we were but to expand the lead a little bit.
"We beat a good team. We beat them at home and everybody talked about the significance of it. The teams with two losses were happy when they saw that score so now the potential for a league grace is here. Every game is hard. We'll enjoy this one but we know when we go next Saturday to Air Force, that'll be an extremely difficult game and we need to come out with the same preparation, toughness and togetherness we did today. This was enjoyable to be a part of."
On being worried about the readiness of the team and having a different mindset than the past few games:
"You learn from your previous experiences and hopefully when you have a negative one, you don't look for excuses. You accept responsibility and that's what they did. I feel good about that but still reflect back on nine points in the half (at Wyoming last Saturday) and no matter what you say, that shouldn't happen. We learn from it and we were much better with everything we've done since in practice and in preparation. We haven't gone up and down to our practices but they've been attentive and learn by watching and they demand the next guy do it. Jamaal (Franklin) has set the table for it. I had to take him out of a drill. We were working on set plays that New Mexico ran and he was into every play. He was so intent on making sure we won the game and everybody played a wonderful part of getting it done. Now, we've got to look forward to the next one. This league is so demanding. If you think too much about the last one, you're going to get nicked. If you worry too much about the last loss, you're going to get a second one. Hopefully we will forget about this one when we come back to practice on Monday and start getting ready for a really good game against Air Force."
On being successful on defense:
"It started with how we chased our guards around. We gave them no clean looks. I was concerned about their size with the two big kids inside. We did a pretty good job of forcing them away from the basket and not letting them just pitch over us. We stood our ground when they tried to back us in. When Skylar (Spencer) came in, he's a shot blocker so he got a piece of a couple. Even though we didn't double, I think we had them concerned when we jabbed and faked at them. We helped one another really well."
On how good of a scout the coaching staff provided:
"I have always said that we have got a group of coaches that personify what you want. They all know that I'm the guy up here and at the end of the day, they have a responsibility. Watching practice, I don't micromanage. (Brian) Dutcher is the head coach and does a lot from practice planning, to scheming in practice, and to communicating. Mark Fisher is the guy that coordinates what we do offensively and he orchestrates that. Tony (Bland) does a bit of everything. Tony gets in their ear and tells them `Not long ago, I was you.' Along with David (Velasquez) and Matt (Soria), we've got a wonderful staff. We're like a lot of people. When you get into league play, you know what they're going to try and do. You know what you have to do to stop them. That's hard chasing those guys off those screens and picks and up and downs but that's the job description. If you want to win, you have to do it. It wasn't just a one-time thing. We've had it before where we do it for three possessions and all of a sudden there's a breakdown and wide open look. We didn't give them a lot of wide open looks today and that was because everybody knew what we needed to do and did it."
On limiting Xavier Thames and having James Rahon start again:
"(James) Rahon started the game and Xavier (Thames) has had minimal practice time. Xavier and I talked about it. I'm not sure what was the best for us, whether we need to go with what we did last game or talk about you being in the line-up. He just said he'd rather do it this way. Xavier was the lead person on that. He just said to go with what we've got. If Tom Abdenour, our athletic trainer, would say it's important because he's loose and ready and you should start him, then we would have done that. Tom said he was fine. When we talk pre-game, he doesn't sit down but stood a lot. He stood a lot in our time outs. He's working his way back and hasn't practiced very much so I think we did what was the right thing to do. Xavier was in favor of doing it that way."
Sophomore Forward JJ O'Brien
On the win:
"All week we were talking about how right now New Mexico is the best team in the league record wise. That was some motivation to get back in the race and get the win."
On his performance:
"I just wanted to play hard. I had a couple of bad games in a row and I wanted to come back hard on rebounds. You can control your rebounds and how hard you are on the glass. I just wanted to work on the rebounds and that pretty much opened the rest of my game up."
On his quiet demeanor:
"A lot of people have said that I don't have a lot of amazing plays so I sneak up on you in the statistics. I think it is my demeanor. I am just calm out there.
On SDSU's defense:
"I think we did a good job of keeping our men in front of us. I think New Mexico does a good job of getting by their guys and driving for open threes. All the guards did a great job of keeping their men in front of them as well as stunting on Alex Kirk."
On the current conference rankings:
"It just goes to show how deep our league is. At any given game any team can be shut down and any team can be great. You can't really get caught up in one game because the next game can be anything."
On Mountain West ranked teams:
"We just want to focus on our games. We definitely are looking at the rankings, but when we dropped out we had to crawl to get back in. Whether our team is ranked or not we have great teams. Our RPI's are great, and I think at the end of the day we are going to have more than one ranked team. We are not really worried about it right now."
Junior Guard Jamaal Franklin
On the win:
"It's exciting, we needed that one. It was a really big win and New Mexico is a really good team. As you know, we had lost two games in a row (prior to the win at Nevada on Wednesday) and we lost one to UNLV (at home). Like Coach (Steve) Fisher always stresses, you can't win this league if you don't win home games. I feel like that was a big home game win."
On JJ O'Brien's improvement of play in the last few games:
"He has helped us to win the last two games. Today, I feel like he won the game for us. Chase (Tapley) and I are usually the big scorers on the team but I think Chase and I only had eight points (Franklin had 10, Tapley has 8) each the entire game. When you have someone like (O'Brien) that can step up, contribute, score the points and rebound the ball, that shows you that he is a real soldier."
On if JJ O'Brien flies under the radar:
"No, if you watched this game you would see that (O'Brien) was a motor out there. He did whatever he had to do to get this win. He proves that through the stat line. He might be a laid back player but when you look at that stat sheet and the way he was producing on the court, he did his job."
On finishing around the basket:
"I had a conversation with the bigs, I told them that they need to finish (around the basket). Before every game I try to give them a number to reach for. Before Nevada, I told them they need to have 20 and 15 and we would win the game. Today I told them we need to have 24 and 18. They were three points short of getting 24 and were one board short from having 18. What do you know, we win by 20. They are doing a good job and are working hard in practice, posting the perimeter and its showing on the court. (O'Brien) is doing a good job of finishing right now."
On if he could sense New Mexico's frustration in the game:
"Yes, like (O'Brien) said the guards did a good job keeping people in front but it was also a contribution by everyone. The big men did a good job with keeping Alex Kirk off the boards and making sure he wasn't shooting any open threes. I think we frustrated them a little bit but at the end of the day New Mexico is a good team and we still have to go play them (away). I know it is going to be a hassle, us playing at The Pit. We just need to move on, get back to the drawing board and get ready for Air Force, then take it one game at a time."
On the energy level:
"I would say that we are competing really hard right now. I feel that when we lost to Wyoming, that was a wake-up call. It was one of those that if we keep playing the way we were, being lackadaisical, walking on the court, thinking that we are going to win this game, it is not going to happen. Especially in a league like this when you are playing good teams every day. I feel like our energy is on point right now."
New Mexico Postgame Quotes
Head Coach Steve Alford
"We weren't who we are today. We really got dominated inside, and I thought that would be our strength coming in. (SDSU) beat us in points in the paint, they beat us on the glass. Give credit to them. We didn't get to the free-throw line - we had a season-low (free throw) attempts. Every strength we have, they took it away."
On if there was any let up in practice recently with a two-game lead in the standings:
"No, Our guys practiced extremely hard and practiced very, very well. Everybody picked (SDSU) to win (conference), so we knew what kind of team we were playing today, and I thought they played very well. They took some things away from us. There was no let up on our end. We held them to 55 points, 40-percent shooting and 20-percent 3-point shooting. The effort was there. I thought we got out-toughed in a lot of areas, but the effort was definitely there."
On if their offensive execution was more on themselves or what SDSU was doing defensively:
"Well probably a little bit of both. I give (SDSU) a lot of credit for what they did defensively, but we've usually been much more poised than that. We've been a very good road team, and hopefully, we'll continue to be a very good road team. But (SDSU) took us out of a lot of things, and we talked about wanting to work to get good shots, and I just didn't think we did that today. We were a lot more passive. I don't think we controlled the ball well, I don't think we posted (up) well. I don't think we did a lot of things well at all offensively."
On how their own turnovers impacted the game:
"It was about as poor as we could be execution-wise offensively. We did a lot of good things defensively, but we just could not score the basketball. This was our worst 40-minutes offensively. We've got to figure things out quickly."
Sophomore Guard Hugh Greenwood
On why the team shot so poorly:
"We just didn't execute. At the end of the day, that's what it was. (SDSU) is not a great defensive team, but they forced us to turn the ball over."
On why the team turned the ball over so much:
"It was a lack of concentration. We held San Diego State to 55 points in their building, and normally you're going to win a lot of games doing that. But at the end of the day, taking care of the ball and executing is what cost us."
On if they were getting shots they should make:
"We've been down before, so I don't know what was different tonight. We panicked a little bit, we took some quick shots and that's what (SDSU) wants us to do so they can get out and run. We probably took more bad shots than good shots, and we've got to change that going forward."
On if there was a sense of frustration offensively:
"Yeah definitely, it's always frustrating. Once we got a rhythm going, we turned the ball over, and that's what hurt us a little bit. Obviously, it's frustrating, but it's conference (play). San Diego State is a good team. Even though there are a lot of negatives, we can take some positives out of it too."
On if there was any let up in practice recently:
"No, that never happens. This league is one of the best in the country. To come in here and underestimate San Diego State at their place wouldn't happen. We take one game at a time. We have a lot of areas to improve, and in this league, a lot of things can happen. But that's one thing we'll never do."