No. 18/21 SDSU MBB-Boise State Postgame Quotes

March 8, 2012

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COACH FISHER: Our game, I believe, is indicative of how close the level is in our league. It's an outstanding basketball league where there are no upsets. People would have talked, had they won, big upset. We had a two-point game at our place, they missed a three at the buzzer

I told Leon (Rice) after the game, I'm sorry a game that was this hard fought would end the way it did. Obviously I'm excited we won. We never played Boise till this year.

As I watched the job that Leon Rice has done with that team, when you look down the roster of all the kids he's playing, all the freshmen, the important minutes that they're playing, he and they have done a wonderful job.

Sometimes it doesn't reflect right away in your record. But he's an outstanding coach. That's a good team that we played today. It was a good team. We feel fortunate that we're moving on. But we got guys that make plays. Right to the end where Jamaal was Jamaal. He's unafraid. Drive it or shoot it, he had the option, made the basket.

I thought Chase and Xavier were both terrific in the second half for us. We guarded so much better. X came off ball screens, and Chase went back to the Chase Tapley when he was making every shot he took. He had a huge stretch for us to get us the lead.

We're proud of the fact that we're still here and we know that tomorrow will be also very difficult, but we feel good about our team and we will be ready to play tomorrow.

Q. Jamaal, talk about the last possession. When the ball left your hands, did you think it was going down?
Jamaal Franklin:
I believed in myself. I always practice the last shot. When it left my hand, I felt it was going to go in.

Q. How would you say the defense was on that play? Were they right in your face? Easy look? Tough look?
Jamaal Franklin:
Very tough look. X did a great job giving me the ball because they denied me all the way out to basically halfcourt. X did a great job giving me the ball.

My first object was to get to the rim. They kind of double teamed me. I just shot the three. Blessing to God, it went in.

Q. Xavier and Chase, are you surprised anymore when Jamaal does stuff like this?
Chase Tapley:
I'm not. I know he wants to be that guy to hit the last second shot, like he says. Spot shooting in practice, he goes five, four, three, two, one and knocks it down. I'm not surprised at all.

He's got two under his belt this year, UNLV, now Boise.

Xavier Thames: I'm not surprised either. He practices it every day. Worked hard over the summer. Both sessions he stayed. All credit to God, like he said.

Q. Jamaal, earlier in the game you were down. You had that dunk off the missed layup. Seemed like that got you on the big run. Take me through that play.
Jamaal Franklin:
We're a team that we stride off each other. I felt that that dunk made my team stride. Plays before that, I stride off of X, I stride Chase making a shot, I stride off James' defense, James played great defense today, I stride off DeShawn rebound. We're just a team that stride off each other.

Q. There was a stretch in the second half where you didn't score for four or five minutes before that final shot. How did he not go cold?
Jamaal Franklin:
Just got to stay composed. We had the lead. Chase was keeping us in the lead. Chase is always a great shooter, doing a good job of scoring. You just have to stay composed and let the game come to you.

I'm just thankful and blessed that my teammates have the courage to give me the ball at the end of the game.

Q. Jamaal, I know you're going to say that was a play that was drawn up. What was discussed in the huddle before?
Jamaal Franklin:
It was a play drawn up (smiling). It was a play drawn up by Coach Fish. We ran it a couple times in the game. We ran it at the right time and I got a basket out of it, thanks to God.

Q. Chase, not to be negative, but at the end when you threw that ball back, did you not know you had a timeout?
Chase Tapley:
I didn't think we had a timeout. So I didn't try to call a timeout. You know about that episode. I just tried to throw it. I saw X, tried to throw it long. It kind of hit the backboard.

That's a play that shouldn't have happened. Too experienced to make that kind of play. I should have known the time, having a timeout. I should have held onto the ball and made a better play. That's not going to happen again.

Q. A lot has been discussed about Jamaal's progress from last year to this year. Are you surprised by what he does anymore?
Jamaal has turned into an extremely talented, confident basketball player who has steadily pulled reins in on himself to play within the confines of what we want to do.

You have to have wiggle room, so I give him a little wiggle room. But Jamaal is unafraid.

The point that Chase made, I think, every day we do a couple things. We do offensive moves for eight minutes, and we do different kinds of spot shooting where it's their time.

The last one, Jamaal waits and waits and waits and he shoots one as the clock hits zero. If he makes it, he falls down. I think he's unafraid of the moment and he has gotten so much better. Obviously opportunity allows you to grow. He's had opportunity to do things. He takes a lot of shots but he's making a lot of baskets and he's a very good player.

Q. This is not a question. This is from somebody that's watched college hoops for four decades now. I've heard major talk over the last five, seven years that Steve Fisher is not the best X's and O's coach. I want to tell you this year anybody that's watched San Diego State basketball, you have done a miraculous job. It's been a lot of fun to watch you and you have a lot of support here in the Vegas area.
That's nice of you to say. If my wife were here and heard somebody saying something bad about me, even with the new hip she got, she'd want to fight them.

I've done this so long that if you worry about people say and write and do, you are in trouble. We all want to have people say, What you did. Well, you're doing a great job. I for years have felt I've done a pretty good job better than pretty good, a really good job.

So it's nice of you to say. The most important thing is when you have success, everybody benefits. Everybody benefits. From the walk ons to the office manager to the head coach. That's happened at San Diego State. We've won and all gained recognition and notoriety from it, myself included.

Q. The last few minutes after you got the lead, you seemed to slow it down. Was it all intentional?
No, it wasn't. I don't know that we did. I'm going to have to go back and look at the tape. I do know that we were on a wonderful roll, we're 11 points ahead. DeShawn Stephens gets fouled, misses the basket and gets fouled, misses both free throws. Out of the run, out of the flow, they hit a three. Five point play. So instead of 13, it becomes 8.

Then we had another play where Jamaal had the ball. I don't mind him making a behind the back pass if that's the proper thing to do. But he did it to DeShawn, who is on a dead run, misses a dunk. He swears he was fouled. They go down and hit a three.

So these are huge momentum swings. I don't think that we really changed a lot. Maybe the last couple minutes. But we were looking to score, I thought. It changes in a hurry when a guy misses a shot and another team makes a three. They did that to us a couple times.

I do think that we were spectacular with our second half defense. Early on we gave them some open looks, and they're good shooters. Second half we guarded. We made shots. I think that's what got us the run. Then all of a sudden we missed a couple, had the free throws, on and on.

You can't just say we're going to hold it for 30 seconds and shoot it in 5 seconds. I don't think we did that. At times it might have looked like it, but that was not our intent.

Boise State Postgame Quotes

COACH RICE: Well, you know, I was really proud of the way our guys battled against the league champions. The staff did a great job putting in a game plan. These guys, more importantly, did a great job of going out and executing it, executing the tempo we wanted, the offense we wanted, making some shots, just battling 'em, especially on the boards in that first half.

Q. Anthony, could you talk about the stretch, you were down, then all of a sudden you were tied after some free throws and the turnover. What was going through your mind at that stretch?
I mean, a lot of times throughout the year we've struggled down the stretch. We just try to stick together, get some stops, make some shots. Unfortunately we didn't come out with the win.

Q. Derrick, what was the defensive plan in the last 20 seconds?
Well, uhm, everyone in the gym knew who the last shot was going to. So, uhm, Xavier Thames passed the ball, I was supposed to go double. He just made an incredible shot.

Q. I know it's tough right now, but on the flight back or even in a couple days, what are you going to think about your performance here and over this first season in the Mountain West?
I mean, we're an extremely young team. We've got a lot of experience throughout the year, a lot of freshmen playing.

We're going to be back next year. Just play harder, play more together and hopefully get more wins next year.

DERRICK MARKS: Same thing.

Q. Coach, if you could talk about your defense on that last play. Looked like you did what you wanted.
Yeah, there's no question. The guys did a great job of that. First wanted to deny the inbound pass. They got it in pretty easy. Tried to create a little bit of chaos, pressure them. We knew it was going to Franklin. Like Derrick said, everybody in the gym knew it was going to Franklin. That's where it should go, obviously. He showed why it should go there.

Our guys couldn't have guarded it better. Derrick almost poked it away to start out with, then Thomas did a great job of guarding him without fouling him, too. He threw up a tough, tough shot.

But, you know, a great player like that is a shot maker, especially at the end of the game. That's why we were committed to take two guys to guard him. You got to give him credit. He made a heck of a shot.

When he let it go, I felt good about it as far as you couldn't guard it any better. That's why he's Player of the Year in the league.

Q. You were able to keep Jamaal under wraps for various stretches of the game. What were you doing to deny him the ball early?
The thing about him is you got to give something up because he gets going to the hoop so well that if you try to guard him with one guy, you're in trouble.

We came off the shooters a little bit. They made us pay a few times on it, especially in the first half. We gave up some threes. It was almost pick your poison a little bit. That's the thing about San Diego State, they're good in all those positions, too. If you do pick your poison, Tapley is going to make those, Rahon is going to make those. That's why they drive such a hard bargain at you.

Q. The first half you probably did everything that you wanted. Second half they made seven of their first ten shots. What is it like when a team is doing that? How tough is it to watch because there's not much you can do about it?
Yeah, we changed defenses on them a few times. Like I said, that's the league champion. That's a really good basketball team. I said this all along about San Diego State. The quality that I admire the most about those guys is they're winners. They know how to win those games. They know what it takes to win 'em. They do whatever it takes. You saw that at the end.

That's just a big time player making a big time play.

When we got the lead, you knew they weren't just going to roll over. We had to be prepared to counter punch. They knocked us down. We got up a couple times. We really got up good at the end and were able to tie 'em.

Q. Talk about the play of the freshmen. Anthony really came out at the end, Derrick gave you a chance.
No question. These guys have gotten better. This league is raising our program. I mean, it's raising the bar for our program. It raises the bar for these guys individually.

I was looking at our schedule saying, It feels like we're playing pretty good basketball right now. But four of our last five games have been against top 25 teams, and three of 'em, one day here, two of 'em on the road, then San Diego State at home.

It's just the level of competition. But it makes these guys better. It's tough to go through. It's tough to lose these games. But, you know, we made some mistakes that freshmen are going to make down the stretch of that game. You're able to break that down in the off season, you're able to look at that. They're mistakes we'll minimize down the road. These guys will get better at stuff like that.

So there's no question the competition in this league is amazing, but there's no question that it's really helping our program.