SDSU Men's Hoops-New Mexico Postgame Quotes
March 10, 2012
LAS VEGAS -
San Diego State Postgame Quotes
COACH FISHER: Our congratulations to New Mexico. We know what it feels like to be where they are right now: still on that court celebrating. That's where we expected to be, which is why it hurts when you're not. And yet the reality of it is we're not and they are.
I thought that we at times played too fast, did ourselves in a little bit. New Mexico probably had something to do with that also.
The most important thing that I told our guys is how proud I am of what they've done throughout this season. And they are, in our minds, champions and deserving champions. And the beauty is tomorrow we're going to have a 180 in terms of how we feel. But right now we don't feel good, and we shouldn't.
But we also have the opportunity to be playing next week, which we will have, and the following week, and the following week, which we could.
Q. The team struggled shooting the ball today, 30%. What was the cause of the struggles? Was it something New Mexico was doing defensively specifically?
Jamaal Franklin: New Mexico played good defense, they played hard, tough. We just struggled today. The only person we can blame is ourself, but you have to give credit to New Mexico.
Q. Did they do anything defensively with being a much more physical group than you had seen the last two times?
COACH FISHER: I don't think so. I thought we were atypical, for whatever reason. And, again, I don't want to dismiss what New Mexico did. They are a terrific basketball team.
We shot it too quickly, especially early. We've talked about, Don't settle, don't settle for a quick, hard shot. Quick, good shot is fine. And we had some of those that didn't go in.
But I thought we looked like we were playing twice as fast as we should be playing at the offensive end. And I couldn't get us to settle into any kind of a rhythm, and it showed.
Q. Playing your third game in three days with a team that doesn't have much depth, how does that play into this, that you didn't want this team playing that fast that early?
COACH FISHER: By 'fast' I mean we'd just get it and try to do something, just shoot it a little bit too quick.
I don't know that the lack of depth had anything to do with that piece to it. We just couldn't settle into any kind of a flow offensively. The more we missed, the faster we played. That ain't a good combination to be able to do.
We tried to make a couple subs, tried to talk about it at timeouts. We weren't quite able to get it under control. I mean, I know I'm talking in circles a little bit. But from my perspective, I thought defensively you can play fast. You can play fast and hard. You know, they're a good team.
I thought when Garrett Green came in, we found a guy that could neutralize a little bit Drew Gordon. We didn't have to sink and give him as many looks on the perimeter when we had a man and a half or two people thinking about him. We settled down a little bit better defensively, but we struggled offensively.
Q. Last year you're sitting here and they're talking about a 1, definitely a 2. When you consider how close this league has been with you three teams all year, do you have any thoughts in terms of where this league is going to fall on seeds, what you think maybe New Mexico or you deserve?
COACH FISHER: I really don't. I'll be real honest with you. My other guys tell me what others are saying about us. They always refer to Lunardi who appears to be the guys who comes closest to being on point with what is going on.
But I don't know. Obviously seeding has an impact, and yet we've all seen VCU win an extra game, play in a play in game, all of a sudden they're in the Final Four.
We have to celebrate tomorrow, not today. Tomorrow we have to celebrate how good we are with 26 wins and look forward to playing whoever, wherever, with whatever seed we've got. But I don't really know.
I do think if they look and say, This is a good league, look what they've done, that it could have a chance to raise all of us up a little bit. But for me to comment intelligently, I got no clue.
Q. Tony Snell came out and hit some real big shots early. How much of a difference did that make in opening things up for them? He also seemed to be running Jamaal crazy all day with his movement. Did that wear Jamaal down a little bit?
COACH FISHER: Jamaal wasn't on him to start the game. We were small. I think James Rahon was on him to start. We recruited Tony Snell. I thought we had Tony Snell. He played with Kawhi Leonard. I knew how good he was. He's good. He's good. Everybody's goal is you got to smother him and don't let him get an open look. Sometimes he makes baskets when he's smothered. He set the tenor for them with those early hard shots. He was very good.
COACH FISHER: I have one comment. I should have started with this. Our women's team did what we hoped to do. They cut down the nets. And Beth Burns is a fantastic coach. That group of young ladies represented in a tremendous fashion, so we're very proud of what they did. Now our hope is that we can both go into the tournament and make some noise there. So congrats to our women's team.
New Mexico Postgame Quotes
COACH ALFORD: Well, obviously very pleased. Our guys have been playing good basketball all season. We've been a very consistent team. Today was no different. I thought this week we played outstanding basketball. We had an emotional week last week. Cut down nets last Saturday in sharing the league championship that we're awfully proud of.
Now to come here and play the way we did for three days is a remarkable feat for our young men. I couldn't be prouder of a group of guys. I've said it all year long, I think they've gone underappreciated. Much has been asked of them. Now they sit at the end of season three here getting ready for the NCAA tournament next week at 27 6, league, tournament champ. They've done unbelievable things this year and I'm very proud of them.
Everything that they've earned thus far they've definitely deserved.
Q. Tony, start of the game you hit some big shots. Was there something opening up or one of those nights you felt it out there?
TONY SNELL: I felt pretty good shooting the ball, so I figured just keep shooting.
Q. Coach Fisher said he recruited you. They have some pretty good D on you?
TONY SNELL: They had really good D on me. Hard to fight off the screens. I tried to push my way through, be physical with them, try to get open.
Q. Can you talk about winning the Mountain West tournament MVP award and if that makes up for things that happened in the regular season?
DREW GORDON: Well, won one out of two, so it's not bad. I've been saying this whole time that we need to end up on top, be able to look back and kind of laugh at some of the honors that weren't awarded to our team, especially on the defensive end, some of the six men. I know our bench has been huge this whole season and especially in the tournament.
Q. Tony, how good does it feel to get the co champions off of your title and just champions now with this one?
TONY SNELL: It feels great. Can't even explain how it feels right now. Like a dream come true. Like we've been starting from the beginning of the season, we had our ups and downs, but we stuck together. We fought through it.
Q. Drew, after these accomplishments, will the chip remain on your shoulder going forward or is it coming off?
DREW GORDON: No, it's not coming off. We've got stuff to accomplish. The season's not over. Games are still being played. You know, we still have another go at another championship.
So, you know, in my eyes it's still there and bigger than ever.
Q. Was that a set play you ran for Tony right off the bat?
COACH ALFORD: It had nothing to do with the first two games. But Tony's obviously one of our go to guys. We always have (indiscernible) up if we get the tip. We get a lot of tips. We actually wanted to go to A.J. if we got the tip. They did a good job defending it. Ran that for Tony, and Tony did a very good job of getting the shot, making the shot. He made a couple early. Really got him going. I think it got us out of the gate pretty good.
Q. Do you have any thoughts on where you think you should be seeded? No. 4, No. 5?
COACH ALFORD: That's hard. You know, we're obviously hoping we get four, four bids. Our league is deserving of four bids. You play the tournament for seeding in the NCAA tournament. We're the automatic qualifier. We had the best record in the league. We obviously feel like we deserve the best seed.
Doesn't mean one of the other teams can't have an equal seed, but we're definitely deserving of the best seed that's handed out to the Mountain West Conference. Hopefully that takes place tomorrow.
Q. There was a 15 minute stretch where you held Jamaal Franklin without a point. What were you doing to shut him down on defense?
COACH ALFORD: I think through three games we've done a nice job on him. He's a very talented player. He's gotten more aggressive as the year has gone along. He does a lot for them, scoring, rebounding the basketball. I think if you look at our three games we had with San Diego State, we did a pretty good job. We made him earn his stuff. Tonight we made him earn his stuff. 6 14. Kept him off the line. He's a load. He's a good player. This is an outstanding team.
To play the two teams we had to play back to back, and an Air Force team that was loose, getting better and better, we're ecstatic about the quality of basketball we played over the last three days.
Q. One of the guys that gets lost is Phillip McDonald. In the first half he made three or four crucial plays.
COACH ALFORD: Our bench has been terrific all year long. Our bench has been outstanding. We won the bench again tonight 22 12. I would venture to say over a 33 game schedule we might have lost the bench three times all year.
Tremendous strength of ours has been the bench. Phillip has been struggling. I thought tonight he got back to the old Phillip. I thought he was aggressive. He defended really well. He rebounded really well. He got off good shots, made good shots.
Then I thought Demetrius, though he didn't shoot well, made big free throws for us. Got huge rebounds in the last two and a half minutes.
I think the guy that might have did as much for us off the bench for us in this tournament was Cam. I thought defensively how he shot the ball, how he rebounded, screened, I thought he just had a terrific tournament.
Q. Kendall was a bit frustrated getting in early foul trouble. He responded well today.
COACH ALFORD: I think that is what Kendall is capable of doing. But our team, to play UNLV last night, not have Kendall really for the most part of the entire first half speaks volumes again of our bench.
I think the neat thing about this team, there's always been somebody to pick somebody up. We've talked about holding the rope all year long. These guys have done a great job of holding the rope for each other. They trust each other. They believe in one another. So I think when somebody goes down or is having a bad game, other guys can pick it up.
Then I thought Kendall tonight did a lot of good things for us. We're asking a lot of him defensively. Again, another kid that's underappreciated, because I think he's a terrific defender. He did a really nice job defensively tonight. He had Thames a lot of the night. That was an adjustment we made in game 2. Game 1 he didn't guard Thames, Games 2 and 3 he guarded Thames.
I think if you look at Thames' numbers in games two and three, you'll see what kind of quality defender Kendall Williams is.
Q. Greenwood had 10 boards. How big a plus is that?
COACH ALFORD: He's a big, physical guard. He really takes a lot of pride in rebounding the basketball. His shooting has continued to get better and better. I think as the years go by, you'll see him taking more and more shots as he gets comfortable with things.
He's such an unselfish player. I wouldn't trade that freshman for anybody in the league. He's been the starting point guard on a team that's been 27 6, won two titles. He's averaged about six rebounds a game for us. So he's just done a lot of good things for us.
For a freshman, he does some unbelievable things on the defensive end.