#AztecMBB-Oklahoma Postgame Quotes

March 22, 2013

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PHILADELPHIA -

San Diego State Postgame Quotes

COACH FISHER:  This was what we hoped to do, come up here second and be playing on Sunday.  Very proud of how we competed.  We talked at halftime of making sure we came out and prioritized how we guarded.  We have a little bit of an MO where our second-half defense doesn't match our first half, and today our second half defense was superior to our first half, and that's how we won.  We found a way to win.  The score was 48-48, and over the next eight minutes and change, we outscored them 15-3 because we didn't give them easy baskets, we didn't give them second-chance opportunities, and we took advantage of our opportunities.

So that's what a good team does, that's what a veteran team does.  We've got veteran players here that are part of the only NCAA Tournament wins we've ever had.  So we are hungry to add to it and proud of the fact that we got one tonight.

Q.  James, I'm sure coach wishes you were a sophomore still after tonight.  You've been kind of quiet offensively the last few games, nine points in your previous three games.  What changed tonight, and the possibility this could be your last game, did that motivate you?

James Rahon Well, it is definitely a bigger stage, so I think we all raised our level of play a little bit.  But these guys next to me were finding me when I was making shots, and I think that was the key tonight.  Got to credit them for finding me when I was open.

Q.  Coach alluded to the fact that you kind of closed it out.  What's it like when you know you've done that, when you've done what you wanted to do, done what you had to do to get this win and move on to the next round?  What's that feeling like?

Chase Tapley:  If feels good.  I mean, it just feels like you put in all that hard work during the season, the preseason and the regular season, and you get that win, it's as if you made history, it's just a great feeling.  You just want to go to your teammates and just hug them and say let's keep on going.

Xavier Thames:  Yeah, what Chase said, it feels good to get this first win.  I'm proud of everybody on the team and I'm thankful and blessed to be here.  Just got to move on to the next game and get ready.

Q.  Jamaal, when you yelled out to DeShawn, hey, you know I'm on your team, right, did you guys collide?  Is that what caused you to fall?

Jamaal Franklin: Yeah, we definitely did collide, but he was just doing his job ghosting, doing what coach told him to do.  That's the only thing.  Thankfully we got that win and hopefully next time he'll know to see me and try to do it.  But we got the win, so I'm not tripping about it.

Q.  You probably haven't had a chance to let it sink in yet, but given the circumstances is this the most memorable game of your college career do you think?

Jamaal FranklinNo, I've got a lot of memories.  I would say I had a lot of memories my freshman year.  When we went to the Sweet 16, I probably didn't play as much as I wanted to play, but I have so much memories that I can't say this memory is just the best memory I have.  Of course I played a lot in my first win in the NCAA, but at the same time I have a lot of memories, so I'm just thankful to be a part of this San Diego State basketball team.

Q.  Jamaal, you guys have had some ups and downs this year, some injuries, some losses in close games, questionable calls.  Do you feel like everything is coming together at the right time?

Jamaal Franklin: Yeah, thankful that dunk did go on.  Probably won't be on top 10 again.  Well, I still might.  It's good everyone is healthy, everyone is playing well.  We had a couple of mishaps in the game, but at the same time we stuck together and we got the win, and that's all that matters.

Q.  Xavier, I know you didn't guard him much, but talk about Romero Osby.  He was the one guy tonight that had some stuff going.  Can you talk about his performance?

Xavier Thames: His performance was real good.  He's a great player, going to be a great player for a long time.  We just tried to make it tough on him, me digging down trying to double-team him.  He's a great player and he knows how to score, we just had to make it tough on him.

Q.  Chase, there was nothing really for either side really flashy or spectacular about that game, highlights and dunks.  Is that kind of the way you guys do it, methodically do what you need to do?

Chase Tapley:  I guess.  A win is a win.  I thought Jamaal was going to do some freaky nasty at the end but he just didn't.  We don't think about the highlights and everything.  A win is a win, and we'll take it anyway we get can it.

Q.  In the context of his three years at San Diego State, how would you describe Jamaal's performance tonight?

COACH FISHER:  Jamaal does what every coach expects but doesn't always get.  He gives you maximum effort every second he's out there, and it's not 100 percent what you want, but you're not going to ever fault him for effort.

And I think that permeates through the whole team.  He is a guy that when you say you can't do this, he works that much harder to prove that he can.  And I think that that's the will that he brings.  Has allowed him to grow but our team to grow, too.

Q.  I want to ask you the same thing I asked Jamaal.  Did you feel like after all you've been through this season things are starting to come together in terms of health, in terms of balance, in terms of effort all at the right time?

COACH FISHER:  We're closer to being every man available physically, and you know, you're with us.  Nobody wants to hear it.  Everybody has people hurt.  Xavier missed six weeks of the season.  Even though he played some games, he didn't practice.  He's back close to what he was before, and we missed him.

And you take one guy out, and it makes a huge difference.  Rahon had a shoulder injury.

It's good that we've got them all available, but the most important thing is that we came in and found a way to get a win and move on to that next game.  You know, everybody says, well, what happened, why didn't you win the conference, what happened, why didn't you win the conference tournament.  And we said that to some degree.

But we got a win in the NCAA Tournament, and this is where everybody wants to be, and everybody wants to continue to play past Game 1.  And we have the opportunity to do that, and we're all excited about it.

Q.  You talked a lot about Romero Osby yesterday in glowing terms, but his performance tonight, can you give us an idea how difficult it was to stop some of the things he was trying to do?

COACH FISHER:  Romero Osby?  I said before, the tape I watched, if there's a better player in the Big 12, I don't want to have to play that team.  He's very, very talented.  I read all the stuff that they had in their guide on their team, and reading his comments, you can tell he's quality, not only basketball but a quality person, and you win with that.  He's a hard guard, competes very hard, and he's an outstanding player, and he gave us a lot of problems.

Q.  You talked about the defense in the last few minutes and how you guys stepped it up on that end.  Would you attribute that to sort of the experience of you guys having been in the tournament before or something else?

COACH FISHER:  I think that experience always helps, but effort has to be there.  Effort has to be there, and there's not -- sometimes it's just a little, little, little thing that if you let up just that much, that hard shot becomes a little bit easier and they make them.

I thought our consistency, the fight when we got fatigued -- Chase Tapley, I have a rule if you take yourself out you can put yourself back in.  And Chase took himself out in the second half and said I'm ready to go back in, and I didn't put him in for another five minutes, and there was no greater cheerleader on the bench for his team than he was.

In a lesser time, a guy would say, come on, but he was caring more about the team.  He's a veteran senior, started for us for four years, so I think those kinds of experiences as you grow as a person, as a player, they're always helpful. 

Oklahoma Postgame Quotes

COACH KRUGER:  It was a tough loss.  San Diego State is a very good basketball team.  I thought for 25, 30 minutes back and forth, not much margin either way, and I thought they were able to get in the paint and penetrate and make some plays off the dribble and get some second shots and create a little bit of a separation that they played with for the rest of the ballgame.  But I thought at a critical time in the ballgame they were a little quicker to loose balls, a little tougher driving and kicking and making plays that they finished at the rim.

Proud of our guys.  They've done an unbelievable job on the season.  As disappointing as it is right now to finish with a loss, these guys have been terrific and couldn't appreciate what they've done any more.  They've represented well and they've changed the program around, and we appreciate that a great deal. 

Q.  Romero, could you just talk about your night tonight?  Seemed like you were trying to do a little bit of everything and you did, inside, outside, defense, just your approach tonight to this game?

ROMERO OSBY:  I knew it could potentially be my last game and I wanted to go out there and fight as hard as I can.  But I've got to credit my teammates.  They found ways to get me the ball in certain situations and they really kept coming to me when I got a little hot hand for a minute.  I give them all the credit and the credit to my coaches.  I wanted to come out and play hard and let everything happen like it was supposed to.

Q.  This is clearly a night where the three-point shooting affected you guys again.  How tough has it been to deal with those the three last games the way it's settled in throughout the whole team?

AMATH M'BAYE:  I mean, San Diego State got terrific guards and you know they're going to come out here and shoot.  We've just got to do a better job at it, I guess.  They were shooting, it was falling.  It was our fault.  There's nothing you can say about it.

Q.  I mean the way you guys struggled to make threes again for the third straight game, to get anything to fall.

AMATH M'BAYE:  Oh, I mean, I don't know.  I don't know.

Q.  Romero, what is it like being up there and watching everybody else kind of struggle around you?  The threes were hard, but what went wrong, I guess?  What did you feel like went wrong around you?

ROMERO OSBY:  You know, it's just one of those things that it didn't go our way.  I mean, my teammates we're always in the gym getting up extra shots, so it wasn't a case of work ethic.  But that's basketball.  It's a fair game and you get what you put into it, and they put a lot of shots up, it's just one of those things that didn't work.  There's some other things we could have did better to make up for our three point shooting.  All credit to San Diego State.  They really defended the three-point ball well, so we've got to give them credit, too.

Q.  Romero, you talked about the fact that you knew this could be your last game, and now that it is as a collegiate, talk about what impact you hope to have left at Oklahoma in your years there?

ROMERO OSBY:  I just hope I was able to leave a legacy as far as people just looking at me and thought I was a good basketball player but more of a better person.  I want to leave a stamp of, hey, this program is back and we're on to bigger and better things, and we just don't want to look back from here.  I hope that was the legacy that I was able to leave.

AMATH M'BAYE:  I just want to put it out there, Rho is a terrific guy, and I just want to say it.  I mean, he's one of the funnest players to play around and he's done a great job.  He gave his heart and soul to this program, and he's an amazing player, probably one of the best college players I've seen and I've played with, and all credit to him and his work ethic.  He's been amazing.  He's been holding it up for us all season, and I just want to give him a lot of credit for that.

 Q.  Romero, ever since that Texas game you guys have kind of struggled in big chunks.  Do you feel like that happened again tonight and do you feel like it's just a recurring problem?

ROMERO OSBY:  You know, that's the game.  That's the game.  That's the game that we love.  We hate it sometimes, but we always love it, and sometimes things just don't go your way.  I think that's pretty much what it was.  But like I said, as far as struggling, offensively that's always something that's going to happen in basketball seasons, but we could have done some other things better.  We still could have gone to the offensive glass more, still could have defended them more and made it a tight grind it out game.  But all credit to San Diego State, they guarded us well and we didn't guard them as well.

 Q.  Romero, you guys only got to the free-throw line eight times tonight.  How much of an impact did that have on the game?

ROMERO OSBY:  It always has an impact on the game because we've been a good free throw shooting team this season, so that's easy points.  It's an opportunity to stop the clock, no time running, and we're able to get easy points on the free-throw line.  But that affected us a little bit, but all credit to San Diego State, like I said.  They did a good job of guarding us without fouling.

Q.  Amath, to keep the momentum of the program going forward, can you do for the team next year what Romero did this year, or does it fall to others, as well?

AMATH M'BAYE:  I think I can, then again, Romero did an amazing job and it's my job to get in the gym and get myself prepared to assume a role like that, and that's what I'm going to do.  I have no doubt I'm going to be in the gym all summer working on my game and hopefully do the same thing.

Q.  Amath, what did this season teach you about next year and what do you hope to achieve next season with this team?

AMATH M'BAYE:  Just taught me a lot, probably like I've got to get a little more patient, and I thought everything was going to fall into place for me, and it didn't.  But it taught me that basketball is a team game, and if you play your cards right, you're going to win games, and I think that's what we did.  We got the best out of each other and the coaches.  The coaches did an amazing job of working with what they had, and I think as sad as it is, I think we had a good season.  I think it's a big step for this program, and I'm looking forward to like helping take another step.

Q.  Have you ever had a team that just slumped to bad to make a jump shot over the last -- just toward the end of the season?

COACH KRUGER:  Oh, sure.  At different times, the timing for that was not good in this particular case for sure, when you're finishing the season and going into tournament play.  But again, like Ro said, San Diego State does a good job defensively, and they forced some shots, and they deserve some credit even though we had some looks that didn't go down.  It was a combination of the two, us not making shots.  Credit the defense for doing a good job.  But yeah, the timing of not making shots was not good.

Q.  There was a moment where Steve finally connected on one in the first half, then I think the very next trip down he gets beaten defensively and fouls and has to come out.  I guess that's a moment you would have liked to see him stay on the floor and maybe finally get into a rhythm again?

COACH KRUGER:  For sure.  We're much better when Steve is making shots.  Take a look at our stretches where we've played well and shot it well as a group, certainly Steve is a very good shooter, so we need him making shots.  But foul trouble kind of got him on the bench early tonight, then he played a little bit with two in the first half, then came back and got a couple in the second half.  But yeah, we need him making shots for sure.

Q.  What has Romero meant to this program this season and what did he do for the program going forward?

COACH KRUGER:  Ro is fantastic.  I think Amath summed it up in terms of the perception of the other players.  What Ro has done in points, rebounds is pretty obvious, but in terms of setting that bar for leadership off the court, on the court, classroom, community, Amath will benefit greatly from that going forward.  Young players that are fresh into the program benefit greatly from watching how Ro carried himself and how he represented -- certainly as a player they appreciate what he did.

But as much as he did there, they are also very appreciative of how he led them otherwise, too.

Q.  Do you feel like the other guys around Romero did enough tonight?

COACH KRUGER:  Well, when you get beat, you're not doing enough.  I thought obviously Ro did -- battled it.  Statistically other guys didn't shoot the ball as well as we need to to beat good basketball teams.  But I thought San Diego State did a better job than we did, especially in the second half there when the game was kind of in the balance.  I thought they converted some things offensively, were a little tougher to the boards offensively.  We didn't get things done on our end.

Q.  Considering the struggles of those guys around him, the way that Ro was able to play, is that pretty remarkable?

COACH KRUGER:  Yeah, Ro has been like that.  He's been as consistent as anyone can be.  When others around him have played well and shot it well, that's made his job a lot easier.  But when they haven't, he's continued to battle and perform and produce.

Ro has developed into a really good basketball player and not just a guy that makes shots.

Q.  You've got the program to the tournament in the second year here now.  Despite losing a few seniors, where do you see the program going forward?

COACH KRUGER:  This group did a remarkable job.  They stated as a goal back in November and October that they wanted to play in the tournament.  I don't know that a lot of people really gave them a lot of attention to that, and yet they just kept grinding and kept improving.  I think just the progress they've made is great for the program, just absolutely terrific.  The freshmen are going to get better, the guys coming back, a couple guys sitting out, they'll all benefit.  They'll all benefit from what these guys have done, and many of these guys are back even though we lose five seniors.  Many of the guys that are back got key minutes in ballgames and they'll benefit greatly.

Q.  It seemed like a lot of the game the Aztecs were leaning on Jamaal and it seemed like you guys tried as you might you had trouble stopping him.  Can you just talk about his performance and how tough it was to slow him down?

COACH KRUGER:  Yeah, again, when the separation was created, I thought Franklin did a good job of getting into the paint and creating opportunities for others as well as scoring himself.  He's just a terrific all-around player and a tough match-up.  I thought his ability to get in and create good things for his teammates was a big key in the game.

Q.  Did anything happen to Fitzgerald?  Was he injured or anything?

COACH KRUGER:  No, no, just from a match-up standpoint and obviously to get Drew in there means getting Ro out of there, and Ro really was one of the bright spots.  We had something going there, so it just didn't happen for Drew that way.

Q.  Was it the same with Sam tonight, that you kind of went without him most of the second half?

COACH KRUGER:  Yeah, I thought Isaiah did a good job of getting the ball out of the backcourt and creating some things.  But yeah, it wasn't anything.  No injuries at all.

Q.  In the second half they ran a lot of highball screens.  Can you talk about your inability to defend that maybe as well as you wanted to?

COACH KRUGER:  That created the opportunity, I think, for them to create some penetration down in the paint.  It was more of almost a fake ball screen as much as anything else, and still became that isolation of guarding the dribble that we didn't do a good job of, especially against Franklin