SDSU Men's Basketball Press Conference Quotes
Dec. 4, 2012
SAN DIEGO --
Steve Fisher: I'd like to start by doing what we've all been doing - offering a hearty congratulations to all the successful programs, teams at San Diego State. We've always said when you have success, everybody benefits. Everybody's boat rises and everybody gets recognized. Women's volleyball - Deitre Collins-Parker wins the conference. Deitre is Coach of the Year - had a great season. Mike Friesen wins the conference, rated top-5 in the country, Coach of the Year. And now Rocky Long wins conference, and Coach of the Year. Those honors are not surprising. When you have success, everybody gets recognized. That's great to see going on in our building for the Aztecs on the Mesa here. James (Rahon) is back with me. We are feeling good about ourselves, but we have to be careful we don't feel too good about ourselves. Last night's game with Texas Southern is a game where as I watched the tape, I thought we lost just a little bit of our edge in the second half, and they got hot and made shots. If you look at their MO in their games, they have a half in most games where they shoot awful, and a half where they either shoot good or lights out. They had that with us again. We contributed some, and then they made a couple and thought `here we go. We're going to make every shot we take.' We have to learn from it, we have to get better and we have to not accept when we allow a team to shoot 54 percent from the field in the second half and have as many layups and easy baskets as they got. But a lot of good things, 15-of-17 from the free-throw line - all in the second half. Shot well again from 3-point range. Guarded very effectively in the first half, and our conversion defense, which has been suspect, is getting better. So, progress, but we try to demand perfection, which is hard to get, but a good thing to shoot for.
Q. Can you talk about the Mountain West and what kind of results this league is getting right now? How good is this league this year?
Steve Fisher: It is more than just a top-heavy league. You're exactly right. I think most people thought at the beginning, the teams that were good last year - ourselves, (UNLV), New Mexico, Colorado State, all NCAA tournament teams - would have a chance to be good again, and we are. We're all good. New Mexico is undefeated, they've moved into the top-20 or so. Colorado State I think is undefeated, and they have had some great wins. And then ourselves and Vegas are playing pretty good. Then you look at Boise State, I believe have one loss at Michigan State, beat Creighton at Creighton. Air Force, playing terrific, played Wichita State in the cross-over game with the Missouri Valley (conference), and shot 15-of-30 from the free-throw line or they would have won. They got beat by three in that game. Wyoming is playing fantastic, undefeated. So that takes in almost all of us. It's a really, really good league that's always been hard to win on the road, and think it's going to be very, very competitive. I pull for every team in our league to win every non-conference game we have to make the relevance of our league be there, and we're doing a pretty good job of that.
Q. Coach, one thing I've always enjoyed about your teams is your low-post defense. How does this team look down in the low post doubling, causing pressure for the teams to come in and handle your size?
Steve Fisher: We will selectively double when the ball goes into the post. Sometimes we won't, sometimes we will. Usually we double off the other big guy. (We) haven't done a lot of that the last few years. We thought we would need it against USC and we did a lot of it against USC. We thought we would need it against UCLA, and it never quite turned out where we were able to get there quite quickly enough. So we haven't doubled a lot, but we've practiced on it. So I think we'll be prepared when we have big, strong post players on the other team. I like our guys in terms of how they've guarded inside. We alternate one legitimate post player - DeShawn Stephens and Skylar Spencer - and they're done a pretty good job defending one-on-one in the post.
Q. James, Texas Southern started out the second half with a lot of full-court pressure, you guys turned the ball over a little bit. What kind of problems did it create for you guys?
James Rahon: They were definitely a pesky group of guys over there, very tough. We've just got to focus on coming out with more intensity in the second half. Being smarter, making smarter plays and being able to handle that pressure when it comes to us maybe a little bit better, and just be prepared for that.
Q. Coach, last night you said you're team may have suffered from a little mental fatigue in the second half. How important is the four-game homestand you're in the process of before you go to Hawaii?
Steve Fisher: I wish I could schedule like Jim Boeheim does - never leave Viejas Arena in non-conference play. It's always nicer to play at home. You know your routine, you don't have to travel. It's so much nicer to be able to do. So this is good for us. We're happy that we're home. The important thing to do is not get complacent because we're home that we're going to win. We have to prepare, and we've done a pretty good job of that. Our kids have been pretty good at listening with a short turnaround between UCLA on Saturday and the game on Monday. We didn't dress, we didn't go on the court on Sunday - we watched film on both ourselves and Texas Southern - But we had what I felt a really informative learning walkthrough on Monday, our 2-to-3 shootaround. Everything that they did, we knew what they were going to do. (Associate Head Coach/Head Coach in Waiting) Brian Dutcher did a great job of going through their 3 or 4 sets. You can't get too complicated, but we knew what they wanted to do. The disappointing thing to some degree is some of the things we want to do, it appeared as if - especially second half - when (coaches) aren't there to yell `be ready for this, be ready for that,' we got caught almost by surprise, and you can't have that happen. And it happened to us. And I think that's now being quite alert. And we've got to be better. We have given up a lot more points and a higher shooting percentage in the second half of most games, and we can't keep talking about that. We've got to perform better defensively together.
Q. James, did you feel there was a little bit of an emotional, mental hangover from the UCLA win?
James Rahon: Well, there shouldn't be. We should come out every game like it is UCLA. But having a short turnaround, maybe there was a little slippage. We've just got to make sure that we don't let it happen again, and we come out ready to play each and every night.
Q. Coach, Santa Barbara is usually a tough task. What can we expect from a coach Williams' squad?
Steve Fisher: We've had some great games over the years with Santa Barbara, some games that have been a bit bizarre, down to the wire. Multiple games have been overtime. Last year, we were very fortunate to win up there in overtime. He's got a young team, he's a terrific basketball coach and they have a lot of sets that they run, and they speed cuts on their sets. They run their sets hard, so we're going to have to be alert, we're going to have to be smart, and we're going to have to be able to defend the cuts they have and all the things that they do. And they also have a lot of young kids. They've got three freshmen in their top seven or eight. They had a great win Saturday night in overtime at Santa Clara, a really good win. They've had hard games. They were at LSU, at Illinois State, at Santa Clara, Wyoming at home - Wyoming beat them at their place - so our players who are returning know what we went through last year up there, and they've got two or three of the guys back who at the time last year were a bit of a role player, now they're a prime-time player. So I think it will be a good game and we're going to make sure we have ourselves ready to go. I'm glad that we don't play them tomorrow, that we have two days to get ready for them.