#AztecMBB-New Mexico Postgame Quotes
March 15, 2013
LAS VEGAS -
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by San Diego State. Coach, some remarks on tonight's game.
We were beaten today by a really, really good team that can hurt you inside and outside. They did that to us tonight.
They went inside to Bairstow and Kirk and effectively Snell got hot at three point range, made back to back to back threes on us.
Disappointed we didn't play better. Disappointed we didn't keep it closer. Proud of our effort and fight. We weren't quite good enough today.
The good news is we'll live to play next week. And I do believe we'll be good enough when we suit it up next week for somebody.
We're going home. We had a goal to be playing on Saturday, where we'd been the last four years, and we're not. So it hurts. It should hurt.
New Mexico's very good. I'll reemphasize that. And I'm hopeful that ourselves first, but others in this league, will go into the tournament and prove how good our league is also.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions to the student athletes.
In transition he got hot in the three point line with three threes in transition. But the battle is always going to be like that, me and Tony, since we was in Arizona at Westwind Prep.
You should have been excited. Just makes you play harder.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions for Coach Fisher.
COACH FISHER: I think a lot will have to do with the luck of the draw. I do know New Mexico will go in with a good high seed, so that will be very helpful to them.
I think New Mexico, in particular, maybe Vegas, Colorado State have the size that it won't matter who they play.
I think we're better served when we play perimeter driven teams. And you got to go in unafraid. You got to play well. You got to get a little bit lucky.
I do think there's an opportunity this year for somebody to advance deep. I'm hoping that it's us.
We're going to have to obviously play better, play a little smarter if it's going to be us, because this is a really, really good league and all of us have been battle tested, both in the league and outside the league, and have been successful both places.
In our first game, they scored 34 points. They had some good looks. We played them at our place. You get in the flow, not unlike tonight. I think when you're always churning and chasing from behind, that adds exponentially to the stress that you feel. And if you try too hard, especially at the offensive end, it can show.
But they're a good team. They were a good team when they came into our building. They didn't play particularly well. I think we had something to do with it. But they're playing awfully good right now.
He's talented. And I think that he's just starting to realize how good he is and how much better he can be at both ends of the floor.
Sometimes when you make a couple shots, that helps your defense. But I think not just Snell, but all of the New Mexico team, they guard, they guard you hard. They're very, very tenacious with how they guard you.
And today they made it hard. They made it hard for us to get shots on the rim with their length, with their size, with their aggressiveness.
We tried to spread the floor, but they do a good job of, when there is dribble penetration, of sinking, filling, making it hard for you to turn what maybe looks like a shot at the rim to a really, really difficult shot at the rim.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by New Mexico. Coach, some remarks on tonight's game.
COACH ALFORD: Just extremely proud of our basketball team. We knew this was going to be a hard fought game. San Diego State's a great basketball team. It's extremely well coached with great players. Kind of the rubber match game. They got us at their place, we got them at our place. We knew this was going to be a fight for 40 minutes.
I just thought our guys did a lot of good things, especially on the defensive end for 40 minutes. Then we got on a roll there to start the second half, which we've been concentrating on. We've been outstanding in the last five minutes. But we haven't been good coming out of locker rooms. We challenged our guys at halftimes. That's the best we played coming out of half on that 14 2 run.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions from the student athletes.
I had my teammates right behind me to help me if he like drive past me.
Just being able to come together, we're understanding where each other is successful, passing it and such like that.
We're just going to keep working and keep getting better.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions for Coach Alford.
A big reason why we're 2 1 this year against them is because of the job Tony Snell has done. He's developed defensively. I've been talking about that for three weeks. Our team has gone to another level because of Tony's development defensively and his concentration defensively, trusting himself, trusting his teammates, using his length. He's gotten stronger over the off season. He's now starting to use that.
Kendall and Hugh have always been tough, tenacious defenders. Our back court I think is hard to go against. Then you got Cam. He's got as good a feet as any big man I've been able to coach. At 6'8", 240, he's hard to drive. With the job he did on O'Brien. O'Brien was averaging a double double on us, he gets 0 0 tonight. I thought that was huge.
Then you have got Alex, who just anchors our defense, first team all defensive team. In my opinion, he's the best defender in the league. He blocked four shots tonight and probably changed another 14. He just does a lot of good things for us.
Defensively it's hard in my mind to find a lot of flaws in what these guys have done. Two games in a row where teams have shot less than 32%. Two games in a row that we played in an outstanding basketball league where we've not at least been tied or in the lead. Both Wyoming and San Diego State have never led us. That's pretty phenomenal in 80 minutes of basketball in this league and you haven't been behind. That's a great credit to what our guys have done defensively.
You come in as a freshman, you keep developing your game, whether it's ball handling, defense, your basketball IQ, your ability to get scouting reports, understanding nutrition, understanding the weight room. You try to develop each and every year.
I think if you look at our guys, I think they're developing. All five of those starters are back next year. They've developed very quickly and they've done a lot of good things to date.
To be at 28 wins playing the schedule we've played, again, I can't tell you how proud I am of the basketball team. I know how hard the schedule has been, how demanding these games have been, yet they keep performing at a high level.
I think our guys have realized that. Even in a game where we don't shoot the ball well, we have a chance to win if we're the best defensive team.
This team has grown and matured at that end. As I said early on, when we do shoot the ball well, I think we take our game to a whole 'nother level to start the second half.
Hugh Greenwood, I don't know what his record is now, but you try to do some research on what his record is as our starting point guard, it's phenomenal. It's the best start in this school's history. We want him developing, just as we need our young bench. Two seniors coming off our bench, three freshmen. We have some freshmen redshirting, got a kid transferring that's sitting out.
All these young kids have got to continue to develop because we'll ask them to produce next year.
That development side of it is very big. Our bigs are obviously much better now than what they were in November. They were pretty good in November.
That team was phenomenal. Very talented. That team was a four guard lineup because we had Darrington Hobson and Roman Martinez playing the 4 and 3 spots. This team is more traditional, four guards, three bigs, we can play smash mouth, get out and run. It's a little bit different makeup.
I thought we were very tired in that 30 5 season. I thought by the time we got to the NCAA, we were tired. We started that season 0 2 in the conference. We ripped off our league record 14 0 to win the conference. Once we got to the NCAA tournament we were tired and fatigued.
We had a break, a one week break that came at a good time for this team. We were able to go 4 1 to finish the season. Then we got a little bit of a break before this tournament. We're playing very well here.
So we seem to be hitting our stride a little bit more maybe with this team than that other team. I think when you win 14 in a row in this league, it wears on you. That was a fight right to the finish. We had to win the league championship at BYU, which is not an easy place to play, let alone win a championship.
I just revert back to what I put on the board at the beginning of the game, I put the word 'crisp'. Make crisp passes. This is not a team you can throw soft, lazy passes to. They're too athletic. They're going to get deflections. Gets them going in transition.
Jamaal Franklin is so good in transition. For the most part when we built our leads, we kept them out of transition. That was a big key.
We settled down. In the second half I thought we did a much better job of taking care of the ball.
Our strength of schedule is going to be top five in the country. Our RPI is going to be 2 or 1 going into the NCAAs. That's phenomenal.
It's not about win margin, it's about winning. These guys learned very early in the year, down 16 in the second half on our home opener to Davidson, they find a way to win. They go to the Virgin Island tournament. We're beat, absolutely beat against George Mason. Find a way to win the last 10 seconds of that game.
They start believing in themselves. We beat a nationally ranked team in UConn. We left the Virgin Islands thinking wow, we could be pretty good. That really helped the teaching end of it.
We were able to play a tough schedule in November, win games, come back in December, play a pretty much heavy loaded home schedule and get a lot of practices in and win.
We've had our share of tight games. Our team knows how to win in late game situations. We've had things like first halves where we can't make a free throw, then last five minutes we make all of 'em.
This team has been that way. That believing in themselves has continued that momentum. It's been outstanding.
Now by winning this game, we set ourselves up to try to win another championship. We're, what, 33 games into this and we've yet to lose back to back games.
Again, I just couldn't be more proud of our student athletes. They've had a phenomenal season.
These are great neutral games for us. I don't know if tomorrow is going to be neutral or not yet. These are all great neutral games going into a neutral NCAA tournament.
Then I think Boise is deserving to make it as well. This is a team that is very explosive offensively. To finish fifth in the best league in the country, that carries a lot of weight. So hopefully we get the five deserving teams in.
But in regard to San Diego State, this is a seasoned team, a lot like our locker room, they've had a lot of winning so they understand winning. You get them in a national tournament site, you're going to have to play awfully well to beat San Diego State in the NCAA tournament.
Q. Two teams with completely different styles are going to be playing. Do you have the luxury of not having to have a preference?
You're right, Colorado State is a big team because of Iverson in the middle, and what Hornung does in the 4 spot.
But UNLV is extremely athletic. They've got a pretty good record in this building. They play a little bit more up tempo maybe. We've been able to play a lot. That goes back to our schedule. We've been able to play a lot of different styles this year and our guys have been able to handle each and every one of those styles.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.