Nov. 11, 2012
SAN DIEGO -
The first half, in particular, I didn't think we played with the smarts that you have to play with your aggressiveness. We had 12 turnovers in the first half, and only four in the second half to put the ball where we wanted to put it against the zone.
I thought we had opportunities, and we couldn't get to them to go down. If I would say one for sure thing we probably should have taken away was from ourselves, you can't be 1 for 18 from the three point line. We were 1 for 4 in the first half. I think we shot four to six in the last minute and a half. If not for those four, five or six, we still took six or seven too many shots.
(No Microphone) so, we got to the free throw line many times, and we shot 40 some odd percent. We scored five points that were three. We made one three, made one other shot outside the key, and everything else was inside the red which is where we want to go but we just couldn't get it to go in. I think this will be good for us as we move forward. We didn't win, but you learn, you get better and you move forward and that's what we've been doing.
JJ O'Brien: We've got to make shots. The guys know what the conditions are. They're there for both teams, so the weather can't be an excuse for why we missed shots.
Q. Did you guys notice a difference when you were shooting in the wind direction because there were a lot more points, 63 scored that way when they were going this way on the 49. That was more open. Was the wind stronger in that direction did you guys think?
Chase Tapley: I don't think it was, like J.J. said, it affected both teams. Just on this side the sun glare was in your eyes a little bit, but still that's not an excuse. Just don't shoot it if the sun's in your eyes. But it just wasn't a good shooting day for us.
Q. How frustrating was their size when you took the ball inside?
Jamaal Franklin: They saw us, like Coach Fisher said, they are really big. But it was frustrating that we can't really score. It happens when somebody really big is in front of you, it makes it more frustrating. But we've got to worry about the next game now and move on?
Q. Coach Fisher, when you have a team that has the combination of their size and ability to alter shots inside and then you have the elements kind of wreaking havoc on your jump shots, is that almost a perfect storm in the wrong direction, so to speak? Just a tough combination for you guys?
COACH FISHER: I thought we did a good job. I was proud of what we did against their zone. I thought we got the ball where we wanted to get it. We did a good job of attacking, 33 free throws. Got to find a way to make them. When you don't make them, obviously it wears on you. I think we were 5 for 17 in the first half from the free throw line in shooting the 40s for the game.
I do think the one question, the one end where we were first and they were second half, it was harder to really get a feel. That was a harder end to score at, for sure. But to Syracuse credit, it looked like I'm saying we're going to foul them and they'll miss free throws, they made some.
We just ... you can't be frustrated when you play, and I thought we got frustrated. Whether it was missed shots, blocked shots. We allowed that to get in the way enough to give them some baskets. I think if we're really alert, we would have saved a handful of them maybe.
Q. What did you try to do with C.J. today?
Jamaal Franklin: Well, with C.J., I've just got to make sure I keep him from outside the key. He's a great player. He likes to score a lot in the paint. So I just tried to make sure I wasn't letting him get to the paint?
Q. Chase, what kind of adjustments were you trying to make, whether it was in terms of coping with the wind with their shooting to the left or to the right, knowing which way it might blow?
Chase Tapley: The adjustment that I made was just try to shoot it straightforward, not get it too much in the air so the wind won't blow it. But I just wanted to get inside the paint against inside gaps like Coach Fish said, and get my teammates open shots. They finished players and really wasn't focused on my size. Just letting the game come to me.
COACH FISHER: I thought Chase early on did a great job of eyes on the rim, shoulder ball, and was able to go someplace with thoughtfulness. We talked about that at halftime. We didn't have enough production from it. But I thought he did a really good job, and their seniors that's been there before.
Q. Chase and Jamaal, yesterday you guys thought it would be a memorable experience. Now you've gone through it, out on the deck of the aircraft carrier, tell me what it was like while it was going on?
Chase Tapley: It was a special feeling. Just being out there, seeing the sky, our family in the stands and the whole community here, it was special like Coach Fisher said. We wanted to come out with the W. Didn't happen, but we can look at this game and feel confident in how we played and how much effort we put out there, how mentally tough we were when things weren't going our way. Just had to learn from it and move on like Jamaal said. Overall, it was a special event.
Jamaal Franklin: I would have to agree. It was a special moment. I would be here again, I would like to be here again. I can't take back our loss, but hopefully next time we get to play Syracuse again and be able to have a good experience.
Q. Coach, with the environment today, how important was it to get out to a lead?
COACH FISHER: I think that if you're a player, you know what I'm talking about when you're constantly looking up and you're behind as we were early, and you look up and you don't feel as if you've cut significantly into it. That can wear on you a little bit.
Yet, we had chances. I thought when we made a couple of runs and had a little bit of momentum going, we say one more stop, one more stop. Either we couldn't make a stop, or when we did and had an opportunity, we weren't able to capitalize on it there.
The most important thing, I think, for all of us, you don't play near your best if you play frustrated. You must play with great emotion and energy, but it needs to be controlled. If you play frustrated, you're just running around and you're not playing with what God gave you and that's a good brain. We've got good brain power on this team. At times today, whether it was frustration that created that or Syracuse or a combination of, we didn't do it.
Q. Coach, wind, sun, everything, even moving the game from Friday to Sunday, if the phone rings again and someone asks you to do this type of game again, do you think you'd do it?
COACH FISHER: I didn't hear anything other than the first word or two, but I think I know what you want me to say. This is a major event for San Diego. Great that it was on Veterans Day for San Diego State. For us to be a participant was wonderful for us and for everybody. I would hope that Syracuse would feel that same way.
I think we as a program would like to give a real strong and sincere thank you to all the people that are involved from the Midway that made it happen. When we had to move the game, that didn't just happen. That took a lot of manpower and a lot of people involved. I thought that the Midway people did a great job.
From our own staff, John David Wicker, this has been a 24/7 job for him in addition to all of the other duties that he's had the last few weeks and months. So I thought John David for us did a magnificent job, and the people at the Midway are to be commended. They did a sensational job for everyone.
Q. Let me make sure I have it right again. Based on these conditions, if the phone rings for you to do this again, you would do it again?
COACH FISHER: We'd like to do it right now again, yeah, yeah. We would love to be someone that is involved some way, somehow in honoring our veterans and surrounding this day. I thought it was good today. However, it might shake out to do something surrounding Veterans Day, we'd very much like to participate.
Q. It seemed like every shot was contended. Jamaal you had a wide open breakaway, and the guy from behind, talk about the quickness. Was this one of the best defenses you guys have ever played in your college career?
Jamaal Franklin: I wouldn't say that. I've played against a lot of good teams, but they're definitely up there in the Top 5 of the best defensive teams we've played. C.J. Fair is a great player, Michael Carter is a great player, Triche. They have tremendous length. So we've just got to look forward, and like I said, we have to forget about this game, move on and get ready for our next opponent.
Q. Jamaal, both teams had four three pointers in the first half. They basically said they weren't going to shoot any more after that. They realized they were shooting into the wind. You took 14 in the second half. I know some of those were at the end of the game but how much of those were because you thought you could make them still, and how much was it because you were behind and needed to catch up?
Jamaal Franklin: Well, when we come to that point of shooting threes, that's our game. If you look at any of our other games you're going to see us shoot threes. We can't stop something that we've been working on, and it's something that we've always been able to do just because of this one game and playing zone. We've got to continue playing our game.
But like I said, we have to move on, and we've got to move on and make sure we make it in the next game.
COACH FISHER: I thought on the threes, Rahon hit one early in the second half. So I think we can give him the three that he took after that. I don't know if you were here when I was talking before. We took them down the stretch out of desperation, but I thought there were probably eight or so in the middle there in that second half that we probably could have had second thoughts on.
Q. J.J., you guys got 20 offensive rebounds today. Was the idea just to throw the ball up?
J.J. O'Brien: We definitely shot it with the intention to make it, but with the conditions and everything, knowing that maybe shots were going to be affected, yeah, we definitely wanted to crash the boards. It's hard to box a man out of the zone because it's not man to man, so you don't have a specific man to box out. So we definitely wanted to try to take advantage of that and get as many offensive rebounds as we could and easy baskets as we could.
But we couldn't find the basket tonight. It wasn't our night. That's our fault. But I think we did a good job of crashing. We've just got to finish next time.
COACH BOEHEIM: I'm proud to be in this game and be out here. I'm glad the weather held up for us. I'm proud of my team because obviously it's tough to make shots. I'm not sure how C.J. made that first three he took. The wind must have waited there for a second. But we had to get the ball to the basket, and C.J. and Mike and Brandon did a tremendous job of that.
San Diego State's a tremendous defensive team, and they're about as physical as anybody. We just had to get to the basket. Our defense was good, but our foul line defense was really good.
This is one of those that's a tough game. It's just like when you play outdoors in the summer, you've got to get to the basket. That's why kids from the city don't shoot jump shots because you've got to get to the basket and make shots around the basket, and that's what these guys did. It's not that easy.
San Diego State's about as good as anybody defensively. They make it very hard for you to get to the basket. But it's a good win, and we're happy to get it.
Q. So C.J., talk about that three pointer. Afterwards did you guys say we're not making any more even though that was the game plan?
C.J. FAIR: As far as the one three pointer, I was wide open. I had to take it. I had to take it. And Mike found me, and it went in.
Q. On the game:
BRANDON TRICHE: I want to say happy Veterans Day. I think on free throws it was pretty tough. But for me, I was pretty much praying they went in. I was trying to go to the basket as much as I can, keep the defense off balance. If I didn't have it, get it to a teammate where they can go to the basket as well.
Q. Michael and Brandon, when they know you're not going to shoot from the outside, how tough is it to get it inside?
MICHAEL CARTER WILLIAMS: Like C.J. and Brandon said, happy Veterans Day. It's an honor to be out here. They were kind of forcing us to go to the basket and to take open shots. But it was tough, but I think as we penetrated and kicked, we got good angles and we were able to get to the basket.
BRANDON TRICHE: We started penetrating and penetrating and kicking and penetrating and kicking to the next player and kept the defense off balance a little bit so we could get the drive. I think at first we just started going one on one and just going straight to the basket. That was pretty tough for us. We all had tough shots. Second half we got a better shot if we were able to get fouled or make a floater.
Q. Coach, given the fact that you guys played zone, you were the longer, taller team, how much did the elements give you an advantage?
COACH BOEHEIM: You know, it's interesting because that was a foul. But San Diego State, when you watched them, if you make the dribble penetration, they have five guys back in the lane. They have five. We don't ever have five guys back in the lane playing zone. They're playing a man to man with huge zone principles. We stopped throwing to the post because they were double teaming and we had our post guys. We haven't worked on it. We haven't seen that, and it's something we have to work on. That's why we didn't go with our post guy as much or go with our post offense, because they do a good job of double teaming it.
But they started driving our zone just like we drove their man to man. But when they got there to that area, we're bigger, so we can make them have a tough shot. You know, that was the whole key to the game.
They're not a great outside shooting team, and in two exhibition games, they did not shoot it well. Obviously, you're not going to shoot it well. We took four three point shots and that was probably a couple too many. But they ended up doing what they should do which is drive to the basket. We got in foul trouble, but they missed their free throws too. It was tough. It was tough shooting out there.
I think really is kind of ironic, but C.J. made a jumper and a three to start the game and another drive. Those were the only two jump shots we made the whole game. We made those early and we got that cushion. We just basically kept that cushion. It saved 10 or 15 or 16 the whole game with all that starts. It was 17 4, and that's the way the game was.
We got that jump. If we hadn't gotten that jump early hitting those couple shots early, it would have been a four, five point game back and forth the whole game.
They're a very good team. They're very physical. They're very good defensively. We have a pretty good driving offensive team, and they made it hard for us. It was not easy. They made it very hard for us.
We've got a very good offensive team, and it was not easy to score. They were a very, very good defensive team. They're going to shoot a lot better than that. They're going to be a very good team. At the end of the year, they're going to win 27, 28 games, whatever, and they'll be there at the end of the season. They're very physical, very good. They've got some young guys.
We went with our veterans today in the last part of the game. They did what they needed to do.
Q. How much does a game like this against this team help you guys moving forward?
COACH BOEHEIM: You know, I don't know. I think it's a win, but you can play ten games like this and then play bad the next four. It's just a tough game. But you can have four easy games and have a terrible game the next game. You can have four hard games and have a terrible game the next game.
There is no relationship, even though people think there is. There is no relationship with how you play today and how you play the next game. You just have to play every game and you have to play well every game. Every team is different, and things that we're able to do today, we'll have to do something different the next game.
We're going to go home and play a team that beat Pittsburgh last year in our league, and I'm more worried about that game than I am about this game because every game's like that. In college basketball, everybody's pretty good now. If you don't get better and play well, you're going to have problems.
I'm proud of these guys because this was a tough day. This was a hard game. We had to get to the basket. C.J. and Michael and Brandon got to the basket. They made some hard plays, very hard plays. That was the only way you're going to score or you were going to make any jump shots.
Q. Did you guys notice a difference shooting in one direction or another? It seemed that both teams startled when they went toward your bench?
MICHAEL CARTER WILLIAMS: Yeah, the sun was in your eyes more towards our bench. The wind seemed to be worse on offense?
Q. Yeah, Rakeen, they did get inside. Got about ten knocks today. Were you standing there waiting for them to come in there?
RAKEEN CHRISTMAS: It was just to help (No Microphone) them get a good shot.
Q. Coach, in spite of the cancellation and the weather conditions, are the aircraft carrier games something you like in college basketball? Are there any changes you'd like to see moving forward?
COACH BOEHEIM: I think you just have to we play 30 games this year, 31 I think we play in the regular season. It's one game. It's going to be tough in tough conditions. I think it's a great event. I think it's something these players will remember for the rest of their life. It's difficult. The other two games had rain which can happen.
But I think it was a great experience. I'm glad we did it. It's very tough conditions, but it's part of what happens when you play outdoors. I'm happy we were here. I'm proud we were here. I'm proud to be on the Midway. It's a great story, and the fans were great. It was a great event. I'm really happy we came and played here.
Q. You guys got a taste yesterday with the shootaround and the practice. But once the game took off in the first few minutes, what did it feel like to be out in this environment? Was it as cool as you thought it would be?
BRANDON TRICHE: It was exciting. It brings you back to your younger days when you don't care so much about the way you play, but just go out there playing. There was a lot of energy. I think it was frantic as well, and there were a lot of turnovers back and forth. But we calmed down a little bit, and got into our game plan.
Q. Did you get to a point where trying to adjust to aiming left or to the right or do anything like that to adjust?
C.J. FAIR: No, no, you don't adjust your shot. But you can see throughout the game, you didn't take that many jumpers. So there wasn't that much to adjust to if you got there with your lay up.
Q. This was an exciting stage to play on, and now you guys get a week off with Wagner coming up. How do you guys stay up? Will you continue to do the same ritual or anything special getting ready for Wagner?
MICHAEL CARTER WILLIAMS: I think we'll go back and compete like we do every day in practice. When it's time to study Wagner, we'll do it then.
Q. Do you think you had an advantage starting on the side that you did considering you won the game?
BRANDON TRICHE: What was the question?
COACH BOEHEIM: I don't understand. Somebody said something about that earlier. The wind was blowing on both ends. I don't know if one end was better than the other. I don't know. The wind picked up a little bit in the second half it seemed like.
Q. Brandon or Michael, did you sense their frustration as the game went on? They were 1 of 18 on threes, and they're behind and trying to catch up but not being able to shoot?
BRANDON TRICHE: I think us playing zone was pretty tough. One of our advantages tonight or today playing outside with the wind picking up and the sun and all that. But I think when we went on the few runs we did, we seemed frustrated a little bit. I think they did a great job of rebounding, which got them in kept them in the game. And they did a good job of getting fouled and getting to the free throw line.
Q. Brandon, obviously it was an emphasis for you guys to get in the paint and not take jumpers. But was it to the point where you had a no jumpshot rule on the team, and you just weren't going to take it, even if it was open?
BRANDON TRICHE: Yeah, I hesitated a lot of shots I would normally shoot. Just try to get to the basket. If I could get to the basket and keep my defenders off balance so somebody else can go. So we pretty much didn't shoot any jump shots because we knew we'd have a better chance of getting to the basket and pounding the rebounds.
Q. Talking about the sun and the wind, how cold was it out there in the second half?
C.J. FAIR: It wasn't that cold. I sweat a lot. I don't usually sweat that much, but I don't think it was cold. It felt a little breezy, but for the most part it was warm.
Q. The other two games got cancelled and this one had to be delayed. Is it still important in your mind to have events like this which continue with this kind of tradition?
COACH BOEHEIM: I'd play in this event again. I think it's something that everybody should experience. I think every program should try to do this. It is difficult. I mean, but a lot of places are difficult for playing. I think you have to adjust for it.
I'm glad we came. I'd play in this event again. The wind is one thing, rain is something you can't play in, and we wanted to play in this event. We wanted to play on the ship. We didn't want to play indoors. We could have come out here and gone indoors on Friday. We wanted to play here, wanted to play in this event and give the players this experience. I'm glad we did. I think it's something people should consider doing. I'm happy we did it. I just think it's an experience. It's a great experience.
If you play 31 games, you wouldn't want to play seven or eight of these games. But to play one game, it's not going to hurt you. It's not going to affect anything. I think the toughness of this game will be good for us in the long run.
When we get in a tough game or get in a game where we're not shooting well from the outside, which can happen, and we'll have those games where you can't get good shots. You have to get to the basket, and this game will be something we can fall back on. We have some of these games in our league like this.