SDSU Men's Hoops-Colorado State Postgame Quotes

Jan. 24, 2018

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SDSU head coach Brian Dutcher

Opening Statement:
“I want to start off by congratulating Trevor Hoffman for making it to the Baseball Hall of Fame. We are going to be the second story tonight and I do not mind that. So congratulations Trevor. Feels good to get a win. You know when you are riding a three-game losing streak, the kids are frustrated, the coaches are frustrated, but all you can control is what you can control, which is work and practice. I told them we are going to have to work our way out of this. To their credit, we had two really good days of practice leading to this game and it was reflected in our performance. I am very excited that we had 25 assists on five baskets. We are playing the game the right way. It is hard and odd to talk about Aztec basketball being led by their offense. I thought today we made a step forward defensively. And maybe it was not reflected in some of the shooting percentages they had in the second half, but I think we became more committed defensively over the last two days. That has been the trademark of Aztec basketball: tough, hard-nosed defense. We were not there for 40 but we are getting there. I talked about the losing streak a little bit. I told them the best team in the eastern conference in the NBA, the Boston Celtics, are on a four-game losing streak. It happens in basketball so we cannot obsess over that. We just have to continue to stay with what we do, believe in the process, and play our way out of it and we did tonight. Hopefully, we can go into Vegas on Saturday and try to string a streak of our own together. We know it is going to be a tough environment against a real rival team. We are excited for that opportunity Saturday.”

On Max Montana:
“It is like dealing with kids. When you have your own kids at home, you know at times they are going to be frustrated so you try and help them out of that frustration. Max (Montana) after the Boise game was frustrated. He only played 10 minutes and his frustration was that he felt he could do so much more to help the team out. I told him that is my choice when I play you, how much I play you, and you can help the team. To his credit, he practiced his way out if it. Then he played well at New Mexico. I told him after pregame today, I thought tonight he would have his best game as an Aztec and if it was not, it was close to it. I just know Max is getting into his rhythm. He is starting to scratch the surface of what he is going to do. If he continues to play like this, we are going to be hard to beat when he is that good offensively and obviously defensively and rebounding. Max is an important piece to our team and it was good to see him come out and be rewarded for the work he has put in.“

On the decision to play Trey Kell:
“He did not talk to me, but he talked to Dave Velasquez and he thought he could go 20 to 25 minutes tonight. I did not really follow it. I think we did a good job of getting him out there two or three times in the first half. Then, early in the second he played longer in the second stretch because they took a timeout and then we had another media timeout. We had two timeouts in the first four to six minutes so he was able to play a longer stretch in the second half. I thought he was fresh throughout and he looked really athletic. He went down the baseline and dunked that ball. I think he is feeling good and he is getting over the ankle sprain, the thigh bruise and then we all know he had walking pneumonia for two or three days. He has done a good job fighting his way through all of that to have his best performance in the conference this year.”

On managing the players’ health:
“We cannot lose the game Saturday by overworking the team the two days. We have to be very strategic on how much we practice and what we feel is necessary to win the game, but without thinking we have to be out there for two and a half hours. We will rest the guys’ legs that played the most minutes and get the guys that did not play some extra running. And try to piece a game plan together over the next two days to go in and give ourselves a chance to beat the Rebels. “

On the encouragement to improve on defense:
“It was a conversation that we were having in timeouts. Instead of talking about what we needed to do offensively, we had to be committed defensively. That is the theme we were delivering. Whether we got the total performance we wanted, we had them at least thinking that way. Thinking more about defense than offense. It’s just a mindset. We have to continue to create a buy-in. If they defend and rebound, then they are going to be hard to beat because the offense is functioning at a high level right now. We have to continue to tell them that defense and rebounding are going to be the things that give us a winning streak. It is not going to be offense. We are trying to deliver that message in every timeout and every practice.”

On the team relaxing defensively if they perform well offensively:
“It felt that way a little bit tonight. Every timeout and every dead ball, we just continued to say we have to get stops. Then I told the team that we cannot obsess over the last five minutes of the games because the last three games went down to the last five minutes. We have to concentrate on playing 40 minutes. Then, if we play 40 minutes we will not have to worry about the last five minutes because we will be far enough ahead. So that is a by-product of our New Mexico game. I thought the outcome of the second half of the game against New Mexico, after watching tape, was really lackadaisical defensively. We were not intense and tough so we have been preaching that message to quit obsessing about the last five minutes and worry about the total 40. If they do that, then we will have nothing to worry about. That is not to say we will not have games that go until the last five minutes, but we are more worried about trying to play more consistent 40 minutes. I thought we got closer to that tonight.”

On the three-point shooting game:
“I thought Max (Montana) because of the way they guarded. They put the center on Max and they put their power forward on Malik (Pope), so that was Jalen (McDaniels). So I thought a stretch four being guarded by their center would have opportunities to sneak out to the perimeter for some open threes. So we ran some stuff to get them some threes. We refused some ball screens, and tried to throw back to them. Once Max got going we ran a baseline out of bounds for him, and they had the center on him. We curled him around and got him out for a three. Once he sees one go in, he doesn’t need much space at that point. We knew the match up would be there, and we could get threes from that position. The other ones were basically unselfish plays. They weren’t sets to get them. They were guys that were driving and moving the ball to kick it one more. The unselfish play got all the other threes.”

SDSU freshman forward Matt Mitchell

On shooting percentage:
“I had a few go in the first half, and another go in the second half. I think everybody knocking down their shots was big for us.”

On Mitchell’s dunk:
“I was actually looking to lob to Malik (Pope), but once I got in the lane, I just took it. If you are going to give me a dunk, I’m going to take it. I took it.”

On having a big scoring game:
“I just play my game. Two points, five points, 30 points… I’m just going to play my game and play for the team. That’s just the way it has to be. That’s the type of player I am. I was able to be more consistent [with] knocking down shots and teammates finding me. Colorado State is a tough defensive team, but I felt like we were able to get to the place we wanted to be.”

SDSU senior guard Trey Kell

On offensive game:
“I was talking to Matt (Mitchell) about it, it just felt like everything was flowing today. There was no hesitation with anybody. Everyone was being aggressive at the same time and playing the right way. It helps that we have been working a lot, and people are making their shots. With all that combined, we played really well offensively.”

On coming back after three losses:
“It was big for us, obviously. We had to get back on the right track with the goals that we want. We have to win the close games. It started with today, and we’ll carry on from there.”

On the upcoming game:
“We will watch film. It will show exactly what we thought: moving the ball really well, everybody was playing really aggressive, and we were taking our shots with no hesitation. When that happens, everybody is playing with that confidence. We are going to continue to roll with that. Our next game is Saturday, so we will bring that with us.”

On second half of the game:
“I felt like the coaches kept preaching to us how it felt like we were playing really well the past couple games. Then, we kind of slowed down towards the end and got out of our flow. The main thing is to keep the pressure on offense, but at the same time offense isn’t really our problem. We will continue to run with that, but we have some things to fix up.”

On his health:
“I wasn’t 100 percent. I wanted to play, but at the same time I didn’t want to be stupid and make something worse. I talked to the doctor and everybody said I was okay to play. Obviously, I am not 100 percent. I told the coaches I’ll play short spurts if I have to, and help the team anyway I can.”

On moving forward with his health:
“The day before we left to New Mexico my throat felt dry and I felt really tired. Once I got there it got worse, but I thought it was just a normal cold. Then, I came back and talked to the doctors, and it was a little bit more serious than that. I took some meds and I’ve rested the past couple days. I was ready to go today.”

On Colorado State’s technical:
“He [Larry Eustachy] walked up and even his player was like what is he doing. I heard him scream to the referee that he thought there was a timeout. He must have though it was 7:53 instead of 8:53 because he thought some type of timeout was called. We all looked at him crazy. He didn’t say anything to us, he just walked out and asked why there was no foul called and we just all looked at him. Then he started screaming at the referee. I’ve never seen a coach just pull up to the court like that. Hey, we have our bad days.”

On Max Montana’s status:
“What I was talking about earlier, the confidence. The confidence is a big thing. You can tell from the couple games he had he wasn’t feeling like himself, and he let that affect him. Which obviously affected his playing time that one game. He has been great in practice, as of lately. We all know Max, when Max is his confident self he is a light out shooter. You saw today with his performance.”

On coaching:
“I don’t think any coach is going to allow you to just be out of it, or be down on yourself and allow you to just play your normal minutes. The coaches are trying to send a message that it doesn’t matter how you are playing as an individual, that they want you to play for the team. If you aren’t doing that then you aren’t going to play.”

Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy

On being without junior guard Prentiss Nixon:
“We miss him a lot. He’s our leader. But, at this stage of the season, it’s given us a great opportunity to get guys more minutes. Guys like Logan (Ryan), he can play the wing so we can rotate him in there at the guard spots. We miss him. We miss him extremely, he’s a big part of our team, and we’re doing the best we can without him. When we get him back, I think we’ll be pretty good.”

On receiving a technical foul:
“I thought it was a timeout. I really thought it was a timeout. Luckily it didn’t hurt us, but, I thought they called a foul and it was a TV timeout, so I walked out there.”

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