San Diego State-Nevada Post Game Quotes

Feb. 8, 2014

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San Diego State-Nevada Postgame Quotes

San Diego State Head Coach Steve Fisher

On the game:
"There were a lot of good things we did tonight to get that victory. We put 4-5 bullet points up, our keys to success. First was rebounding. This is a good rebounding team we played - statistically better than we are. So we were OK with our offensive rebounding, but we were good with our defensive rebounding. Another was turnovers. We had 15 at Boise State and said it has got to be 10 or under. (Nevada) averages nine turnovers in MW play and we wanted to get them to 14. They had 12. Free throws, we try to make more than they take, and we've done that consistently. But we get to the line and that wins for you. Then on defense, the way we guard, the real meat is the persistence, the staying with it, where a set-play team sees a shot clock with 18 seconds instead of 28 seconds. So our defense, I thought for the most part, was very effective for us. It was a huge ally in the outcome of the game. So we're pleased.

On their runs to take over games lately:
"Well it's the spurts all of us get. One of our bullet points is getting at least one 8-0 run, and none for them. You get them more often at home, and we got them again tonight. It comes with staying with it, not allowing them to get an easy basket or making a foolish turnover to end the run. We've had quite a few of them. That's the earmark of a really good team, to have those in you. We've got to make sure when we get them, we can keep them going.

On how big it would be to break the school's 20-game winning streak:
"Our main goal is to win the conference. We're barely ahead of New Mexico and we want to win the next one. We play Wyoming next, and they're good. We've had troubles up there. So we'll be ready to play. Our kids have done a really good job of enjoying the moment and getting ready for the next one. So I feel confident that we'll be fine. I think Josh Davis is moving ahead of the curve a little bit with his knee. Winston (Shepard) appears to be fine with his wrist. Hopefully we stay healthy and shoot the ball the way we have over the last two games, and we'll have an opportunity to be successful."

On when they decide to press full court:
"Tonight, we wanted to be in some form of a press after every basket. I let Justin (Hutson) call the style he wants them to be in, but we want to turn the dribbler if we can, and if we see the back of his head, go after it. If not, then just shadow and retreat. It's basically the same all the time, but the aggressiveness of it with the decision making of the players."

On why this team is so good at using the press:
"It's been a point of emphasis. We feel as if we can play 10-11 guys, and that wears you. I was concerned, but no longer concerned. Xavier Thames gets the brunt of it, because he's on the point guard most of the time. But he has that uncanny ability to stay with it and have good endurance, and he's able to do it better than most could."

On if they ever compare themselves to the 2010-11 team:
"We don't talk about that at all, we really don't. We did talk about the fact that team won 20 (games) in a row when we got to 18-19 (straight). Now we want to see if we can win one more. That team had great success. We still have eight more league games to play, a conference tournament and an NCAA Tournament to play. So I hope after the season we can compare the two in a real, favorable light."

On JJ O'Brien's health after taking a hard fall:
"JJ says he's OK. I was concerned the way he went down. He did say he hit his head of the (basket) support. The trainer feels he's OK. I think he's OK."

On holding Deonte Burton to only 11 points:
"Burton is a very good player. He's one of the better players and leading scorers in this league. Our goal was to make him take contested 2s, and for the most part we were able to do that. He can play and you hold your breath when he shoots it, because he can score when he's closely guarded. He can make tough shots. But we did a nice job not letting him get all the way to the rim, and keeping all of them off the free-throw line and not fouling on dribble penetration."

On when he gave Winston Shepard the green light to play tonight:
"Well when we came back from Boise, we practiced that day and he practiced. So when he could do that, I said, `He's going to be able to play.' And then he had a full practice on Friday and looked good. I don't think the wrist is an issue with him. It's sore, but I don't think it's a factor at all."

On if he's surprised the winning streak has gone this long:
"I'm surprised that anybody can win 20 in a row, no matter what league you're playing in. So yes, but the way we've played, the teams we've beaten, I think all of us are going in expecting to win, but knowing that life on the road will be very difficult. Sometimes you've got to get lucky, and we've been lucky a few times. Good teams are in position to win games. The curious part for me is what the nation would think if we lost a game. Would we moved down one or two spots like some of the blue-bloods do, or would we free-fall seven spots? I hope we don't experience that, but we probably will and we'll see if that happens. We've a good team and we guard as well as anybody in the country."

San Diego State sophomore guard Winston Shepard

On why Nevada didn't score much the second half:
"We just wanted to come out and play with urgency, try to build on last game and keep getting better."

On showing Nevada's defense how good SDSU is:
"We talked about it before the game. Coach Fisher mentioned they were the number one total defense and the number one three-point defense so we took it as a little bit of an insult but we don't come out talking and pounding our chest - we just come out to play. We definitely knew (about their defense) and had that in the back of our minds."

On pressing and whether it changes the makeup of the game, smothering Nevada early on in the second half:
"It helps us get easy buckets. I think the press today helped us against Deonte (Burton) because he wasn't able to just explode down the floor and take guys one on one. I think it was great. That's been one of our staples all year and today was a better day than other days. That's something we're going to do every game."
On being aware of how good SDSU is and what's in front of the team:
"It's not over yet. Those guys got to the Sweet 16 and I don't think we can compare ourselves to those guys just yet. There's a lot of season left. Coach Fisher always talks about potentially having 17 more games and a long way to go."

On his performance tonight:
"I pride myself on being versatile and being able to do a lot of different things. But at the end of the day, my teammates are hitting me. Xavier (Thames) found me on a couple shots and I just put them in. I just thank my teammates and thank my coaches for staying with me. Sometimes I have tough nights but my teammates always stay with me and have the ultimate confidence in me. I just try to keep playing."

On his wrist:
"It was a little sore but I owe it to my teammates to play hard and play through pain. We got the MRI and the x-rays and it wasn't broken or fractured so when I found that out, I knew I was going to play. I've been getting a lot of treatment the past few days so it's fine."

On if he was worried about his wrist:
"A little bit. After the Boise State game, I was worried but we have a great trainer, Tom Abdenour. Coach Fisher and he were on it and I'll be fine."
On players changing their shooting technique after an injury:
"I don't think so because my wrist was injured on my non-shooting hand but I don't think that had anything to do with it. Obviously my teammates are finding me in good spots and I'm able to put them in."

San Diego State junior forward Dwaye Polee

On how it feels to be a targeted opponent:
"We love it. We're not afraid of any competition. We know everybody is gunning for us but we're giving them our best shot as well. It just keeps us focused and locked in on our opponents."

On how it feels to tie the school record of 20 consecutive wins:
"It's a big achievement not only for us but for the school in general. We've been working very hard and our 34-3 team was a great team. We're just trying to be just as great if not greater."

On if the team expected to get a lot of points inside the paint and at the free throw line:
"That's just a testament to our big men, finishing in the paint and Xavier being able to finish in the paint. That helps our outside game as well, being able to penetrate the key and kick out to open shooters. We try to mix it up but tonight it was an inside-type-of-game. If we're able to get in the key, we will."

On the `Polee' chant:
"The Show has been doing that for a while every time I make a nice play. It pumps the team up. It pumps me up. It makes me want to go out and make other shots for team and excite the crowd and excite my team."

On if he felt that the crowd was more supportive of him tonight:
"No, they've been like that in recent games. They've been behind me all year whenever I came in the game and made big plays. That's a testament to how loyal our fans are and how good our team is."

On if it's surreal that the team hasn't lost a game since November:
"I wouldn't say it's surreal because all summer and all fall we've been working really hard. From the first man to the last man, we've all been working very hard on our game and working hard on our defensive and offensive schemes. We kind of expected to be in this role."

San Diego State Senior Guard Xavier Thames
On if anything was said leading to the momentum change of game and how Aztecs took over:
"Yeah, a little bit but we just wanted to get stops. Nevada is a good team and I think we had a few good stops to get the crowd going and that helped a lot on finding our momentum and leading our team to a win."

On matching up against Deonte Burton:
"It wasn't just me, it was a team effort. We all do a good job, Deonte (Burton) is a good player and it was a good effort. I'm sure he will bounce back from this lost."

On having a 20-game win streak:
"We just want to come out with a win every game and not look too far ahead. Overall, we just want to focus on every game that is in front of us. We want to play every game like it is our last and keep our focus on one win at a time."

Nevada head coach David Carter

On San Diego State:
"They're (San Diego State) a very good team. They're experienced. I thought their athleticism bothered us. They were in a press all night. They did a very good job of dictating the tempo for us. By the time you get the ball across half court, you only have about 20 seconds to run your offense. For us, we're a very controlling team and we like to run sets and we got taken out of rhythm. They get their free throws (also)."

On play of San Diego State's bench:
"I thought guys off their bench made plays. I thought (Dwayne) Polee came in and gave them a lift. (Aqeel) Quinn came in and hit a big three. Any time they would go to their bench, there was never a drop off and that's the sign of a great team."

On San Diego State's defense of Nevada guard Deonte Burton:
"Well, when you're playing half court against their (San Diego State's) pressing, run and jump defense, they really do a good job of helping on him. Again, you have got to give them credit too. We were looking for it, but they played good defense and really got us out of rhythm."

On lessons to take away:
"Every program tries to get to a level like this. This is the second leg of conference. We want to look at them and say, `That's how we want to be.' We took it as they're (San Diego State) a very good team. They imposed their will on us in their place."

On coaching in this environment:
"We try to keep them (Nevada) calm. We didn't really want to make it seem like too big of a game. The atmosphere is great here. If you get caught up in shooting it quick, turnovers, that will get the crowd into it. So I really tried to keep it even keel and slow the pace down. Even when they (San Diego State) got up 10 points, I didn't want to press or panic."

Nevada senior guard Jerry Evans Jr.

On the game:
"They (San Diego State) had good intensity and pressure throughout the whole game. I felt they played as a great group. I think everyone who played for them contributed. Guys that came off the bench gave them a lift and that got them over the hump tonight. We handled the game pretty well, we just gave up little baskets like layups at the wrong time that gave them the big breaks. We gave them a lot of points at the free-throw line and turning the ball over. That gave them the spark and a lot of momentum."

On being a player in this environment:
"It's a great atmosphere to play in with players (from San Diego State) that I grew up with. I'm pretty good friends with (Dwayne) Polee and AQ (Aqeel Quinn). Aqeel was my high school teammate. It's fun to play in an environment like this, seeing them succeed and doing well. It's a good feeling."

On San Diego State's defense:
"(Against San Diego State) you waste a lot of energy getting the ball past half court. It consumes a lot of energy and doing it for 40 minutes is tough. It's sprinting for 40 minutes to get it across. It was really tough and I thought that was a game-changer."

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