Feb. 15, 2014
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SAN DIEGO -
San Diego State-Air Force Postgame Quotes
San Diego State Head Coach Steve Fisher
"I think we did enough things right for me to come out and say, `This was better than last time, this was better than last time and this was better than last time.' Defensively, I thought we did an exceptionally good job of guarding in the halfcourt. Air Force is a difficult team to guard with their back-cuts and movement, but I thought for the most part we did a really good job on that. We did a very good job on their key player (Tre') Coggins. He had 29 (points) on us in the first meeting, and we did a really good job of making it hard for him to get good, clean looks. That was a huge piece of what we needed to do. We got to the free throw line like we did last time. That doesn't always look pretty when you're standing there shooting free throws all night, but it wins games for you. That's a huge piece to what we do. We had turnovers in bunches to where it felt like we had more than we actually did. The things we didn't do well enough, and I thought it was misfortune, a couple times I thought we had balls and they went off our hands. But there were too many 50-50 balls there for the taking that we didn't get. That's my No. 1 complaint about the game. That can't happen. But we started a new winning-streak, we're 11-1 (in MW play) and sometimes that's what you have to do - win when it's not pretty."
On Winston Shepard's second-half surge:
"Winston is a very smart basketball player. When he continues to get engaged and make easy plays, he adds so many positives to what we do. He's a very good passer, he's becoming a much more reliable free-throw shooter, he knows how to and has the ability to get to the rim. So he's a good player, he's a hard guard. And he played the next play. I think sometimes all of us, Winston in particular, worries about what just happened, and all of a sudden, something else negative happens that next trip. He's much better on that front, and I think it has allowed him to grow."
On Air Force being able to beat their full-court press:
"We almost got them, and we didn't get them. I'll have to go back and look to see how many scores they got out of the press. We do that after every game. Against (Air Force) at their place, we pressed them 18 times in the first half and forced six turnovers, but we didn't score on any of the six turnovers we forced. So I don't know how many baskets they got off of it, but we also wanted to burn a little shot clock, not allow them to push the ball up the floor and run their movement offense for 30 seconds, but for 20 seconds. That's also what the press allowed us to do."
On Winston Shepard staying focused when he's not scoring:
"We've talked about what you as a player control - attitude and effort. And if you don't have it, everybody watches and everybody knows. So we're getting better at it. Winston is a guy who kind of wears (his emotions) on his sleeve a little bit, but his attitude and effort are light years better than they were before. And I think that's helped him and us."
On having former players in attendance:
"It was terrific to have them back. They came in the locker room afterwards and I had them come up in front of the team. I said, `They're here because they're proud of their history and where they came from. There here with expectations that you'll continue to grow what they did.' And they are like any other boastful NBA player that when they go in their locker room, they start talking about where they came from with great pride. They follow us just like we follow them. So it was neat to see them here and they wanted to be here. That's what was most impressive."
On Dwayne Polee II sparking the team off the bench:
"Dwayne Polee is high energy. He's got length and athleticism, and everybody knows it's like the ball is a magnet when he's out there. It finds him. He gets his hands on a lot of ball defensively too. But he's active. Sometimes he tries to go a little too fast, but he's going to bring you energy and he's going to bring activity. He'll change the dynamics of a game when he comes in. There's a burst of energy felt from everybody when he comes in."
Sophomore forward Winston Shepard
On his performance in the last few minutes:
"I was having a tough night up to that point. I first and foremost have to thank my teammates and Coach Fisher. They stuck with me, had encouraging words for me and I just wanted to go out there and continue to help my team."
On the Air Forces' defensive traps:
"I wouldn't say that the traps caught us off-guard because we've been working on them all week. They're a good team and they really got after it defensively and that's credit to them, but the second half we picked it up, made our adjustments and went out and handled it."
On getting to the foul line:
"With the style of basketball I play, being an attack player, I find myself in the paint a lot. I was taught a rule when I was young that when you get to the paint - at worst, you're going to get to the foul line. Not only that, a lot of the time tonight I wasn't handling the ball. My teammates were finding me under the basket and I have to credit my teammates with that tonight and once again I have to thank them for sticking with me and finding me in spots."
On getting the ball in the first half:
"This is a team game - not a one man show. (Dwayne) Polee was on fire in the first half, Xavier (Thames) and JJ (O'Brien) were making shots. When one of our better players' isn't making or getting shots, we still have the ability to win and play good basketball."
On the assist to Dwayne Polee for the dunk:
"At heart, I'm a play maker and I hope for those types of plays every game. As soon as I saw Polee on the break and that it was a two-on-one situation, I knew I was going to get it to him. He's one of the highest jumping players I've seen, so I knew I could throw it up anywhere and he would be able to go get it."
On former teammates being in the building:
"As a team, we are close to those guys. Even if they are gone, we keep in touch with them. They give us advice and encourage us. It's good to see them here even though it's a short visit and they have to go back to their career. It was great to see them supporting us."
Senior guard Xavier Thames
On the team's performance in the first half:
"We had a few easy shots that we missed, a few in the lane that came up short. (Air Force) was doing a pretty good job as well. We did some good things though; held them to 37 percent shooting (for the game) and we played good defense. We've been playing bad defense the last five games and we can take a positive out of that and pick it back up. Winston (Shepard) and (Dwayne) Polee gave us a spark off of the bench. We can't worry too much about our offense - it'll come."
On Dwayne Polee's energy coming off of the bench:
"(Dwayne Polee) been in gym all summer, he stayed here all summer working on his game. He has confidence and we have confidence in him as well. He brings a spark of the bench, he has been doing that all year."
On if team's are playing differently given the team's high ranking:
"Well last few games, everybod , they have been playing zoning game against us, As we said before we are giving everybody best shot now. We are on the top of the league and that's what we want. We don't want anyone to lay down for us and give us the win."
On if the team was frustrated in the first half:
"No, I don't think we were. We were playing defense and we were getting pretty good looks . So we were not frustrated, as long as we were getting stops, I felt like we would be alright."
On guarding Tre' Coggins:
"Everybody got switched onto him; we know our defense and principle today. Everybody got chance to guard him, you know we kind of wanted to shut them down. He kind of hurt us the last game so that was our main focus."
Junior forward Dwayne Polee II
On creating momentum for the team:
"My main thing when I come off of the bench is to bring extra energy. So, by me making shots or that extra rebound or put-back that brings energy to the crowd and to my teammates. My teammates were finding me in good spots to score."
On two double figures games for you, tied tonight for the most points:
"That is just a tribute to my team giving me confidence, Coach is giving me confidence and me just being aggressive. They are finding me great places where I am wide open. I am just finishing the plays for them."
On the dunk in the second half:
"Oh it feel great felt and I feel like that is what sparked our play in the second half. To hear the fans go crazy, my teammates go crazy, then for the other team to call a time out, it was a real momentum changer and that is what I like to do when I come into the game."
Air Force Head Coach Dave Pilipovich
On staying in the game after Shepard's 3-pt shot:
"That was a back breaker. I believe at that time it was a four point game. Shepard gets the offensive rebound, scores and we foul him. It goes from four and us possibly having the ball, now it is seven. That was a big part of the game but, how hard we played. Eight turnovers playing (against) that press, against that team (is impressive). (The Aztecs) have nine (turnovers). Thirty-four rebounds to their 35. There's a lot of positive out of this (loss). Obviously, if we get a decent shooting game out of Tre' (Coggins) and Marek (Olesinski), it's a possession game at the end. The last two games, Tre's been 3 for 26 on the field and had 12 the other day. They were on it. We got the bye week which we need because we were on the road long so we're going to take a couple days off. We have Nevada next Saturday. We're good enough to win some games. We're good enough to get to Vegas and surprise some people. We're growing and getting better. The effort was outstanding. That's a heck of a good team."
On what is special about playing San Diego State:
"Their athleticism. They come at you with so many guys and it's something we can't duplicate in practice because we don't see them. Xavier (Thames) is such a good player. He's a great player and keeps calm and keeps involved in everything. He's really good. (Dwayne) Polee gives (the team) a spark, (Winston) Shepard is really good then you throw the bigs inside with JJ (O'Brien), Skylar (Spencer) and Josh (Davis). They're good and there's a reason why they're ranked fifth in the country. They have a good coach and they're really talented."
On AF players who had a good game:
"Kamryn Williams had a good game with a double-double. (Tre) Coggins and (Marek) Olesinski were really on it and are our two best shooters. We struggled shooting the ball there but those guys have an enormous shooting game.
On coming off the last game, taking Tre' out of the game:
"No, he's the guy. We need to get him some more reps. He's only a sophomore. He needs to get this experience too because last year he didn't have this here. He played his rear end off. He had four assists with one turnover in 37 minutes and gets constant pressure. Five for five from the free throw line and 0 for 9 from the three, 2 for 14 from the field is uncharacteristic of him but credit to their defense."
On DeLovell's coming off the bench:
"I've been told that we don't get many points off the bench so that gives us some points off the bench, so we had 10 points off the bench. I like what he's doing right now because he gives us that other spark off the bench. He played 29 minutes tonight. Marek (Olesinski) played 26 and Justin (Hammonds) played 17 as starters."
On wanting the win:
"Yeah, we were so close. We worked hard and put ourselves in position to get here. I wanted it so badly for those guys. It's going to come - there's some good things in that locker room."