"I think everyone saw. We played 40 minutes. 40 minutes of good basketball. We've played bits and pieces of every game of good basketball, but this was a real 40-minute effort we had. I think it was key to the defensive end. Last time we played them, I made a point and I went overboard with it that they shot 60 percent against us in the second half and scored 90 points. You're not going to beat anybody giving up 90 points and letting a team shoot 60 percent. That was the drum I beat for the last couple of days to the team. They've got pride. They know that's not how they want to be portrayed and remembered. They came out and played a really good defensive game. When you play good defense, then you get the fast breaks you've been looking for. You're getting misses and now you can run out and the offense opens up. Offensively, I'll say again that this is back-to-back games with 22 assists. I think Wyoming was 35 baskets and 22 assists. This was 36 baskets and 22 assists. The kids are playing the right way. They're sharing the ball. They're playing for each other. They're taking great pride in that. Our bench again was productive. I don't know what the point total was, 37? This is back-to-back games with productive bench play. I've always felt that was important. I've talked about that all year that I like my bench, but I like them when I have all my starts, so I don't have to move my bench guy to a starting role. Now I have the bench I've wanted all year. They're productive, they play with great energy and they play unselfish. It's a good time of year to be playing your best basketball. Late February into March, and right now were playing our best basketball. Now the challenge is to see if we can leave the confines of Viejas and go do this on the road, duplicate that kind of performance on the road. It will never be as easy away from home, but we can play to a high standard and see if we can get a road win and keep this momentum going into the conference tournament in two weeks."
On being able to put your bench in and feel comfortable:
"It great. The thing is, you don't put them in because they're great offensive players, you put them in because they can guard. You can play a guy if he's guarding, but he might miss a shot or two, but if they're playing hard at the defensive end and not giving anything up, then you can ride with them longer until they get into a rhythm. That's the hardest thing off the bench--getting a rhythm. I can't put my bench in and give up eight to ten points as I'm waiting for them to get into an offensive rhythm. They've come in and guarded great. That defense, whether they want to believe it or not, the defense has gotten them into the rhythm of the game. Not the offense. They're playing hard defensively and that gets them into rhythm to the game and then the offense comes easier to them."
On today's game being the most complete:
"Yeah, I think so because we had contributions from more players. At the end of Gonzaga, Malik (Pope) wasn't in the game. Malik is playing his best basketball down the stretch and then Trey (Kell) comes back -- I think he's got 10 assists in two games. That's in 24 and 21 minutes. I think we watched Trey--Trey always plays his all--but he's nowhere near game shape yet. He's only practiced maybe one full day and played two full games. The key for Trey is we keep rehabbing the ankle, but at the same time keep trying to get him back in to some kind of game shape because once he's back into game shape, then I think his contributions will grow even more."
On importance of playing out the stretch to get a good seed in the Mountain West Tournament:
"If given a choice, you'd always choose to play three instead of four games, but college basketball history is storied of teams winning four games in the tournament. Whatever place we get, we will play to win that tournament and get to the NCAA Tournament. I think UCONN was the one that I've mentioned a couple of times who wasn't going to the NCAA Tournament, won four of five games at The Garden, beat us in Anaheim, and won the National Championship. The key at the end of the year is playing your best basketball. If it's four games, it's four. Hopefully it's three, but if we're playing our best basketball, then I'll feel good about our chances no matter how many games it is."
On seeing a different level of basketball from his team:
"We're no different than any other team. When we start rolling down hard hill too, we're hard to stop. When we were on the road at Fresno and Nevada and we started rolling down hill, then it's the extreme other way. It's like wow this team is giving in. I don't think anyone sat there and felt like UNLV gave in. I think they just though that the Aztecs played at a superior level. That's college basketball. That's life on the road or at home. Obviously when you're at home your chances are greater. We're 11-2 in this building. We feel like we should be 13-0, but now the challenge is to go on the road and see if we're tough enough to win on the road. That's the toughness thing. It's not going to be as easy. The two places were going we lost last year -- at Air Force, and at San Jose. That will be a message that I deliver that we have to go out there now and seize on this momentum and continue this win streak for these two road games, leading into our final two home games. We have a chance to really position ourselves for a stretch run here in March."
On if this has been a statement week and what these two wins say about where the team stands physically and mentally:
"I feel like physically and mentally we're just pushing through, just trying to push through, trying to get there and all in all, trying to play as a team. We're in a pretty good state. We're not too high, not too low. I feel like we're in a pretty good place right now."
On what made the difference in today's game vs. losses the team has had in other top conference opponents:
"Our assist-to-turnover ratio and assist-to-baskets, we're moving the ball a lot more, getting each other the ball. Just playing well together. In other games, that wasn't happening as much, so I feel like the difference in today and the last time we played UNLV was our ball movement and our willingness to play together, and it just helped us out a lot."
On how he feels the team did against UNLV freshman forward Brandon McCoy:
"As a whole, I feel like we did well. We did our job, stuck to the game plan. Kept him off the offensive boards and get out on the run, beat them up and down the court. I feel like we did our job and stuck to the game plan."
On the first steal he had and the trend with 14 turnovers in the first half:
"I was just trying to come out and set the tone for the game. Set the tone that we're here and we're here to play hard. That last loss wasn't their statement, but this was our comeback."
On what kind of statement the team made today:
"I don't think we were trying to make a statement; I think we were trying to get better each game. We had a little slip with the three games before the last two, so we were just trying to bounce back from those and continue to play the right way, and I felt like we did that the past couple games."
On how much a game like this can help build confidence:
"It helps a lot. It's just a teaching tape to, if we play the right way, we lock in on defense, follow our game plan and things of that nature, things will turn out good for us in the end."
On how important Wednesday's game and today's game are in terms of looking ahead to the conference tournament:
"I don't think that's too important, to be honest. Obviously it would make it easier for us if we potentially had to play three [games] instead of four [in the conference tournament], but like I said, we are not worried about the tournament right now. We're trying to get better each game, and we know if we can hit our stride at the right time, good things will happen for us."
On the 14 turnovers in the first half:
"That's one area where we feel like as a team, we've got to get better at--on the defensive end. Hearing that, it is something we take pride in because we know that to get where we want to get to, we have to step our game up on that end. It was a good start for us tonight."
On the last time the team had a complete game like today:
"I can't give you a, `since when,' but I know for sure it's been a while since we've been able to put two halves like that together. We usually get off to a great start in the first half and then kind of slack off in the second half, make it more interesting than it needs to be. Tonight, we took the right step forward, played great in the first and second halves and had that complete game."
On the freshmen's contributions:
"First of all, they're just talented. That's the first step. [Jalen McDaniels], he's just really energetic. He knows how to move really well without the ball. He's great on the offensive boards, so he gets a lot of easy put-backs and things like that. Plus with me, Malik (Pope) and Devin (Watson) creating all the attention on the drive, he always finds the right spots and things like that. Matt (Mitchell), he just knows how to score the ball. He can shoot, he can drive and he can pass, too. He just takes what the defense is giving him and in certain games, he's going to have that one-on-one matchup and we have all the confidence in the world he's going to get it done for us."
UNLV head coach Marvin Menzies
On his team's performance:
"So many times, after a loss like this, and it's not just the losses -- it's the way you lost, you go into the locker room and you worry about your guys. It was good to see their energy and they knew the played horrible against a really good team. They knew it was their night, at our place, it was our night, we split with them in the regular season and we have a chance to meet again to determine who's on top for this year. As for right now, its one loss, regardless of the score. I had a chance to play some other guys today and get some guys some minutes that haven't played. We just did not play the way you'd like in terms of sharing the ball, really try to play for others. They had 22 assists and we had 11. The rebounding was significant. In the first half, when we were down 11 early, they're (SDSU) obviously a different team at home. They shot the lights out from three. A lot of those were uncontested and a couple of them were contested but that's what happened when you're a good shooter. But hey, I love my kids, I really do. I love this team. I think there were four freshmen out there in hostile Viejas Arena, and they're trying. Everyone's playing hard, we just weren't playing very smart. A lot of that is how we learn. Hopefully, they learn from this experience and it leaves a bad taste in their mouth."
On where the team goes from here:
"We're looking at just playing together. We've been in games before where we've had a bad loss, and it's really kind of on the guys and their energy and staying up and that's why I was optimistic about the locker room. They were down, but it was because they knew they should've played better, but I don't think they were down and out. They understood that San Diego State played really well. So, it's a combination of things. But listen, it's the next possession type of mentality. We've got a really good team in Fresno State coming up."