No. 24/23 #AztecMBB-McNeese St. Postgame Quotes
Dec. 21, 2013
San Diego State Head Coach Steve Fisher
On the game:
"When you can't make a shot it doesn't look very pretty and neither team could make a shot in the first half. The way we started the second half, I didn't think we would get a shot with the turnovers that occurred. But finally we made a basket, I think Aqeel (Quinn) made a three and it seemed as if everyone felt a little more relaxed. Twenty-seven 3-point attempts are too many, but 7-for-17 in the second half is pretty good. So I feel good that I didn't have to go to plan double-Z and put JJ (O'Brien) in. I almost did. He got his hand hit a little bit the other night and it swelled up on him a little bit, so I said, `Let's see if we cannot have you play.' They X-rayed it again, he's fine, but we just felt like, `Let's see if we can get by without him.' And it put us two or three people behind the curve, but it gave others the opportunity to play and we managed to get a victory. So I think we'll be better for it in the long run and I'm glad we didn't have to put (O'Brien) in."
On if JJ O'Brien was available to play:
"That was kind of my call. (O'Brien) is such a willing guy. It was hard for me to tell if he was in total agreement and that's what he wanted to do. He said it's OK. He knew he wasn't going to start and he knew if we didn't need him, he wasn't going to play. So that was the game plan."
On how close he was to putting O'Brien in the game:
"I told him, `Go get loose.' That was after (McNeese State) scored seven-straight points to start the second half. But then we made a couple baskets and I decided to wait another minute or two. Then we got enough of a lead where I said, `Let's just see what happens.' And then obviously we didn't need him."
On if he was comfortable with the pace of the game:
"I think you have to have the ability to run as hard as you can and know when you've got something that's good and know when you don't. I thought our shots were pretty good for the most part. But I also thought when we put it to the floor, especially in the first half, everybody looked like they were going too fast. At halftime I said, `You have to have the ability to put yourself in slow motion when you drive, and see what's developing.' It was almost like we were out of control as we were driving inside. The closer we got to the defender, the more tunnel-vision we had. I thought we were much, much better at that in the second half."
On deciding not to start Winston Shepard:
"I thought Winston was one of the guys that got us going. He got in some gaps and he made two or three passes that should have been assists that we didn't finish. He made good decisions getting people the ball, and Winston has a knack of being able to get fouled and get to the free-throw line, and he made his free throws. He did a pretty good job and played under control."
On Winston Shepard:
"I thought Winston would play the way he has played and we expect him to play. When we practice, he's been good. He's been very alert and attentive. He's very inquisitive, he's not afraid to ask questions as practice is going on and as the game is going on. He is probably our best communicator. He didn't play any different than I thought he would."
On if he has a better idea of how good this team can be at this point in the season:
"I know when we get into (Mountain West) play, every game will be hard, home or away. You'll have some grind-it-out games. You'll have some games where you don't shoot well, like tonight in the first half. You have to find other ways to be productive. You have to trust your defense will be good enough to keep you in games so when you start making a few (shots), it will matter. So I like our team. We've got wonderful, wonderful kids that care about winning and care about one another and that gives you a chance. I haven't really watched the other teams in our league, but I know our first game at Colorado State will be hard. It will be a tough game, and we'll have to be ready. Every game, we better be ready to play."
Sophomore forward Winston Shepard
On if they were worried during the game:
"No, not at all. We just had to pick our game up in the second half, come out playing harder and playing smarter. But I don't think we were worried, we just had to pick up our sense of urgency."
On what they started doing differently in the second half:
"We started pressing more, that's more of our style. It got us some easy baskets in transition and from that point, we were rolling and outside jumpers started to fall. We just had to get going."
On how important it was to establish himself after missing last game:
"I wanted to come out and play as hard as I can. Sitting out stinks, but I tried to learn what I can from it and I watched from the sideline. I approached the game a little different tonight, and tried to be more of a team player and find my teammates."
On what he learned by watching while sitting out:
"You just get to see the game from the side view. I tried to take a good out of a sticky situation. I tried to get my teammates involved and I was looking to pass a lot more tonight to get my teammates open and get easy looks for them."
On if setting up his teammates for scores helps his confidence:
"One of my biggest gifts is I'm able to see and find people and I have vision on the court. So I just wanted to use that a lot more tonight and find my teammates. Just hit them in position to get good looks. It was a tough night for us, we didn't shoot the ball well, but I'm pretty sure those looks are going to start to fall for us as the season goes on."
Senior forward Josh Davis
On what the team's thought process was at halftime:
"It started on the defensive end. It was a sense of urgency and our coaches made that a point of emphasis at halftime. So we got it together and picked up the defense."
On if he believed it could be a close game tonight:
"I think anything like that is possible every game. You can't take any team lightly. Basketball is a game of runs."
McNeese State Head Coach Dave Simmons
On the turning point in second half:
"Well, I think as a coach, a sleeping giant woke up. We battled in the first half, as well as we can play. In my mind if we had done a couple things we might have been up a couple points. I think they raised their intensity a little and we didn't match that intensity. Their defense was good. When we got to the basket, we've got to learn that there is a shot blocker back there. We've got to be looking to dish to the open man. They started rebounding the ball, got a couple steals and got the crowd into it and they fed off that energy. We didn't shoot it well and we've got to give them credit because they kept us from getting to the basket or blocked our shots. When our threes weren't falling, they got some long rebounds and got out in transition. We knew they were going to hit some threes, that's the risk you run when you're in a zone."
On SDSU and Coach Fisher:
"No question, one of the best-coached teams I've seen this year. Of course Steve Fisher, (he is) a gentleman of the game."
On McNeese State's performance:
"I was proud of how our team took on a top-25 team. I was proud of the way we battled in the first half. We just couldn't make enough plays and we were affected by their size and length."
On lessons to take away from this game:
"We just have to keep believing in ourselves. When you take a top-25 team on their home court, in this environment and match their intensity, we've got to continue to pull that off. We're getting better. I thought we were pretty good for those first 25 minutes. Then those last 15 minutes they really excelled and started knocking down some shots."