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No. 20/20 #AztecMBB-St. Katherine Postgame Quotes

Dec. 27, 2013

Recap |  Final Stats |  Notes |  Photo Gallery 


San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher

On the game:
"It will get a lot harder the next 19 (games) before Mountain West tournament play, and that's what we told our team. I also told them the last three games that we've held three teams under 40 points, we've done it in a fashion that wins no matter who you play. It wasn't wild, crazy stuff going one-on-one, it was team basketball on both ends of the floor. That's what pleased me the most, the unselfishness we had. There was a willingness to say, `If you're open, you're going to get the ball.' And it lends itself to fun, enjoyable basketball. I think we're making progress. I leaned over to (associate head coach Brian Dutcher) one time and said, `Winston (Shepard) looks much more under control and confident when he drives to the basket.' He now thinks it's going in rather than hope it's going in. There's a lot of progress there. We have to make sure we have Josh (Davis) back. He had all four of his wisdom teeth pulled on Monday. He'll be back at practice hopefully tomorrow. Dakarai (Allen) sprained his ankle, but we think he's OK. We did an MRI on D'Erryl (Williams) today and everything was fine, so we're hoping we can do something to help him get able to get back to play. We're 10-1, we're pleased with our record and excited about league play. We all know, especially the guys that have been here before, that nothing comes easy (in MW play), especially on the road. We'll be ready on Jan. 1, and I know Colorado State will be too."

On the best thing he's seen from his team in non-conference play, and what they need to work on:
"I've liked our togetherness, our willingness to be a good teammate. I think we've got great depth and it's shown itself. When guys have been hurt other guys that haven't gotten a lot of time have performed, and you can start with (Aqeel Quinn) and Dwayne Polee. We still need to get better with our rebounding, our defensive rebounding is something that should take strides to be better. We've worked at it, we've talked about it. We can't have careless turnovers. Even though we finished with 11, we had four or five that have to be eliminated. And then I think we shot under 60 percent from the free-throw line. You've got to step to the line and make your free throws. We've got a lot to work on, but we've got a pretty good group to work with and we're in good position to move forward."

On if he learned anything about the team playing without Josh Davis:
"We've played a lot of different lineup combinations because of injury or illness, and again tonight without (Davis), who is our best rebounder. I know JJ O'Brien is anxious to get that pad off his hand and we're hopeful that he'll play without it in our next game. But when one guy can't play it gives guys opportunities."

On allowing JJ O'Brien to play Friday night:
"I'm a good listener. When I talked to (O'Brien) last time, I could sense he had a concern about his hand. I talked to him on Christmas and he said he feels a lot better and would be ready to play. So I played him because he wanted to play. Even in the last game, I was told it wouldn't hurt him to play. But he wanted to play (tonight) and I'm hoping that he'll play and play effectively without the pad in the next game."

On if he takes any pride in setting the record for largest margin of victory on Friday:
"I liked the fact we've held three straight teams under 40 points, the first time anybody has done that since 2000. You might say, `Look who you've played,' and I'll come right back and say, `Look how we've played.' We've played in a fashion that wins; no matter if you're playing St. Katherine or Duke. Hopefully we'll play with that same type of togetherness and energy for the next 19 games leading up to the conference tournament."

Sophomore forward Winston Shepard

On the game:
"We just wanted to come out and have some fun, but at the same time respect the game, play hard and try to get better at things we need to get better at as a team as we go into conference play."

On what they need to work on:
"Coach (Fisher) has been talking about rebounding, mainly on the defensive side. That was one area we wanted to focus on playing harder at tonight, especially without Josh (Davis)."

On if he had something to prove in the last two games:
"Absolutely. I always feel I have something to prove, just with how it went when I came (to SDSU), and everything people were saying. But in my mind, I'm going out and playing with a chip on my shoulder every game and I'm trying to play as hard as I can."

On what he's learned about the team going into MW play, and what they need to work on:
"First and foremost, we're a lot better than people thought in the preseason and I think that's one thing that has stuck with this team. There was a lot of disrespect from the media, so we just wanted to come out and play hard. I think the biggest thing we need to work on is to defensive rebound better, just like coach (Fisher) said."

On if they're concerned about the quality of their recent opponents heading into conference play:
"Absolutely not. It would be one thing if we came into these games and played sluggish. But we have respect for the game. Whoever the opponent is, we can't help that. We just try to come out, play as hard as we can, and get better at the things we can. I would say these last three games have been more positive for us than negative, regardless of the opponent."

Junior forward Dwayne Polee II

On playing without forward Josh Davis:
"I feel we had other teammates that stepped up and covered for his position."

On playing with large leads:
"We respect the game and love the game so much that we're just going to go hard anyway, no matter if we're playing the No. 1 team in the nation or the lowest-ranked team in the nation. We're going to play hard regardless of who we play."

On what he's learned about the team going into MW play, and what they need to work on:
"I think one thing we've learned is we have multiple players that we can go to in dire need. We've got players throughout this team that can give us anything we need."

On why he played so well on Friday:
"I just came into the game letting the offense and rebounds come to me, and not trying to force anything. My teammates did an awesome job of finding me in open positions. I think I was kind of forcing things and playing too fast (before), but you see when I slow down and think the game out more, it comes more natural."

On if they take pride in setting a new record for largest margin of victory:
"We kind of take pride in it, because a lot of our points come off our defense, and that's what we really hold ourselves to, is our defense."

St. Katherine College head coach Scott Mitchell

On lessons to take away from this game:
"Well I can thank God that nobody got decapitated. We prepare to win, otherwise, why would we show up? I'm a competitor and I want my guys to be competitors. As a little kid, you want to go to Disneyland. As a basketball player growing up in San Diego, you want to play the Aztecs. We're realists; we know who we're playing. If they wanted to schedule this game on the moon at midnight, we would have been there too. Our guys want to play, whether they're hurt, whether they're tired, everybody wants minutes. That's what I like about our team."

On the game:
"We had a 3-for-38 shooting night from behind the 3-point line. We had a really bad shooting night. Part of that is San Diego State's defense, but we had some open shots and we just didn't hit them. We didn't have any problem with their press. If it wasn't for some silly turnovers, they would probably have more turnovers than us. At the end of the game we got sloppy with the ball. They got in the passing lanes and had some highlight dunks."

On Coach Fisher and the Aztecs:
"Coach Fisher has got a great program and we're going to watch them play in the NCAAs."

St. Katherine College junior forward Joshua White

On the game:
"It was a good experience, a positive experience. I wish the outcome was different. We expected a well-organized team with continuity. As a first-year program, you face a lot of adversity facing a team like this. It's a "David vs. Goliath" situation. We came in with a goal to keep working until the final whistle. SDSU was very hospitable; they took very good care of us. You don't really get that at our level. We wish the outcome would have been a little more in our favor. We would love to be back here. We all want to play at this level. We all want to see competition at this level. It's the only way to get better."

On the atmosphere:
"It's awesome. Coach told us to take everything as a positive and that the crowd was cheering for us."