#AztecMBB Press Conference Quotes

Jan. 24, 2014

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Head coach Steve Fisher

Opening statement:
"We are one-third of the way through our conference slate, and there are a lot of games yet to be played. Obviously, we've been successful in the win-loss column. We've been able to go on the road and win in some tough environments and tough games, and we've had hard-fought, tough home wins. So we feel happy, we feel fortunate and we feel determined that we want to keep it up. It will be my first trip to Utah State (on Saturday). I know it's a hard place to play, and we look forward to the challenge. It's a good team. (Utah State) would probably say, `We're disappointed we're not better with our record,' but this is a good team and Stew Morrill is as good of a coach as there is in the country. I read in their notes that over the last 14 years, they're in the top-five nationally in number of victories, and (Morrill) has been there. They are a team that really makes you guard, they shoot the three from multiple spots, they've got a blend of veterans and young guys, and this will be a great challenge for us. They don't lose at home, and they've lost a couple this year at home."

On if he can tell on tape how much better Utah State plays at home than on the road:
"Utah State is like everybody else - they feed off that environment, and they have a crowd like ours that gets into (the game), is very vocal and extremely supportive. It will be loud and it will be an environment we've seen before, but it will be an environment that favors the home team. (Utah State) shoots and makes a lot of threes, and they have lots of ways to get their threes. They're crisp with their offense, they screen as well as anybody in the country. So we're going to have to be on red alert defensively. They can make threes with you guarding them hard. They missed a lot of good shots against UNLV. They make about nine (3-pointers) a game and we'll have to guard them. They have the seven-footer Jarred Shaw in the middle who's a force. So they've got a good team. They're not just a good team, they're a program. They've got a really good program and have had it for years. Unless you're a basketball person, some people don't realize that because they're tucked where they are in Logan, Utah. But if you look at what they've done that last 14 years and how many games they've won, this is a good team, a really good program and an exceptional coach."

On defending Utah State center Jarred Shaw:
"I don't know how he compares to other (centers), but I do know he's long, athletic, can move away from basket and make you guard him, he scores over the top of you, he's got good low post moves. He's a basketball player, he knows how to play, and he's a veteran player. So they find ways to get all their guys involved where they can do damage. They get (Shaw) the ball in areas where he's hard to guard, and we're going to have to do a good job of it. Skylar Spencer has done a good job defensively, but he's also gotten himself in foul trouble defending in the low post. So we need to be able to guard without fouling, and we need to push them off the sweet spots of where they want the ball too."

On playing against a team that shoots so well:
"Well we hope we make them shoot worse (than we do). They're a good shooting team and they shoot better at home than on the road, statistically. But their guys are confident shooters. We will need to make sure we contest every shot, not give them wide-open threes. They do a nice job of selectively running too, so if you get carless, they're going to fly right by you. So we'll find out whether we'll be able to continue to guard efficiently against multiple threats. This is not guarding one perimeter threat, they've got three or four guys that if you leave them open, they will take it and statistically they make a very high percentage. That will be our challenge for sure."

On what it is about the MW that makes it difficult on new teams during their first year in the conference:
"I think you're at a disadvantage when you're the new kid on the block coming into a league, even if you've got veteran players. Many of them have never been to Colorado Springs or San Diego. So it's a little bit different challenge for them. They've got an advantage though if you're Utah State, because a lot of us have never been up there to play either. So sometimes you just get a little bit unlucky. They lost their (MW) opener in a real close game at Air Force, and have failed to win some close games. They're record in this league could be different, and yet we have 12 games yet to play, and they will be a challenge to everybody who plays them, both home and away."

Senior guard Xavier Thames

On playing at Utah State:
"Well we know it's going to be a tough environment, they have a great crowd there and we'll be ready for that. They're a good team. They lost a tough one at UNLV and they came out pretty strong and aggressive, so we've just got to be ready."

On their big run against San Jose State on Wednesday:
"Yes, we noticed it (on the court). We just picked up our pressure on defense to get easy baskets and we got stops. It was pretty exciting."

On if they can tell how crazy Utah State's home environment is from watching film:
"We can't tell because there's no volume when we watch the film, but you can see the crowd and how it's mostly sold out. I saw one of their games on T.V. and it got pretty loud in there."

On if they see any of the fans' antics in the stands during road games:
"You see it when you first walk in for shoot around and things like that, but once the game starts, I don't think anybody really pays attention to all that stuff. You just heard the crowd noise and how loud it is, but when you first walk in, you do see those things."

On if they saw improvement in any particular area in the San Jose State game:
"I think our press got a lot better in the second half. We made some adjustments after halftime with traps and different things like that. So our press got a little better. The coaches said we were at a C+ with our press, but I think we improved that to a B- or so. That's what I take from it."

On Josh Davis guarding nearly every position on the court:
"Josh is the man. He can do it all, so I'm not surprised. He could be guarding the center tomorrow, he could be guarding anybody."

Senior forward Josh Davis

On what he expects from Utah State:
"We know they run their (offensive) sets really well, and we just have to go into practice and be prepared for it. We don't really look at it as our offense is struggling. We know we're going to get better, but our MO is to play the best defense we possibly can."

On which team they've played so far this season that Utah State is most similar to:
"I would say Air Force. I don't want to say they run their (offensive) sets to perfection, but you've just got to be ready. I would just say (their offense) is pretty crisp."

On what stands out about Utah State center Shaw:
"I've seen that he's a great post player. There's going to be a lot of help defense. It won't just be Skylar (Spencer) by himself or me by myself, it will be a team effort."

Junior guard Aqeel Quinn

On Utah State fans doing the "I believe" chant before the game:
"Yes I heard that they started it actually, but I don't think it's going to affect us though. I think we'll be used to it since our crowd uses it as well. ."

On their big run against San Jose State on Wednesday:
"I think anytime we get a run, we try to ride it out as long as possible because coach (Fisher) always talks about 8-0 runs, how they affect the game and how valuable they are to the game. So we try to keep them going as long as possible."

On if they enjoy playing in loud, hostile environments:
"I think as players, everyone looks forward to a crowd like that. It was kind of similar to Kansas and how their crowd is very loud. So I think we'll all be ready and prepared."

On if they like the mystery of playing a team they've never faced before:
"I think we'll be ready. The coaches get us ready with the film, so I don't think (being unfamiliar) really bothers us like that."

On if the crowd makes games tougher and more intense on the road:
"Yes, especially when we come to town and with our ranking as well. Everyone is going to come with their A-game, and sometimes when we got to high altitudes, it definitely messes with our body. It's not an excuse, but we can definitely feel it."

On if being ranked No. 7 brings added pressure:
"I don't think it's pressure on us. We take it game-by-game and try not to look at the rankings and we definitely can't get big-headed with the coaches, they don't let us. So I don't think it puts any pressure on us."

On Josh Davis guarding nearly every position on the court:
"Anytime you see Josh, you know he's the man. So he can handle anything."

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