SDSU head coach Steve Fisher has his team ready for Saturday's showdown against New Mexico.
Jan. 26, 2013
SAN DIEGO -
SDSU head coach Steve Fisher
"Big game tomorrow for both teams. Big game for us because we've got New Mexico and they're the only undefeated team left in our league, and we've got them at our place. So we need to do what I know we'll do; come out prepared, compete as hard as we can for 40 minutes. It should be a great crowd. This is a team that we've played, and we've had some wonderful battles with. They've won the last two. We beat them at their place, they beat us at our place and they beat us in the conference tournament. So we know what's at stake, so do they, and it should be a wonderful game.
On the health of Xavier Thames:
"(Thames) is better. He played for the first time in a while against Nevada, and after the game and the next day, he was no worse as a result of playing, so that's encouraging. He's done a little bit more in practice, but hasn't participated in everything live. But I would anticipate that he would play. And hopefully, he will play a little bit better than he did in the last game. He's working himself into not worrying about his back. And obviously, we're a better team when he's healthy."
On facing New Mexico when they have both their top post players in the game:
"They've got two bigs that they utilize well when they play them together. They're strong. They know how to manipulate footwork and get you on the high side, and they have a way of getting to the rim. So we'll have our hands full. We'll have to do a good job on how we guard in the low post how we help from the perimeter, and we have to make sure we neutralize their strength. But at the other end of the floor, they're going to have to guard us with their two bigs. So we have to make it hard on them when they're defending at our end also."
On having to face center Alex Kirk:
"He didn't play last year because of a back injury. Two years ago, he was viewed more as a `pick and pop' player. A guy who spaced the floor and shot the ball well. Now he's a guy who can punish you inside with is size and skill, and he still has the ability to shoot the ball. So he's a big reason why they're 4-0 in the league. He's good."
SDSU guard Jamaal Franklin
On the rivalry with New Mexico:
"I would say it's a rivalry between us, New Mexico and UNLV; All three of us. I'd say UNLV felt the same way about New Mexico and us too. I think that rivalry has been there with each other since we're usually the top three in the league."
On how winning on each other's home court impacts the rivalry:
"I think it just ups the ante because we didn't protect our house and they didn't protect their house. But at the end of the day, (New Mexico) had the upper hand against us because they won in the MW conference tournament."
On if this is a must-win game:
"I say every game is a must win. I don't go into any game saying, `If we lose this, we'll still be cool.' Even when we lost to UNLV and Wyoming, they were a `must win.' Every game is a `must win.'"
On playing against Tony Snell:
"That' s my brother from another mother. He's playing real well. He's playing with confidence. He's shooting the ball real well and I look forward to playing against him again. It should be real cool. He brings a lot of leadership to them now. He brings a lot of scoring. Last year he wasn't looked at as the person who's `the guy,' but this year he's looked at as `the guy' and he has to score for them to win. Instead of last year letting the game come to him, I think he's going after it this year."
SDSU guard Chase Tapley
On the rivalry with New Mexico:
"Since my freshman year, New Mexico has been up there with UNLV as being a competitive game up until the last two minutes. All the (conference) championships have been won between SDSU and New Mexico. New Mexico is up there as one of our rivals, and I just hope it continues."
On the affect the loss to Wyoming had on the team:
"That's what we needed, a wake-up call on that Wyoming trip. We just needed to come in and refocus on what our main goal is, and that was to work hard, listen to people that needed to be listened to, and just go out there and go out there with 110-percent focus and effort. And everything else will take care of itself."