Feb. 14, 2014
SAN DIEGO -
Head coach Steve Fisher
"Well I was hoping this day wouldn't come, when our winning streak had to be reignited and restarted. I'm disappointed that we didn't get our 21st-straight win, but excited about the opportunity to start another one-game winning streak (Saturday). Not to dwell too much on the past, but at Wyoming, the better team won that day. We made a valiant fight to come back at the end, but the better team in that moment won. I'm disappointed we didn't play better, but we didn't, and everyone was involved. After the game I told (the players), `We've never been a program that allows a team to beat us twice.' So we can't have a residual affect when we come out to play the next game. We wanted to limit layups and dunks, and I thought we did a very poor job of that, and everyone was involved, including the coaches. I thought after the fact we had too many options that we went through, and we starting to think too much instead of playing. But I will also say Wyoming played very well. They're a very good team and have played in a lot of close games. They beat us. There's no shame in getting beat, but I'm disappointed we didn't play better."
On the key to getting his team to bounce back after a loss:
"I would say the key is making sure you're prepared as you can be mentally and physically. You forgive, but don't forget. So that's the theme, don't forget. Don't forget what happened and why it happened. But don't dwell on it and beat yourself up. That's the sticky wicket you have to deal with."
On giving his players too many different assignments against Wyoming:
"Well normally when we defend and we get the ball on one side of the floor, we want to keep it there. The NBA calls it downing ball screens. We had a hard time doing that against Wyoming the way they played. They had so many quick, hard curl cuts from one side to the other, we thought we could do it, but we couldn't. Then we go to an alternate plan, we say now we're going to switch (screens). Then we went to a third plan, where we're going to stay and either duck under or go over (screens). If I had to do it over, I would do it differently, but there are no mulligans in what we do. I told (the players), `I didn't play, but I'm part of what happened. You're part of what happened because you played.' I think we took a hammer and instead of hitting the nail on the head, we hit a hole in the wall on a couple things that we did as coaches and players."
On defending Air Force sophomore guard Tre' Coggins:
"Coggins was sensational against us. He's been pretty good against everybody, but he had 29 against us and was 11-of-18 from the field. He made some big time shots. He's a good player. He missed three games for them, and just came back. So they're better with him and we have to do a better job on him. It's easier said than done. With Air Force's movement and the way they play, he gets opportunities a lot of different ways. But we have to do a better job defending him."
On what he expects when next week's polls come out:
"Well I expect to win on Saturday, and we'll see what Monday brings us. I don't have a clue what Monday morning will bring in terms of the polls. It will be interesting to if we win how many spots we will drop. To be honest, I don't even know who else is where and who has done what. I just know that we've got to start a winning streak. We may drop, but we won't drop so far where we say it's unfair. And if we do, we just have to say, `OK, let's start another long winning streak to see how far we can pop back up.'"
On if it's easier to get players' attention following a win than after a loss:
"I don't know. I think this group of kids, if you've watched us practice, they've been good. They've been receptive, responsive and responsible in terms of how they've practiced. When nobody is watching, we're tough on them in the locker room after wins, and we harp on all the things we didn't do and grind them a little bit. Sometimes it's easier to grind on a guy when you won compared to when you lost. So that's a delicate balance you have to have. I think we have their attention all the time. We had it (Thursday) and we had it on Monday before we left for Wyoming too."
On Xavier Thames being nominated for the Naismith Trophy midseason list:
"When you win, everybody benefits. When you win, I tell the players, `Everybody's boat rises, including the coaches and the players.' When you win, you have an opportunity to be recognized. Most people say, `You've got good stats, but look at the team. The team is just average at best.' When you've won as much as we've won, there's that opportunity to say, `They're winning again, let's take a close look at why they're winning.' When you do that, you see guys that are instrumental in what we're doing. Xavier Thames, it doesn't take anybody long when you watch us play to say, `Boy, he's really good and so productive at both ends of the floor for his team.' So I'm happy for (Thames) that he's getting recognition. That means his team is pretty good also, and we've had some staying power with that over the years."
Senior guard Xavier Thames
On what went wrong defensively against Wyoming:
"I just think we didn't come out with enough energy. Give credit to (Wyoming), they came out with great intensity. We just didn't match their intensity. I think we waited too long in the second half to try to do that. So you've got to give (Wyoming) credit as well. They came out with a good game plan."
On being named to the Naismith Trophy midseason list:
"You've just got to give all the glory to God and my teammates because without them, I wouldn't be on that list. I'm just thankful and blessed."
On if he's confident enough in his own individual abilities to bounce back after a loss:
"It's not just me, I'm just thinking about the team mainly. We've just got to come back (on Saturday) and bounce back from our loss against Wyoming. I don't really get into `me' stuff or `I' stuff, I'm more worried about the team and what we have to do to bounce back on Saturday."
On if he believes he's one of the best 30 players in the nation:
"(Laughs) yes, I do. But I don't want to get into all of that."
On what influence former Aztec guard D.J. Gay has had on him:
"He's a big influence. The year I sat out, we sat down and talked about different things. What to do offensively and defensively. He's still a big influence right now. I still text him from time to time and he gives me advice. So he's been a big influence since I've been here at San Diego State, so I thank him for that."
Junior forward JJ O'Brien
On what practice has been like since coming off the loss at Wyoming:
"It was still pretty positive. (Coaches) weren't harping on the loss. We watched film on it to see what we did wrong, but overall, practice was fine. We worked a lot on Air Force. We've moved past (the loss). We've learned from our mistakes so we're just focused on Air Force now."
On if the coaches are harder on them after wins than losses:
"Yes, I think so. We've only had one other loss this season to go off of, but I think that's true. When you keep winning, they don't want you to get big-headed or complacent, so they get real hard on you. And I guess since we lost, they don't want to be too harsh on us to get us down. So they were real positive yesterday."
On their first meeting with Air Force this season:
"I remember we did a good job of offensive rebounding. I think we did a good job of using our size and athleticism. We have to do a better job of guarding the ball. They beat us a lot on just dribble-drives. So we need to get better in that area, but overall, I think we did a pretty good job of rebounding and using our size and athleticism in our press to get easy buckets."
Sophomore forward Winston Shepard
On what he takes from the loss at Wyoming:
"Well we lost, and we've just got to continue to get better. It was a humbling experience and there were a lot of things from the game that we could get better at, just like every other game. So we're going to watch the film, we're not going to let (the loss) get us down - it's not the end of the season. And we're just going to keep going."
On what stands out about their first meeting with Air Force this season:
"Well Tre' Coggins had a good game. But I think our press gave them problems and I look forward to pressing them again, and hopefully it gives them more problems this time."