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February 26, 2011

Steve Fisher

D.J. Gay

Billy White

BYU – 80

COACH FISHER: This was the kind of atmosphere, excitement, electricity that you dream about having. And these were two teams that merited that type of attention.
We played hard. BYU played hard. We played okay. BYU played better. They are a really, really good basketball team, and they showed that again today. This is not the first time they have showed it, but they are good. So are we. But today, they were a little bit better. They shot -- when they had to make a basket, somebody made a basket and it was never the same somebody. That's the mark of a really good team.
I'm proud of our guys. The test for us, as is every losing team, is how will you respond, short turnaround, all of the things that go into it. But the character we have got, with the three here and the others in the locker room, I feel strongly that we will compete hard in our next game. And hopefully we'll have another opportunity to play them in the conference tournament.
As disappointed as we are, we know there is a future for us and we need to say, okay, what did I not do as a coach; what did I not do as a player, and grasp something that you can learn from it, and say, if and when we play them again, if and when we play a team of that style/caliber, we'll be better prepared and hopefully have a better outcome.
Proud of our team, proud of our fans, disappointed in our loss.

Q. D.J., can you express the disappointment that you have in the way things turned out, or what's going through your mind right now?
D.J. GAY: We are very disappointed in the outcome of the game. But like Coach said, it was a hard-fought game. They played better. We just have to go back and learn from it and hopefully get another shot.
BILLY WHITE: Like D.J. said, I think the whole team is disappointed with the way we played tonight. But like Coach said, we just have to bounce back, look at film tomorrow, see what we did wrong and correct it and practice and try to move forward, and don't forget about what happened today. But you know, we have got to move forward and just try to stay focused.

Q. Having played them twice, is there something about the matchups, something about that team that is not a good matchup for you guys?
D.J. GAY: No, I wouldn't say that. They just had players step up today and knock down open shots. They made 14 three-pointers. I think we did a pretty good job on Fredette but they just had guys step up and knock down shots.

Q. Can you explain the game plan in guarding Fredette?
D.J. GAY: To put a little bit of length on him. You saw Billy and Kawhi and Chase on him just to keep fresh bodies on him and wear him out and make him shoot over the top, double him off ball screens. And I think we did a pretty good job.

Q. Is there a frustration, like when you guard that closely and they still make those shots, does that make it a little bit harder the next time down the court and then they do it again and again and again?
D.J. GAY: It's frustrating of course when they knock down shots, put a hand in your face or they just get a wide open look or they knock down a shot. But as the game goes on, you have to be able to move on to the next play and that's what we have tried to do. But like I said, they just shot great from the field.

Q. You got a lot of Fredette today. Seemed like you had some success against him. Did you feel like you guys were limiting what you wanted him to do most of the time?
BILLY WHITE: I think so. I know that he wants to, you know, try to get into our bodies and try to make us foul him. I think we did a good job today guarding him, me and Kawhi and Chase, like D.J. said, try to keep fresh bodies on him. But unfortunately we left other guys open and they made tough shots and sometimes wide-open shots.
So we just got to, you know, look at tape, like I said and try to see exactly what happened and try to correct it next time.

Q. You guys have seen a lot of Jimmer. Can you speak to how he's evolved as a passer? Their coach as was saying his ability to create was getting better and better where he can find the guys after he's double teamed.
D.J. GAY: I think we didn't give him that much attention. You have no choice but to be able to find the open man, constantly getting double teamed and pressured and stuff like that. You see defenses just collapse as he penetrates, and his court vision has gotten better. He is finding the open man. And he has a great supporting cast to knock down shots.

Q. For any of you three or all of you three, were you surprised as well as they shot the ball today?
BILLY WHITE: A little bit. If you leave people wide open, they are going to make it, so you know, we just -- you know, we were double-teaming Jimmer, and he found the open man. Sometimes they were wide open. Sometimes they made tough shots.

Q. D.J., we have seen limited offense on you against BYU these two times, do you look to be more of a distributor when you play them or is it something that's tough about your defense to get around?
D.J. GAY: I notice they put their best defender on me, Emery, and he does a great job of playing off-ball and playing on-ball. I sense that they are giving me attention, which would leave other gaps open for other players. They make it hard for me to get my three-point shot off, and once I get past the first defender, the second defender steps up really quick.
Going into a game like that, I think I should have been more aggressive offensively. But they did do a good job of playing me on the offensive end.

Q. Billy, if you look at how much kind of hype surrounded this game and how excited these students and also the entire town got for this matchup, is it at all deflating, given how much emotion you showed on the court today, to walk out of here with a loss?
BILLY WHITE: Kind of. You know, I think everybody, the whole school, people are disappointed, but you know, I know they are going to stay behind us 100%. We just have to keep moving forward. It's not the end of the world. We just have to keep fighting, keep playing hard every night. We have got two more games left, and we have just got to, you know, like I said, look at the tape tomorrow, if we watch tape or move on, I know our team is not going to forget about this. And hopefully we'll have another shot at the Mountain West Conference.
I think D.J., they both referred to the number of open shots; in doubling Jimmer as much as you guys did, were you not executing off the ball the way you wanted, or were you basically just daring them to make the shots that they did?
COACH FISHER: I'm not 100% sure. I know that a couple of Hartsock's baskets, we did not do a good enough job of -- we call it stunting, having the next guy in line be up and try to say, is he going to switch and run to him. But we did a better job in the second half, and yet, it seemed as every time when they move that ball and n-one, one more pass, they had a guy that was shot-ready and when that ball hit his hands, he had the ball up.
They made some shots that were hardly -- that were hard to contest. They made some shots that were flying at them. They made shots. They did make some open shots. But they made some shots that if you go back and look at the film, I would think that some of them were, as you say, hats off to you for having the toughness to take it, and then make it. And that's what good teams do. And they are better than a good team. They are a terrific team.
Your offense seemed to bog down at times against their zone. Were you disappointed in the execution against their 2-3?
COACH FISHER: I thought we had all sorts of looks that we were not able to bring to closure with. Not unlike the first game. I don't know how many times we had that ball inside and we couldn't get it go in. Now, they are men out there. They are big guys and they contested every shot. There was no gimmies in that game. But we had looks.
Against the zone, usually it takes you a little longer to get that look, but we had a lot of good looks, and didn't make enough of them.
From what you've seen of BYU both on tape and in person, have you ever seen them play better than the two games they have played against you guys?
COACH FISHER: Well, that would probably be unfair to everybody they have played. I told our team: BYU is Final Four good. And I don't know that our guys liked to hear that.
And then I said: We are, too. Today, they were the better team. And they were. No excuses. They made plays. They made shots.
I thought we had opportunities when we closed the half with a 15-6 run. And we just were never able to -- I don't know that we ever had a lead in the second half. You know, they go up eight, we get two straight baskets, but you have to -- against a team that good, you have to be able to make important plays. And we had several of them, too many to mention, where it looked like, well, we are going to get that interception, and all of a sudden it goes off our hands and they get it and they shoot in a three. We have got the ball, we are going to get a basket; and all of a sudden they come in, deflect it away and we miss it, and they go down and get a basket.
That's what winning is all about. That's what they did today, very, very effectively.
As you probably know, they scored more than half of their points from beyond the arc. When a team is shooting like that and they have a point guard like Jimmer, are they beatable? How do you take them out of their game?
COACH FISHER: You have to make shots yourself. I mean, a team -- if you are going to be -- if you are to go to play toe-to-toe with them, you have to come back and also make shots.
They were good. And every time we kind of crept up to them, they would make a play, or two, to put the spread backup again. And we would fight like crazy to get a couple baskets and get a deflection and a steal and one roll-off and they would go down and score a basket.
Whether they shoot 14 for 24 or not, they are going to be a very, very difficult out for anyone in the NCAA Tournament. I don't care who it is. They are that good.
That got it?
One more quick question. You mentioned the mark of teams, how they respond to a loss like this. How do you think your team will respond to this?
COACH FISHER: The same way we always have. Same way we did last time we lost to them. It will be harder because we are playing on the road.
I love our team. We have got really, really good people with character. If it doesn't burn and hurt, then something's wrong with them. It does. That's all they will be thinking about tonight.
But, we have more work to do. We have got what most people, as it will start to unfold, will say the most important season ready to play, and that's the tournament. Now, we have got two games, hopefully three games, before the NCAA Tournament. But welcome back; the resiliency of youth is always good. Forgive, but don't forget. Don't forget what happened.
I think it's been a long time since we have been back-to-back with losses and our goal and pride will hopefully allow that to continue on.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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