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March 12, 2015

Steve Fisher

J.J. O'Brien

Aqeel Quinn

Winston Shepard


San Diego State テや 67
UNLV - 64

THE MODERATOR:テつ We're joined by San Diego State.
Coach, some thoughts on today's game.
COACH FISHER:テつ It was somewhat reminiscent of our game here eight days ago, our game in SanDiego.テつ Two teams that desperately wanted to win, that played as hard as they could, and we found a way to win.
I think that's a tribute to not only the three here, but the 10 others in the locker room.テつ You have to believe that you're going to find a way, and then you have to produce.
So we were able to do that.テつ We're proud that we're going to be staying an extra night and playing a game against a really good team tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll take questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.テつ Winston, in the second half you missed those two free throws, then went to the bench.テつ Not a great moment.テつ At the end of the game you came up with huge offensive glass, the icing on the cake shot.テつ Talk about the flow of emotions through your game today.
WINSTON SHEPARD:テつ First and foremost I have to thank Coach Fish for putting me back in.テつ Shot two for nine, seven for 12 from the free throws.テつ It wasn't my best night.
I pride myself coming through in the clutch.テつ That's all that matters.テつ I made some plays, as JJ and AQ did.テつ We live to fight another day, so I'll be okay.

Q.テつ What do you think it is about this team that just is able to grind out games at the end?
JJ O'BRIEN:テつ It definitely starts with the coaching staff, the toughness that they bring to us.テつ You know, they're guys that don't shake under pressure, as well.テつ So that trickles down to us.
We're able to keep our cool under pressure, we're able to keep our cool in tight games.
It's just about making winning plays.テつ It starts in practice, putting us in situations where we got to make those plays.テつ It translates to the games.
It's a lot about toughness, starts with the coaches and trickles down to us guys.

Q.テつ At halftime what was the feeling like?テつ What do you credit your early run in the second half to?
AQEEL QUINN:テつ Halftime it was, like, we came into the locker room a little down.テつ Coach Fish came in and he said, We need to pick it up second half.
When we came out, we huddled up together as a unit, all 12, and we just said, We got to pick it up.テつ This is not Aztec basketball.
So we wanted to lock up on defense, be more aggressive on our shadow, our pressure.テつ We were able to knock down shots, which helped a lot.
I mean, when you knock down shots, your confidence goes up, everybody's fired up on the bench and everybody out there on the floor.テつ Everybody came together.テつ It was a whole team effort.テつ It was fun to see tonight.

Q.テつ You mentioned the defense.テつ How effective would you say the full court pressure was on UNLV?テつ How satisfying was that and how effective would you say it was overall tonight?
JJ O'BRIEN:テつ The press was very effective.テつ If it doesn't get a steal, it takes time off the clock.テつ It makes them work to bring the ball up the floor, which changes their energy.テつ So even the times we didn't get steals, it does something for us.
We did give up a couple layups in the first half, I think one in the second half.テつ As you could see, we got turnovers, we got the 10‑second call.テつ We get a lot of energy from our press when we can turn people, we can get steals and turnovers.テつ It was huge for us tonight.

Q.テつ There were a few stretches where it was you guys and UNLV trading baskets back and forth.テつ For the most part it was a run here and there.テつ What is it like to be playing in a game like that?
AQEEL QUINN:テつ It's a wave of emotions.テつ At one moment you're up, and the next you're kind of biting your fingernails.
It's very fun.テつ It's competitive.テつ I know every guy in that locker room loves those type of games.テつ I know I do personally.
It just shows the character of all the guys in the locker room, our coaching staff who puts that mindset on us.テつ So I just love when it's a game like that.
When we prevail, it's even better.

Q.テつ Winston, could you take us through a little more detail on the tip.
WINSTON SHEPARD:テつ We pride ourself on X'ing.テつ I shouldn't say it, everybody will start game planning for it.テつ If I'm not mistaken, I think JJ got across the lane and got a hand on it.テつ I was able to get one.テつ I got it back up.テつ I missed it.テつ I think somebody else got a hand on it again and I was fortunate I was just in the right spot at the right time.テつ I was able to make a play.
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll dismiss the student‑athletes at this time.テつ Thank you.
We'll continue with questions for Coach Fisher.

Q.テつ Chris Woodruff had a solid game, but only three shots taken from beyond the arc.テつ Was that the game plan to force him on the inside or was it him not taking as many shots inside?
COACH FISHER:テつ That was their game plan.テつ That was their game plan.
He's good.テつ We've done a pretty good job the first two games of limiting his shot attempts, somewhat limiting touches.テつ But they moved him into different spots tonight to make him harder to guard, and he proved to be hard to guard.
We had our hands full with him, keeping him from getting to the rim, following his own missed shot to tip it in.テつ He was a load for them today.

Q.テつ Talk about the value of your depth.テつ How much does that mean to San Diego State?
COACH FISHER:テつ It's a huge positive for us and unfortunately for UNLV they don't have the numbers, so we knew that.テつ So our thought process, we're not a team that likes to run, run, run, run, but we wanted to turn it into more than just a halfcourt game.テつ It was pretty much a halfcourt game.
We wanted to put heat on them full court whenever we scored, run whenever we created a miss to try to wear them down because we said we're going to play all our guys.テつ We have had this number who played consistently, and not just play but perform, produce, be productive for us.テつ We got that again today.
So you utilize the weapons, the positive things you have.テつ One of those for us is a lot of guys, nine, ten guys that all believe they're going to play, and when they get in, believe they're going to play well.

Q.テつ About the toughness of the team, how much emphasis do you place on recruitment a player's personality?テつ Do you place more importance on that than other schools?テつ How important is a kid's makeup when you go to recruit him?
COACH FISHER:テつ Well, I don't think we prioritize that more than any other good program.テつ You recruit talented athletes who are quality people, and you do that by getting to know them and evaluating.
When new kids come in, we have four freshman in the program this year, they wait and see and look what is it truly going to be like.テつ They watch the lead of our fifth‑year seniors on how they prepare for practice, how they treat people on road trips, how they get in that weight room and lift.
So I think we're fortunate that we've had it a number of years now where the old guys kind of make sure the young guys do it our way.
But we're not the Lone Ranger on that.テつ There are many, many, many programs that do what we do.テつ We like our kids.テつ We're proud of the program that we've all been a part of.テつ We want to continue to grow it.

Q.テつ If it wasn't 50/50 with the Aztec fans out there, it sounded like it.テつ What do you have to say to the fans?
COACH FISHER:テつ We have the greatest fans imaginable.テつ Anybody that has been in Viejas, to see that home crowd, it's electric.テつ We had a 29‑home win streak that was recently snapped.テつ The fans contribute to that a great deal.テつ And they travel.
Everybody likes to come to Vegas.テつ But our fans are here, and they're not going to miss a game.テつ We are growing that number also.テつ So they bring a lot to the table.テつ We appreciate it.テつ They know that.テつ We need them.

Q.テつ It's not my intent to get you in trouble with this question, but something I view as a fan when I watched this game, I wonder if UNLV, the players, maybe don't believe they can beat you guys with six straight wins for you guys, and three times this season they were leading at halftime but you came back to beat them.テつ Has the winning at San Diego State gotten to a point where the opponents have a tough time and wonder if they can get a win?
COACH FISHER:テつ No, I don't think so.テつ They got a whole new cast of players.テつ They've got as talented a group of young players, and I'll underline 'young', that there is in the country.
I told Dave, I said, I'm glad that I'm not going to be around too much longer to have to go against these kids because they've become men.テつ They're good.テつ They're much better now than when we played them the first time in our building, minus arguably their best player in Vaughn.
Sometimes it happens.テつ It goes in spurts and cycles.テつ Sometimes that cycle seems like it's never going to end.テつ I hope it doesn't for us for a while.テつ But they have a group that they know they're going to win.テつ We felt that the whole game.
That's why we've had the kinds of games we've had with them.テつ If they didn't believe they could win, when we get that 12‑0 run, we would have run away with it.テつ They bowed their back and came right back at us.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you very much, coach.
COACH FISHER:テつ Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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