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March 22, 2015

Steve Fisher

J.J. O'Brien

Dwayne Polee II

Aqeel Quinn

Skylar Spencer


DUKE - 68

MODERATOR: We'll be starting with San Diego State.

COACH FISHER: I told our team that I'm disappointed that we couldn't have played better, that we didn't play better, but I'm immensely proud of what the program has become, single out our three fifth-year seniors. We got beat up tonight by a really good team. I thought when we fought back in the second half and cut it to 7, I think we had the ball twice with a chance, maybe, but they didn't let that happen. They're very good and they deserve a No. 1 seed and they played like one. We're better than we played tonight, they had a lot to do with it, but we've got a group of guys that compete, believe in one another. And when it ends, it ends so fast because you don't think it's going to end. But the end is here for us. But we represented San Diego State and ourselves in a fashion that a mom and a dad and the university president and the coach could be proud.

MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. Skylar, can you just give us your impressions of Okafor, particularly in the first half when they were able to get the ball inside to him pretty effectively, sometimes on the break?
SKYLAR SPENCER: He's a good player. You know, he's real big and he gets into position. I tried to guard him without fouling him, but I'll take the blame on that one. I allowed a lot of points from him so I feel like I let my team down in that area.

Q. JJ, uncharacteristically we're not used to seeing you guys kind of not look comfortable, they were doing some things to you that most teams don't. What happened early in the game from your perspective?
J.J. O'BRIEN: I think they bothered us with their pressure. They did a good job denying our wings, getting us out of our sets a little bit. So their pressure bothered us early and I think we had some turnovers, some missed shots and they had some runouts and they got some easy buckets. Their pressure bothered us.

Q. Is that just a matter of them being extremely talented, that that happened, because again that doesn't usually happen with you guys?
J.J. O'BRIEN: Well, not a lot of teams pressure like them, so it's a lot to do with their coaching, a lot to do with their players, but that's just their style. We haven't faced a style like that.

Q. Skylar, this question is for you: You're the only guy sitting up there that's coming back next year. I know it's pretty early to think about things like this, but how much does a game like this make you want to get going right away?
SKYLAR SPENCER: Yeah, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I want to get back, I wish the season started tomorrow. I'll think about this L, go back in the gym, work hard in the off season and hopefully we meet them again next year.

Q. AQ, you guys seemed real tentative early, very uncharacteristic of you guys, and then once you guys were behind, you seemed to relax a little bit. Just talk about that a little bit and how were you guys able to get back into it?
AQEEL QUINN: Their pressure bothered us a lot. That's all I can say, their pressure bothered us.

Q. For Skylar, you said Okafor was big and he got positioning, but can you describe what it's like to go up against him?
SKYLAR SPENCER: I played against big players before but I haven't played against anybody that big, with that skill set. It was kind of hard to fight with him and not get called for a foul, so I don't know, I guess I'll come back stronger next year or whatever, but I just tried to bang with him without getting called for a foul.

Q. For Dwayne, you guys obviously hit a bunch of 3s on Friday. What were they doing differently to take those away from you today?
DWAYNE POLEE II: They did a great job denying and pressuring the guards so that it was hard to make certain reads. That's a credit to their defense. And open ones we did get, we weren't able to knock down. All credit to their defense.

MODERATOR: Guys, thank you. Congratulations on a great year. Questions for Coach Fisher?

Q. Steve, I know about the pressure. That's just an extremely talented team and I wonder if that is basically the difference tonight, the depth of their talent, that they can play defense like that and make shots, and you guys are, it's really 50/50 whether you're going to come out shooting or not?
COACH FISHER: What happened to us was created a lot by Duke, but it could not have been a worst scenario for us to get behind so big, so fast early. And we got rocked back on our heels and I think we became tentative a little bit when that happened rather than being smart-aggressive. But we had some pretty good looks that we didn't get to go down, but a lot of it's a credit to how they guard. They do a nice job of guarding, they don't let you get easy looks. But we got off to a rough start. And all that being said, at halftime I said we can win the game, let's get the first basket, let's win the first TV timeout segment. I think we cut two or three points off of it, 13-10, and all of a sudden Malik hit a couple baskets and we cut it to 7. I think we believed then that we had a chance, but to their credit, I think they went back-to-back-to-back on us and 7 became 13 or 14 again and they expanded on it. We're better than we played. Duke made us play that way to some degree, to a great degree, and when we had our open shots, the ones that went in yesterday didn't go in today for us. And we had some open shots, not as many but we had some open looks that we couldn't get to go in.

Q. Steve, I know it's not the easiest time to do this, but I just wondered if you could reflect back on what your guys accomplished this year and maybe what you see for this program going ahead from here.
COACH FISHER: I told them, you must be disappointed. Disappointment is there when you lose, especially when you lose your last game. But to your point, I said the same thing, reflect back with pride on what you've done to continue to elevate San Diego State basketball. And I singled out the three fifth-year seniors, and where we were when they came and how much improvement we've made. And then I said be determined, be determined the rest of you, that you're going to come back and do a little extra to get a little bit better, and knock on the door again. We will find a way to work our way into Sweet 16, through a Sweet 16 and you can be the group that does it. But they've done a wonderful job all year in representing San Diego State in terms of how they treat and deal with people, to how they go to class, to how they compete as a basketball player. So they've done a wonderful job representing themselves and our university and I'm proud of that. Disappointed that we're losing today, it's there for all of us.

Q. What were your impression of Winslow and Okafor, were they better than you even could tell on film?
COACH FISHER: They've been pretty good on the film that I've watched. I knew they were good. They've he got a team full of very good players. Okafor is a load, he's hard to guard. I think we gave him two, three, four that were too easy, but he's good. He's very, very talented. And again, he's not the Lone Ranger. Winslow can play. They've got a terrific team and they played like a No. 1 seed today.

Q. Can you talk about how you guys have relied on your defense all year, one of the best in the country but they still were able to come out and shoot in the mid 50s from field goal percentage, and even high from a 3-point range. What were they were able to do that they were able to score almost at will all night?
COACH FISHER: They got it to the rim a little too easy on us with their guards, with their quickness to get by us and get to the rim. That hasn't happened the way it did tonight. We say guard your man, keep him in front of you, be responsible. And when they would get in the gaps, somebody would step over to help a little bit and then they did a great job of finding the 3-point shooters and all the while they're throwing in an Okafor every other time down the floor and he went to work on us. He went to work.

Q. Steve, I just wondered if you could address real quick the news of the illness kind of sweeping through your bunch?
COACH FISHER: Everybody knew that AQ got sick at shootaround on Thursday before we played on Friday. I don't know if it was a bug, they initially thought it might have been food poisoning, but it hit a lot of people from coaches to players to coaches' wives and that's not fun to deal with that, but that had no impact on how we competed, what we did, how we played. That had no bearing on it.

Q. You had a pretty great freshman class at Michigan, and this Duke freshman class is pretty good as well. Can you compare the two a little bit? I know it's a ways back, but can you talk of this Duke freshman class and how good they actually are?
COACH FISHER: They're very, very good. I don't like to compare anything, but they are a talented, well-coached group that compete hard and that's what you have to do, no matter whether you're a freshman or a senior, but they're very, very good.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

COACH FISHER: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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