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March 9, 2017

Steve Fisher

Jeremy Hemsley

Malik Pope

Max Hoetzel

Las Vegas, Nevada

San Diego State - 87 Boise State - 68

COACH STEVE FISHER: We played really, really good. I think that's obvious. The first half was both teams playing exceptional offensive basketball. We couldn't stop them consistently nor could they stop us. And we finally in the second half got a few stops, got a little separation, played smart, found a way to do what others were saying, Where have you been all year, make baskets. But we did it the right way.

It's obvious that Malik was a pretty hard guy to guard. And we did a good job of finding him. Max Hoetzel had five 3's against him in the first game. He was no secret. They knew he could shoot. He had five more tonight.

We played the best we played all year, and we picked a nice time to do it. This was a good college basketball game. And we are moving on tomorrow, play a team that's beaten us twice.

Q. Can you talk about, are you okay? What happened on that play with your knee, are you okay?
MALIK POPE: Yeah, I'm fine. It was real minor. Still talking with the doc. Everything should be good. I think -- I'm not sure if it's a minor hyperextension, but it should be good. It's nothing to be worried about for me or my teammates or Coach Fish.

Q. Did you bump knees?
MALIK POPE: I was on acceleration to block a shot. I don't know what happened, but something got tied up down there and it didn't work out.

Q. Last night here someone was asking if you were soft. And you kind of took offense to it a little bit. Did you carry that over tonight, because it looked like you were playing with that comment in mind?
MALIK POPE: I mean I wouldn't necessarily say I've been playing aggressive just at tournament. I just feel like I've been battling with what I've been fighting all year, which is small injuries. But I'll be fine. Little injuries won't stop me. I'll still be aggressive. It's really what the game is to me. I love the game.

Q. You guys get the win last night, obviously in an ugly fashion. However, you put two halves together and complete offensively. Defensively you shut them down in the second half. Is this a relief to win be able to ugly and to be able to put a complete game together?
JEREMY HEMSLEY: Of course we're happy to at least -- we're happy to be moving on. I wouldn't say it's a relief. We played hard. We fought. We were down in that first game we played and we fought back. And this game we gave them I think five or six 3's in the first half. And I think they only got two in the second half. It's a fight. It's not anything we really need to be relieved about. We're basketball players and that's what we need to do. We need to fight. Whatever the outcome is, if it's a win or loss, it's something we have to deal with. If we do a good job of fighting and never giving up, then everything will work out?

Q. 13 of your first 15 shots came from inside the arc. Was that by design at all?
MAX HOETZEL: I think a common theme for us moving into March was to play inside out. We have threats like Malik, who tonight was just clearly unstoppable in the post. So, yeah, I think that when we get the ball into him it was just clear that he could just play aggressively on his man. And if somebody collapsed he could go down and kick it to one of our shooters. I wouldn't say it was by design, it's just how it happened.

Q. Max, that was a career high. Did you sense that coming? You had a lull. Was there anything that gave you an indication that this game was on its way?
MAX HOETZEL: No, but what I'll tell you before this game, I'm sure any of our teammates or Coach will tell you, there was a collective energy and vibe that everybody was ready to go. It was a great feeling, it was something I've never felt all year. And I'm just hoping we can carry that into the next few games.

Q. How much do you guys want this other shot at Colorado State given how the two games turned out earlier this year?
MALIK POPE: Oh, very bad, come on. Buzzer beaters for both games. We've kind of been itching to play them. We're going to come out with an aggressive strategy, I'm pretty sure, and leave it all out on the court, basically.

Q. Everyone who played in today's ballgame scored a basket. What does that say about the team's depth?
COACH STEVE FISHER: We've got good players, so does Boise. We're unafraid to go to the bench. And when we go to the bench we expect somebody to come in and give us a lift. That happened last night with D'Erryl Williams. We're not here tonight without D'Erryl's play last night. Forget about points.

And tonight Zylan Cheatham has been a starter. He played great. Max Hoetzel has been a starter. He had a career night point-wise.

We've got a team that's capable. We've got a team that competes. And tonight we made baskets, and we're all there. We've not been a team that's made baskets with regularity this season. Tonight we did. It didn't stop at halftime.

Part of that, I think, was we made a conscious effort to make an extra pass, don't shoot hard shots. We took 14 3's against them and made nine. And 14 of them -- 12 of them were wide open. And we stayed with it. So it feels good. It feels good to play well and have success. And that's what we did tonight against a very good team.

Q. You guys disrupted First Team All Mountain West Player Hutchison, can you talk about Dakarai's effort on him defensively?
COACH STEVE FISHER: Dakarai Allen is a delight to coach. All he cares about is winning. In his career we've called one play for him and he's never batted an eye. All he wants to do is find a way to win. He can guard. He takes great pride in that. Chandler Hutchison is a terrific player, he's a hard guy to guard. Dakarai stayed in front of him.

But it was a collective effort. Dakarai was not on him to start the game. We had -- we were worried about Reid shooting the three. So we started Dakarai on Reid. So I think it was a good team effort. Dakarai had him quite a bit. But we had a lot of guys conscious of, Where is he, don't let him drive it to the rim. Make him take hard 2's.

Q. Malik said his knee is nothing, it's a minor thing. Then he also said hyperextension, which is usually not a minor thing. Do you have a sense of what it is and what his status will be for tomorrow?
COACH STEVE FISHER: I have no idea. Obviously I'm concerned. Everybody is. When you have a guy that has had a lot of missed time because of injuries and he hobbles off, you're worried. So rather than speculate on it, we'll wait and see. Hopefully he will be able to play. But I don't know anything more than what you do, to be honest with you. I've not talked to our doctors. I'll find out more a little bit later.

Q. How do you see the matchup going with Colorado State given the kind of games you've had with them twice this year already, going right to the wire? What do you think is going to be the key to this one?
COACH STEVE FISHER: See if we can play a 39-minute and 49-second game and we'll be okay. They're good. They're well coached. Larry Eustachy has done a magnificent job with that team. They're shorthanded. They play with an edge. They play with a leader in Clavell that brings energy to the whole group. And we're smart enough to know we're going to have to play and play for 40 minutes. The two games won't have any significance on what happens tomorrow. They are as determined as we are to be playing on Saturday. So hopefully we'll play well. And we'll see what happens. But we're playing a really good team.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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