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March 11, 2017

Larry Eustachy

Prentiss Nixon

Gian Clavell

Las Vegas, Nevada

Nevada - 79 Colorado State - 71

COACH LARRY EUSTACHY: Well, it was a great game. I'm so proud of these guys right here to my left. Give Nevada a ton of credit. We lost by 8 and we spotted them 9 early. I don't know if we were nervous or what it was. But Nevada is a very, very good team. I wouldn't be surprised if they don't go into this tournament and win some games.

But I'm most proud of our guys. They battled. They battled. They never gave up. They fought through a lot of adversity that was happening out on that court. They were perfect, perfect professionals out there. I thought they handled themselves extremely well. So I've had NCAA tournament teams that I haven't had the joy or the respect I have for this group of guys and what they've been through. And we still have some more basketball to play.

But give Nevada credit. They grabbed some balls that made the difference in the game. I thought our guys played through a lot of adversity that was going on out there, missed shots, some turnovers, frustration, not grabbing the ball. So this is a special group that I will always remember. I can't speak for Gian or Emmanuel, but I don't think we want to stop playing. I think we want to keep this group together as long as we can. I would assume we're in the NIT, and we're anxious to see what happens there, and how far we can advance. It's a special group.

Q. What was it about this team that every time you guys got way down you were able to fight back and keep in it, even right up the end, you and Prentiss hitting 3's, and just kind of refusing to go away?
GIAN CLAVELL: We just played with a lot of heart every game. We don't want to lose. We want to do whatever it takes to win. Whatever it takes we're going to do it. And just we're playing with heart?

Q. A lot of guys kind of wrote you guys off as a team after the news that you'd be without the other three guys. What has it meant to you guys just to get to this point? I know you didn't finish, obviously, like you would have liked to, but still an impressive run, winning 13 out of 15, closing the season with only 7 scholarship players.
PRENTISS NIXON: It means a lot to us and the coach and the community. We go out every day and compete, no matter how many guys we have on the roster that are active to play. This team had the most heart that I've ever seen, as a team I've ever been on, the most heart. It won't stop. It won't quit ever.

Q. There was a huge foul disparity between the two teams in the second half. I think at one point Nevada had taken 30 free throw attempts and you guys had only taken 3. Is it hard to keep your composure in moments like that when you're constantly being called for fouls?
GIAN CLAVELL: We don't worry about that. We worry about playing basketball and playing the right way.

COACH LARRY EUSTACHY: I think our guys, I obviously got a technical. I called a timeout -- legally you can step out on the court and talk to your team during the timeout, and a guy from half court called me for a T. What you have right now are officials trying to make the NCAA tournament. And we're noted for a team for not fouling.

So it was very frustrating for these guys and the coaches. But I thought all of us did a great job of handling it and playing through the issues of the discrepancy and still getting it into a basket. Most teams would have lost by 30 points. But these guys just played through.

We kept constantly talking about it, in spite of all the things that are going wrong, you're not getting this, you're not getting that, just stay with it and that's what I'm talking about. With just two seniors and all these young guys, they really handled it well.

And it starts with me. And that's where I was disappointed with the technical, because I wasn't -- you want to protect your players, obviously that's your job. But I just -- I think I've had one technical in three years. So I was walking out to get our team together to calm them down, and from right field I got hit with a T. So I'm going to talk to Bobby about that after we're done here. So I'm kind of confused on what the rule is there.

Q. Did you get any type of explanation whatsoever on the technical?
COACH LARRY EUSTACHY: The guy that I went -- as I walked out and talked to the players, he came up to me and said, I didn't call it. I don't know why it was called. That was told to me by one official.

Again, I think you've got guys -- not only teams are trying to get in the NCAA tournament, so are officials. It shouldn't be about the coach or the officials. It should be about these guys right here.

And we really stress not fouling. And I think we probably made more free throws than the others have attempted all year long. So it's kind of out of character to have 30-3 you said. It's not the reason why we lost. We're not blaming the officials by any means.

But the technical is a little confusing. And I also thought that our guys really handled some very physical play that didn't really go our way, obviously with the 30 to 3 discrepancy. That's what makes me so proud of this group. Gian said yesterday, we've been trying to be broken in many ways, but we haven't been even bent.

Q. A lot of people talked about how the Mountain West is a parity-filled league, and anyone can win it. Having played Nevada now twice in eight days, are they a cut above everyone else, would you say?
PRENTISS NIXON: We played them tough twice. They lost four games in conference, like everybody else. I wouldn't say they're above anybody. This conference is wide open, every conference is wide open from the start to the finish.

Q. You guys go on this incredible run to end the regular season and you went a couple of games here. How tough is it to come that close to accomplishing something that is so meaningful?
GIAN CLAVELL: It's always tough. You always want to win. You want to go to the NCAA tournament, that's your goal all the time. Yeah, it's tough, but we've got an opportunity to play with this team together and that's what I'm looking forward to.

Q. How glad are you that you came back and you guys had this run, just playing with Coach one more year?
GIAN CLAVELL: I'm extremely grateful for everything he's done for me. I couldn't ask for a better coach, a better person. It's special. You guys don't see it, because it's behind closed doors, but if he goes anywhere I'll go with him. I've always said it. He's just a coach, a father figure. He's just there when you need him. It's something special that you guys don't get to see, but it is something special.

Q. How much does the way you guys bond together, practice, how much does it make you tough to be able to just handle some of these situations where you're down by 13, like last night you come back and win? You're down by 17 late in the first half tonight and you come back and you actually tie the game and have a chance to win it late.
PRENTISS NIXON: I think that the bond that we have makes us fight for each other, no matter what's going wrong, we're going to fight for each other, no matter what. We got to fight to the end, no matter what is going on the court. Off the court we even have each other's back.

Q. How good is that Nevada front line?

Q. That's obviously how they won the last two games against you was Oliver and Caroline, just some of the things they're able to do.
COACH LARRY EUSTACHY: They're good. Prentiss -- this is a tough time to talk to young men right now, but I think they're a little cut above everybody in this league. I also have to exclude us. But they are. They're very, very good. And if they hadn't beaten us, they wouldn't have gone to the tournament, and that's a joke. This is an NCAA team.

So, I mean, you pick your poison with them. We go with Marshall and Oliver, and then -- Drew, Nevada is relevant. And Eric Musselman, him and I had a great talk today. He's a heck of a coach. This league is just, for some reason you get a stigma that you're just kind of okay, and it's really not. That's a really good team. They manhandled a very good Fresno team.

So I think they are a level. No. 1 coach in the league, him and Coach Fisher. I think Eric does a terrific job. And to blend guys from different schools that have been in different places, I mean he's certainly -- he's my coach of the year, that's for sure. So give Nevada a ton of credit.

We had them, but we couldn't get by them. But there's no disgrace losing to them.

Q. You've been a National Coach of the Year, been to the Elite 8. With all your accolades, does anything in your mind match what you did with this team this year?
COACH LARRY EUSTACHY: No, it's a special group, and they'll always be a special group because of all the events that have happened. You don't judge a team off wins and losses. I think you judge them, have they reached their potential. This team has probably overachieved more than any team I've ever had. It's up there.

The Elite 8 team doesn't conquer this team. Neither, or, take your pick. But it's a good question. Like I just told them -- there were a lot of tears in there. You guys will always be really special to my heart. We've had each other's back. And I think we had some basketball left. Last year's team was kind of burned out with Tiel and Joe had logged so many minutes for so long. And Emmanuel was hurt.

I think this team wants to play, so we'll see what happens. But it's a team I'll always remember. You don't have a net to cut down or what have you, but you have memories that you won't ever forget.

Q. You just talked about Nevada clearly being a team that's worthy of the NCAA tournament. Is your team worthy of it? We all know it probably won't happen, but from an outside standpoint, is your team an NCAA quality team this year?
COACH LARRY EUSTACHY: I know we can beat teams that are going to go to the tournament. I know that. And unfortunately, this is going in a different direction. And we found that out my third year here when they're trying like heck to find reasons to get the Georgia Techs in the tournament. It's all about money. We all know it is. And they're trying to slip seven or eight out of the Power 5's. And it's sad what's happening. They're trying to figure out a way not to let Middle Tennessee in, when really, that's the true story of the NCAA. It's the Hoosier story.

Yeah, I think our team would -- I would guarantee if we got to play all 64 teams we would have a .500 record. I mean, we can play with most teams in the country. Now, you have your elite of elite, but not really. The way this team plays -- and Nevada is the same way, they can beat anybody on a given night.

So, yes, but unfortunately, it's going the wrong way. You're eliminating those great stories of Butler. Those things aren't -- they're just not happening. What was the team that if they hadn't -- oh, Andy Enfield's team from Florida Gulf Coast, what is it? They had to make two miraculous shot to win their conference tournament and then become the dunk brothers or whatever they called them. And they went to the Sweet 16. And they threw some shots in that wouldn't have even qualified them if they hadn't done it and then won the conference automatic bid.

Maybe they should lengthen the tournament to 90-something, and you'd have some real Cinderella stories. But it's going the other way. It's like football. It's like everything else.

But not Colorado State. Colorado State is relevant, very relevant. When you beat San Diego State three straight times and you make it to the championship, we have made our mark. We've won 110-something games in five years. I go in to homes now and it is a completely different response to when I first went in here and tried to recruit guys.

We can get involved with four- or five-star guys. We can get involved with most people in the country. So I really accomplished what I set out to do and stormed the court the last two games. So we're on the rise, as is Reno, as is a lot of teams. This league is going to be very good with a lot of the good young players.

Q. Coach, obviously the quick turnaround is difficult for any team to deal with that. You've had the short bench. What does that say about your team, that you're able to take it right down to the wire against a squad with the caliber of Nevada?
COACH LARRY EUSTACHY: You've got to think, they watched our game until the ten-minute mark. They had the same quick turnaround. They only play six guys. It was two similar programs going against each other.

But it's a great point. I was happy because I'm usually asleep -- it was so late last night. But we really weren't that -- I'd rather have played at 3:00 than at 8:00 and waited all day again. So it says a lot for both teams.

I thought it was a great game, very exciting. I thought both teams played really hard. They both left it on the court. It shows you how much these guys have in the tank because, really, 13, 14 guys play and probably ten of them play for the majority of the minutes. So it shows you what these young men are capable of.

Q. What was that technical foul all about?
COACH LARRY EUSTACHY: I don't know what it was about. I did take a timeout because there was a discrepancy and I wanted to gather our team, because I saw them getting frustrated. So I think you're allowed to walk out on the court during a timeout or I'd have a technical every timeout because we seat out on the court. As I was talking to one of the refs another guy not involved in the conversation T'd me from half court.

What I'm hearing is if the main man is watching things right now, the main man that picks the guys that go to the tournament, they're really being scrutinized right now, the officials, as they try to make their Final Four, the officials. So there's motives behind some things. But they're a good crew. Good guys. Just didn't work out.

But I want to make it clear that I probably hold the record for the most technicals of an active coach. But it's been inactive for a long time. I mean, the last two technicals I've had have been under the same conditions. One I call the $300,000 technical at Boise when I stepped out on the court, and it cost us the league championship and an NCAA tournament bid. Joe Parker is here, he knows well -- were you pulling for me, Joe, because you would have owed me $200,000 -- I call it the $300,000 technical. I called a timeout, it cost us the game, luckily this one didn't, and it cost us the league championship and an NCAA tournament bid.

Bobby is in there and we're going to talk to Bobby about it. I'm just glad it didn't -- if anything, I think it helped our team. I said, Bail me out, guys, they did once again, they tried real hard.

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