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March 7, 2018

Tad Boyle

George King

McKinley Wright

Las Vegas, Nevada

Colorado - 97, Arizona State - 85

TAD BOYLE: Let me first start by apologizing to Arizona State for what happened at the end there. I take full responsibility for that. It's not something -- we certainly weren't trying to rub it in their face. We haven't gone over that situation a lot, and that's my fault as a head coach. But we'd never want to take a turnover, but we don't want to maybe throw an alley-oop lob and make somebody feel like we're showboating.

So anyway, that's on me, that's not on these guys. That has nothing to do with them. That's totally on me. So I wanted to cover that.

Then it was a hard-fought win for our guys. I couldn't be more proud of our players and the grit that they showed and the toughness that they showed, from really start to finish tonight. We beat a good Arizona State team. A team that's got talented guards. I said it before the game, their bigs continue to get better.

But our team's got heart, it's got fight, and I love coaching them. Especially when we play aggressive like we did tonight. When we're at our best, we're aggressive. These two guys and the rest of those guys in that locker room were aggressive both offensively and defensively.

Q. You withstood some runs by them. They came back at you a couple of times, and you had a 10-0 run that kind of gave you control. What's that say about your team to keep coming back from that?
TAD BOYLE: Yeah, look, Arizona State, and I said this before the game, too, they're never out of a game because they shoot the three so well.

I thought our defense and Remy Martin on a couple of those threes was pretty good. It's just he made tough shots. They've got guys that are capable of making tough shots, so you're never out of the woods against Arizona State.

But I thought the key to the game, we had four stops in a row. I think it was 66-60. We opened up a six-point lead. We talked about it at the time out. These guys came out, and I heard McKinley talking to his teammates about, hey, let's get one more triple and we can break them. I don't know if we did or didn't, but I know we were getting stops, and we were getting buckets, and we broke that thing open. That was the key to the game.

Then we bowed our back when they did make their run. Good teams are going to make runs at you, and Arizona State's a good team.

Q. When a situation like what happened at the end of the game breaks out, what is exactly going through your mind as a coach?
TAD BOYLE: Just, I don't want anybody to jeopardize future problems in terms of being suspended or ejected or things like that. Now, Namon Wright left the bench. That is an automatic ejection. That is something we've talked about.

But I don't want the emotions to overtake the moment, because we had fought so hard and played so well up until that point. I just don't want it to reflect badly certainly on our team, our program, our university. Because I know what these guys are about. We've got a very sportsmanlike team. There's been times in the past this year where guys have been knocked down. Our guys reach down and pick them up. But to me, that's the way the game should be played.

So I just, again, I take full responsibility. We shouldn't have dunked a ball, and that's on me. I'm not mad at our players. I'm mad at myself.

Q. As you were rushing out on to the court, given that you were limping a little bit after, it seemed like you might have pulled something? What happened there?
TAD BOYLE: Yeah, I think -- well, the doctor usually doesn't give an injury report on the coach, but the doctor said I've either torn or strained a calf muscle. But it felt like I got -- felt like somebody hit me with a golf ball or shotgun there as I ran out. So I don't know what happened. But it doesn't feel too good.

But the win makes it feel a lot better.

Q. Talk about the guys sitting next to you there? The freshman took over down the stretch when you needed some help?
TAD BOYLE: Yeah, players make plays. I thought the three he hit kind of in front of our bench where he kind of rhythm dribbled. I don't know who was guarding him, but he hit that three, when he hit that, I'm like, okay, we've got this thing in the bag. It's not going to be easy. We had to finish it out.

But he's got -- I've said this before, McKinley is going to will us to some victories this year, and today I think was a good example of that. He willed us. He wasn't the only one. His teammates were a big part of it. But I've said this before, and I'll say it again. People think I'm crazy, but I wouldn't trade this guy for anybody in America.

Q. Looking ahead to Arizona, you guys obviously beat them in Boulder, tough game at McKale. What has to happen for you guys to get over the hump tomorrow?
TAD BOYLE: Well, I think we've got number one with Arizona. You talk about defense. You've got to be able to stop them because they're very potent offensively. They're the best offensive Arizona team we've probably played against since we've been in the Pac-12. Obviously DeAndre Ayton is a heck of a player. But they have other good ones. Ristic is terrific. Trier is back, shooting well.

To me it's all about our defensive game plan, putting that together. Coach English has been, obviously, scouting them and watching them as the season has progressed. But Arizona's well coached. They've got great talent, and it's a great opportunity.

But we've played well against them both times. I thought we played well in Tucson. We didn't win. But our guys rose to that occasion.

Q. For both players, what does it mean to come here and get a win and make sure you extend your season at least another day?
MCKINLEY WRIGHT: It's huge. We talked about it before we got on the plane to come here that it was win or go home. And I just tried to stress to my teammates that I didn't want to let the seniors go out like this and we didn't want to be back in Boulder tonight. We just came out and fought really hard and we came out with the victory.

GEORGE KING: It means a lot. I mean, just piggybacking off what McKinley said, we didn't want to lose our first game and be back in class Thursday morning. We like it out here in Vegas, so hopefully we can get three more.

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