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March 7, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
Utah State - 76, Colorado State - 65
JASE HERL: We got off to a really good start. I was really proud of the focus these guys came out with. I thought they executed exactly what we wanted to do early. We knew Utah State was going to make a run, they've got good guards, they're a well-coached team, they run good stuff. It was a matter of them kind of waking up.
Couldn't be more proud of these guys. They've battled adversity all year. It's something that they're going to be better for in life moving forward. That's what these experiences are about, it's not necessarily about this basketball game today. It's what they get out of this experience moving forward. I couldn't be more proud of the way these guys and the way they have handled the situation.
Q. Nico, you played every minute of the game tonight. What does that confidence from Jase do for you when you're in a game that's so tight?
NICO CARVACHO: It means a lot because you know he believes in you, he put me out for a reason, gave him the best way I can.
Q. How tough was what you guys have gone through the last month?
PRENTISS NIXON: It's been crazy tough. I don't think anybody expected what happened to happen, especially not so fast. I think we were looking for answers for a long time and we weren't getting them. But at the end of the day that door was closed. We just had to get out and play basketball at the end of the day regardless of how hard the situation was or how tough it was on anybody.
Q. Along those lines, how important was it to finish with this kind of an effort versus what we saw against Boise State and New Mexico, where it looked like you guys' hearts weren't in it?
PRENTISS NIXON: I think we competed for 40 minutes today. That was the emphasis. That's what coach said, compete for 40 minutes with heart. That's exactly what we did. We came up a little bit short. Credit Utah State, they made some good shots down the stretch. We live with it at the end of the day.
I couldn't be more proud of these guys for how hard we competed today.
Q. Jase mentioned he hoped you guys learn something from this whole experience. I know it's tough to reflect now, but what are the things you'll take away from this season?
NICO CARVACHO: Playing through adversity was the thing. Going to every game and not knowing who the coach was. Playing through it all. Playing for our guys. Playing for the names on our backs and the front of our jerseys. Just trying to go out there and play for ourselves, for each other as a team.
Q. In that 20-5 run at the start of the game you guys were playing really well, defending down low, and they ended up with more points in the paint than you guys did. What did you feel like changed? It's been something you wanted to focus on improving?
NICO CARVACHO: In the second half I think we were playing so hard and trying to put pressure on the good guards that they had that they got in the paint, guards, everybody got in the paint, drove the paint, made some tough shots, all of them. We just applied pressure, some of the times they got by us and that happens.
Q. Just what was that feeling like in the locker room when you realized this was it, this team is done, given all the emotions you guys have been through this season?
NICO CARVACHO: You know, it's always tough to finish the year, especially the year we had. We weren't expecting to have this type of year, we had All-Conference coming into the season.
It's just sad because I love these guys, the person next to me, everybody as a teammate. And it's tough. It's the last game we're all going to play together. I know Jase is going to do great things when he's done here.
Q. Seemed like you played with a lot of pace to start. Was that a key in you guys getting off to a good lead in the game? And was it hard to maintain that throughout the game? I think you only had eight players left.
PRENTISS NIXON: I think we were just playing basketball. We just played free. We had nothing to lose. Just come out and play basketball, and that's exactly what we did.
I think the tide turned when they started rebounding us. As guards we didn't do our job. We can't leave it up to the bigs to rebound. So that's where everything changed, when they started rebounding the ball, and they capitalized on it. For the most part, we just had to play basketball.
Q. Sounds like Joe Parker met with you guys, to talk about what you wanted out of the next head coach. What did it feel like to express your opinions to him, and what are some of the things you're looking for?
NICO CARVACHO: Like we said when we did the practice, we didn't go, he stuck to his word and said he was going to talk to us from now on first. That's exactly what he did. We appreciate that.
Just voiced our opinions on what we wanted, how we see it in a coach. And went through the room and asked all of us three qualities we want to see in a coach, and we all did.
Q. You and Anthony combined for one assist today. Do you credit Utah State's defensive effort more for that or do you believe you and Anthony should distribute the ball better?
PRENTISS NIXON: I think we were playing basketball at the end of the day. We lost by 11 and were down 4 with two minutes to go. Whether one assist or no assist, people still made plays to be in this basketball game regardless. So we played basketball, and Anthony can distribute the ball, I can distribute the ball. That's not a question. There's no doubt in anybody's mind about that.
It just happened. This is what it was today. They made shots. It wasn't about our assists or anything like that. They made good shots down the stretch, and rebounded and that's all it came down to.
Q. We saw Anthony become more aggressive. How big was it? With how close you guys are, was it cool to see him really come alive this year?
PRENTISS NIXON: It was good to see him go out and do his thing. I'm proud of him from where he started to where he is now. And he has so much farther to go. He's a great player, but he's going to be even better when he comes back next year.
Q. Did you leave everything you had on the floor tonight? Can you go away feeling that?
PRENTISS NIXON: Yeah. I can go away feeling like if this was Boise the first time, I'd probably be disappointed in our efforts, but tonight, this afternoon, we left it all on the court. I just couldn't be more proud of these guys.
Q. You had a chance to see Jase in action as a head coach. What do you think of him and his prospects to be head coach some day?
PRENTISS NIXON: No doubt Jase will be head coach some day. When that time comes, time will tell. He's going to be a great head coach. He's going to lead a team to great things. The players are going to play hard. He reaches players on a personal level. Those two combinations are big for a team.
Q. Becky Hammon has been mentioned often for this next job. What are your thoughts on perhaps playing for a female head coach?
PRENTISS NIXON: It's no different if it was a male head coach. We've got to respect her, listen to what she has to say, listen to her philosophy, play hard when you step on the court. No matter if it's male or female, you still have to go out and play basketball at the end of the day.
Q. You guys had a really good start to the first half. It kind of dwindled a little to the half. What was kind of your message at halftime with only a two-point lead?
JASE HERL: I thought we finished the half okay. We talked about that last four minutes, wanting to go in with a lead or be right around there, because in the past the last three- or four-minute stretch at halves has kind of doomed us a little bit.
I felt like we were going to come out with a lot of energy, we did. Eventually that wears off, we're a little thin on the bench and that type of thing. I was proud of those guys. Halftime we talked about just constant effort, multiple efforts, those kinds of things and going out there and competing. Too often we've competed for 20, 25 minutes and not 40. And like I said, I wrote it up on the board and they did that, they competed for 40 minutes.
Q. Che starts the game 4-4 from the field, and then picks up the second foul about five minutes in. Did you consider keeping him in?
JASE HERL: Yes, and then we went back to him and he picked up his third. All three of those fouls were him playing hard. I couldn't ask more from that for Che. He's made a few plays here and there, where you scratch your head like, What are you doing, Che? On his fouls he's had that since he's been there. I thought every foul he had in the first half was just from playing hard, which is what we asked him to do.
Q. How much did it limit you guys to have him and Deion both be in foul trouble, especially late in the game when you saw him attacking the rim?
JASE HERL: It's something we've dealt with off and on. Those guys have been in foul trouble throughout the year. We had nothing to lose tonight, we were going to play them, we needed those guys on the floor. Utah State did a really good job of putting their guys in places to be successful and take advantage of our guys not necessarily wanting to foul.
Q. Obviously it's not your decision at the end of the day, but do you feel you have proved that you deserve to be in the conversation, at least, to be the next head coach of CSU?
JASE HERL: That's not my decision to make. I'm confident in my ability to lead a team and I've done it before. But at the end of the day I trust Joe and those guys, but I feel confident in what I can do.
Q. You guys went with a really small rotation today. Was that more of a product of the game plan or was it just you saying, If I'm going to go out, I'm going to go out with my best players on the floor?
JASE HERL: We wanted our best defensive team on the floor, and that's kind of what it came down to. We got together and talked about what are the best guys that we can put out there to execute our defensive game plan. I thought we could score enough points, but we've been having trouble stopping teams. So we wanted to get the best defensive team out there, so that's the short rotation.
Q. What can you say about this team and kind of the way they've handled what you guys have gone through in these last five weeks or so?
JASE HERL: I think there's been ups and downs with it. I think they're frustrated. I think they found their voice a little bit. And I think they've just -- I think they've started to grow as young men, which is what this whole experience is about. What they went through in a short amount of time, a lot of people don't go through in, say, four- or five-year span, let alone a one- or two-month span.
So I think that's part of life. And I think they figured that out and they've grown from it.
Q. For Nico, he got ten boards but only eight points. How hard is it to see him struggle a little bit?
JASE HERL: Thought he got good looks, I think he got frustrated. But with Nico, he's always going to rebound the ball, and play hard. Sometimes the shots go in and sometimes they don't. Same thing with Deion. But they both had ten rebounds, and those guys went out there and competed and I'm proud of them for that.
I wish we could have figured out a way to get Nico some more touches, credit Utah State for that. They did a good job. Because he's been on such a hot streak, he's like Prentiss now, he's moving up the list of guys when they're preparing for a team that they're going to talk about.
Q. Obviously you would have wanted to win tonight and make a run this week and shock some people. Now that everything is over, is it a little bit nice, a little relieving, after everything you've been through the past month?
JASE HERL: No, I wanted to go back and practice with those guys tomorrow and be back in the locker room talking about Boise State and tonight at the hotel. It's always tough when it ends. You never look forward to that. And like I said, I wish we were heading back to talk about Boise right now.
Q. You mentioned defensively, they started at 1-11, and shoot 50 percent in the field. Where did things go wrong there?
JASE HERL: They started hurting us in the middle pick and roll, they got some good action going side to side, and started hurting us. Koby started making shots. He's a good player. We held him down, basically the last two years we made him take a lot of shots, to work for it. We did a good job at their place. A player like that, you can only hope that you hold him down like we have before.
So once again, they put their players in good positions to make plays, and they made them.
Q. Jase, you had double the turnovers, but you were only able to conjure up two fast break points. What did they do in the transition?
JASE HERL: We had a stretch there where I think it was 20-5, and it felt like we were on a fast break every other play and we never scored. I think they did a really good job of converting back and getting on defense. I think they found our shooters, they spaced out. They played off our drivers. So they did a good job of playing the personnel, and I think that played into it.
Q. Toward the end there did you get a sense there that your team had run out of gas, when they're starting to go inside and driving on you in those final two minutes, looked like maybe finally that everything this team had gone through caught up to them a little bit?
JASE HERL: I don't necessarily think it's the situation that's caught up to them. I think it's the 39 minutes, the 36 minutes, I think that's what it was. They competed.
I mean, like I said, that's what we talked about in the locker room afterwards. For those guys to step out there and do that, Deion 32 minutes. I wish Che could have played more, because he was effective in the minutes he was in there.
Q. J.D. or Robbie today, is there any update on either one of those guys as far as going forward?
JASE HERL: No.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports