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March 7, 2018

Jean Prioleau

Ryan Welage

Jaycee Hillsman

Las Vegas, Nevada

Wyoming - 74, San Jose State - 61

JEAN PRIOLEAU: I thought we battled in the beginning of the game. It was an offensive game in the first half. They were shooting the lights out. I think they were in the 60 percent range for most of the first half. And then it dipped a little bit to 53 percent. We were up in the 56 percent range and then it dipped to 46 percent. Those are pretty high numbers. And we shot it well from three. So it was pretty much an offensive game in the first half.

I don't think either team was happy with their defense. They went on a 10-0 run to start the second half. We just couldn't stop them and we weren't able to score, and that's when it went to 20. And we were never able to regain our composure or just get back into the game.

Q. Coach mentioned it was an offensive game in the first half. In the 10-0 run did you do anything different, what was the difference for you guys not getting that run stopped until the lead was really extended?
RYAN WELAGE: They just hit shots. Credit them, Justin James went 9 for 9 from the field, Hayden Dalton hit some shots, Herndon hit some shots. They came out and they hit like four shots in a row and then we weren't able to go down on the other end and score. So, again, just credit them.

Q. Jaycee, can you talk about just the way you finished this season, the last five or six games and what that might do for you heading into your senior season next year?
JAYCEE HILLSMAN: It was definitely a confidence booster, playing well, seeing all the hard work pay off. But at the end of the day it's about wins. And I have to look inward and see what I can do better for us to get more wins next season. And I'm sure we'll do the same thing.

Q. What do you think this group can do looking ahead to next year with you and Jaycee coming back? And what we saw from Keith Fisher, the way he progressed throughout the season, what do you see for the future?
RYAN WELAGE: Yeah, and again, Jaycee had a great finish to the season. Had a great season overall. Keith had a really good freshman season that he can build on. I thought Noah Baumann shot it really well from three, and that will give him confidence going forward. Caleb played great for us down the stretch at the end of the year.

Everybody individually needs to add more to their game, everybody needs to become better shooters. Everybody needs to become stronger, especially me. That's going to be my main focus in the offseason. I think everybody can add a little bit to the game, to their own game, then as a team we're going to get more and more comfortable with our offense and our system, which will be nice, have a full offseason to really work on our offense.

Q. You were recently recognized for All District honors. How do you think you performed this season and in this game, especially?
RYAN WELAGE: Thank you. It was an honor to receive that. I just really want to credit my teammates and coaches. Obviously without them none of that would be possible.

As far as for my performance, I think I played pretty consistently. Unfortunately I wasn't able to do enough to get us a win in this game.

But, again, I just want to focus on the offseason. I'm going to work on becoming a better shooter, better ball handler, and getting stronger. That's kind of my outlook right now.

Q. How do you think the team's communication was today?
JAYCEE HILLSMAN: It was definitely lacking, especially on -- they run a lot of flare screens and back screens and we have to help and talk, and it was definitely lacking. Something we have to get better at. We have to grow as a team.

Credit to coach. He came in in August and he tried to get us together as best as he could, and we just have to learn on the fly. Like Ryan said, with the whole offseason now, we have to learn and definitely become closer as a team, I feel like the communication will come and we'll be older and more experienced.

Q. With the way James played, nine for nine, and obviously stopping him from scoring was hard. Is there other ways he contributed? How tough was that for you guys tonight?
JEAN PRIOLEAU: Well, he's a really, really good player. He's a First Team All League player. He had it going tonight. We tried to stay close to him, but that opens up driving lanes to get to the basket. If we helped trying to stop him he's pitching it out for guys to shoot wide open 3s.

And that's what great players do. They make guys around them better, and he does that, and he's just a tough matchup for us, especially when someone is that hot during a game.

Q. How well do you think you communicated with the team in today's game?
JEAN PRIOLEAU: I thought I communicated really well. I've been communicating with them the whole year. Like the players said, I took over late. We had a player leave three days before school started and I basically tried to put the hole in. And it's been a communication process the whole year with our players trying to figure out what's a good combination for us, combination of players then style of play, defense, what works for this particular team, what doesn't work for this particular team.

At the end of the day the message was to just try and play as hard as you can each and every possession.

Q. You said a couple of times on the bench that you guys were getting the ball right where you wanted to, especially in that first half.

Q. Can you just talk about the nature of the offense and how you guys were getting the looks you wanted.
JEAN PRIOLEAU: Right. Absolutely. Well, first, Wyoming does a great job of switching up defenses. They have a really good zone and then they switch and go man a lot. But our offense is predicated on playing inside out. So we were actually getting the looks that we needed, we just couldn't finish, which has happened a lot this year. We are a work in progress, but we're getting better.

Ashtin Chastain wasn't shooting the ball very well in the beginning of the year; last ten games he's been shooting 57 percent from the field. There are little things and spots that we are getting better at.

And, again, we did get the ball where we wanted to. We even got wide open shots, we just have to be able to knock them down, especially when another team is playing as well as they were offensively. Sometimes your best defense is your offense, sometimes. We don't live by that rule, our program is going to be based on defense and rebounding. We out-rebounded them by two, but couldn't stop them, so our defense let us down tonight.

Q. Not being able to stop them, is that a tip of the hat to them how hot they were?
JEAN PRIOLEAU: Absolutely. And that happens in tournament play. I tried to explain to our guys, even though we're a work in progress and we're trying to get better each and every day, guess what, when it gets to the end of the season everybody else is better. Every coach is telling their players, we have a chance to win this thing, we're a good team. We beat such and such, either the upper end of the league or beat teams in your league. Everyone feels they have a chance.

When you get into this type of environment it comes down to being locked in and playing as hard as you can every single possession, a lot of energy.

Q. Keith Fisher fouled out of the game. How tough was that to lose Keith, especially the way he's played against Wyoming this season?
JEAN PRIOLEAU: He's had a great season. We depend a lot on him. It is unfortunate that he got in foul trouble. He picked up two, I had to put him on the bench because I can't afford to have him in there in the first half with two fouls and he picks up another one, that's three. I had to sit him the first half. Second half he picked up another one, and then he picked up his fourth and I had to get him out of the game.

It's tough because he does a lot for us. He's a high-motor player, good kid, plays hard every single possession. And after the game I told our guys in the locker room, I said, you know what, even though he was in foul trouble -- and tonight just wasn't his day today. And that happens. That happens sometimes. But I told our guys, we need to have that type of motor and that type of energy every single time you step on the practice floor and then in a real game. That's how much he means to us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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