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March 7, 2018

Allen EdwardsI

Alan Herndon

Justin James

Las Vegas, Nevada

Wyoming - 74, San Jose State - 61

ALLEN EDWARDS: We went into the game with the mindset of the first four minutes kind of setting our tone, playing Wyoming brand of basketball. I thought we came out with that. So obviously moving into the second half was the same message, playing the first four minutes, and then having to carry over.

Thought our guys did a great job of doing that, and because of it we took the lead and gave ourselves an opportunity to rest some guys, obviously getting prepared for tomorrow.

Q. Justin, 9 of 9 from the field. Perfect. Just feeling it? Talk about that. Ever had a game like that?
JUSTIN JAMES: I wouldn't call it perfect. I was just taking what the defense was giving me. And my teammates trust me to take and make shots. And thankfully I did. I was getting nice open ones. And there were moments that I would drive and collapse and then kick it out so other players would get open ones.

We played a good all-around game. We'll be ready for tomorrow.

Q. Justin, how much did that spark the team or did you think it did spark it?
ALAN HERNDON: I definitely think it sparked the team. Just his energy that he come out with, and just leading us, like he has this entire season. It's always great to see that. I looked up and I was like, Okay, he's definitely going. The rest of us kind of got to get going, too. So he definitely was.

Q. I guess you guys got out to that ten-point lead at the half. How important was it to come out in the second half and make sure you had that same energy level?
JUSTIN JAMES: Like the coach said, we pride ourselves in the first four minutes of the game, and the first four minutes of halftime coming out. Our goal was to come out and give them no hope and play as hard as we possibly can. And that's what we did. We did have some mistakes, but we played through them and we kept playing Cowboy basketball, and that's why we won.

Q. Quick turnaround, obviously, in these tournaments. What do you need to do to make sure you have that same sort of energy against New Mexico?
ALAN HERNDON: I think partially we were able to do it tonight being able to rest a few of us, myself, HD, and J.J. and even the other guys getting the full rotation and getting those minutes.

I think we're prepared for this. We opened the season in the Cayman Islands where we had to go back-to-back games. I think we understand as a team what we have to do to be prepared to come out tomorrow and give it our all, because it's win or go home.

Q. You've won games here, it's been a while since the team won games in this building. To get the first one the way you did, is that nice to get the first one out of the way and move on to the next one?
ALAN HERNDON: It's definitely nice to get the first one, and of course it always starts with that. Just looking back on those years, we just feel like we didn't come out with the best product. This time we were all about what coach was giving us, and this time it showed and we played Wyoming basketball on the court tonight.

Q. Big game from Justin, you finished 6 of 7 from the floor yourself. How big is it to have so much depth, and especially in a game where you're not getting some scoring like guys like Hayden?
ALAN HERNDON: I think it's our team in general. Teams have to prepare for us, because in any given night it could be any guy. So we always play like that. We share the ball like that and we just always try to lift each other up.

Even though tonight HD didn't shoot it well, he was still out there encouraging guys and being himself. We still want him to take those shots and give him confidence.

Q. You were fighting for the first-round buy at the end of the year, and it didn't work out for you. Is this the ideal way that it could have gone to play a first-round game to get the confidence back?
JUSTIN JAMES: The confidence was always there. It was nice to play in the 20's in the minutes. We know what happened in the regular season against New Mexico, we'll be thinking about it and we'll be ready to play.

Q. Following up on New Mexico, the last time you guys got together, extremely high-scoring game. How do you slow down an offense like them?
JUSTIN JAMES: You be patient, you take what they give you and you make smart plays. We don't play New Mexico basketball; we play Wyoming basketball. Take what they give us, obviously take care of the ball, and be smart on defense and just play our game, and we'll be fine.

Q. Are the Lobos a team you had your eye on coming into the tournament?
JUSTIN JAMES: We don't really see it like that. We just play whoever is in front of us. But like I said, we weren't sad that we're playing them.

Q. How big was it not just to get this win but to come out strong in the second half and kind of put them away, so to speak? We've seen teams this year would make a run. How big was that for this team in this tournament to put them away early?
ALLEN EDWARDS: Again, like the guys were saying, the message was our only focus was San Jose State. We didn't care about after. And we entered the game with the mindset of the first four minutes, putting our stamp on the game in the sense of energy, effort, and playing well in basketball. And then let it carry over. And I thought the same message came out in the second half.

And what was great about it, especially when you start getting into tournaments like this, is being careful of trying to wear your guys down just to win a basketball game. So the fact that we had an opportunity to extend the lead gave us an opportunity to put some guys in the game that didn't play as much, but more importantly rest the guys that we do look for to play a lot of minutes.

Q. Not Hayden's best night shooting from the floor, but he's a guy that's been able to rebound consistently throughout his career and come back from these type of performances. What's your message going to be to him going forward?
ALLEN EDWARDS: No different than what I said to him at halftime. I thought he was rushing and trying to will his shots. And like I told him, he's one of our scorers so it's not like I'm going to sit up there and tell him not to shoot, just let it come to you.

But outside of the shots, was he doing a lot of the other things? And we look at the stat line, I was really impressed with the fact that he had six assists. And we actually tried to go to him early in the first half to try to get him some easy ones before the big ones would come in. But I thought his second half was better. I thought he was a little bit more composed.

At the end of the day with the type of player he is, it's hard to say that he would have the same type of night two nights in a row.

Q. J.J. hit three 3s tonight but overall it looked like he was taking a lot of high-percentage shots. Is that something that's contagious when you have a guy out there taking good shots and making them?
ALLEN EDWARDS: Well, just getting prepared for the tournament I had a good sit-down with J.J. And I actually wanted to play him a little bit more at the point so that he could have a little bit more of a Magic Johnson mentality versus, say, Michael Jordan mentality. Getting guys going and letting the game come to him. And I actually thought he did that. Even though he had 20 points in the first half, I didn't think it was rushed.

I didn't think it was, I'm trying to find my offense type of a night. I thought he really tried to get the other guys involved. Did a great job in the first half rebounding the basketball as well. And then like Al said, when you see a guy playing that way, and doing that type of damage, then you as a teammate, you say to yourself, I have to step my game up a little bit, just to help out with what's going on.

Q. I know the 3s haven't necessarily been there all year percentage-wise for him. He said he's going to keep shooting them. Has that been your mentality toward him?

Q. Yes.
ALLEN EDWARDS: Yeah. Last year he was shooting the three ball over 40 percent. And what I tried to get him to understand was that you're taking different 3s than what you took last year. And what I meant by that was you're just settling, the guy is just standing right there in front of you and you're jabbing shooting 3s or shooting 3s with a late hand.

My thing has always been with any of our guys, if the ball is moving and it touches the paint whether off the drive or in the post and it comes out to you, I would take those 3s all night. But to pop it around the perimeter and nobody is being aggressive and just shoot it, those are not good for us. And I think he understood that a little bit better tonight as well.

Q. New Mexico you played twice, put away the one in Laramie at least defensively. But obviously it's hard to get caught up in the way they play. Is that the major message to the team going into this game, or what are some of the other keys going into tomorrow?
ALLEN EDWARDS: Again, a lot of people looked at the score and said it was defense. I thought it was our offense that really hurt us in the sense of quick shots and turning the basketball over to where they got a lot of breakaway layups or advantage breaks against us.

But even coming into the San Jose State game, my main message to our guys was our best defense is taking care of the basketball and shot selection. It wouldn't be any different getting prepared for New Mexico, because they do want to speed you up. And we're a team that likes to play with tempo, as well. We have to understand at the end of the day advantage versus disadvantage. There's going to be opportunities, just like I told them about this team. They want you to pop it around the perimeter and settle for 3s. Like watching Utah State, they had 40 3s in the game today and ended up losing.

New Mexico is different in the sense they just want to pressure you and get you going fast and then you shoot the ball in 6 to 8 seconds, and was it really a good shot for us? And I think that's what we have to figure out when getting prepared for them. Because if it's not then we have to make them play defense in the half court.

Q. I guess how was Hunter feeling coming into this one? He got in there in the second half.
ALLEN EDWARDS: Just needed to warm up, he's been a little sore. He or actually Lou didn't practice either the couple of times before getting out here.

But there was a point in the game I went down and talked to Lance and see if it was okay to put him out there just to get him going. I thought he looked pretty good, to be honest with you, moving-wise.

But, again, you know, move on, do a lot of preparation for New Mexico tonight. And that will present a different challenge in the sense of style of play is different from San Jose versus New Mexico.

Q. What does it say about Wyoming athletics that both basketball programs have been able to advance to the semifinals now?
ALLEN EDWARDS: Well, I bragged on just the athletic department in general last year. I do believe we do have something special going on at the University of Wyoming, not only just mens and women's, obviously football has done a great job, wrestling has always been good, volleyball has done a great job, swimming and diving has done a great job, as well. Track. If you go down the line there's something about each program -- tennis -- there's something about each program that you can say, Man, they're doing the right thing. And that should be recognized with our fan base, as well.

Excited for Coach Legerski, he comes to my office but I go to his office, he's like a mentor to me, and I was just excited that his staff got Coach of the Year for what they did. And then the performance that they had last night or yesterday coming back from 17 down. I thought that was really, really, really good.

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