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March 8, 2018

Marvin Menzies

Shakur Juiston

Las Vegas, Nevada

Nevada - 79, UNLV - 74

MARVIN MENZIES: Well, congratulations to Eric. He's done a fantastic job in a short amount of time with the paradigm that he's selected to go to, which is transfers. And he's been successful with it.

So I want to congratulate him and those guys for getting a win against my guys that were really ready to play today, very feisty.

I thought we took the fight to them, especially in the first half. And we did some really good things to put ourselves in a position to win the game down the stretch. Unfortunately they got hot from the three. And a lot of those were contested shots, which good teams make.

I'll leave it there and go ahead and open it up.

Q. You said a couple of games ago when teams hit tough shots that it can be deflating. Did you feel like you got deflated in that second half?
SHAKUR JUISTON: No. In this case tonight I don't think any of us felt that way. They're honestly a great shooting team when they're hot and when their feet set. Tonight it was just like they're going to make some. But we can't hang our heads, we've got to go down there and capitalize on offense and just pound them aside, get our scores the way we need and then come back and try to make them shoot tough 3s again.

Q. JoJo said after the last game that it doesn't really come down to Xs and Os when you play them. Did they do anything this meeting from the first two meetings?
SHAKUR JUISTON: No, they just played the way they play. I believe we did things different from the second meeting than this time. We played with more heart. We played more with a chip on our shoulder. We wanted to come out and play for the fans, the coaches and the two seniors that we had. So we gave it all we had.

Sadly it didn't come out the way we wanted to, but I felt as though we didn't leave nothing. We didn't second-guess or second chance anything we tried to do tonight, we just played hard. And everything is out there on the Mountain West floor.

Q. Last three weeks you've often said that the group's been discouraged. Did something competitively click today that made you compete with one of the best teams in the west and definitely the country?
SHAKUR JUISTON: I wouldn't say "discouraged"; we were just all question marks. We were trying to figure out what was going wrong and how our season was going downhill from when we were playing good basketball. I just felt when we got the win yesterday afternoon it was just like, All right, we've got our groove back on, we're still in the winning spirit.

So today we just carried over and played with all the energy and heart that we had stored. And like I said, sadly it didn't come out the way we wanted to, but I believe we played hard.

Q. The only other question I have is about the player Kris Clyburn, he started earlier in the year, and went to a reserve position. Can you talk about the excitement and energy you got from him tonight.
SHAKUR JUISTON: Kris is a great player, even better person. That's what coach recruited, he recruited personalities; and then if you've got talent, that's even better.

From him going to playing a lot last year and starting this year and then not starting, he could have easily went to a bubble and had anger issues or could have felt bad for himself. But he was in the gym. He was working on his game. He felt as though one day his time was going to come. And tonight it showed that he just stay poised. He kept hoping that one day he was going to come out and make the shots that he usually made and did the things that he usually did.

Q. On the three that Jovan took at the end, what were you looking to get out of that?
MARVIN MENZIES: What was I looking to get out of it? A make? I don't know if you remember, I called that timeout with like nine minutes or eight minutes or whatever it was left in the game. Maybe not that much, but it was kind of late. But it was my last one. And I messed up.

I looked at the scoreboard, my own scoreboard, and I saw a 2. And I think it was team fouls or something, I don't know what it was. But after I took -- so I called it real quick. Then after I took it the assistant said, That was our last one. What do you mean that was our last one? So I had a little slip there. I think I could have scripted that better at the end.

Cody was really good defensively the second half. And they didn't know the play was coming, but he guarded it really well. And off the baseline he trailed up, and he's just so long, he's got a good defensive position on JoJo. And he knows JoJo could shoot it deep. So he went all the way out there and he did a good job.

The thing that I would have probably, in retrospect, 20-some seconds left, we would have taken a quick two there, as well, but we didn't have an opportunity. So I just put the options in to either go into low post or the mid post off of that particular play. Neither one of those was there, they guarded them pretty well. I wanted to make it, but unfortunately it didn't come out.

Q. I would assume in your mind you kind of have an idea what your roster will look like next year, who's coming and who's going. If you had to say now overall how to get better defensively, what is it that you want to change from here to then?
MARVIN MENZIES: Well, consistency. I thought that we played pretty well defensively tonight, especially in the first half. So it's just the experience. They just need experience. They need to have failures before they have success. It's a part of any business, any corporation, any sport. Failures are a part of growing and growth.

So having gone through this as many years as I have now, I'm really proud of the guys, really proud of them. I thought that they laid it all on the line and did all the things that were necessary in the first half. Unfortunately, the second half we had some breakdowns against a really good team, they capitalize on breakdowns.

Kendall was -- he might be one of the best 3-point shooters I've gone against, coached against. He's lights out. If he gets a look, you're like, Dang it, he got a look, because it's going to go down. He's a talented player.

I think that's one of the things, though, specifically is taking care of the three-point line, and defending the three-point line better. There's some technical things we can do. And you've got athletes and players that can get out there and do that. So we'll continue to teach and learn from that.

Q. You mentioned the last game that some of the turnovers were fatigue based. Is it safe to say that some of the turnovers in this game were a factor of moving too fast at certain moments?
MARVIN MENZIES: To be honest with you, I don't know, I'd have to look and see. I thought some were trying to feed the post. Shakur had one when he had a long rebound, he tried to throw it to Kris Clyburn and Kris stumbled. We had some missed cues that I don't think were forced as -- they played well defensively, don't get me wrong, they played smart. But at the end of the day, we could have curtailed them. We ended up with 14 and we wanted to have 12 or less.

Q. You guys seemed to have a difference in the energy and momentum compared to last week what was getting you going tonight?
MARVIN MENZIES: I think Shakur alluded to it, sometimes you have to get the monkey off your back, against a feisty Air Force team, it shook them and reminded them when we play together and do the right thing. Getting the win, No. 1.

And then the last loss we know we didn't have our best foot forward so that's always disappointing. And I think any competitor will take that opportunity, the next opportunity to prove that they're a better team than they showed. So I was happy to see that.

Q. Jordie picked up his fourth foul early in the second half. How did that change the complexion of the game, and what you wanted to do in the final 15 minutes or so?
MARVIN MENZIES: Obviously that was really challenging, because I had Jordie and JoJo in foul trouble. Both were four, I think, for a large stretch of the game. And I think they got on their heels a little bit not wanting to get that foul.

You can't take it with you, you still have to play solid defense, you just can't gamble. We lost the full-court pressure we applied in the first half. It hurt us a little bit. Fouls are part of the game.

Q. Their decision to put Cody on JoJo in the second half, just how crucial do you think that was?
MARVIN MENZIES: Well, I'd have to really break down the film to know that for sure. How many shots did JoJo take with him on him specifically and how many did he influence and so forth. I don't want to speculate and say it was this. I just want to be truthful, and I don't know that I could answer that right now.

Q. Do you expect Brandon to be back next year?
MARVIN MENZIES: I haven't talked to him yet. We just lost. We weren't going to have that conversation today, for sure. We literally haven't discussed it at all. I have no idea. It will be a family decision on their part.

We'll do some research and background from feedback that we get and we'll make a decision -- the family will make a decision on whether they want to test the waters, return or whatever that is. But I'll let you guys know as soon as I know.

Q. You talked about youth all year and young guys and learning and everything, and I understand in the past the sort of decision-making when it comes into tournaments other than NIT. But if you have so many young guys, why would you not play another tournament if you were offered a bid in the next few days?
MARVIN MENZIES: It's a decision that's made by a lot of people. It's not, Hey, I want to go play in this. It's a collective decision.

So I would have to -- we would have to sit with my administration and my bosses and decide. I don't particularly have those -- to be candid, I don't have the zeal to play in those tournaments for a host of reasons. But just depends on the team, the youth of your team and different scenarios, finances involved, there's a lot of things involved, the state of mind of your guys, the seniors, there's a lot that goes into it. So it's never just a cut-and-dried deal.

But as of right now I don't believe that's our intention.

Q. I remember after the one-point lost against the Lobos a few weeks ago, you said, It was good to see them fight back when we got down. What can you say about the effort you guys displayed on the court tonight?
MARVIN MENZIES: Overall I thought our team battled. I thought we took the fight to them. I thought we played hard. I thought we gave it a great effort. So I'm proud of these guys to do what we've done and put nine new faces together and go out and fight and compete like this.

It doesn't feel good after a loss. But I think after some time and you get to reflect a bit we'll see that we moved the needle in a positive direction.

So just proud of my guys. Proud of their fight. And you can't take anything away from UNR, they had an excellent second half, shot the ball lights out. Eric made some pretty good adjustments against the zone. I thought they got good looks in posting up the guards. Then we tweaked it, then we got some stops. It was a pretty close game all the way to the end.

Q. You guys have faced Nevada more than anyone else this year. How good do you think they are? Do you think they could win a couple of games?
MARVIN MENZIES: I do, I think they're second weekend capability, for sure. They've got to stay health. If they stay healthy, they make the shots from the perimeter like they do, they're a tough out. And I definitely don't know who's going to go from our conference but I think we'll be represented pretty well by whoever that is.

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