home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 15, 2018

Brian Dutcher

Malik Pope

Jalen McDaniels

Trey Kell

Wichita, Kansas

Houston - 67, San Diego State - 65

THE MODERATOR: At this time we'll get a statement on a very heartbreaking loss.

COACH DUTCHER: It's always bitterly disappointing when a season ends, especially when you feel like you have good basketball left in you. And we over came a rough first half, fought them the entire second half, fought back to tie the game. It's March. We had a March-type shot to win the game and didn't go in. We're going home. And we're disappointed over that.

Congratulations to Houston. They fought hard, too. That's what happens this time of the year, two good teams fighting hard to the end, and they got one more play than we did. And we're going home and they're moving on. I'm so proud of my team, the effort they put forward today. To come from 13 down in the second half and fight all the way back in the game and have a shot to win it in the end, I couldn't be more proud of a group than I am of this one.

Q. Trey, there wasn't much time, but you were able to get your shoulders squared and get a shot in there. Could you just explain that sequence and the kind of look you wanted to get and the kind of look you did get.
TREY KELL: Yeah. We have a play for that. It's called home run. Like you said, I got a good look. Simple read. It's either catch it and throw it to the guy streaking to the corner or if I have a good look, turn around and square up and shoot it. And I wasn't able to knock it down.

Q. Trey, obviously Gray had a huge night, but it wasn't like he was making open shots. He was making ridiculously contested shots. Is there anything at that point you can do as a defender? Isn't it sort of the job to try to make take hard shots?
TREY KELL: Yes. He made tough shots all night. But good players do that. It's always easy to look back and say you could have did some things different, but just like you said, he's a really, really good player and he made some really hard shots.

Q. Back to Trey, I think in the first half you guys as a team had 10 turnovers and then you had one turnover the next 17 1/2 minutes. How tough did you make it on yourselves collectively in that first half in terms of ball security, and how much did taking care of the basketball allow you guys to get back in it in the second?
TREY KELL: Yeah. That was something we talked about it at halftime. We're usually a team that doesn't turn the ball over a lot, and in the first half we did that. And we felt like that led to some easy baskets for them. So that felt like that was part of the comeback. We took care of the ball in the second half. And that's why we were able to get back in the game.

Q. I got one for Malik and one for Jalen. Start with you, Malik. You got your fourth foul pretty early in the second half, and you didn't come out. What was going through your mind? And I'm assuming you did not want to come out.
JALEN MCDANIELS: You know, you just gotta keep playing, even though I had four fouls, just had to keep playing, don't give up. It wasn't worth. You can't give up just because of four fouls.

Q. Same thing for you, Malik?
MALIK POPE: Pretty much telling myself and Bug to stay disciplined, you know. They were calling some gimmes, so it was just pretty much on us. And we just had to come out and make those corrections, stay out of foul trouble, finish the game strong.

Q. Maybe for Malik, you know, that first half with all the turnovers and Coach mentioned that 13-point hole that you guys came back from. There was a sequence where you jumped on a break situation, came down with the ball, could have went up with it and you kicked it out for the three. In that moment it seemed like body language of a lot of guys on your bench changed. Did you think that might be a moment when you get over the hump or were you waiting for that moment when collectively you might get over the hump?
MALIK POPE: Yeah. We were pretty much waiting. You know, Devin was having a difficult time early on, and we just told him to stay confident, stay aggressive, and you just gotta know time and score situation. And at that time I saw Devin it was an open shot, and he was able to put it down.

Q. Other two guys had played in the NCAA Tournament. You hadn't. What did you learn about playing in this tournament in a game of this magnitude, and how will you take that to carry on in your career?
JALEN MCDANIELS: You know, it's not going to be given to you. You just gotta go out there and play hard. Every team is good out here, so just gotta play hard, play great defense, you know, just stick to the game plan.

Q. Circling back on the difference in turnovers in both halves, in the first half those turnovers created a real hole, and in the second half it allowed you to get back in it. Compare those halves and what looked different to you in those halves in terms of how you took care of the ball or didn't take care of the ball?
COACH DUTCHER: Yeah. Obviously you can't turn the ball over ten times in the half and expect to have great success. We felt a lot of them were we just were careless with the ball and some of them were obviously forced by Houston, so there was a mix of them.

Then the second half we played with two turnovers, and that allowed us to get back in the game. The first half they ran out on us. They had fast breaks. I gotta imagine the majority of those were off turnovers.

So once we stopped turning the ball over and turned it into a half-court game, they struggled more to score against us in the half court than they did on the break obviously.

Q. Talk us through the decision to keep Trey on, Gray, obviously, he was scoring a lot, but he was making contested shots, and Jeremy seemed to have a pretty good spell against him there. But did you want Trey in for the offensive end?
COACH DUTCHER: Yeah. You walk the fine line, offense for defense. I would have liked to give Trey a minute here, you know, and let Jeremy sub in. But seems like we were always playing catchup the entire game.

I just felt Trey was so good offensively, making plays for other people that I couldn't sacrifice having him out of the game. And then a lot of what Gray did was tough. He made tough contested shots. We provided a lot of help on ball screens, tried to stop his momentum going forward, but I think the three-point shots were kind of the daggers. We know he's good going to the basket. But I think the four threes were huge for him when he bounced up and made those.

Q. Seemed like in the second half when you guys mopped up the turnover ball security stuff, you had a stretch there where you just couldn't hit a free-throw or you were missing the front end of one and ones. What did free-throw shooting mean as you guys were trying to climb back in this one?
COACH DUTCHER: Obviously in a close game you can't miss 14 free throws. That's an awful lot to miss. So we left some points on the free-throw line obviously. If we could have made a few more of those, the outcome might have been different. But that's basketball. You have to step up there and make them when they're important.

And we've done that for most of the year. We've been a pretty good free-throw shooting team, and we shot free throws here every day in practice, whether it was 20, 30, make 30. We shot them. Made sure everyone knew they were important.

But you see all these teams in all these games, the pressure free throws are different at this time. So I wish we'd have made a few more of them. I was so proud of the guys attacking and getting to the foul line. We were very aggressive. And, you know, in the first half, you come in at halftime and you say, well, what should we be running different offensively, and you think, my goodness, how many layups are we going to get to the rim and not get in the basket? And I thought we had great opportunities, and I told the kids at halftime: Just get your swagger back. Know you're good and take those same shots, run that same action and this time finish.

And I thought we did a better job finishing and drawing contact in the second half than we did in the first half.

Q. Dutch, obviously no loss is fun, particularly in this tournament, but is it better because -- is it mitigated because of the way you came back and fought back and tied the game, or is it worse because, as you just said, you left a ton of points on the table, you had a lot of unforced turnovers and all the missed free throws that you could kick yourselves about?
COACH DUTCHER: I think it would have been worse if we'd have just got beat by 15. Even though a loss is a loss. I think my team showed its character. You know, and sometimes -- I said this all during the year. It's like hard work and character, sometimes you're not rewarded for it all the time. But when people see it enough and you do it enough, eventually you're going to be rewarded for it.

So I think our program showed great character, and that's a great reflection on my three seniors that played their last game in an Aztec uniform. And it's a great formula for the future with all these new kids that they got a chance to fight in this environment, know what it's about and have that hunger to come back and do it again.

Q. From your vantage point, what did you see with the look that Trey got? And then on the release, what did it look like to you out of his hands? I guess that last sequence?
COACH DUTCHER: You know, it's funny, you work on that play and we call it home run. It's the length of the floor pass, and you work on it and then you never use it. You never use it and then the opportunity comes. And I thought we executed it great. I mean, at that point in the game to throw the length of the floor, catch it at the top of the key and a turn shoot from your senior captain to win the game, you can't have a better look.

So I know Trey was probably heartbroken it didn't go in. But there's no play you're going to draw up to get a better look than that with length of the floor and one second to go. The kids executed it for something they hadn't done all year, and did it at that moment and the ball didn't go in.

And that's March. I mean, I watched Loyola beat Miami today and rolls up knocked deep three down. And there's going to be a thousand of those moments. And the ones they're going to talk about the most are the ones that go in. And when it doesn't go in, it's heartbreak.

But it's March and it's the NCAA Tournament and that's going to happen eight or nine more times in this weekend.

Q. Had you not made it to the NCAA Tournament, there was a chance that you could sort of break this chain of having players in your roster who have played in the tournament before. You might have had nobody left next year on next year's roster. Now that you made it, you're a first-year head coach, how important is it to your program now to have a roster full of guys, particularly some freshmen who have played in this environment and this tournament?
COACH DUTCHER: You know, talent is one thing, and we obviously have that. I mean, we have some wonderful players coming back. And desire is another thing. You can have talent, but then you have to want to direct it towards something. And now they have something to direct it toward, which is getting back here.

And the route may be different. Maybe we'll be good enough to play magic basketball all season and get an at-large earlier. Maybe we'll have to fight through the conference tournament. Every team is different. Every path is different. But like Coach Fisher always says, we have a program now. We're not a one-hit wonder. Been seven of the last nine years of the NCAA Tournament. I thought we should have gone two years ago when we were 16 in the Mountain West and I think 28 and 10 overall.

We've had good basketball. We'll continue to have good basketball and we will try to recruit kids that this is the goal, to win titles and hang banners. And like I said, our goal was to make it to a Final Four, to win a national championship.

So was this team good enough? I guess we'll never know. But it was awful good. So all we can play for now at this point is send our seniors off with congratulations and get our underclassmen started to work next week already and work toward next season.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach, for your class and professionalism.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297