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March 14, 2019

Marvin Menzies

Amauri Hardy

Joel Ntambwe

Las Vegas, Nevada

San Diego State - 63, UNLV - 55

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by UNLV head coach Marvin Menzies and student-athletes Amauri Hardy and Joel Ntambwe. Coach, an opening statement.

COACH MENZIES: Let's begin with congratulations to Brian and his staff and the players over in San Diego. I thought those guys played a gritty game and made some runs, and they did the right things to keep the scoreboard in their favor.

Their defense was really good, as evidenced by our shooting percentage of only 32 percent. However, I thought our defense was really good as well. We held them -- I don't think I've ever had a game where we held a team to under 30% from the field and lost. So, this is unchartered waters for me. That's amazing.

But obviously the fouls were what they were. And getting to the free-throw line made a significant difference, especially late in the game. And we're just very disappointed as a team, as a staff, and as a men's basketball program that we didn't come out successful. Thought we had enough weapons to do it but they had a few more bullets tonight.

So, we will open it up for questions at this point.


Q. When you're struggling to shoot like that, do you start pressing after a while when they're just not going?
AMAURI HARDY: For me personally I don't press after a while, being we was getting stops. In a game like that, you just hope they fall and continue to play hard and hopefully the shots fall in your favor.

JOEL NTAMBWE: I think we played hard but they just made some big plays, and they got the lead and won the game honestly. But at the end of the day we did what we're supposed to do; we held them to shoot 29, or under 30 percent. We did a good job, but they made big plays.

Q. Amauri, what's it like to be in a game where you know the shots aren't falling but you're one possession off in the entire game up to the final bell. You were in the game, but the shots weren't falling. What was that like?
AMAURI HARDY: Stay the course, gotta stick together. Make sure we keep our communication high for the most part. The game was fairly close. So I wasn't really worried about my shots and I don't think my teammates was either. So in a game like that you just gotta keep grinding until the clock go down.

Q. Coming down the stretch there was a lot of emotion from Kris and Noah. Once Coach addressed the team in the locker room, what was the message from the seniors?
COACH MENZIES: The seniors didn't talk in the locker room.

Q. Devin Watson gets that three-point foul and you obviously know it on film, seen it, played them twice on the pump fake that he does. How hard is it as a player in that situation -- it's easy for us to sit there and go, why are you fouling him with one second left? How hard is it and how good is that pump fake because everybody seems to go for it?
COACH MENZIES: Is that to me or who is that to? Joel had one where you caught him. Can you answer that?

JOEL NTAMBWE: I think we had a great scout on him. But he's such a good player. He pump faked and I went for it. And they called a foul even if I didn't foul. At the end of the day he's a great player, and he went on the line and made his free throw.

COACH MENZIES: We'll take a look at them. And I think the officials called a good game. I thought they did a good job. I'd like to review those just for my own professional edification, and then we're always trying to get better, both the officials and the staff and the players.

So that's a tough call because the guy, if he's come down and he's landed, then he has the right to his verticality, the defender. If he's still in the air and the offensive player creates the contact going forward, then he still has his verticality. But he's not in legal guarding position until he lands, which makes it a tricky call.

We lost a conference championship on that same exact play against Utah Valley one year when I was in the WAC. And it's a tough call. It's a tough call to get on a player and it's a tough call to call as an official. So we all are trying to do our best to do the right things, both sides of the coin.

So there's nobody's fault and I think Joel nailed it. He's a good player and he got guys up. Kept his butt down, got the ball above his shoulder and really sold the shot. That's what makes it a good shot fake.

Q. Coach had said he felt disappointed in today's game. Wondering what your overall thoughts are on today's game and then what you're thinking about next season, what's possible?
AMAURI HARDY: We played a great game, like I said before. For the most part I haven't really thought about really next year, trying to get over the loss right now. But the future is bright for all of us. The future is bright for Coach. Future is bright for me.

Once again, we played this team again. We played them down to the nail and unfortunately we couldn't get the win, but it is what it is.

JOEL NTAMBWE: Actually, I haven't thought about nothing right now. So I'm just going to let it be the way it is. We lost. I just gotta go back home and get my mind right. And that's all about it and talk to the coaches and that's pretty much it.

Q. Is the most frustrating part for you just a basket here, a basket there you probably win the game -- just all those missed opportunities?
COACH MENZIES: Pretty much. Pretty much. Just a collective set of emotions, you know, from seeing Noah and Kris leaving to just feeling bad for the guys, you know, not playing well offensively. We just didn't put it all together. We did some really good things.

Man, these last games of the season are always tough. There's a lot of people already eliminated. And we're one of those teams now. And it's a lot of lessons and a lot of opportunity to grow and learn from, not just your season but how to handle defeat when you lose too.

We just want to make sure that the guys stay together and stay a brotherhood and pick each other up and do the right things going forward. A great bunch of kids. Class acts, you know?


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