March 15, 2023
Dayton, Ohio, USA
Arizona State Wildcats
Arizona State 98, Nevada 73
THE MODERATOR: Coach, just a statement on your team's performance here this evening and a victory, 23rd of the season for your group.
BOBBY HURLEY: It was a complete performance for us. You want to be playing this way at this time of year. That's what it's all about. I truly believe that our schedule and the games we've been in, especially late in the season, prepares you for these type of games. And it was across the board, just everyone contributed. Our defense was outstanding in the first half.
Our bench was really good. Alonzo Gaffney, Jamiya Neal, and Luther Muhammad, all -- we had some foul issues on the perimeter dealing with multiple guys with two fouls, so needed those guys to perform that way, and they did.
But again, we wanted to attack the paint, and we had really good effort in the first half, points in the paint, fast break points, points off turnovers. I don't know what else I could say.
Great job, congrats to Nevada, great season. They still were making shots out there and hitting threes, and they stayed in it, and they never gave in, so credit to them for that.
Q. Des, we talked to you about playing against your former team. Now the game is over. You see how it panned out. What are your thoughts on playing against your former team?
DESMOND CAMBRIDGE, JR.: It was cool. You know, but at the end of the day, I didn't care who we were playing today. I'm just out here to play basketball. Yeah, that's all I have to say on that.
Q. For both players, you guys shot the ball extremely well, defended extremely well. You guys have talked about when you hit shots early, the importance of that to you, and DJ, you hit your first three and kind of looked at your hand there on the third one. What was it like doing that on this type of a stage?
DJ HORNE: It means everything. Especially for this to be my first NCAA Tournament, to go out there and play a game like that, it's definitely going to have a lasting memory.
But yeah, I think when we get off to starts like that, it just feeds on to everybody on the team and builds energy, and I feel like it showed tonight.
DESMOND CAMBRIDGE, JR.: Yeah, I just feel like we're very -- we're a very deep team. Everyone on the team can score. Everyone on the team can do a lot of things. When we're clicking like that, we're hard to stop.
We already play good defense, so that's what we hang our hats on, but when our offense is clicking like that, we're a hard team to stop, and I think that's why we got out to that big lead at the start.
Q. Coming into this game being sent here to Dayton, was there a sense of a little bit of disrespect? Was there a chip on the shoulder coming into today?
DESMOND CAMBRIDGE, JR.: Personally I definitely had a chip on my shoulder, but at the end of the day, that's just the mentality that I have. I try to find things to keep me motivated. But I'm just happy to be here, so I'm not going to say I'm not grateful for the opportunity.
But yeah, I did kind of feel disrespected that we're in this First Four. But at the end of the day, I'm grateful, and we came and did what we were supposed to do, so next game.
DJ HORNE: Yeah, like Des said, I kind of felt like it was a little disrespect, but just happy to be here, happy for our opportunity, and I'm just glad that we won the game. Ready for the next one.
Q. I believe both of you were assisted early on by Warren's passing out of the high post. Can you speak to how his ability to do that really expands the offense.
DJ HORNE: Yeah, Warren is definitely a big presence in the post, and when we need the ball inside, it definitely draws a lot of attention from the defense. We have a lot of shooters, so he really has a lot of options to pick from, and we were just hitting tonight.
DESMOND CAMBRIDGE, JR.: Yeah, W has always been a great passer. He's seven-foot. He's great offensively himself. So with all the attention that he gets and for him to be able to see the floor and pass like that is great for our team, and he's been doing that since I played at Nevada.
Yeah, he's -- what do you call it, a point forward? If he had a chance he would be a point forward. He would bring the ball up, a little Magic Johnson, but yeah, he's great.
Q. DJ, that first half, when was the last time that you guys felt that good as a team just playing collectively like that?
DJ HORNE: Like right off the top of my head, I would have to say the Arizona game. We came out with a win in that one, too. Like I said, when we get off to starts like that, I feel like we're a pretty tough team to beat.
Q. Wanted to ask you guys about playing three games in three days in Vegas and a very quick turnaround here. Obviously you guys didn't show that and you got another game in two days. Are you worried at all about that?
DJ HORNE: No, not really worried. Especially when you're on this stage, I feel like you have to get up for every game, and if you're not, what kind of basketball player are you?
But we're going to do a good job at resting and everything and get on the flight after this, so we'll be ready to play next game.
DESMOND CAMBRIDGE, JR.: Especially compared to the Pac-12 tournament, the games were back to back. And now we have that one day, and I think that's all we need. We just need that one day, and we're definitely going to maximize that time off and get ready for the next one.
Q. Kind of saw on the court earlier Nevada was talking after they made some shots, was that motivation to kind of get them back?
DESMOND CAMBRIDGE, JR.: I would definitely say yeah, they definitely had -- I don't know if it was in their game plan to do all that or if they were trying to get under our skin. But I feel like at the end of the day, that's a part of the game. I've been that guy to get into other people and talk to them. But we were the more poised team I felt like and just were rolling with the punches.
I felt like they were trying to get us out of our game, and the coaching staff did a great job of keeping our head cool and making sure we stay focused on winning the game, so yeah.
DJ HORNE: I agree with Des. I feel like they tried to come out in the beginning and definitely tried to get in our head and everything. There was a lot of energy going into the game, big crowd and everything. So those are the type of games you get up for as a basketball player. But like Des said, coaches and everybody did a good job of keeping our heads level.
Q. Mr. Hurley, one of the great point guards of all time. You're going against Steve Alford. You guys are intense competitors. Do you want to get out there on the court at some point, or do you just try to stick to the mental -- I know it's all about the guys, but what's it like going against a guy like Alford, and what's it like to see your son out there?
BOBBY HURLEY: Yeah, the first part, I know he's a competitor, like you said, and he's a winner and he's been a winner his whole life, so you know you're going to get his best shot. His team is going to be ready and prepared. I don't think it was a matter of them not playing well, I think it was us playing exceptional. I thought that was the story, especially early in the game.
As far as my son goes, it's such a joy to watch him out there. I'm thankful that the guys played this well because those are the behind-the-scenes guys. It's not only my son, it's Micah Burno, John Olmsted, Enoch Boakye, the guys who were in at the end of that game, they're just as valuable for what they bring in practice in supporting the team. So it was cool that they got the opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament tonight.
Q. There were some amazing stats in that first half, 13 assists, one turnover, Nevada turned the ball over like five or six times in the first several minutes. When you're watching something like that, I understand you're focused on the moment, but just the bigger picture perspective of seeing your guys perform to that level on this stage, how did that strike you?
BOBBY HURLEY: I mean, it's your goal as a coach to get your team ready for big moments and ready for big games. I think Michele mentioned about how many games we had to play last week, and we've been on the road every week for almost a month now. So you're concerned about just making sure they had the appropriate energy.
I thought we handled them well coming into this to make sure that we were prepared and the guys got their reps, but with them having a full tank of gas. They had it early. Their activity on defense was outstanding, and then offensively they were moving the ball and sharing the ball and executing.
For us to finish with 21 assists and seven turnovers is what you hope for as a coach, that your team is playing that unselfishly.
Q. With TCU being up next, a very good defensive team that's been in the Big 12, the only team that went into Kansas and won this year, how do you plan to prepare for such a team?
BOBBY HURLEY: Yeah, a lot of respect for them and the season they've had. And like you touched on, the league was rated one of the best in the country this year. I talked about us being battle tested. Well, so were they. I think they play elite competition.
So the coaches will dive into TCU and put together a game plan and try and get out the door here and get to the flight. And it's going to be more mental than physical tomorrow with the guys, but we'll do everything that we can to get them ready.
I'm appreciative that the NCAA allows the game to take place at the very end of the night on Friday because the last time we were in here and won, it was I believe an afternoon game, and just wasn't enough time really for us to physically bounce back.
Every hour counts, and that'll be the focus the next 36 hours.
Q. You mentioned as a coach preparing your team for big moments. When was the moment that you knew they were locked in and obviously playing at such a high level? Was there something early in the game or even before the game that you kind of knew these guys are ready?
BOBBY HURLEY: Well, we had a lot of talk, a lot of meetings, a lot of talking about -- they let us in, and that's wonderful and celebrate the moment. And so many teams -- you can look at a number of blue blood programs that just didn't have enough wins to get into this tournament, so it is extremely difficult to even be invited here.
The fact that these guys did that is pretty special. We celebrated that, all right, let's move on and focus on winning games.
You know, I watched our team yesterday, and we went through the paces here in 40-minute workout, and they were dialed in. Man, every drill, every shot, there was focus, there wasn't no distractions, and I had a sense just based off that alone that we would be ready to play. You would never imagine that they could perform this well on offense. We scored the most points we've scored all season tonight.
But it was the quality of play and the whole team doing it. I can't say I put a guy in the game that didn't contribute tonight.
Q. Going out to Denver, what is one challenge you have to deal with besides the weather? I know the air is thin out there. How do you get yourselves ready for a Friday game?
BOBBY HURLEY: I think everyone has to deal with it. I don't know what elevation Dallas, Texas is, but I wouldn't imagine they could simulate those conditions between now and the game.
It's something that we've had in the past, too. We've had to go play at Colorado and Utah and higher elevation places. So I'm not saying it's going to be easy, and we'll see how we adjust to it, but we were okay this year at Colorado.
Q. You mentioned this when you talked about your team's resume at the Pac-12 tournament. Just winning all the Quad 1 games away from home. Is there something you can put your finger on about this team going away from Tempe that's contributed to their success, and especially when we've seen offensive performances that just pale in comparison to what we saw tonight?
BOBBY HURLEY: It's hard to really say. It's a good question. I mean, I touched on how we'd handled our preseason, going on the road and playing scrimmages on the road and all the road games that we had early in the season, neutrals and roads. We knew we had to be good at winning on the road.
I've said the team likes each other. If you have a group of people that don't like each other and then you have to go spend a few days together, it's not good, and maybe you're not going to have good results.
But I think the team has come together both on and off the court, and they love playing basketball and have a lot of experience, too, guys that have played in a lot of big games. Des and Warren are both older. Devan played in Lexington against Kentucky with that crowd, so I don't think he's going to be that fazed by neutrals or big crowds. Frankie was in the Big Ten at Michigan for a year so a lot of the guys that played key minutes for us were all in these type of environments.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports