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March 10, 2006

Steve Fisher

Brandon Heath

Marcus Slaughter


THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and begin first with San Diego State. Joining me on stage, head Coach Steve Fisher, Brandon Heath, Marcus Slaughter.
Coach, if you want to begin with some general comments.
COACH STEVE FISHER: I'm extremely proud of how we competed and fought, especially down the stretch and especially with how we guarded and rebounded the ball. If there's a better rebounder in the country than Marcus, I haven't seen him, and I hope we play him. He got some balls that he had no right to get because of his just "I'm going to get the ball."
And I don't think you can look at Brandon's numbers; you got to look at when he makes important baskets. And he did that for us down the stretch tonight. And at the end - I'm going to talk out of school - I was going to take Brandon out with six seconds to go because I thought he was so tired. And he grabbed me and he said, Please don't. So I didn't. That was with about 20 second to go, not 6 seconds to go.
So it was a great win for San Diego State. These are hard losses. I told Lon, I said it's hard, I know it's hard. But I'm extremely proud of how we fought and competed and found a way to win against a team that did exactly the same.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, coach. Next few minutes let's direct questions to the student athletes.
Q. Brandon, can you talk about what you saw as that ball bounced to you on the three that you made that put your team ahead?
BRANDON HEATH: Our team did a great job of going after 50/50 balls. And once we got control of the ball, our team was very unselfish. John Sharper had to look at basket, but instead he passed up that shot, make the extra pass because I had a better look. That was basically what it was, winning a 50/50 game down the stretch and being unselfish as a team.
Q. Marcus, are you fatigued after that many rebounds in two games? Now is it all will and wanting to keep winning and not refusing to lose and not get balls?
MARCUS SLAUGHTER: No, I never get tired. We're trying to win a championship right now. And coach said to win a championship, it takes defensive rebounding, and we showed that today, and we're going to continue to show it throughout this tournament. I'm not tired. I still want more.
Q. Marcus, can you talk a little bit about the effort of UNLV coming back in the second half like that playing the way they did. You guys handled them well in the regular season.
MARCUS SLAUGHTER: We knew it was going to be a battle going against UNLV. From last year, them coming back at our house, beating us. This year, it was a tough game playing against UNLV, knowing they run up and down. They had a great fight out there. They didn't give up. We knew they wouldn't give up. At the end we made some plays we needed to make and got the victory.
THE MODERATOR: Fellows, we'll let you two go. Thanks very much.
Q. Coach, can you comment further on the offensive contribution of these two?
COACH STEVE FISHER: I'm sorry. I'm going deaf, I think.
Q. Can you comment further on their performance.
COACH STEVE FISHER: Brandon has been a guy that demands the ball when winning is on the line, and he's made a ton of big-time baskets. Marcus is someone that, he gets to the free-throw line, double figures every game. So our thought was if we could throw it to him and he had a little patience, we can get him to the free-throw line. And those were the two guys we wanted to play through - not that they had to shoot it, but they had to touch it.
Q. Steve, you fouled. It worked out probably as you imagined or hoped it would.
COACH STEVE FISHER: Well, I didn't tell them this, but I had thoughts of a year ago when we had a three-point lead with six seconds to go. I told him exactly what I thought they were going to do and try to get it on the run. And we said, We have to foul them, we have to foul them. I'd like to foul them just as they're crossing mid-court to burn two or three seconds, but you have to foul them.
And Brandon three times said, Do you understand the game plan? We've practiced this some, but to do it in practice and carrying it out in a game sometimes it can -- you can lose the thought. But we did a good job. And Matt did a nice job not fouling him immediately so we were able to eat up two or three seconds.
Q. Can you talk about the significance of Amundson fouling out with 2:48 to go?
COACH STEVE FISHER: It was obviously a huge piece to the puzzle when Amundson got his second foul and sat 8 or 9 minutes in the first half, and then went on the bench. He's a hard guard. He's a tough guy in the post and they play through him. He can get to the free-throw line.
I thought we did a really good job with our post double. But in your post double there's a potential for a quick swing and an open-three point look, so we were able to not have quite as many of those situations when he, A, got in foul trouble in the first half, and then, B, fouled out.
Q. Coach, obviously we got a game to play, but can you talk about the Utes, and when you played them the second time, what did they do to be so successful against you?
COACH STEVE FISHER: Be real honest, and no disrespect to the Utes. I'm not thinking about them at all right now. We're going to go out and scout two teams. They beat us at our place and played very well doing it. I didn't see in person, but I watched the game last night, and they earned that victory over BYU.
And whoever we play, we will have every bit the battle that we had tonight.
Q. Coach, your team's best path to the tournament is to win tomorrow, but what do you look at as far as some of the other teams in the conference as far as NCAA berths?
COACH STEVE FISHER: Obviously the winner of the game tomorrow tonight gets the automatic bid, and it will be us and either Utah or Wyoming. Air Force has a resume that has to merit entry, and so does BYU. So those are the other two teams that right now could make a strong case. And hopefully there will be people that argue the case for whomever, that there should be multiple entries into the tournament from the Mountain West Conference.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, coach.

End of FastScripts...

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