March 10, 2005
JIM MILLER: We're joined by San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher; No. 1, Brandon Heath; and No. 42, Marcus Slaughter. Coach Fisher, begin with some opening comments.
COACH FISHER: We have continued to fight but had a hard time winning, as everybody knows. We lost six straight. And to the credit of our team, they continued to fight this in the midst of all that. When we lost we weren't quite as bad as some people said. Now that we finally got a win, I would say that it was justly deserved and well earned. And we played hard. We guarded them fairly effectively. We made it hard for them to get clean looks at three. That had been a real problem for us in the past. It was a great victory. We couldn't have won if Marcus had not been able to play. We have come back. I thought both Marcus and Brandon gave us great plays and important plays. It was a good team victory. So we're thrilled.
Q. Marcus, when you guys came out in the second half, Brandon had two steals, you had one. You are going to win or lose forcing your tempo, playing your way. Can you talk about the defensive intensity forcing them to win the game?
MARCUS SLAUGHTER: The whole year we were playing one half, twenty minutes. The second half we weren't playing as hard. The coach told us to come out and have an aggressiveness. We have got to have a complete forty-minute game. Tonight we did that. We started off strong and that carried us through the whole second half.
BRANDON HEATH: Like Marcus said, we were playing hard the first half and ten minutes in the second half. You can't do that. You have got to play forty minutes. The keys tonight was defending the rebound. Marcus gave us a lot of second-chance opportunities and things like that.
Q. Did your recent history change the way you guys played the last few minutes of the game?
BRANDON HEATH: Our recent history had a great deal with how we ended the game. We have been in that situation sometimes. Tonight I think it showed.
Q. Did the toe bother you? It looked like you banged knees for a little bit. Can you talk about your health and your game on the inside on the boards against them?
MARCUS SLAUGHTER: I got hit a couple times; it started to hurt. I wanted to win so I did what I had to do to help the team win.
Q. Coach Fisher, Walton and Sharper came out for five shot attempts. Was this more of a symptom of their denying the ball or Brandon and Marcus basically taking over?
COACH FISHER: You have to be able to take and make shots that prevent this. I thought we had some good looks for a lot of people. Our plan was to take them off the dribble quite a bit. I thought we were very effective doing that. We did a great job rebounding the ball offensively. Everybody in the league knows Sharper is a great catch-shoot player. I thought Chris did a good job of moving the ball, not trying to say I have to get a shot because I haven't had a shot.
JIM MILLER: Any questions for Brandon or Marcus? I'll let you two guys go. Any other questions for Coach Fisher?
Q. You probably haven't thought about it. You have to play tomorrow night against a team that beat you guys twice. You start believing if you win a game. Obviously you hope your kids have that going into tomorrow night against that team?
COACH FISHER: Winning helps you feel that you are going to win the next one. I told our team after the game. I packed enough to have three ties and three shirts in anticipation of playing games. Now we get a chance to play the second game. New Mexico is playing as good as anybody in our league and maybe better the way they have finished down the stretch. We have to do that and then some if we have an opportunity to beat them. We can. I know we can. If we can guard and rebound the way we did tonight, we will have a chance.
Q. Obviously it is going to be something you have to take a closer look at, twelve turnovers between Marcus and Brandon. Can you consistently win when that happens?
COACH FISHER: I hope we win tomorrow. I don't care how many turnovers we have. You have to have poise under pressure. They were coming out at us hard late in the game. We made some not-so-good diagnoses some of the times. You can't have a turnover that leads to another turnover. I thought we did a good job at that.
Q. Is that something that comes with maturity over the years?
COACH FISHER: That comes with making plays when you have to. It doesn't matter if you are a freshman or senior, you have to find a way to make plays. You can't turn the ball over. When you do, you can't dwell on that. You have got to run back and make a stop. We had some turnovers, but so did they. What I am most proud of is that we were able to fight through the turnovers when they made a rally on us and come back to make a play to keep the lead, which is so significant.
Q. I know Coach Mooney thought it is on the officiating, I heard them the whole time. Any thoughts on that?
COACH FISHER: I am sorry?
Q. With the officiating, Coach Mooney was complaining about the officiating going your way.
COACH FISHER: I want every call. You don't get every call. You compete. You fight for your team. You let your conscious be an advocate for the players and you find ways to play and play at whatever style and level they allow you to play at.
JIM MILLER: Anything else for Coach Fisher?
COACH FISHER: Thank you.
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