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March 8, 2007

Stuart Creason

Dale Layer

Jason Smith


THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by Colorado State head coach Dale Layer and student-athletes Jason Smith and Stuart Creason.
Coach, if you want to begin with some general comments on the game.
COACH LAYER: I thought it was a really hard-fought game. Down the stretch our poise was absolutely terrific. We did what we were supposed to do: jam the ball to big Stuart, reward Stuart for outrunning everybody a couple times, which is typical Stu. That's kind of a joke (laughter). We call him the Jet. Stuart was an absolute man, I thought won the game for us with his toughness.
Then Jason with his offensive glass work there down the stretch. It was a team effort. I thought when we get these two guys scoring a lot and other guys throwing up sevens, eights and nines, we get a lot of productivity from a lot of different people.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Stu, what got into you?
STUART CREASON: Well, I saw Jay was in foul trouble. He's our leading scorer. He's very important to our team. We needed something. Got him in foul trouble. I figured I'd return the favor and just go at them as hard as I could and I think it worked out.

Q. Stu, you seemed to be able to get position whenever you wanted. Were you in a zone?
STUART CREASON: Well, maybe a little bit. Before the game, I was kind of watching The Mountain, they always show Luke Nevill's field goal percentage and not mine, and mine is over his, so I was a little mad about that (laughter). No, just kidding.
Yeah, I felt in the zone. That's all I ever what I work on with Coach Pete. Get in position. It was kind of coming natural, I guess.

Q. Jason, being in that kind of foul trouble, still putting up the kind of numbers you did, I think you only played about half the game. What were you thinking when you were out there and trying to keep from getting the fifth foul yet making sure you did what your team needed?
JASON SMITH: When I was out there, I was just trying to keep poise. I was trying to stay calm and not worry about if we were going to win or lose. I just knew I had to keep on fighting when I was out there on the floor. When I wasn't, I just had to be a team leader on the bench.

Q. You played 39 minutes. How did you manage 39 minutes with four fouls while he only had to play half as many minutes as you?
STUART CREASON: Well, actually I didn't even notice I played that long. I was on the radio and they told me that. They said I looked a little tired at the four-minute mark when San Diego State called a timeout.
But, like I said, I hadn't noticed. I kind of wasn't thinking about the fouls either. I was just out there playing. I wasn't ready to see my seniors, Cory and Freddy, go. I mean, I was just out there playing. Wasn't thinking about anything really (smiling).

Q. Jason, could you describe the sequence on the play in the last minute where you missed, got the rebound...
JASON SMITH: I was really determined to try and score. I was not going to let anything keep me from scoring. I knew I had four fouls, but I just went out there aggressively, and it worked for me.

Q. Did you think anything about the last team to come through here was your '03 team, which was the sixth seed as well? Have you thought anything about that, following the same path?
JASON SMITH: That was our main focus for this game. Our coaches have been stressing that. 2003 they did it, why not now? Why not us?
STUART CREASON: Well, another thing we had focused on is I believe only one time in Mountain West Conference history has the first place team taken it, and almost every other year there's been some big upsets. Like Jay said, why not us? Why not now?
THE MODERATOR: We'll let you two go. Questions for Coach Layer.

Q. Looked like there was no pressure, but at the same time you have to come out and play. You know you're playing a team that has a higher seed, but your kids seemed pretty relaxed. Tell us about the turnaround and the preparation for this one.
COACH LAYER: We battled adversity several times during the game. The Aztecs are a team that are well-known to us. I don't know that we have played them really, really well all year. I was hoping that we would have our best game tonight, which we were close to it.
But our guys have battled through adversity a lot this year. We're accustomed to weathering storms. We talked a lot about that before the game, that we know the Aztecs, they're a team of runs, weather it, because we can make runs back on 'em.
I thought that, you know, with the Aztecs, I was thinking, and I think our team was thinking, that if we made it close, we hung in there, that we might be a little more relaxed than they would be down the stretch because maybe the pressure would be a little bit more on them. Not sure if that's true or not, but that's what we were thinking.
I thought we just stuck to our game plan for more minutes tonight. I thought our guards were terrific. You know, Stu and Jason get a lot of accolades, but somebody had to give them the ball. I thought there was a stretch there in the second half we had eight post feeds in nine minutes.
You know, that's the kind of stretch that allows us to weather the three-point barrage or the fast-break opportunities that they typically get.
We had to drive it down in there, and fortunately Stuart had a hot hand. I thought that was probably the difference in weathering those kind of storms.

Q. You are kind of earning a reputation as giant killers. Coming off such an emotional high tonight, how do you get your team back up to play tomorrow night against a tough UNLV team?
COACH LAYER: I don't know that we were much of a giant killer last Saturday here. They were awfully good. This is their home court, whether they're dressing in their locker room or not. They're very confident here.
They're a terrific basketball team, well-coached. They've got a senior-laden team. We struggled with them last week, if you were here. We've got to be able to handle their pressure.
You know, when you're in tournament play you just keep rolling. You don't have time to get tired. You don't have time to think about anything other than preparation for the next game. Everybody's adrenaline's rolling. That's just the fun of tournament play, and that's why we're here.
But certainly the Rebels will be a huge challenge for our basketball team. We haven't been close to them yet this year. You know, we're hopeful to play our best game. Hopefully they won't play their best, because if they play their best here at Thomas & Mack, not many people are going to beat 'em.
We're going to have to do some things to slow 'em down, we're going to have to do some things to handle their pressure better, because they really had their way with us on Saturday.

Q. 36-25 rebounds. You have to be really thrilled with that.
COACH LAYER: We're a nationally-ranked rebounding margin team. It's not an aberration, but it is certainly something we had to do to win tonight.
I thought we had several unsung heroes on the glass. I thought Tim Denson, Xavier Kilby, Tyler. We got some rebounds from some guys other than Jason and Stu.
When you can do that, Jason's going to get his, and there aren't many to get when Jason's around, but in his absence those guys stepped up in a huge way.
You know, when you get stops you got to finish plays. I thought we did that more consistently.

Q. You were able to come out at the start and really find some seams, and the guards were able to drive to the basket, get those easy dish-offs. How were you able to get the discipline to keep doing that over and over? Seems like it's been missing in recent games.
COACH LAYER: We had a few more seams there. Our patience was better. When your patience is better, you move the ball side, topside. You have an opportunity to spread 'em out, make 'em move, maybe get 'em out of position a little bit, and take advantage of that.
We did that last Saturday. But Joel Anthony cleaned up most of it. It's not something we're not doing. I think the last three weeks we've probably been doing more of that and probably executing it better. You know, it's a bad taste in your mouth from last Saturday when we did it and weren't rewarded too well for it.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
COACH LAYER: Thank you.

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