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March 15, 2008
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations to tournament champion UNLV. Coach, if you want to just open up with some thoughts on the game.
COACH KRUGER: Awfully proud for our guys. I thought they just did a great job. I thought BYU had control in the first half. And I thought that flipped and we got control early in the second half.
But for 40 minutes, you had players on both teams, I thought, competing really, really hard. And, again, just very happy for our guys. These three guys at the core of everything, of course. Couldn't be more proud than we are for them.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Wink, can you describe the confidence you were shooting with when you scored 14 straight points there in that stretch in the second half.
WINK ADAMS: I think after I hit the first one, you know, kind of was -- Curt drove, created me the shot. I hit another one. I kind of got a lot of confidence. My teammates believed in me, told me to keep shooting. I was just able to knock them down for my team.
Q. How exactly did you grab so many offensive rebounds?
RENE ROUGEAU: I think just us, you know, really wanting it. Coach always talks about whoever wins this game, you know, is the person who wants it the most.
So I think, you know, us being smaller, quicker guys, we definitely have to work our defenders. So any opportunity, extra opportunity, is a good look for us. Definitely going hard to the boards always helps us.
Q. René, they held you in check in the first half. What was the difference in the second half?
RENE ROUGEAU: I just tried to get the jitters out. And at the same time, you know, coach drew up a real good play where he basically got a lot of confidence in me to attack Plaisted. I just have to take my time. I got a lot of confidence in myself. I was able to, you know, try to drive and kick more, try to check Plaisted. He did a good job on me; the whole BYU did in the first half. I was struggling. I was glad coach drew up a few plays for me and let me go ahead and attack them.
Q. Could you perhaps talk about playing in front of your home crowd in the tournament?
CURTIS TERRY: Well, it definitely helps to be able to have the tournament in Vegas. But it was pretty loud out there both ways. Early on when BYU went on their run, it seemed like, if not half the crowd, almost all of it was for BYU. Again, when we made our run late in the first half and the second half, it seemed the other way.
I thought it was a great atmosphere. Both teams played really hard. The fans did what they're supposed, cheered their team on to victory, at least tried to.
We just go out there and play the game and let the pieces fall where they may. The atmosphere out there was unbelievable for a championship game.
Q. During this entire tournament, Curtis, you spent 16 seconds on the bench. What kind of toll did that have on your body? What does that mean about you and the NCAA tournament?
CURTIS TERRY: I'm young, still. I'm only 22. So, I mean, I'm just gonna play as long as I can, as hard as I can till I can't do it any more. I'm getting enough rest at night, eating good. Coach asked me if I needed a blow. I told him I'm okay.
As long as we're still winning, just hope we can keep winning and keep being on the court. As long as we're getting the job done.
Next week we're just looking to get rested and get ready to play.
Q. Was there any thoughts of last year's game when you trailed by 16 and 11 today? What was going through your minds at that point?
RENE ROUGEAU: Basically it was just like last year all over again. When we went in at halftime, we were down, we just said to ourselves, This happened last year, how we were down big. But to only be down by four, that was kind of a relief, you know, because BYU, they're real dangerous when they have a big lead. They play with a lot of confidence.
We definitely didn't get our heads down. If anything, we came out with a lot of motivation and hunger and fire those first few minutes.
Q. Curtis, four-year guy, a senior. Talk about your thoughts this being your last game on this court.
CURTIS TERRY: It means everything to me. To come here four years ago, when Coach Kruger and the staff first got here, the whole motivation behind the whole UNLV basketball program was to turn it around and take it back to where it was many years ago. Slowly but surely we've done that. Last year we made a huge leap. Then this year again we did the same thing.
For me, I felt like I had four senior nights out here, last week, then these three games this weekend. It felt the world to me. To play with these guys a couple more times in Las Vegas. Now we have to take our show on the road and get ready and just keep playing. For me, play as long as I can with these guys and just have fun.
Q. Consistently you have been a very strong team in the second half. What are your thoughts on always having to come back going into the tournament?
RENE ROUGEAU: I think, you know, just us wanting to get more I think definitely helps that. We want to win this whole thing, especially it being kind of your home turf. You kind of want to protect home court. At the same time, you know, winning the tournament championship, that's an automatic bid. Nothing's assumed.
So we definitely wanted to win it just to get an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. Last year was such a great experience. We definitely wanted to do that all over again.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, good job. Congratulations.
We'll continue with questions for Coach Kruger.
Q. A lot of the players for BYU got into foul trouble. Trent Plaisted, Sam Burgess, Lee Cummard. How did that affect your strategy when you were designing plays during the timeouts?
COACH KRUGER: I think that kind of put BYU in a little trouble. Any time you have to deal with that, I think it hurts what you had planned on doing in the course of a ballgame.
Again, any time you're in foul trouble, it disrupts what you're trying to do.
It didn't change too much what we're trying to do. I think we came out wanting to be about more aggressive in the second half, wanting to attack a lot more, really regardless of who was out there we wanted to do that.
Q. You set up a play for René to start the second half. Did you feel it was important to get him involved in the offense?
COACH KRUGER: I thought it was. René has been such a big part of what we've been doing from an activity standpoint. I thought the first two or three possessions in the second half, Curt and René made a lot of good things happen, created some open shots. We knocked those down. I thought that was a big lift for the rest of the guys as well.
Q. Talk about that stretch Wink went on in the second half scoring 14 straight points.
COACH KRUGER: Like you said, he knocked down that first one. The next two or three he had in rhythm, I think everyone fully expected them to go in. Just a straight stretch run at a crunch time of a championship game.
Wink is not shy about stepping up there. He likes that role, that responsibility. Couldn't be happier for him.
Q. With this big win today, how well do you think this will help your seeding come NCAA tournament time?
COACH KRUGER: I have no idea, of course. I think it would probably jump it maybe one from whatever they were thinking, maybe two. I don't know. I don't know where it started and I don't know where it will end up (smiling).
We'll get a call like everyone else. We'll go wherever they tell us to.
Q. Where does this year rank in your career? To do what you've done this year, where do you rank this as far as your career, how satisfying this is?
COACH KRUGER: It's very satisfying. Every team's a little different. I think this team, it will be really satisfying to look back on what they've accomplished for some obvious reasons. Maybe no one really expected them to do that.
I think the key to it all is the players expected to. I think people forget a little bit about the five guys that start all being a lot of experience last year. Even though they didn't play the same type of role, I think they were part of it, a very big part of it. I think they benefited from that.
We'll look back on this group with great satisfaction because they accomplished something maybe people didn't expect them to do, played hard all along the way, and very unselfishly, too.
Q. What was the difference between this and your last meeting with BYU when you lost?
COACH KRUGER: In the second half I thought it was a little bit more like the first meeting here when we kind of dictated defensively. I thought in the last meeting at Provo we didn't dictate much on either end.
I thought BYU dictated to us. They're an outstanding team, so you're not going to win all those battles. In the first half, I thought BYU had a little control of it. I thought the second half, we jumped up there and dictated a little bit more.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, coach. Good luck next week and beyond.
COACH KRUGER: Thank you.
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