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March 11, 2009

Andrew Henke

Jeff Reynolds

Evan Washington


Air Force – 71
Colorado State - 67

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Air Force student-athletes Andrew Henke and Evan Washington. Coach Reynolds is not feeling well. At this time we'll start with general questions for the players.

Q. How good does this feel? Did it seem like the celebration was kind of subdued afterwards? Could you talk about that.
ANDREW HENKE: First off, it feels pretty good. Last time we won was the year 2008 (smiling). It feels good to get that monkey off our back, I guess.
Then, secondly, we didn't feel the need to celebrate afterwards. I mean, we're out here to take care of business. So we just said, you know, we got another game tomorrow, so keep our heads high, keep our confidence high, and move on to the next game.
EVAN WASHINGTON: Like what Drew said, it feels great. It's like getting a big burden off of our back. Like he said, as well, you know, we have another game tomorrow. This is a tournament, not just a one-game thing. We just got to stay focused and stay the course.

Q. You hung really tough with BYU last week. Can you talk a little bit about the matchup tomorrow, what you guys expect.
ANDREW HENKE: I think we're feeling pretty confident coming off what we did there. Despite 22 turnovers, we almost won the game. If we keep focused, like we were on defense at BYU in Provo, you know, I think anything can happen.
This confidence we have from tonight and the last couple weeks, hopefully it will just carry over.
EVAN WASHINGTON: Yeah, like he said, I feel it's going to be a game of shots back and forth, like we was in Provo.
So hopefully we stay confident. I know it's going to be a good game.

Q. Andrew, how critical was it that every time -- they kept surging ahead by seven in the first half and the second half, you never let it get further than that. Was there something in your subconscious thinking that you had to stay close?
ANDREW HENKE: We've been battling those kind of runs all season. Predominantly, we've been down in the first half. But lately we've been keeping the lead that they take closer and closer.
Anwar made some big shots. Everyone made some big shots in the first half to keep that lead close. In the second half, we started the first four or five minutes off playing good defense, got some scores. That kind of carried us through the second half.

Q. How much have you been aware that Air Force hadn't won a conference game since 1990? I think you were both born before that, but... Was there any talk about that or that's just a media thing?
EVAN WASHINGTON: I think that's more of a media thing. But, you know, me being a sophomore, I'd heard stories about the good teams we've had in the past, but not being able to finish through, you know, in the tournament.
That was one thing I had as a goal for me is to try to get a conference win before I graduated.

Q. Were you aware Coach Reynolds was ill? Was he ill during the game?
ANDREW HENKE: He was not ill during the game. He's just not feeling well right now. We wish him the best.
I think we all know he'll be ready to go tomorrow.

Q. Drew, how were you guys -- the last four games you've been close, but tonight you finally closed it out and made plays down the stretch. How were you able to do that? How satisfying was it to close a game out?
ANDREW HENKE: It felt good. We made free throws, which we've been struggling to do all year. We made shots at the end of the game, which we've been struggling to do all year. You know, fortunately those shots fell tonight.
We've been telling each other for a long time, we've had four, five, six game-tying or game-winning shots, you know, in the last month or two. Eventually, with the shooters we have, they're going to fall. And tonight they did.

Q. Andrew, you missed your first couple threes, but you hit two huge threes with three or four minutes to go. How big were those threes?
ANDREW HENKE: I think they separated the lead a little bit, you know, to the point where it was two possessions instead of one possession. Any time you have that cushion with a minute, two minutes left, you know, that's just a big advantage to us.

Q. Evan, you guys have been shooting significantly better here the last couple weeks. Are you taking the same shots or is there something different in the way you're setting up your shots?
EVAN WASHINGTON: You know, I think it's just more of a confidence thing, you know, 'cause the way our offense is set up is for our shooters. We have some of the best shooters in the league. You know, it's just been a thing of staying confident.
Also our drives have given us more opportunities to get open shots. So I think that's led to a lot of open shots for us.
THE MODERATOR: At this time we'll dismiss the student-athletes. We have coach Reynolds here. If you could make a brief statement about the game, then we'll field some questions.
COACH REYNOLDS: Well, I felt the game was a game of many different flows. And when Andrew was able to make those threes when the clock was going down, it allowed us to gain some confidence.
But I thought in the second half we really played better defense. We didn't allow them to get any uncontested threes, with the exception of one. Marcus Walker wasn't able to take the game over like he had been able to do that at our place.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for coach Reynolds.

Q. Coach, you had four guys in double figures. How important was it to have that kind of balanced scoring tonight?
COACH REYNOLDS: Well, I thought tonight Evan Washington played at times like he did his freshman year. He's accepted that role of coming off the bench. Andrew was Andrew tonight. The shots were falling. I thought he really did a nice job of -- even the shots at the end of the shot clock, we do a thing called 12-second offense, where we put 12 seconds on the shot clock. So often in our scheme, the shot clock's running down.
So our kids are used to making those shot-clock situational shots. And those were practiced. They were highly contested, though. CSU did a good job.
It was good to see the bench. It was also good -- I haven't even -- folks, I had a kidney stone attack walking down here. If I'm catching my breath, I hope that's what it is. I hadn't even looked at the stat sheet, all right? If I'm squirming, it's not because we won, it's because -- they say it's worse than having a baby. I think it is.

Q. About Evan Washington in general. He's kind of struggled at times this year. But it seems like the last couple weeks he started to come back on a little bit. How did he kind of find his way out of that hole he was in?
COACH REYNOLDS: I think Evan, like all the players in our program, the last 10 or 11 games, have bought in. They've stayed the course. They've heard all the media. They've heard all the naysayers. And they've never quit believing.
You know, that's what the academy is about. It's a tribute to the kids for what they did today. This started about 10 games ago, when we started controlling -- we started being able to control some of the games with our tempo, and we started shooting the ball better.

Q. You seemed to have a lot of success today when your kids went inside, shot points inside the paint as opposed to three-pointers in the first half, especially. Was there something in Colorado State's defense or were you just telling them to be more aggressive, or...
COACH REYNOLDS: Having played them twice earlier, we felt like we could drive the ball against them. We were able to do that. And some of our shots that were threes early were kick-outs because they did a really good job of stopping our penetration.
I thought Grant Parker had two really good post moves where he didn't wait on the offense; he just sort of was able to catch it low enough to where he could score.

Q. Could I ask you to look at BYU. Andrew alluded to the 22 turnovers last game. What has to happen differently? Also, how long do the kids enjoy this or how long do you let them enjoy this moment?
COACH REYNOLDS: Quite frankly, I hadn't thought about it. We felt like that we played well enough at BYU to be competitive. I'm not sure we played well enough to win. I don't think you deserve to win when you turn the basketball over 22 times.
One of the things that we talked about with our players through this stretch was, You have to play well enough to deserve to win, 'cause no one in the league's gonna give it to you.
I thought today we played well enough that we deserved to win.
As far as BYU, they're an NCAA team. They've got a player on their roster that I think's a pro in Lee Cummard. We'll go to work the minute we get back to the hotel, get the kids off their feet, let them enjoy it through the post-game meal, and tell them to refocus.

Q. Will you be able to be with the team tomorrow? Are you going to go straight to the hospital?
COACH REYNOLDS: I have no idea. I don't know. I assume what I'm having is a kidney stone attack, because I've got pain in my side and my back. I have no idea.
We have a team physician with us. She'll take good care of me (smiling).

Q. How big was it to win a tournament game after the last six years, 19 years with a conference tournament win?
COACH REYNOLDS: I don't know that our kids thought that much about it. We didn't talk about it as a staff.
Now that we've gotten a win, you know, I think we've been so close the last three or four games, and really in every game the last nine or ten.
So it certainly is a tribute to the kids that they stayed the course. The fact that we've never been able to win a Mountain West Conference tournament game, I don't know that it's ever anything we've ever talked about. With General Regni retiring, it's certainly good to let him go out with something like that because he means a lot to our program.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.

End of FastScripts

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