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March 12, 2009

Andrew Henke

Anwar Johnson

Jeff Reynolds


BYU – 80
Air Force - 69

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Air Force student-athletes Andrew Henke and Anwar Johnson and Coach Jeff Reynolds. We'll start with an opening comment on the game from coach Reynolds.
COACH REYNOLDS: Well, I thought if you'd have told me before the game started that we would have only had nine turnovers, I thought we would have been in the game and in a position to win. When we were able to take the lead there about 11 minutes to go in the game, I thought we put ourself in a position to possibly sneak one out.
They made some really good contested shots. You got to tip your hat to BYU. They made big plays. Their big plays were made by their big-time players.
THE MODERATOR: At this time we'll open it up for questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Does it feel like the season is over just when it was getting started?
ANDREW HENKE: Not really. I think our bodies are telling us that the season's over. It does seem like it was cut short a little bit, like we had just started getting rolling.
But that's the way it goes. We move on from here.
ANWAR JOHNSON: I'd have to agree with Andrew. At the same time, though, since we were in a position to win, it seemed like it was still there, like we still could keep going.
But, uhm, all good things have to come to an end sometime.

Q. Does it seem like, towards the end of the season, you were playing more like the teams that you've been on at Air Force for the last three years?
ANDREW HENKE: Definitely. I mean, we got back to playing the style of play that we're accustomed to, and that's working really hard and cutting hard, you know, just playing our butts off trying to out-work people. That's what we did the last couple of weeks.
ANWAR JOHNSON: I'd have to agree. As games went on, we started to build a lot more confidence. At the same time we had a very young group, a unique group. Players were playing out of position, as well, at times. Towards the end of the season I think we started to come together more so than we had from the start of the season.

Q. How did you manage to turn it around when midway through the season maybe a lot of people thought you could have thrown in the towel? How did you turn things around later in the year?
ANWAR JOHNSON: We just had to remain positive and focus on the task at hand. On any given day, it's anybody's game. So we had to put the losses behind us and move forward each game and put our best foot forward, and who knows what the outcome would have been.
ANDREW HENKE: You know, same type of thing. We knew that if we started falling apart, if we started splintering off, you know, the ship was going to sink fast. We kind of took it upon our own shoulders to, you know, just keep playing and keep playing hard and try and lift everybody up around us.
You know, it worked. I think we can be proud of that.

Q. You out-rebounded them in the first half, seemed to beat them to a lot of loose balls. Second half was different. How much was fatigue a factor given you had to play yesterday and they didn't?
ANDREW HENKE: Oh, man, it's tough. Two games in like, what, 18 hours, 20 hours, something like that. I don't think people really realize how much of a beating it takes on our bodies just playing one of these games. It's unfortunate that they couldn't, you know, move the game from the team we played the day before later on.
I'm not sure fatigue played that big of a role. Just in rebounding and the hustle plays. I thought we kept playing like that through the end of the game. But they definitely, you know, had a little bit more energy and hit a bunch of shots. Hats off to them for hitting those tough shots.
ANWAR JOHNSON: I think you have to give credit to BYU first and foremost for the way they played through the end of the game. And then I don't think fatigue is a factor. I mean, we can't use that as an excuse. We just have to play through it.

Q. Anwar, did BYU defend you differently the last part of the game? Did somebody from BYU step up and cause some problems for you? Was there something defensively different?
ANWAR JOHNSON: At times I was having to try and finish over their center, which is a hard task when he has his hands up. A lot of times I just was avoiding the contact instead of finishing at the rim and letting the contact come to me.

Q. Obviously you're disappointed today, but do you find comfort in knowing you put up a really good fight at a time when it matters most?
ANDREW HENKE: I mean, definitely. I mean, it's been a pleasure and a privilege to play with these guys on my team and play in this conference against these great players.
I know that we all stuck together on our team and kept fighting no matter what. The last couple weeks we really just kept fighting, kept fighting, despite all the unfortunate things that have happened to us.
Like I said earlier, I think we can be proud of that.
ANWAR JOHNSON: We want to win each and every game that we play. But just for the simple fact that we put our best foot forward, it's just something that we can't hold our heads down about. We could have easily folded at times when they went on runs like we had done at the beginning and the start of the conference season. But I think we continued to battle through that and, uhm, just played till the end.
THE MODERATOR: At this time we'll dismiss the student-athletes. Thank you, men. We'll open it up for questions for coach Reynolds.

Q. Can you talk about the resiliency that your team showed. You were down six points or more three different times. In the second half they battled back. What were you telling them in the huddle? How were they able to respond that way?
COACH REYNOLDS: Don't miss (smiling).
No, that's what the academy's about. You know, these guys will leave in the morning at 10:00 and they'll go back and the freshmen will get recognized. These guys, not only did they just play this game, but last week we left Tuesday and flew to Vegas, played Vegas on Wednesday, did not go home, went to Provo on Friday, played BYU Saturday, flew back Sunday morning, got to practice lightly, went to class, they got up at 6:00, and we got on a plane -- our charter plane broke down, so we had to drive to Denver and fly back to Vegas Monday night. Got here at 10:30 Monday night. Then they put forth the effort they did yesterday against Colorado State, and then today you saw another unbelievable effort.
I think that started about 10 games ago. That's what this group's about. I'd like to echo what Andrew said, and Anwar. There are very few people who realize that after those three seniors, the rest of the guys were direct-in freshmen. We had Evan Washington, who was a sophomore, who played last year. But after that there wasn't many guys that had ever played in the system, had ever been to the academy, had ever played a game in the Mountain West. It took us almost half of a conference season for those young kids to get their legs and to get the idea of what this high level of basketball's about.
And once we were able to do that, we were more and more competitive. And once we became more competitive, the confidence started coming. And there was never a thought of splintering early. Those three seniors kept those young kids on the same path throughout the year. So I think you saw that again today.

Q. You look much better today, coach. Was that ever a factor in your preparations with the kids?
COACH REYNOLDS: No. Everything worked out okay last night. I was able to drink a lot of cranberry juice, went to the bathroom a lot. Didn't sleep a lot. But I wouldn't have slept anyway.
But I feel a lot better today. Thank you for asking.

Q. How good was it for these freshmen to get as much experience as they did and play in these type of environments for the future of the program?
COACH REYNOLDS: Well, I think it's good. You know, we'll have to wait and see as to how much they grasp out of it. We'll give them some time off. We'll go back with the individual workouts.
You know, I think it's a good group. If we can help them with another good recruiting class, maybe when this group's juniors and this incoming class is sophomores, we can be even more competitive.

Q. Could you comment on Jimmer, the start to the second half, what he's meant to BYU this year.
COACH REYNOLDS: He gives them something that I don't know that they had last year. That was a guy that could shoot it from the perimeter, take you off the bounce. He does something that is very difficult for players to do, that as coaches we oftentime take for granted. That is, he starts and stops as well as anybody that I've seen in the league. He's extremely hard to guard . He creates space because of his ability to start and stop.
What happens is, when you're worrying about Lee and you're worried about Tavernari, then all of a sudden you kind of are worried about him. They're sort of a three-headed monster right now. You know, I thought we did a nice job of keeping the tempo the way we wanted it. They made some hard contested shots.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach Reynolds.

End of FastScripts

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