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March 13, 2009

Steve Fisher

Kyle Spain

Lorrenzo Wade


San Diego State – 64
BYU - 62

THE MODERATOR: Student-athletes for San Diego State are Lorrenzo Wade and Kyle Spain, and we have coach Steve Fisher. We'll begin with some opening comments on the game from Coach Fisher.
COACH FISHER: This game was what we thought it would probably turn out to be: very, very hard-fought, closely contested, big plays made by both teams, by really good players. We feel excited, privileged to be playing tomorrow.
When you have seniors, there is a little less of the unexpected. And that's what we had. We had consistency. We weren't perfect. We made some mistakes. We turned it over. But the thought process and what we did and how we played from the neck up wins.
We're very proud of these two guys, in particular, who have been with us for a long time. And, boy, they made some big-time plays for us - both of them - plays that you have to make to win.
So we're excited to be playing tomorrow and we will be ready to go no matter who it is.
THE MODERATOR: At this time we'll open it up for questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Lorrenzo, can you talk about how special it is to be playing for a conference championship in the town where you really kind of grew up, became a big high school star.
LORRENZO WADE: I think it's something I'm going to remember for the rest of my life, especially because it's held here in Vegas. To have my mom and my sister, my friends from high school here to witness it, it makes it that more special.
I'm not gonna get emotional right now. We'll wait until tomorrow, see how everything goes, then ask me that question again.

Q. Kyle, in that last game against BYU, how much more confidence did that give you guys coming into this game, especially after as well as you played?
KYLE SPAIN: Anytime you get beaten twice by a team, you're that more hungry. You know what I mean? We go back, we watch film, and we pick up all of the mistakes that we did. We did that. We went back, we watched a lot of film, where our defaults were, our downfalls, when they went to the 2-3 zone. We cleaned up a lot of stuff. And that helped us in this game.

Q. It seemed like you were able to corral Jimmer pretty well. How did you do that?
KYLE SPAIN: Uhm, Jimmer Fredette did damage on us at our place. He had 28 points. We really focused on Jimmer Fredette. He was the key to the game. No disrespect to Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari. Jimmer Fredette is a great player. We really made an emphasis on stopping him tonight.

Q. It seems like the last two games you have kind of taken over late. When the game is on the line, do you get that 'get on my back' mentality?
LORRENZO WADE: You know what, not at all. You know, I just try to make plays to help us win, try not to force things. If I'm open, I'll shoot the basketball. I might just as easily pass it to one of my teammates for an open shot. So I don't want to say that I try to put the team on my back at all. I just try to help us to get the win.

Q. That missed free throw with 10 seconds left, can you describe the sequence after that, everybody's kind of chasing ball there.
KYLE SPAIN: The initial miss, I wouldn't have missed it if my fellow teammate over here wouldn't have jinxed me. But that play at the end was just a boost, gave us extreme confidence. If they would have gotten the ball, they would have had an opportunity to get a basket. Us getting that ball back just gave us the momentum.

Q. Richie Williams is the smallest guy on the floor, but seems to be the glue that holds you together. Can you talk about his play.
LORRENZO WADE: Richie is like that little dog around the corner that every time you walk by the gate, it's constantly barking at you, wanting to get at you. He's just that feisty. If I was in a fight, I'd definitely pick Richie Williams to be on my side.
He is our glue. He has the ball in his hands the majority of the game. And he makes us go. He's our Jimmer Fredette.

Q. Can you talk about the pros and cons of either playing Wyoming or Utah tomorrow.
LORRENZO WADE: I don't see any pros and cons. I think Coach is going to have us prepared to play regardless of which team it is that we're playing.
Of course, with Utah, they have the big fellow, Luke Nevill. But then, on the other hand, Wyoming has four different guys on their team that averages 15 points a game or more.
In a way it's like pick your poison. But I believe we'll be prepared to play.

Q. Kyle, regardless of what happens tomorrow, do you deserve to go to the NCAA tournament?
KYLE SPAIN: We aren't focused on the NCAA tournament right now. We're focused on getting the championship tomorrow. That's what means the most to us at this point in time.

Q. I think yesterday you started a different lineup for the 11th straight game. Do you feel like right now you guys are hitting your stride?
LORRENZO WADE: We have a team with so much talent. A lot of us are so interchangeable. We have so many guys from 6'5" to 6'8". It's easy for Coach to rotate guys in and out of the lineup.
As far as us hitting our stride, I believe we're playing better now because we're sharing the basketball a lot better. It's not sticking. And also on the defensive end, we're maintaining defensive intensity for 40 minutes straight. That's putting a lot of pressure on teams, wearing them down. It's enabling us to win.
THE MODERATOR: At this time we'll dismiss the student-athletes. Thank you, men. We'll open it up for questions for Coach Fisher.

Q. Talk about the little things your team may have done in a game like this that's so close. What did your team do to take care of business out there?
COACH FISHER: We played hard, just as BYU did. They hurt us in the first game. And you know, when we couldn't, wouldn't attack a zone defense with thoughtfulness. We turned it over five of the first nine or 10 times we had the ball, that led to run-outs. And you can't give a team - doesn't matter who it is - opportunities off of turnovers. And that hurt us in the last game.
We did a better job tonight. I thought our conversion defense was superb. We didn't let their shooters get open too often in the flow. And BYU runs as well as anybody in America. And that was very important.
But we also -- I think what Lorrenzo hit on, we maintained a fight for every possession. I think so often you can look up and take a deep breath and say, We're eight or ten ahead, relax for three possessions, then it's tied. We've not done that lately. And that wins, and it wins against good teams, like we've played the last two games.

Q. A little over a month ago you were talking about how this conference should have at least three teams in the tournament. Do you think you're in now or deserve to be in?
COACH FISHER: I'm gonna go the company line that I told these guys to go. We want to play tomorrow and we want to cut a net down and know we're in.
We're playing good basketball now. This is a really good league. And I think we're starting to get a little more respect along that way - not just out in the west. This is a league that can compete anywhere, anyplace, anybody. There are five of us that could get into the NCAA tournament and get to the Sweet-16. Get a little luck, get a decent draw. And we're one of them. We're hoping.
But we got a game to play tomorrow. We've got a tough game to play tomorrow. Our goal is not to have to hope after tomorrow.

Q. When they called that foul on Richie about 10 seconds to go, your team didn't put their heads down. They kind of like jazzed up a little bit. What did you tell them in the huddle that kept their focus?
COACH FISHER: Well, the first thing I said is, I'm going to try to talk them out of the call. Then I said, I don't think that will work. And then I made sure the longer they took, I made sure I told them, I watch NFL. Unless it's conclusive, the call stands. And nobody raised their hand for three. So I'm telling them that, It can't be a three. It can't be a three. If you can't tell, it can't be a three. But I think they could tell that it was a two.
You need to ask Jimmer Fredette whether he got fouled on that play or not. Richie fouled out. He said he didn't foul one time.

Q. Any reason you didn't foul there intentionally?
COACH FISHER: Oh, no. If we'd have been up three and they're coming down with the ball, we'd have fouled. We're up four at the end. I mean, there was too much time, in my mind, when Fredette took that shot. There was too much time. I didn't want to foul then. I did not want to foul him then.

Q. Do you get a sense right now, especially amongst your seniors, that they're playing with kind of a new resolve right now?
COACH FISHER: We've had some great basketball that we've played this year. We have not had as consistent a 40 minutes of great basketball as we have played these last couple games.
We're playing a little bit better. We're playing better for every possession. And it's so important that you can convince them you have to do that. And then, you know, you got to have guys that can make plays. I mean, Lorrenzo Wade is a play-maker. The way he's competed and succeeded here in this tournament, I mean, he's as good as anybody in the country the way he's playing right now. He doesn't miss a shot. He's guarding like crazy. He sees the floor. He finds the open guy.
You know, when you got a catalyst like that, and he made the comment, we really have done a great job recently, but it hasn't really just been the last two games. We've shot it in a little bit better. But we shared the ball pretty good all season. But we're a little bit better at it now.

Q. Did you do anything different this time against the zone in particular other than just the way you approached it?
COACH FISHER: You know, we really didn't. This is a business where when what happened to us at BYU happens, I want to fire the coach. I mean, we look like we'd never been coached a second in zone offense. But we work on zone offense repeatedly. We worked on zone offense the week leading into the game.
And I don't think that BYU intended in that game to play 22 possessions of zone, which they did. But the longer we played ugly, the more they said, We're staying in the zone.
We got a little more forceful as to what we had to try to look to do and not just -- you know, we milled around. But we said, You have to do this. You have to look to throw the ball to the high post. You have to look to throw the ball to the short corner. We said that before. Sometimes when you go back and look at film and see how bad we were against it, embarrassingly bad, you say, Man, is that us?
So I think pride was a little bit of a factor. We're gonna show people that we're not just guys that can run and jump; that we can think. And we've been thinking, too.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach Fisher.
COACH FISHER: Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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