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March 11, 2010

Steve Fisher

D.J. Gay

Malcolm Thomas


San Diego State – 72
Colorado State - 71

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by San Diego State head Coach Fisher and student-athletes. We'll start with an opening comment about the game by Coach Fisher.
COACH FISHER: I told Tim Miles after the game, I said, We got lucky. Your team deserved to win. Our team did not deserve to lose, but your team played with a fervor that I know you liked to see.
I've been in this game long enough to know that things happen. We contested, of the eight threes they made, seven of them we could not have guarded it better. They made hard shots.
The one thing we did not do was rebound the basketball at the defensive end, and that was very evident also.
I thought at times we got a little too anxious, a couple times it looked like we took it away from one another and they wound up with the ball.
I think sometimes you have to play less than stellar basketball, and this is no disrespect to Colorado State. We played hard. We played hard. But they just stayed there, stayed there, stayed there, and would not go away.
To our credit, I thought our kids competed, made enough plays, made some plays when we went behind a little bit to get back ahead. That's what you have to do to win the game.
So we're moving forward playing New Mexico in the next round. This was a tough, hard-fought game. We thought it would be that way and it was. We also thought we were going to get a win and we did.
THE MODERATOR: At this time we'll open it up to questions for the student-athletes.

Q. D.J., it seemed like you preferred to play Colorado State. What was the difference today as opposed to the last two meetings you had with them?
D.J. GAY: Uhm, you know, Colorado State, they're a very good team. They came out and played us hard from the get-go. Got off to a fast start, hit some shots. We had to come from behind in the beginning. I noticed Colorado State tried a new zone on us. It looked like a triangle-and-two. Every time I gave the ball up, they did a good job of denying. I couldn't get the ball back. To their credit, I felt like they did a pretty good job defensively on me.
So, you know, just their pressure -- they also pressed us from the beginning and slowed us down. We like to get up and down the court. They did a good job of slowing us down with the 2-2-1 press.

Q. Malcolm, how much did it change the game from your standpoint when Andy Ogide was no longer in there?
MALCOLM THOMAS: I think it changed the game a lot. He's their inside presence. Now he's shooting better. When he went out, it was a big-time change.
But they continued to play hard, made it tough for us.

Q. D.J., on that possession where you drove and hit the two free throws toward the end, what did you see that made you go to the drive?
D.J. GAY: They gave me an angle on the ball screen. They forced me left on the last ball screen that I called for. As their big man took a step back, he opened up a lane towards the middle and I just attacked the lane to draw the foul or make a basket. I got the call and got to the free-throw line. I was pretty confident. You can't go to the line, you know, second-guessing yourself. I've been there before. So, you know, this time I knew I had to make those shots (smiling).

Q. Chase, how is the hand feeling?
CHASE TAPLEY: I mean, it's throbbing right now. But get some treatment from Haines. It's going to be better by tomorrow. I just want to help my team win.

Q. D.J., can you give a quick comment on New Mexico.
D.J. GAY: This is a game that we've been asking for, been looking forward to. You know, we're 1-1 right now. This game is a tiebreaker on a neutral ground. Our team is excited to play them. They're a very good team. Had a great win today. Very good players. Hobson and Gary, they're leading the way for their team.
We're excited. We got a lot of work to do when we go back to the hotel room. Like I say, this is a game we've been looking forward to.

Q. Malcolm, at one point in the second half you seemed to take over the game. Did you tell yourself you needed to pick it up or be more aggressive? What was your mindset there?
MALCOLM THOMAS: Well, we all felt like our intensity wasn't there in the beginning, the beginning of the second half. As a team we talked about it. I got the ball and I felt like I could go to the basket and help my team. So that's what I did.

Q. D.J., what was it that finally got you back on track playing the way you normally play?
D.J. GAY: We just wanted to play tomorrow. We didn't come out here for one day. Like I said, we've been looking forward to New Mexico. You know, we know that we got off to a slow start, but we got off of it with the help of Chase Tapley, Malcolm Thomas and Billy White. Everybody contributed, but we couldn't have done it without them.
THE MODERATOR: At this time we'll dismiss the student-athletes. We'll open it up now for questions for Coach Fisher.

Q. Coach, this was probably one of the more physical games we've seen you play this year. From a tournament perspective, how difficult is it to play in a game like this and come back the next day and get ready to go all over again?
COACH FISHER: Our kids are 18, 19, 20 years old. They'll be ready to play. They could go out and play New Mexico right now and probably play pretty effectively.
I'm not at all worried about that. I'm somewhat concerned about Chase's hand, but that's my only worry about our team. We'll be ready to play tomorrow.
We want to be playing on Saturday. To do that you got to win tomorrow. We know we're playing a great team in New Mexico.

Q. What were your thoughts, there was a bit of a delay there before the decision came down when they lost Ogide?
COACH FISHER: I didn't see what happened. I just saw the conniption Malcolm went into. We were worried he was going to get a technical. I called him over and asked him what happened. He said he got punched. I didn't see it. You probably didn't see it. But they saw it when they went and looked at it on the monitor.
I still haven't seen it.

Q. (No microphone.)
COACH FISHER: I have no idea what happened. Same scenario. You know, you hate to see that happen. You want to win, but you want to win with the other team having guys that they count on. Obviously, Ogide is a huge piece to what they do. He's an inside presence, a factor.
What happened when Ogide went out, and we all know this, they had a surge of energy. They were smaller and they were better equipped to attack us off the bounce. When we had Malcolm and Billy in there, especially when Carlwell came in with one of those two, we were at a distinct disadvantage guarding on the perimeter and they took advantage of that. They did a nice job of saying, Okay, here is what we can do. Maybe we can't throw it into the low post as much, but we can attack them off the bounce, when they help, throw it up there, then go get the ball. They did a great job of that.

Q. How much does it help or does it matter that at least New Mexico had to fight today?
COACH FISHER: Well, I think probably from a fatigue standpoint, I believe they played their starters almost the whole game, it wasn't quite the same pace, but they played them the whole game, and so did we.
So I don't think that that will be an issue or a factor. As I said before, we've got enough players, and they all, you know, are relatively healthy, with the one exception. If we don't win tomorrow, it won't be because we were beat up physically and mentally after this game today. And this was a hard-fought game today, no question about it.

Q. Did you at any point during the game or at halftime or before the game bring up NCAA tournament with your team?
COACH FISHER: What we brought up was we want to win this tournament. This is our tournament, the only one we can be in, and we're in it. We came to win three games. We talked about that. We didn't talk about the NCAA tournament at all. They're well aware that we need to win to get to the NCAA tournament. We're well aware the winner of the tournament gets the automatic bid. We never mentioned, Boy, if you get this one, you're gonna get in, if you win the next one, you're gonna get in.

Q. Tim dressed. Is there a chance he can contribute in this tournament?
COACH FISHER: We just tried to scare them a little bit. Shelton said, Let me dress. He wanted me to put him in three seconds before the half. He said, I want to scare New Mexico to make them think I can play. Tim is a great, great kid. He asked if he could dress, so we said he could.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
COACH FISHER: Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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