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March 19, 2010

Stew Morrill

Tyler Newbold

Jared Quayle

Tai Wesley


Texas A&M – 69
Utah State - 53

THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and have an opening statement from Coach Morrill and then take questions for the student-athletes.
COACH MORRILL: Well I thought that Texas A&M really put on a dominating defensive performance. They deserve all the credit in the world. They made it very, very difficult for us to get good looks at the basket. They're physical. We just had a hard time scoring. We didn't shoot the ball very well when we got open shots. But it's hard when you don't get as many as you are used to getting. All of a sudden you get one and we had to rush it a little bit.
I had heard they were good defensively, but to see it firsthand is pretty impressive. That's by far the best defensive team we have played all year long. We would have had to have had a much better shooting night to have had a chance to be in the basketball game.
We made a little run there in the second half, but they pretty much answered that and that was about all we had in us. So all the credit in the world to them.
THE MODERATOR: Take questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Jared, did they do anything specifically that really contributed to your shooting night or was it more you?
JARED QUAYLE: Just like coach said, they did a good defensive job tonight. They got up in us. They pressured us. They're strong. I had plenty of wide open looks, they just weren't falling tonight.

Q. For Tai and Tyler, can you guys talk about the length and the size that you guys had to face today?
TAI WESLEY: Personally I was shocked how strong and physical they were. They came out just at the start and really were trying to throw us around. And that really surprised me and you got to give them credit for how physical and strong they were inside and definitely on the defensive end.
TYLER NEWBOLD: They got some really athletic long wing players. And I really don't know what else to say. They're a good team. They play well together. And they took it to us today.

Q. The reason why I brought it up it seemed like your bigs were taking a lot of mid range shots, like 17 footers, that sort of thing. Was that because early on you guys kind of had your struggles inside? Did you feel like you settled at all for mid range shots later on?
TYLER NEWBOLD: I don't think we -- I think I think we were trying to score inside. I think we were -- that's been the focus all year is getting the ball into the paint and trying to get easy baskets and that's what we were trying to do.
They just did a better job of outphysicaling us and contesting all of our shots. When we did get an open look we didn't knock too many of those down. So when that happens it's going to be tough to win.

Q. Tyler, Middleton came into the game shooting 29 percent from 3-point range. He hit five in a row. Was that a surprise to you guys? Was that -- what accounted for that other than him just hitting some shots?
TYLER NEWBOLD: I don't think -- it wasn't a big surprise to me because he had been shooting the ball really well as of late. We did not do a very good job in our zone locating him in the corner. And he got a lot of open looks when we were playing zone. We just didn't rotate fast enough and when anyone gets hot like that they, no matter what their percentages are, they feel like they can make anything. And that's what he did to us.

Q. Tai, it wasn't the start you wanted, especially to get a quick foul on you. The fouls start getting in your head a little bit or what happened with the couple of fouls on you?
TAI WESLEY: I don't know. It was not a good start for me. I traveled on one, I got a foul on the other. It took a little bit to get used to the game the way the refs were calling the game. It seemed like it was a lot more physical than what they let us do during the regular season. It seemed like you were able to put a lot of pressure on the guy with the ball, so it kind of just threw me off for a little bit and took me a while to get my bearings, which didn't help our team and our start.

Q. Jared, what would it have meant if you got two wide open looks, while you guys were down seven at the time, either nine or seven, if you would have made one of those shots? I mean, would adrenaline have kicked in and you guys would have been able to maybe pull something off a little bit?
JARED QUAYLE: Maybe. You just never know. I didn't make those shots. So it's hard to say. But usually when guys are hitting shots it helps pick up the rest of the team and you kind of get into a rhythm and a flow. So maybe it would have.

Q. Jared, Texas A&M mentioned that one of their goals was to wear you guys down and give you a lot of pressure. Was there any fatigue at all towards the end of the game when things were getting a little bit dicey?
JARED QUAYLE: For me it was nice because they weren't picking up full court. So personally I didn't feel any fatigue. You get tired at points during the game, when you're going hard and you know you're trying to make big stops and stuff. But just they were very physical and they're big and it probably wore us down a little. But that's no excuse. We just need to push through that and keep playing ball.

Q. Last year when you played Marquette you were able to fight through a slow start. Another slow start this year. Tai, what needs to happen if you make it back next year to make sure that this team does not go through a slow start to start the game like this again?
TAI WESLEY: To probably make our first few shots. Get easy shots, you know, try to get a couple layups to start the game. I don't really know. I think that it's definitely our goal to get back here and have this experience under our belt where we will come out and start well and have a good game.

Q. Tai, I know this wound is pretty fresh, but obviously you lose Jared, but you don't lose anybody else. Do you guys have the potential to be a pretty good team next year with all of the experience and talent coming back?
TAI WESLEY: I definitely think we have the experience and we're only losing Jared, but Jared's been a big part of this team. And we will miss Jared. But we, we're going to need guys to step up and fill those shoes that Jared will leave for them. But I'm saddened about this season being over and definitely optimistic about next season.
THE MODERATOR: Okay, thank you. We'll excuse the players and take questions for coach.

Q. We have seen in this spectrum all year that the team comes out strong, you can see the confidence in their eye, they run and gun, the games have been close, two or 3-point games, the rest are 20, 30 point blow outs. How do you feel they respond to the other side when they come out and they start struggling a little bit, does the attitude kind of shift? Do they start to kind of doubt themselves and suffer from that a little bit as we saw in Jared's shooting, seeing his face, he just seemed to have lost the confidence as the game went on.
COACH MORRILL: I think we kept battling. We came out in the second half and talked about playing in four minute segments and got the margin down where it was reasonable. We haven't played anybody as good as Texas A&M. That's a really good basketball team. That's a 13 RPI team, a Top-25 team, an 11-5 team in the best conference in the country and they showed me why today. It was the competition.
I don't think our guys gave in and quit playing, I think that Texas A&M just physically dominated us. They are strong, big, they're very well coached. You know one thing I will mention, they have a zero knucklehead factor. Sometimes we can have a chance to gain a little advantage if we play a team that has the knucklehead factor, they don't. And that's a credit to Mark and the job he's doing and to the caliber of kids that they have. Because there was none of that. They are all about being together and defending and playing good basketball. I thought they were very good today and showed why they have been good all year long.

Q. The players said last year that there was a little bit of shock before the game. Didn't seem like there was any of that but that the shots weren't falling obviously. What's the next step that you need to do, so that the next time you're here you have more success?
COACH MORRILL: Get a better draw.
Get a better draw. Don't play a team as good as Texas A&M. Get a better seed maybe, who knows. I just don't think, I think we're searching for this and that and we're just not giving Texas A&M the credit that they deserve.
Texas A&M dominated the basketball game, they're bigger, they're stronger, you gain no advantage in terms of character, because they're high character, just like us. If you watch the game, you could see the domination by their athletes and their length and we would have had to really have an excellent shooting night. I'm not trying to make excuses, I'm just trying to give them the credit they deserve. They are good.
I see them very capably advancing in this tournament. And we would have had to have just a banner shooting night. We would have had to make some tough shots and some open shots and we didn't either. We didn't make tough shots, we didn't make open shots. Jared had a really tough night, credit to their defense, and he also had a tough night. We didn't have a -- when we shoot 38 percent and 25 percent from three, it's tough to win. And that again is their defense.

Q. You don't play anybody like that throughout the year in conference play, so how do you try to develop that kind of exposure to players to that kind of an atmosphere because obviously they were a very good team you played tonight.
COACH MORRILL: We won 27 games and I guess if we could get Duke to play us home and home that would be good. That would probably help us. You schedule the best people you can. You schedule and we work constantly at scheduling. I get a bad rap sometimes for scheduling and I'm not near as stubborn or flexible as people think. We try and get as good opponents as we can. We got a great home court. We were 6-2 on the road in league, so to -- it's just -- everybody wants more, including me. We all want to win in the NCAAs. But we got beat by a better team today. They're better than us. Let's be honest. They're better than us.

Q. You touched upon this briefly, but Coach Turgeon talked about how if it wasn't for Texas losing in overtime last night then the Big-12 would be undefeated in the NCAAs so far. What did their performance today say about how good that league is?
COACH MORRILL: From what I saw of it today, it's a pretty awesome league. When I sit and watched in preparing for Texas A&M, when I watched them without Dash lead the number one team in the country, Kansas, for what, Three-fourths of the game? That made gulp a little bit. It made you realize that these guys are legit. I mean everybody talks about every team's weaknesses, but they got far more strengths than they have weaknesses. And I think that when you look at what happened with the Big East in the tournament, it's very safe to say the Big-12 is the best conference in the country. That's what the RPI says. That's what the NCAA tournament says right now. So it's probably true.
THE MODERATOR: All right, thanks, coach.

End of FastScripts

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