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March 19, 2010

Jonathan Gibson

Troy Gillenwater

Marvin Menzies

Jahmar Young


Michigan State – 70
New Mexico State - 67

THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead with an opening statement from Coach Menzies and then take questions for the student-athletes.
COACH MENZIES: Just want to congratulate Tom and his guys for enduring our storm the second half. They did a very good job of handling the pressure. They had I think six or seven turnovers at the half and we only had -- ended up with nine, so they did a good job in their execution and made big shots when they needed to make them. That's what good teams and good players do and so you have to give them all the credit for their resilience the second half.
Beyond that, I just would say that I'm extremely proud of my team, extremely proud of their fight, their courage and passion for the game. We had a tough first half and their character came into question in terms of -- not character, but their basketball came into question in terms of the first half and we addressed the issues and they went out and did what they needed to do and played New Mexico State basketball the second half and showed them we deserved to be here.
THE MODERATOR: Take questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Any of you players if you can just talk about the change to man-to-man in the second half. Did you feel like you could cause some pressure on them and start to get kind of get yourselves back in the game that way?
JONATHAN GIBSON: Yes. We go to man and the pressure on the ball full court, deny the passes, make them play our speed and tempo and it worked out for the most part.
TROY GILLENWATER: Yeah, I feel the same way. We just came out and tried to get them to play our game, speed them up and I think it was effective.

Q. Troy, on the last free throw there was a violation that was called. Do you know what happened there? Was that you that lost your balance or what happened in that final sequence?
TROY GILLENWATER: Yeah, you can say that. But this game was a tough game to officiate and overall I think the refs did a good job.

Q. For Jahmar, when you picked up your fifth foul there and went down, what was the issue there? You seemed to look like you were holding your groin or something like that. Are you okay? How do you feel?
JAHMAR YOUNG: I'm good. I caught an inadvertent elbow. I'm okay. It wasn't nothing, didn't bleed or nothing, just was trying to get by the elbow and it was just a mistake.

Q. With the success that you guys have had in close games this year I was wondering, was there a moment when you felt like you had this game won? Was there ever a moment like that just because you had so much success in close games this year?
JAHMAR YOUNG: Yeah the whole -- toward the whole second half we turned it up, we looked in their faces and knew they was going to bring a fight. They didn't bend down but we also know that we only had one to win, but, I mean, this game wasn't even -- it's always a plus to play the upper echelon teams. But it took the other games -- you can't talk, you can't have fun enjoying yourself, ain't like we all did trying to kill one another. We wanted to compete, you know what I'm saying? They just took the air out the of the game.
The dude Lucas -- Kalin Lucas is a great player. Did he make me eat my words? No, but he showed up and that's what good players supposed to do. So in the end the refs took the air out of the game for me and that's how I felt. My team felt the same way but they did their jobs, I guess, but not NCAA basketball. I don't think it was going to end up like that. T'd up for talking to a player? He said, Good move. I said, I know. Gives two techs out? You know what I'm saying? We're men.
This is college basketball. The next step is pros, we're men. We're not trying to hurt one another, we're just having a good time. We happy to be here so are they we're going to put it all on the line just don't take the air out of the game. And that's what happened. They took the air all the way out of the game for me and my team. But other than that we weathered this storm and we came up a little bit short. Congrats to the Michigan State team.
THE MODERATOR: All right thank you, gentlemen. We'll dismiss the New Mexico State student-athletes take for coach.

Q. Would you speak further on Jahmar saying the officials took the air out of the game?
COACH MENZIES: No, Jahmar is a passionate individual. He wears his heart on his sleeve and he's the kind of guy that's going to speak his mind. And that's how he felt. I thought it was a tough game to ref. It was up-and-down. At times it was physical. It was kind of in and out. But it's a loss. So it is what it is. What are you going to do? It doesn't matter what my opinion is on any one particular call or series of calls, it's a well fought battle by my guys and that's the most important thing.

Q. Could you just talk about how important that lane violation was in the way the game resulted?
COACH MENZIES: Oh, you know, a psychic could tell you that, I guess. I have no idea. It's just one of those calls that you know, you wish it would have went, you know, called I think in those particular set of circumstances. In my opinion it's best, you know, called, but I mean there's a lot of judgment and freedom of judgment that's given to officials. In Ray's opinion, he felt like it was something he should call at that particular time of the game, whether it happened or not, I don't even know. I just, you know, it was on the other side of the court so...
And regardless whether it happened or not, he called it and so it's like a foul that you don't think is a foul. Did he call the foul? Yes. If he called a foul, then it's in the score book as a foul and it exists as a foul. Statistically for the rest of history. So did he step in on the lane violation? Because Ray called it? Yes, he stepped in the lane. And it will be engraved in the NCAA stats forever. So it doesn't matter whether it happened or not.
And how it affected the game? You know, hard to tell. I know we would only have to score two if we would have only needed two we would have had a much different approach to the last few seconds. I would have had something else designed that would have been able to get us to the -- to the free throw line at the very least, because we had some success penetrating the ball.

Q. Next year you only lose Jonathan Gibson. How do you build on this? What do you look forward to next year?
COACH MENZIES: Well, the future's bright in Las Cruces, New Mexico. We have got a fantastic core of players returning. We have got a -- I think we made a statement today by playing a high major, quote unquote, high major -- what do you want to call it, Top-25 team at times, into what was a full court, you know, battle and I think that proves that we belong to be here. I think it proves that we're in the beginning stages of something special at New Mexico State. For us to come in and compete at this high level and fall just short, a possession short is -- it speaks volumes to what we're trying to do there.
And to elaborate on that for a second, we have got, this was an important game, obviously any time you can play in a tournament. But it's more a microcosm of what we're trying to do with the program. I mean now there's a lot of east coast schools I'm sure or people that live on the east coast or whatever that say, oh, that's a feisty team there. They didn't give up. They got a lot of heart. And that's what our program was branded with today. And we'll represent that going forward in the same fine fashion with the younger players that we have coming in and the players that we have returning.

Q. What do you have drawn up with guys like Jonathan late in the game? It's easy to shoot the ball but did you go away from dumping the ball inside to Troy a little bit? Did you shoot the ball too quick some of those key possessions?
COACH MENZIES: They were feeling it. And kind of went away from a little bit of what we were intending to do and trying to get positive offensive possessions. You want to still get some reversals and those bigs were playing pretty good on the inside. So we talked about getting an inside outside look but with the way things went, those guys feeling a little bit, you got to give players like that -- we talk about JY and Gibson who missed two pretty good shots, if the those are your go-to guys in reference to the guards. So they make it, hooray, if they miss it, bad shot, so...

Q. How much did you miss JY when he picked up that foul down the stretch?
COACH MENZIES: Oh, yeah, I mean he's money late. And I would have probably had something drawn up that would have involved him as one of the options for sure. Coming into the last few seconds of the game. So he was sorely missed, but we have had -- we have got other guys that can make shots as well. And we just didn't get the shots. We got looks. We got good looks, we didn't -- it wasn't like we, no knock on Michigan State, but it wasn't like they did anything phenomenal that didn't give us an opportunity to get a good look. So I thought what we had strategically put out in our execution was good, but that's -- but players got to make plays.
THE MODERATOR: All right thank you, coach.

End of FastScripts

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