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March 9, 2011

Jim Christian

Greg Hill

Hank Thorns


TCU – 70
Wyoming - 61

THE MODERATOR: Joined by Texas Christian. Coach, if we could start with your thoughts on today's game.
COACH CHRISTIAN: Obviously, I'm very proud of our players. We showed a lot of resiliency overcoming what we went through this year to play the way we did tonight. I thought we played as hard as we played. We made some timely plays.
Most importantly I thought I saw some guys that wanted to win the basketball game, do whatever it takes. We had some guys do some things they haven't done in similar situations, take charge, get a big steal, show composure, finish at the end. Really proud of them.
Again, to have the resiliency they showed, it's really a special group of guys.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Greg, how important was it for you, your last college game, how important was it for you to play well?
GREG HILL: It was very important. I want to get these guys on the right track and hopefully we can go ahead and keep playing and keep winning.

Q. Talk about the matchup tomorrow. Obviously you don't have much time to rest. Talk about the matchup with BYU, the fact that Davies isn't going to be out there.
HANK THORNS: They're vulnerable in the post, we can probably drive it down there more. We know they only got Hartsock down there. So probably going to pound the ball in, let Niko do his thing down there and make plays for us.

Q. When I see somebody shooting the way you were shooting, Greg, in the zone, that is like the greatest feeling in the world. You look over at coach. I got your back all day. How great was that feeling out there just knowing whatever you threw up was nothing but net today?
GREG HILL: It wasn't throwing it up. It was all focus and mentality. Coach kept telling me all week to step into the shot at practice, and that's what I've been doing.

Q. Hank, it's been a somewhat disappointing season. You have a chance now back in your home city to turn things around. How important is this opportunity for you? What is it like to be back in Vegas?
HANK THORNS: It's very important to have my team here. My family's here supporting us. We have a lot of support here. It feels like we're at home basically.
BYU is coming with about 15,000 probably. You know how they travel. But we should have somebody backing us, too. As long as we got a little support, that's all we need.

Q. Hank, what was going through your head when Wyoming made the run in the second half, you fought them off? Any negative thoughts creep into your head?
HANK THORNS: No, no. That's never on my mind. I always have faith in my teammates. I know that we can get over anything as long as we stay together and focus on what we have to do.
Basketball is a game of runs, so we know they're going to make a run, but we have to make a run, too.

Q. Hank, I saw a little bit more patience out of you today down the stretch than some of the other games. You had the wide-open shot in the corner, thought about it. I saw coach. Coach was like, He's got it, thinking this whole game through. Looked like you were in it 40 minutes today.
HANK THORNS: I definitely have to be a leader on the court. A lot of games I rushed, felt like I had to do a lot.
Like I said, this tournament is a new season, 0-0. We're 1-0 now. For me to be a leader, I have to be patient. I have to show the team by example. I can't just say it, I have to go out there and show it, as well.
THE MODERATOR: We'll dismiss the student-athletes and continue with questions for Coach Christian.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the matchup tomorrow. In your opinion, how different is this BYU team without Davies in the lineup tomorrow?
COACH CHRISTIAN: Obviously, anytime you lose a player like that, it's going to take a little bit of time to adjust. We know firsthand. When we lost Ronnie Moss, it took some games.
If you watch the second half of the Wyoming game, they put 63 points on the board. They're adjusting pretty quickly. For me to say we got them right where we want them, I don't know that I can actually say that.
Again, I'm proud of these guys. BYU is one of the best in the country. They were one of the best teams in the country with Davies. They're still one of the best teams in the country. They have a Player of the Year candidate, coach of the year candidate. It's amazing when you lose a guy how important he is to you. All good teams adjust. I'm sure they're getting a little bit more ready and adjusting a little bit more.

Q. You alluded to some players doing some things, doing what they hadn't done before. Was some of that going to the basket on a consistent basis?
COACH CHRISTIAN: I thought it was more little plays you have to play. Again, we have a young basketball team. Garlon is a sophomore, Niko is a sophomore, Amric's a freshman, Hank sat out a year and is playing.
It's more the little things. It's diving on the floor for a loose ball. We took three charges tonight. We had 10 steals because we rotated today a step earlier rather than being a step late. Big plays. Those are plays if they go the other way, you lose the game. You have to make those plays in order to win it. Obviously we made some shots.
You brought up a great point. At the end of the game we showed composure today, which we haven't showed. That's a will to win. That's what we have to build on moving forward.

Q. Hank was out for a long time. Going into the zone worked well. Will we see more of that tomorrow, box-and-one?
COACH CHRISTIAN: We're going to have to. We only have six guys, seven guys we play is all we have left. Three of them play 30 minutes plus. We're playing in less than 24 hours. We have to find ways, utilize timeouts, which is what we've been trying to do to get them some rest at key stretches.
But you have to play well in order to use that. You can't use a timeout to get rest if they're on a huge run. That's a tough thing to go through.
Again, all those things have to come into play. You have to make BYU play. We can't get in a game where we're taking quick shots, playing in the 80s and 90s.

Q. Your team broke a 13-game losing streak. How great does it feel to win a game?
COACH CHRISTIAN: We started a one-game winning streak. 1-0. It's not easy. Anybody who has played sports understands how tough it is. During those 13 games, it's funny, the second half of the season, we played everybody better than we did the first half. If you look at the scores, the way the games were played, our team is improving. It's hard to be that resilient, keep fighting through it.
I can tell you through that stretch, I mean this sincerely, there wasn't one practice where I said these guys quit, there wasn't one moment in the game when I said they were discouraged. We just kept trying to get better and pick each other up. When you have limited numbers, everybody has to play well. That's difficult to do.

Q. As a coach that obviously prepares against the University of Wyoming, that's a program in a state of flux. What are your thoughts on their coaching situation, where they're headed in the future?
COACH CHRISTIAN: Again, I have no insight or knowledge or anything. I thought the team was playing really well when Heath had his situation. I thought they continued to play well and play hard. They competed till the final thing.
That's the tough part of sports. Tough part of being a college basketball coach. Everybody knows when they sign up for it, it's a tough job. Sometimes situations work, sometimes they don't. You just keep fighting. I think that's what they did and they should be proud of that.

Q. BYU with Davies, they're concerned about depth, foul trouble.
COACH CHRISTIAN: They have a lot more depth than we have. I'll trade 'em (smiling). I'm just kidding.

Q. How do they keep Jimmer out of foul trouble?
COACH CHRISTIAN: Couple things they do. They're very good in zone. When they had Davies, they were better in zone, legitimate shot blocker. They play him off the ball a lot. He's strong enough where you can't kind of post him. I think, to be honest with you, as I said this before, I think they have the best -- obviously the best defensive player in Jackson Emery. He makes up for a lot of people's mistakes. Guys make mistakes, he beats people to loose balls, make plays. All those things keep not only Jimmer out of foul trouble but other people out of foul trouble.

Q. What was it about last year that you played your best game against them?
COACH CHRISTIAN: Again, we just played them last year, so we had a seven-day break before we played them again. Now we have less than 24 hours to get ready to play them. Our kids will be ready and excited to play. Last time we played, I thought JR Cadot did as good a job on them as anybody, holding them to 20. That's not an easy thing to do.
We have to come out, execute our game plan. We don't need much time. We understand how we have to play this game to have a chance.

Q. Can you talk about Cadot's performance tonight.
COACH CHRISTIAN: I challenged him with one thing. I pulled him aside in the hotel. The only thing I want you to be is the hardest-playing guy on the floor. Without question, if I picked the hardest playing guy on the floor, I'd pick JR. He got on more balls, he got offensive rebounds, he broke pressure. I thought he played harder than everybody else.
If he can do that, that's what he brings. He's not the best shooter, passer, doesn't have the highest basketball IQ. He has explosiveness. When he wants to be the hardest-playing guy on the floor, we have a great team.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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