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March 11, 2011

Steve Fisher

D.J. Gay

Malcolm Thomas

Billy White


San Diego State – 74
UNLV - 72

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by San Diego State. Coach, we'll start with your comments on tonight's game.
COACH FISHER: This is vintage typical San Diego State/UNLV. We've had games like this time after time after time. We've been fortunate enough lately to come out on the winning side.
Two really good teams played tonight, two teams that I think cannot only play tonight but play a week from tonight and two weeks from tonight. Got great respect for Lon and his team.
We made just enough plays keyed by defense, keyed by everybody staying alert and involved. Once again, at the end of the game D.J. found a way to make a play. Malcolm stepped up and gave him a bump, a screen to get a bit of an angle. It was a really good team victory that, again, we led most of the way. When we went behind, once again, like last time we played them here, we fought back and found a way to win.
So this is good basketball. We feel good. I know how Lon feels. There will be a lot of games for both of us hopefully as we move forward.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for our student-athletes.

Q. D.J., could you take us through the last shot?
D.J. GAY: When they called the timeout, Coach Fisher made it clear that he wasn't going to use a timeout. He told me to go get the ball, call for a ball screen, and make something happen. They've been playing the ball screen pretty hard all night. I knew if I faked right, went left, they would bite on it most likely. That's what I did. I saw an open lane and I went for the floater.

Q. After a game as exhausting as this must have been, what is the idea of turning around and having to deal with Jimmer tomorrow?
D.J. GAY: I think that adrenaline will take care of that (smiling).
UNLV always does a great job of getting everything out of me and my teammates with their pressure and pressing. But just to have another opportunity at a team that beat us twice this year will be great motivation enough to play at a high level.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about that possession that UNLV had, stealing the basketball on the lob pass.
BILLY WHITE: Coach Fisher knew they were going to do the lob pass. They hurt us on it once before early in the game. Coach just told us to watch it. Good thing. Chace deflected it and Malcolm got a piece of it. We just came down with the rebound.

Q. Against Colorado State, you said you weren't looking to score, but nobody came to you, so you went and shot it. In this case, were you looking to take the final shot?
D.J. GAY: I was definitely looking to score against Colorado State. This time around, yeah, I wanted the ball in my hands once again. I just had to make a read whether I was to give it up or take the open shot. I saw a little open space and I just took it.

Q. Malcolm, when your team is down by two, you go to the free-throw line, what is going through your mind?
MALCOLM THOMAS: My daughter, my mom and my sister. I missed a few earlier. I was kind of thinking about it. But when I think about missing, I usually miss. So I just went to my usual routine. I thought about my family, and it dropped.

Q. Billy, with you being from Las Vegas, this is the last time you play here, did you have extra motivation for this game?
BILLY WHITE: I'm always going to have the motivation. I think it was a little bit more coming from Las Vegas, you don't want to lose. But I'm just glad that me and my teammates stepped up tonight. We just played hard defense. Like I said before, we put our heart on defense, and that's what won the game today.

Q. Malcolm, you struggled against BYU both games this season, against the interior defense. Are they a different team on defense without Davies?
MALCOLM THOMAS: I don't know. We'll have to see tomorrow.

Q. Billy, you played Jimmer on defense, guarded him. Give us your thoughts on what you saw of him tonight and facing him tomorrow.
BILLY WHITE: He's just amazing. It's just impossible to stop him. You only can contain him. We're just going to try to go back to our game plan and see what we did wrong. Obviously we lost to them twice. We just got to see what happened in those two losses. We just got to try to contain him.

Q. Is there anything you can pinpoint from your earlier games against BYU that needs to be different tomorrow in order for the outcome to be different?
BILLY WHITE: The first game at BYU they kind of ran us off the floor, kind of out-rebounded us. The second game, we let them get wide-open shots. We kind of contained Jimmer, but we just left other people open.
This time, like I said, we got to go back to the film, see what we did wrong, just capitalize on that.
D.J. GAY: I would say try and not let them make 14 three-pointers again (smiling).
MALCOLM THOMAS: Just defend, not have silly turnovers, just play hard.
THE MODERATOR: At this time we'll dismiss our student-athletes and continue with questions for Coach Fisher.

Q. Did your team want this shot at BYU? Did you sense they were looking forward to playing BYU one more time this season?
COACH FISHER: Absolutely not. We were preparing to play a terrific team, UNLV, that we had beaten twice, and both games had gone down to the last 30 seconds.
Our thoughts, they're not on BYU right now, to be honest with you. These questions tonight, our kids aren't thinking about BYU, they're thinking about the 74-72 victory we got tonight. We'll have enough time - maybe enough time, 17 hours before we tip-off. We know who we'll play tomorrow. Right now none of us, including me, are thinking of Jimmer or Dave Rose or any of them.

Q. How do you think the guys are fatigue-wise? Do you think fatigue was a factor in the second half?
COACH FISHER: I think good players from UNLV were the factor in that. Every game across the country people have double-digit leads. That means nothing. We played a really good team who can score in bunches like we can, and they did that tonight. We helped them a little bit with some turnovers, but they created the turnovers.
I don't think fatigue was a factor. The only guy that played 40 minutes was D.J. and our minutes were no different than their minutes, to be honest with you. D.J. asked me yesterday before the first game with Utah, he said, Are you going to sub me out? I said, Probably. Why? He said, I wish you wouldn't. If he asked me tonight, I would have said, Probably not. And I'm glad I didn't.

Q. Given the history of upsets in conference tournaments, are you surprised it's a 1-2 matchup?
COACH FISHER: I don't know. We had a close, close game tonight that could have gone either way. BYU had a real close game against TCU that could have gone either way.
So the fact that we've got 1-2 playing, I don't know what it means. A little bit of luck, for us anyway, to be playing. We've got the 1 and the 2 and we'll see what happens tomorrow.

Q. What about the spotlight that it puts on the conference?
COACH FISHER: It's not good if you're Vegas. It's not good if you're New Mexico. It's probably a little more shining when they start talking about it tomorrow in the buildup across the country that you got 1 and 2, two losses and three losses, all that kind of stuff.

Q. Talk a little bit more about D.J. and the mental fortitude to come up with a game like this.
COACH FISHER: You could tell when D.J. made that first basket - at least I could - that he was going to be playing with confidence and hopefully his shot would fall, and it did tonight.
D.J. is a tremendous competitor. He had been in a bit of a shooting slump obviously. I think he was 1-9 last night, hadn't shot the ball well. I think he got a little bit down.
But D.J. is a winner. You want a guy like that on your side. I had a feeling that D.J. would have himself ready to play a really good game and a really smart game tonight, and he did just that.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
COACH FISHER: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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