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March 19, 2011
BYU Â– 89
Gonzaga - 67
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by BYU. Coach, if you want to begin with your thoughts on the game.
COACH ROSE: Well, I'm just really pleased. I'm happy for our players. I think that we had to play our best game in this situation. Gonzaga was on a great streak. I think they'd won 10 in a row. It was a game where we knew that, you know, we had to play together. We had to play with confidence. We had to play on attack. I thought for 40 minutes, we might have been as good as we've been all year.
I'm really happy for our players, happy for our fans. It's a really big win for us.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Jimmer, you're someone who thrives off of people doubting you, watching your career. Did it motivate you hearing people say that BYU might have been the favorite going into this game?
JIMMER FREDETTE: We were aware of what's going on, and a lot of people picked Gonzaga. We didn't really worry about it too much. We just wanted to come in here. We knew if we could put a good game together, we could get a win.
We were focused on our team really. We were focused on getting prepared. The coaches did a great job of that. They spent hours, you know, during the night trying to get us prepared, to get a good game plan. We felt like we did a good job. Then we went out and performed.
We were definitely aware of it. That's something that we've handled this year.
Q. Jackson, do you feel your early success when they were guarding Jimmer pretty tight set the tone for the rest of the supporting cast?
JACKSON EMERY: Yeah. I take a lot of pride in setting the tone. Jimmer is going to demand so much attention because of the player he is. But the most important thing is that, you know, his supporting cast hit shots. I thought not only I, but Noah, Stephen, the rest of the guys did a tremendous job of being aggressive tonight.
Q. Jimmer, anything you did differently after shooting 2-9 from three-point range the other day?
JIMMER FREDETTE: They were just falling tonight. Sometimes that happens. You have off nights, then you come back and have good nights. Kind of the law of percentages throughout the year.
I just felt good tonight. I was fortunate to make some shots.
Q. Coach Rose said something interesting yesterday. He said a lot of people around the country have mainly seen you on highlights. As you advance deeper into the tournament, more people will see complete BYU games, they'll be able to see that you do so many more things other than score. Do you think people will gain more of an appreciation for your overall game? Are you happy to see that happen?
JIMMER FREDETTE: Yeah, I think so. We don't get a ton of air play. We get into the NCAA tournament, having two games, people have a chance to see us.
Our whole team, you know, they see how good of a team we are, how we play together, then how I play as a player myself. Just trying to be aggressive.
It's great for us as a team and as a program.
Q. Ever since the Brandon situation happened, there's been some doubt. People have maybe not picked BYU to go so far. Do you think you answered some critics tonight?
JIMMER FREDETTE: You know, maybe. I think so. Maybe people still think that. But, you know, it's just a matter of believing in ourselves. We knew if we played well, we could put a game together and shoot the ball.
And we still defended really well in that second half. We were able to rebound the ball really well in the second half.
We have tough players on this team, tough-minded guys. A lot of senior leadership to get us ready to play. I think that we're still a very, very good team. I've been telling everybody that all along.
Q. After watching you for the past couple weeks, trying to get used to playing without Brandon, where did this game come from?
NOAH HARTSOCK: Yeah, I think it really came out with just how we approached it the day before in team meeting. We just talked about how we needed to come out and play aggressive, play hard. Because it's a good team. We had to prepare for it.
I think we had a great practice, a great shoot around this morning. Just really focused. The team was talking to each other, how we were going to approach the game. We played hard for all 40 minutes. We executed. I think that's really what helped us.
JIMMER FREDETTE: Yeah, you know, I think we can play games together like that, we can play well. We still have a great team. We can all shoot the ball. It's tough to stop us, especially when everybody is hitting on all cylinders. Then we defend the way we did.
We've been doing a good job of that. We just got to continue to be aggressive, play as a team, you know, play defense, get rebounds and go.
JACKSON EMERY: Yeah, I think the most important thing is that we believe in ourselves. We've gone through a lot of challenges this year, a lot of adversity. The most important thing is what we believe in that locker room. We've always believed that we're a good team, that we can compete with the best.
The best thing is you always know someone is going to step up. You don't know who it is, but there's always someone on any given night that's going to step up and make plays.
Q. Jimmer, you said that John Stockton is your sports idol. He's sitting in the stands. How did it feel to play in front of him, then to knock his son's team out of the NCAA tournament?
JIMMER FREDETTE: It's cool. Obviously he's a guy that I looked up to as I was growing up, for the Utah Jazz. Just a great player. Just to be able to play in front of him is an honor, I think.
As far as Gonzaga, they're a very good team. Stockton is a good player. We just came out and we played well and were able to get a win. It was great to be able to do that.
Q. All of you had a chance to play against Florida last year. What do you think about the rematch there?
NOAH HARTSOCK: I hope it doesn't go into double overtime again.
They're a great team. They returned everyone back. Got some new players. It's going to be a great challenge. We just got to prepare for it, be focused. If we play like this tonight, we're going to be a good team.
You know, just got to go out there and play hard, just get focused for it.
Q. Noah, could you describe how you felt when you went out of game with two and a half minutes to go, knowing it was a key defensive assignment that you had, then how it felt to come back in? Jackson, could you compare this defensive effort with some in the past this season.
NOAH HARTSOCK: I was a little disappointed. I picked up two fouls quick. I felt like, you know, it's going to be another tough battle. James Anderson went in there, he played great. Logan Magnusson and Stephen, they just played hard. They were able to stop the big guys for most of the game in that first half. That really helped our team, gave them a great boost. I was able to get a little rested, come out in the second half, help our team.
James and Logan really stepped up big and played big for us.
JACKSON EMERY: We understand how good Gonzaga is and how big they are. As guards we took it to heart to make sure we got hands on balls, got tipped balls to create some fast break opportunities. We knew we had an advantage if we could get out and run.
Those guys are so big, you have to swarm them and make them uncomfortable, because when they're comfortable, they're dangerous. I thought for the most part it was a group effort. I thought James, Noah and Logan battled their hearts out inside.
Q. Jimmer, one of the Gonzaga players said you have no range, which I guess means longer than NBA range or longer than three-point range. Have you ever watched film of yourself the day after a game? Do you recall one time where you took a shot that you even thought was outside your range and said, Wow?
JIMMER FREDETTE: Not necessarily outside my range. But I look at them like, Wow, that's a long shot, maybe I shouldn't have shot that.
But I've made them before. I think that is what makes myself and my team good, that I can stretch the floor so much, that they have to guard me out there, it makes the high pick-and-roll very effective, and then my dribble-drive very effective. That's why my teammates get open shots.
But I've definitely seen a couple that are pretty far. I probably maybe shouldn't have shot 'em, but they went in good, so that was good.
Q. Jimmer, just talk about the fan support. Did it seem almost like a home game? How cool is it when you look into the stands and everyone is holding signs with your name on it?
JIMMER FREDETTE: Yeah, it was great. We had a great atmosphere, close to home. A lot of people were able to come up. My family was here, a lot of friends. It was a great atmosphere for us. Great fans.
They're very clever with all the signs that they have. So it's a great feeling to be able to see us as a team being able to look up in the stands and see all these signs, see us win and have everybody cheering for you at the end. It's a special moment.
Q. Jimmer and Jackson, you've broken a lot of Danny Ainge's scoring and steals records. How important is it to match his taking BYU to the Elite 8?
JIMMER FREDETTE: We're looking forward to being able to play. Hopefully we'll be able to do that. He led this team to the Elite 8. We realize that. We see the coast-to-coast layup and everything. It's a great moment for this school. We haven't been here for the last 30 years. This is an accomplishment in itself.
But we're really looking forward to being able to play against Florida and have that opportunity to hopefully get to the Elite 8.
JACKSON EMERY: Yeah, it's exciting. I'm pretty sure Danny Ainge doesn't mind if we keep breaking his records if we keep winning. We're excited to continue and play hard, I know he's rooting us on. Hopefully we continue to play well and do those things that help us get more victories.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, guys. We'll continue with questions for Coach Rose.
Q. You had a meeting after the New Mexico loss in Provo. Some of the players were talking about how you settled them down. You adjusted well to the suspension. What did you tell them? Did you make any adjustments with the offense to get it back on track?
COACH ROSE: Well, you know, the most important thing that well talked about was that we needed time, okay? Anytime you get in a situation like that, we didn't have a lot of time to adjust for that game. Plus New Mexico played extremely well.
What I wanted to make sure is that our players understood that this is still a really good basketball team, okay? And what we need, give the coaches a little bit of time, give the players a little bit of time to adjust to the situation.
But I think that, you know, as far as X's and O's are concerned, Coach Rice is terrific with our offense. We spread the floor a lot more. I think we've created opportunities for our guys to drive the ball and get to the basket, to drive and kick for shots. It's a lot different. It's taken us a little bit of time.
But this is the best game that we've played, you know, since we've kind of adjusted offensively.
But a lot of it is mental. It was a mental thing. We had to come back on a Saturday after a Wednesday night game and we had an opportunity to share the Mountain West Conference championship regular season, which was a big game. I just wanted to make sure that our players believed in themselves. That was a big win for us.
Then we went to the tournament, got a couple big wins. Played a San Diego State team that I think everybody has seen now is pretty good. We beat them twice in the regular season, they beat us in the conference tournament.
I do believe that the most important part of that meeting was for us to adjust mentally and just give us some time to kind of settle down, then believe in ourselves.
Q. Coaches often get a sense for how well their team will play. What was your sense? Did you think your team was going to pull off the kind of thing they did tonight?
COACH ROSE: Our whole staff had a lot of confidence in our players this game. I think there were a couple questions asked earlier about maybe why our shooting percentage was better tonight compared to Thursday night.
I believe in preparation. Our players believe in preparation. We got a chance to practice for an hour and a half in the arena on Friday. We got 30 minutes in the arena today. I think that was really important. We didn't have that time coming into Wednesday.
When you rely on jump shots as much as our team relies on jump shots, being comfortable in this environment, in this arena, I think really helped us.
Q. I don't think Stephen Rogers had scored 10 points in the last five games, yet he had 10 points in 10 minutes in the first half. Can you talk about why you went with him and stayed with him, the contributions he made.
COACH ROSE: Well, you know, after studying film all Thursday night, our coaches really felt that we were going to need another offensive punch. Logan gave us a great lift on Thursday night. But that advantage was going to be tough because of their matchup on the frontline.
So we felt that we could spread the floor and that Stephen would have an opportunity. I think in the Friday meeting, our team meeting, we challenged Stephen. He really responded.
You know, that's kind of the personality of this team. I mean, James Anderson was terrific tonight. He probably hasn't played 18 minutes for quite a while. Logan Magnusson on Thursday night was a huge lift for our team, a big part of that win. Stephen Rogers tonight. I mean, our core starting guys have to be consistent.
But we get huge lifts from different guys every night. That's how we've found a way to win.
Q. Talk about after the game, how cool it was, the band stayed and played, the fans were cheering, you came out and greeted fans after the game.
COACH ROSE: Well, you know, it's been a long time for our (tearing up). And I'm happy, really happy for them. I'm happy for our players, happy for our coaches, our administration. I mean, everybody is in this. We're all in this together.
This is a special team. I'm really pleased that they'll be rewarded with continuing on in this tournament. So that's kind of how I feel.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, coach. Congratulations.
COACH ROSE: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports