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MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT


March 9, 2012


Steve Fisher

Jamaal Franklin

DeShawn Stephens

Chase Tapley


LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

San Diego State テや 79
Colorado State テや 69


THE MODERATOR:テつ We're joined by SanDiego State.
Coach, if we can start with you, your remarks on today's game.
COACH FISHER:テつ This was a really good, well‑played, hard‑fought college basketball game.テつ For as tough as both teams played, to have seven turnovers, each team, this was high‑level, high‑quality basketball.
Every mistake we made in the first half they took advantage of.テつ I thought in the second half, we were so good at being able to find and do a better job of contesting three‑pointers.テつ They were 6‑11 in the first half, 1‑10 in the second half until they made the last one at the buzzer.テつ That's a credit to our kids, how they listened at halftime, how they compete together.
Again, it was a true team victory.テつ We don't win without this guy here, DeShawn.テつ Obviously, we don't win without the other two, Jamaal and Chase.テつ That's what we've been all season.
So we're proud to represent our university, city and conference in the championship game tomorrow.テつ Whoever we play, we will compete and play hard.
But this was a well‑played, hard‑fought game against two teams who both should be in the tournament.テつ I'm a strong believer you reward for what people have done.テつ Colorado State has had a magnificent season.テつ I hope they are in the NCAA tournament.
THE MODERATOR:テつ At this time we'll open it up for questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.テつ Jamaal, you got in some foul trouble early.テつ You were still able to score a game‑high 19.テつ What allowed you to be effective?
JAMAAL FRANKLIN:テつ Just feeding off my players.テつ The bench played real good.テつ DeShawn came in playing real well.テつ Garrett played well.テつ What caused me to play like I have been was the bench.テつ I drive off them today.

Q.テつ Three‑point shooting at times has been criticized.テつ What allowed you to be effective from the outside today?
JAMAAL FRANKLIN:テつ Just hard work.テつ Hard work.テつ They gave me more space than I normally had.テつ It made me comfortable shooting the ball.テつ When you knock the first one down, it always makes it comfortable for the next one.

Q.テつ I'm sure you watched tape on Pierce, dominating in the paint yesterday.テつ What were you able to do to control him?
DeSHAWN STEPHENS:テつ Nothing too much.テつ We were just focused on boxing out and getting every rebound that came down because it came down to defense that we thought would win the game.テつ Everybody took their assignments on boxing out, being strong and grabbing rebounds.

Q.テつ They shot really well from three in the first half.テつ Second half you held them to only two three‑pointers.テつ Did you change anything defensively?
CHASE TAPLEY:テつ We came in at halftime saying we got to get an upper hand on their shooters, running them off threes, making them drive to the basket.テつ Garrett and DeShawn were alternating shots, going to the basket, getting key blocks.テつ That just helped us out in the long run.

Q.テつ What is it about the second half, Chase, your game seems to take off?
CHASE TAPLEY:テつ That's the final 20 minutes of the game.テつ So you got to be on your A game.テつ In the locker room, teammates were complimenting me, saying, It's going to be your half.テつ I got some key layups that got me started.テつ From then on, I felt comfortable coming off the pick‑and‑rolls.テつ Like Jamaal said, we feed off each other.テつ I got a lot from my players playing on the defensive end.

Q.テつ Can you comment on a potential matchup against UNLV, how much you would relish the opportunity to beat them here in Vegas.
JAMAAL FRANKLIN:テつ We can't decide on what that's going to happen.テつ We look forward to playing either team.テつ They both beat us.テつ We can't decide that, they have to decide that for us.
They're two good teams.テつ We're just going to sit here and watch and see who we play tomorrow.

Q.テつ DeShawn, when Jamaal got in foul trouble early, came off the bench with Garrett.テつ Talk about what Steve Fisher asked of you in that role.
DeSHAWN STEPHENS:テつ Well, they were doing pretty good at the start.テつ But Coach Fisher just basically tells us to go in and don't let up.テつ We just try to keep it at a level of good play that we can.テつ We don't want to bring it down and make it seem like the bench is bringing as much support as they're supposed to.
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll dismiss the student‑athletes at this time and continue with questions for Coach Fisher.

Q.テつ You had three guys score at least 15 points tonight.テつ Talk about that balance, how you were able to spread the ball around.
COACH FISHER:テつ We all season long have been a team that has won in a variety of ways.テつ We've won primarily because we've done a good to really good job guarding.
Offensively, as the season wore on, Jamaal became more and more an offensive factor and has become the leading scorer of the team yet.テつ We got a lot of guys that can play, make shots.テつ You saw that today.
The people we play know that.テつ Chase is a scorer.テつ He can score in a variety of ways, make hard shots.テつ Rahon is more than a catch‑shoot player.テつ You get guys that get opportunities and they're going to make shots.
Xavier stirs it all up for everybody.テつ Gets into the paint, finds people.テつ So they kind of feed off one another.テつ It's a nice community affair and all of them can do what they did today.テつ We got five guys I think averaging close to double figures.

Q.テつ You've been through these conference tournament wars quite a bit.テつ You see a lot of teams don't really need to win to make the tournament.テつ Some teams don't need to win to be a No.1 seed.テつ How do you approach these games?テつ Seems to me like you approach it like you approach every other one.
COACH FISHER:テつ We do.テつ And I think sometimes rhetoric maybe is there just in case something happens when you play.テつ I can't think of a player in America that goes out there with people in the stands, playing somebody else, that doesn't try their hardest.
That's what we've done.テつ We talked a little bit about us and a responsibility to ourselves to come out and be as good as we can be.テつ We want to play tomorrow.テつ We're not worried about not having a deep bench, not having legs.テつ We want to be playing.テつ We want to be that last team standing here in this Mountain West Conference, and we're going to be having a chance to do that.
But we've always felt that way.テつ And this year, yeah, we're going to make the tournament.テつ But our heart and soul was into winning this game today to have a chance to win the conference tournament championship.

Q.テつ Watching DeShawn Stephens this season, it seems he got better each and every game.テつ Can you talk a little bit about how he's improved this season and also what he meant coming off the bench today.
COACH FISHER:テつ DeShawn ‑ and I've said this before ‑ is as nice a young man as you could possibly ever hope to have in your program.テつ And he's a neophyte as a basketball player, so he should get better.テつ He should get a lot better from now and a year from now.テつ I think he tied or had a career high in rebounds today.
When he says, Okay, I'm going to let my athleticism be a big part of what I do, he's good.テつ He's still learning how to play.テつ That's up to him and us to help him grow on that.テつ DeShawn has made improvement because DeShawn is a quality guy that wants to get better, never resents how much he plays, what's said to him.テつ He's got qualities that really allow him and us to be good.

Q.テつ In the first half you put Jamaal back in with two fouls.テつ In the second half he picked up his third early.テつ You left him in.テつ Talk about your decision to do that.
COACH FISHER:テつ When he got his second foul, to be honest, I didn't realize it was him that had got the second foul until he came sprinting over screaming, Don't take me out, don't take me out.テつ And we immediately took him out.
Mark Fisher told me, You got to go tell him you're going to put him back in.テつ I said, Jamaal, I'm putting you back in in the first half, somewhere, 10‑minute mark, I don't know.テつ You're going to go back in.テつ Cheer your teammates, relax, be ready to go.
The second half, I couldn't take him out when he got the third foul.テつ We told him, You got to be smart.テつ I thought they tried to attack him when we were switching screens and all of a sudden he gets on Green or one of the guards.テつ I think they tried to take him off the dribble.テつ But he did a pretty good job of not fouling, once or twice at the expense of giving up a layup, but he did a pretty good job of staying in the game.

Q.テつ All three guys that came in off the bench were solid performers today.テつ Talk about their role, especially when you have three games in three days like you do here.
COACH FISHER:テつ We don't have a lot.テつ We got nine guys on scholarship.テつ We've been playing eight.テつ The eight that played performed.テつ The guys that came off the bench, the ones that the stats that look a little bit better, DeShawn and Garrett Green.テつ But LaBradford Franklin came in and did an admirable job for us.テつ He made a huge three in the corner, guarded effectively.
So we got solid play off the bench, which is what you have to have, and what you should have with Division I players that are good.

Q.テつ Can you talk about third matchup potentially with UNLV.テつ What do you think this next game would be like?
COACH FISHER:テつ We've had great battles with UNLV.テつ They've been ‑ most of them ‑ to the wire.テつ Last two, three possessions, last possession, either team could win.
If we were to play them again, it quite probably could go that same way.テつ We've played New Mexico.テつ Both of these teams are really, really good.テつ We've had our hands full.テつ We beat Vegas at our place on a buzzer shot.テつ They beat us here.テつ We beat New Mexico at their place by five, and it was really more than that, and they beat us at our place by about eight or nine, and it was every bit of that.
I don't think it matters to any of us who we play.テつ We're just excited and happy that we're going to be one of the teams playing.テつ But I do know whoever we play, we'll have our hands full and then some.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you very much, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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