home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 15, 2012

Steve Alford

Drew Gordon

Kendall Williams


New Mexico – 75
Long Beach State - 68

COACH ALFORD:  Obviously very, very pleased.  We must have been the worst No. 5 seed seeded because that was definitely the best 12 seed.  Long Beach State is a great, great basketball team and Dan and his staff have done a tremendous job with them.  We couldn't get into much of a flow tonight offensively.  A lot had to do with what they did defensively with that zone.
But we beat a very good basketball team.  And when you can do that in March you feel very pleased.  And to move to the round of 32 you obviously feel very pleased.  We're excited that we're here through the weekend and hopefully we can continue to play well.

Q.  Talk about the play, what was the design on that where you hit the big three‑pointer after you guys had lost the lead and that gave it right back and the emotions you had after that shot.
KENDALL WILLIAMS:  Not much of a play really drawn up.  Just be aggressive.  Be aggressive off their 13 defense.  And I missed one before that, kind of short changed it, so I sort of came back and clutched up for my team and spread it out a little bit.  And luckily that one went in and we were able to get inside after that and finish the game.

Q.  Down the stretch it looked like they were determined to try to get Casper to score.  And you guys forced them into some very tough shots.  Could you just tell what you were doing defensively during that stretch?
KENDALL WILLIAMS:  We had a pretty good game plan for Cas.  He's a great scorer, great player.  But we have some athletic guys and we were able to drag out the screens a little bit.  Early in the game he was able to turn the hip on some of our big men, and we made that adjustment and tried to have him be forced back into the guard and kind of contained him a little better.
A little bit of it was just luck, him missing some shots down the stretch.  Probably a little tired.  He's a great player, so we just got lucky.

Q.  You had two points at halftime.  Did you plan to be much more aggressive in the second half scoring?
KENDALL WILLIAMS:  I mean, I just wanted to take better shots and create opportunities.  In the first half I was a little passive, this being my first tournament.  Whether or not that's an excuse or not.  They did a great job in the 13 defense of extending out our offense.  But after our coaches told us to get into the lane and penetrate and make plays, I saw a few openings, a few opportunities and was able to make some pretty big shots down the stretch.

Q.  Could you just talk a little bit how competitive they were inside?  It was pretty good give and take.
DREW GORDON:  Yeah, it was a good match‑up.  It was competitive through and through.  They did a good job defending us and we did a good job defending them.  I think that our guards did a huge, huge job at giving us help whenever we had to get out and hedge on a ball screen.
So I couldn't be happier with our guard play and how they handled defending the bigs.

Q.  Back to that three, where would you rank that in some of the biggest shots you've ever hit?
KENDALL WILLIAMS:  I could probably better answer that after Saturday, because hopefully I can hit some big ones on Saturday.  It was nice.  It was nice.  Good shot.
COACH ALFORD:  He's here because he's our guy.  The foundation of what we've been able to do has been because of Dairese Gary, he's our graduate manager now, and the reason why we've done the things we've done in five years has been a lot because of what this guy has done.

Q.  I posed this question to Coach Monson, 39 seconds to go, they want a set play that is really for the game.
COACH ALFORD:  It's our play.

Q.  And it's your play.

Q.  One, do you know how to defend it, the kid looked pretty open; and B, what would you have felt if they had beaten you on your own play?
COACH ALFORD:  We've laughed about it.  We've done that before in the Big Ten.  I remember a game, Minnesota and Iowa at Iowa, and he started the second half with a pinch post pass back up from the wing for a layup.  We've got the same play called.  We come down on the floor, run the exact same play for a layup.  So it was like stalemate to start that half.
We've talked about that play because we've ran it a lot when we've needed a late game three.  Haven't always made it.  I've made it a couple of times.  But it seems like it's always open.  And he ran that and my staff is like, they're running our play, they're running our play.  And you can't do anything at that point.  Fortunately he missed, but we looked at each other.  He at least acknowledged that he got it from us.

Q.  Could you just talk about what makes Kendall such a good defender and what the goal was with him on Casper?
COACH ALFORD:  Yeah, he's got something that you just can't teach.  He's got that extra gear.  He's the fastest player I've ever coached.  He's very, very elusive.  He can go right and left.  He can go north and south.  He's just got speeds to him that he's hard to catch up to.
We're playing him on the ball a lot still.  I think we still would like to combo that more as he grows.  We want to really work with him without the ball, because I think he's going to be really hard to guard in the future as he continues to move without the basketball, because he's got such speed.  He doesn't wear down.  He's one of those guys that can go and go and go forever.
And then he's got that ability that just very few players have, like tonight, he can make big shots.  I thought the shot that he made, the 3‑point shot was obviously big.  But he made an equally big shot driving in the lane with his little right hand jump hook that he's got.  That was a huge shot.
He's always had that ability to make really big plays, if not by pass, by shot, or by the free throw line.  Or now what he's developed into which has been very, very unappreciated all year is the type of defensive player he is.  Casper Ware is terrific.  The majority of the night it was Kendall Williams.  He's 5 for 19.  He had to work for everything he had.  Kept him off the free throw line for the most part.  I think Kendall has really grown in his sophomore year has been at the defensive end.

Q.  After Long Beach State took the lead there with four or five minutes left and you called the timeout, what was the main thing you talked about, trying to get them settled or setting up the play?
COACH ALFORD:  I think we were ahead.  I don't know if they did come back and eventually take the lead.  At the timeouts we were still ahead.  The last media timeout we were inside four minutes and we were up four, maybe up five at that time.  And we talked about our guys are conditioned for six or fewer points.  And we've had a lot of times this year where we've held teams under four points.
That timeout was all about let's hold them under four points and it's impossible for them to win.  50 seconds to go, we're up five.  And there's a timeout and that's all we talked about.  They can't get four points.  If they don't get four points they can't win.  This is what you're drilled and conditioned on.  And the last 50 seconds I think we were able to shut them out.
Our guys have just made defensive play after defensive play all year long.  And they were going to have to do that with this team.  They're well coached.  Very, very talented.  Anytime you can beat a team like this you feel very good.

Q.  I missed the first part of this, because I was back in the Long Beach locker room, I apologize if this question has been asked.  In a nutshell what do you think was the difference in this game for you guys?
COACH ALFORD:  I thought it was a hard fought game.  Both teams played really hard.  I thought two really good teams, but you had a lot of guys in this game, both from Long Beach's standpoint and our standpoint, that had very little NCAA experience.  Two years ago I don't know if Jamal played.  A.J. played some, Phillip played some.  And I don't know if they've had anybody.  I thought you saw that.  You saw some nerves.  You saw kids really trying hard.  And that's all you can ask for is kids trying hard.
They did a really good job on the backboard.  We have not been rebounded much at all this year.  We did a good job of getting to the free throw line.  To win the game by ten at the free throw line, if you told me that at the beginning of the game, I would say that would really favor us.  I thought we took good care of the ball in the second half, only like three turnovers in the second half and it got our offense to get in a rhythm in the second half.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297