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NCAA MEN'S 2ND & 3RD ROUNDS: PHILADELPHIA


March 22, 2013


Chase Fieler

Steve Fisher

Jamaal Franklin

James Rahon

Xavier Thames


PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

San Diego State 70
Oklahoma 55


COACH FISHER: This was what we hoped to do, come up here second and be playing on Sunday. Very proud of how we competed. We talked at halftime of making sure we came out and prioritized how we guarded. We have a little bit of an MO where our second‑half defense doesn't match our first half, and today our second half defense was superior to our first half, and that's how we won. We found a way to win. The score was 48‑48, and over the next eight minutes and change, we outscored them 15‑3 because we didn't give them easy baskets, we didn't give them second‑chance opportunities, and we took advantage of our opportunities.
So that's what a good team does, that's what a veteran team does. We've got veteran players here that are part of the only NCAA Tournament wins we've ever had. So we are hungry to add to it and proud of the fact that we got one tonight.

Q. James, I'm sure coach wishes you were a sophomore still after tonight. You've been kind of quiet offensively the last few games, nine points in your previous three games. What changed tonight, and the possibility this could be your last game, did that motivate you?
JAMES RAHON: Well, it is definitely a bigger stage, so I think we all raised our level of play a little bit. But these guys next to me were finding me when I was making shots, and I think that was the key tonight. Got to credit them for finding me when I was open.

Q. Coach alluded to the fact that you kind of closed it out. What's it like when you know you've done that, when you've done what you wanted to do, done what you had to do to get this win and move on to the next round? What's that feeling like?
CHASE FIELER: If feels good. I mean, it just feels like you put in all that hard work during the season, the preseason and the regular season, and you get that win, it's as if you made history, it's just a great feeling. You just want to go to your teammates and just hug them and say let's keep on going.
XAVIER THAMES: Yeah, what Chase said, it feels good to get this first win. I'm proud of everybody on the team and I'm thankful and blessed to be here. Just got to move on to the next game and get ready.

Q. Jamaal, when you yelled out to DeShawn, hey, you know I'm on your team, right, did you guys collide? Is that what caused you to fall?
JAMAAL FRANKLIN: Yeah, we definitely did collide, but he was just doing his job ghosting, doing what coach told him to do. That's the only thing. Thankfully we got that win and hopefully next time he'll know to see me and try to do it. But we got the win, so I'm not tripping about it.

Q. You probably haven't had a chance to let it sink in yet, but given the circumstances is this the most memorable game of your college career do you think?
JAMAAL FRANKLIN: No, I've got a lot of memories. I would say I had a lot of memories my freshman year. When we went to the Sweet 16, I probably didn't play as much as I wanted to play, but I have so much memories that I can't say this memory is just the best memory I have. Of course I played a lot in my first win in the NCAA, but at the same time I have a lot of memories, so I'm just thankful to be a part of this San Diego State basketball team.

Q. Jamaal, you guys have had some ups and downs this year, some injuries, some losses in close games, questionable calls. Do you feel like everything is coming together at the right time?
JAMAAL FRANKLIN: Yeah, thankful that dunk did go on. Probably won't be on top 10 again. Well, I still might. It's good everyone is healthy, everyone is playing well. We had a couple of mishaps in the game, but at the same time we stuck together and we got the win, and that's all that matters.

Q. Xavier, I know you didn't guard him much, but talk about Romero Osby. He was the one guy tonight that had some stuff going. Can you talk about his performance?
XAVIER THAMES: His performance was real good. He's a great player, going to be a great player for a long time. We just tried to make it tough on him, me digging down trying to double‑team him. He's a great player and he knows how to score, we just had to make it tough on him.

Q. Chase, there was nothing really for either side really flashy or spectacular about that game, highlights and dunks. Is that kind of the way you guys do it, methodically do what you need to do?
CHASE FIELER: I guess. A win is a win. I thought Jamaal was going to do some freaky nasty at the end but he just didn't. We don't think about the highlights and everything. A win is a win, and we'll take it anyway we get can it.

Q. In the context of his three years at San Diego State, how would you describe Jamaal's performance tonight?
COACH FISHER: Jamaal does what every coach expects but doesn't always get. He gives you maximum effort every second he's out there, and it's not 100 percent what you want, but you're not going to ever fault him for effort.
And I think that permeates through the whole team. He is a guy that when you say you can't do this, he works that much harder to prove that he can. And I think that that's the will that he brings. Has allowed him to grow but our team to grow, too.

Q. I want to ask you the same thing I asked Jamaal. Did you feel like after all you've been through this season things are starting to come together in terms of health, in terms of balance, in terms of effort all at the right time?
COACH FISHER: We're closer to being every man available physically, and you know, you're with us. Nobody wants to hear it. Everybody has people hurt. Xavier missed six weeks of the season. Even though he played some games, he didn't practice. He's back close to what he was before, and we missed him.
And you take one guy out, and it makes a huge difference. Rahon had a shoulder injury.
It's good that we've got them all available, but the most important thing is that we came in and found a way to get a win and move on to that next game. You know, everybody says, well, what happened, why didn't you win the conference, what happened, why didn't you win the conference tournament. And we said that to some degree.
But we got a win in the NCAA Tournament, and this is where everybody wants to be, and everybody wants to continue to play past Game 1. And we have the opportunity to do that, and we're all excited about it.

Q. You talked a lot about Romero Osby yesterday in glowing terms, but his performance tonight, can you give us an idea how difficult it was to stop some of the things he was trying to do?
COACH FISHER: Romero Osby? I said before, the tape I watched, if there's a better player in the Big 12, I don't want to have to play that team. He's very, very talented. I read all the stuff that they had in their guide on their team, and reading his comments, you can tell he's quality, not only basketball but a quality person, and you win with that. He's a hard guard, competes very hard, and he's an outstanding player, and he gave us a lot of problems.

Q. You talked about the defense in the last few minutes and how you guys stepped it up on that end. Would you attribute that to sort of the experience of you guys having been in the tournament before or something else?
COACH FISHER: I think that experience always helps, but effort has to be there. Effort has to be there, and there's not‑‑ sometimes it's just a little, little, little thing that if you let up just that much, that hard shot becomes a little bit easier and they make them.
I thought our consistency, the fight when we got fatigued‑‑ Chase Tapley, I have a rule if you take yourself out you can put yourself back in. And Chase took himself out in the second half and said I'm ready to go back in, and I didn't put him in for another five minutes, and there was no greater cheerleader on the bench for his team than he was.
In a lesser time, a guy would say, come on, but he was caring more about the team. He's a veteran senior, started for us for four years, so I think those kinds of experiences as you grow as a person, as a player, they're always helpful.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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