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March 12, 2014

Tre Coggins

Dave Pilipovich

Max Yon


Fresno State – 61
Air Force – 59

THE MODERATOR:  We're joined by Air Force.  Coach, if you could make some opening remarks about tonight's game.
COACH PILIPOVICH:  First of all, let's give a lot of credit to Fresno State.  What an outstanding effort they had.  Being down late in the second half, their student‑athletes never quit.  It was an outstanding basketball game.
What a great game for us.  We just didn't finish it.  I feel so bad for our cadet athletes.  They gave everything and some.  We just came up a little bit short.  We talked about that briefly in the locker room.  We got to finish.  Once we do that we'll be okay.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll open it up for questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  We've seen leads slip away from you guys earlier.  What was said between the team in the last minutes?
MAX YON:  We just kept telling each other in the huddles to stay together.  We were going through a little bit of adversity.  But I think everybody in that huddle knew we were going to come away with it.  Tried to stay as positive as we could, but it just didn't go our way at the end.
TRÉ COGGINS:  We're real big on staying together, not excluding everybody for making any kind of mistake.  A lot of us made mistakes at the end.  We just came together, tried to have a short memory and go on to the next play.

Q.  How hard as a team to leave 11 free throws on the table in a loss like this?
TRÉ COGGINS:  That's very hard.  Just knowing that if we had made those free throws, we probably would have seen a different outcome.  You know, that's one of those things that we wish we could take back, but we won't be able to.
I think that comes with maturity, you know, being in that situation and being able to finish games.

Q.  What were you doing to take away the perimeter from that team especially?
MAX YON:  We knew their guards were very good scorers for their team so we wanted to try to take them out of it as best as we could, try to make them uncomfortable.
We really didn't do anything special.  We had a lot more energy.  Being on this stage, being here, really fueled us up.  We played with a lot of juice, a lot of energy.  I think that frustrated them a bit.
We were just out there having a good time, playing basketball like it's supposed to be played.  But they made their little run there at the end and we just couldn't answer.

Q.  From where you started, can you put into words what this finish was like?
COACH PILIPOVICH:  That shows the character of our cadet athletes.  We had some ups and downs.  We played a very outstanding team today that won eight of their last 10 and beat us twice during the regular season.  They didn't let that bother them at all.
They came out with great energy, great execution.  We talk about the six games we had where we had a lead probably with five minutes left in the game.  We lost them.  We like to flip that a little bit.  We did some good things to have a lead with five minutes to go.
I think Max said it great with maturity.  We grew so much this year.  Now when this team takes the stage again next year for the first game, the experience will show through to the next season.

Q.  Talk about the last two possessions that you had and what were you all trying to accomplish?
TRÉ COGGINS:  We were just trying to attack the rim, trying to get to the rim, tie the game, get fouled.  They just had great defense in those last couple possessions.  We couldn't get that done.

Q.  With 3.8 seconds, the ball was caught at the top of the key.  Looked like you had an open three.  You took it to the rim.  Did you plan to do that?
TRÉ COGGINS:  The plan was to get to the rim.  It did cross my mind, which I think was part of the problem, to shoot that three.
But, yeah, I knew all along the plan was to get to the rim.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll continue with questions for coach.

Q.  Your role this year has been more psychologist than coach this year.  When you felt that starting to slip away, what were you doing?
COACH PILIPOVICH:  As Tré and Max said, keeping them positive.  We made some errors late in the game.  Let's give credit to Fresno State, their length, their athleticism, their competitiveness, they were right there.  Their guys never quit.  They battled and battled.  That program has really grown.
Two weeks ago somebody asked me two teams that go out there that have a chance to get lucky, get hot, make shots, win it all, I said Fresno State.  I told Rodney that before the game.  Here we got to play you.
Our guys executed down the end.  We turned it over, we missed some free throws, but that comes with what was happening at the end of the game.  We kept them calm and positive.  They did an outstanding job of executing a sideline out‑of‑bounds play, which turned to an OB under, which we drew up and they executed it perfect.
Tré had the opportunity to shoot it.  He was pretty deep.  The length to contest that probably wasn't very well.  He made the decision to attack the rim.  We'll take that 10 out of 10 times.  Obviously it didn't fall.
We never quit either at the end.  We kept coming back.  They made some shots, when they tied it.  Our guys had a great defensive possession, we just fouled there at the end, they made two free throws and you saw the last two possessions on the side in the underneath.

Q.  The last couple minutes, trying to hold it off, what was it like?
COACH PILIPOVICH:  Obviously, the clock ran too slow for us.  Those last six minutes and some change, could have went a little quicker.  If it did, probably be happier.
It got quiet at times.  You have to be a leader and instill confidence in your team.  Our coaches did and our players on the bench did.
We just came up short or maybe ran out of a little bit of time.

Q.  Can you talk about your emotions now compared to other times as a coach.
COACH PILIPOVICH:  This hurts.  This is going to hurt because it's going to hurt till November.  We don't get to tip it up on Monday or Wednesday.  I hurt for them.  This group has worked their tails off.  We lost top players from last year.  These guys were guys on the bench cheering people on.  They were our second team in practice.  They grew so much through this year.
It was amazing to see them finish as they did last Saturday.  UNLV, New Mexico, two very good teams.  They gave everything they had.  We were excited to move on.  I believe we've never won a Mountain West Conference game, is that correct?
We weren't carrying that burden.  It wasn't on this team.  We were taking on that challenge to win this game and play tomorrow.  So I hurt for them.  I love this group.

Q.  Did you think there was something that changed in those last six minutes?
COACH PILIPOVICH:  Yeah, they made some shots and they guarded us a little bit.
No, I don't think.  They're a good team, guys.  They're 17‑15.  They've won 9 of 11 now.  That's a very good basketball team.  Those guys stepped up late in the game.  Tyler Johnson made that shot.  I love that guy.  His mom is Air Force.  He needs to be wearing blue.
They just made big shots when it counted and they battled, and we did, too.  They just had the upper hand and maybe made one more at the end.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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