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March 14, 2014

Steve Fisher

Dwayne Polee II

Xavier Thames


San Diego State テや 59
UNLV テや 51

THE MODERATOR:テつ We're joined by San Diego State.テつ We'll ask coach to start with an opening comment about tonight's game.
COACH FISHER:テつ We came here to win three games.テつ We came here to compete like crazy.テつ We've done that for two.テつ We got one to go.
What has driven us all season is come out and guard you hard, not make it easy for you to get good, clean looks.テつ We did that again today.
I thought our big guys, Josh and Skylar, in particular, did a good job of keeping the ball out of the post.テつ They really hurt us last game here throwing the ball inside, and we made a concerted effort to guard the perimeter a little harder, make it difficult, and not just concede and play behind them.テつ I thought we did a good job of that.
Our thought was make 'em take hard twos, make 'em take hard twos, make 'em take hard twos, one shot at a time.テつ We were pretty good following the game plan.
The two guys who are up here now were our offensive thrust.テつ X has delivered for us every game.テつ I said this before, when he was on such a high when how he was playing, if there was a better guard in America, I would like to see him.テつ I would stand by that statement.
He wins.テつ He finds ways to win.テつ He makes plays at both ends of the floor.
For Dwayne, and I haven't said this enough, to not play a second against Arizona, and it was not because he was hurt.テつ I didn't play him.テつ He never changed his demeanor, never changed his work habits, never changed for his team his attitude.テつ Now he's rewarding us and making me look like, Why didn't you play him sooner.
He had some huge plays for us tonight at both ends of the floor.テつ He allows his athleticism to show and he makes timely shots for us.
So it was a really good win for us against a good, athletic team that we've had a difficult time with for years.
To beat them twice in their building, we're proud of that fact.
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll take questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.テつ Dwayne, how hard was it to stay patient last season and even early in season as obviously you were working hard in practice but the playing time wasn't coming?
DWAYNE POLEE:テつ You know, just staying with it, just knowing that my time is going to come, just keep working on my game every day and not letting that really get me, getting me down.
I just kept working on my game, kept working in the offense, working with the coaches.テつ Now I've become a pretty big contributor on this team.

Q.テつ Dwayne, can you talk about your mentality coming into this game like this one where you saw maybe the offense struggling a little bit.
DWAYNE POLEE:テつ Well, as the sixth man, that's what I like to do, is be the sparkplug for our team.テつ Whether it's offensively or defensively, I like to come in and bring a lot of energy.

Q.テつ Xavier, it was 33‑31, you went on that 12‑0 run.テつ Could you sense the Rebels falling apart at that point, getting frustrated?
XAVIER THAMES:テつ A little bit.テつ But they're a great team.テつ We knew they were going to fight hard and come back.テつ We just wanted to get on a run.テつ We talked bit at halftime.テつ I think that's what we did.

Q.テつ Dwayne, he talked about you not playing in the game against Arizona.テつ What were you thinking coming out of that game?
DWAYNE POLEE:テつ To me that was just I need to work on my game harder.テつ I can't look at things in a negative mindset, because that will drop my demeanor and that won't help the team.テつ Try to do anything to help the team.
Working on my game after that Arizona game really helped the season.

Q.テつ Xavier, for a team that's already in the tournament regardless of this particular tournament, how much do you and your teammates want to win this tournament?
XAVIER THAMES:テつ Really bad.テつ You know, like coach said, we want to come in here and win three games.テつ We got the first two.テつ We just got to come out, no matter who we play, come out and play hard, try and get a win.

Q.テつ If you play New Mexico again, they probably had the best of you for many of those minutes.テつ Do you relish the challenge of facing that team again?
XAVIER THAMES:テつ We can't really get into that, no matter who we play.テつ If we play New Mexico, it's going to be another hard‑fought game.テつ They're a great team, have a great coaching staff.テつ No matter who we play, it's going to be a hard‑fought game.テつ If we play New Mexico, it's going be too fun, a fun environment.

Q.テつ Xavier, can you talk about the development of Dwayne and the confidence you've seen in him.
XAVIER THAMES:テつ Well, Dwayne has been in the gym since summertime.テつ He stayed down in SanDiego, went to summer school, was working on his game.テつ Like coach said, he never got down.テつ He's a team guy first.テつ That's what I love about him.
DP spent the summertime working on his game.テつ I knew sooner or later he was going to get another chance.テつ He's been doing good so far.
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll continue with questions for Coach Fisher.

Q.テつ You out‑rebounded UNLV.テつ Not an easy thing to do at all.テつ Talk about the play of your bigs, of Shepard?
COACH FISHER:テつ We put five bullet points on the board, keys to success.テつ Rebounding was one of them.テつ We're a good rebounding team.テつ Our goal every game is to rebound half of our misses.テつ We pursue the ball pretty effectively.
They had 18 offensive rebounds against us at our place.テつ They're good, long, athletic, pursue the ball.
Sometimes when you don't stay in front of a man, they drove, they help, throw it up, now the dam is broke.テつ We did a better job keeping people in front of us, keeping the ball out of the post.テつ A couple times it looked like they might get it, either Matt Shrigley would come over the top to get one or one of the guards would.
It was a community effort.テつ That was a big point of emphasis.テつ Got to rebound the ball against a team that rebounds the ball the way they do.

Q.テつ Xavier has had big assist nights the last two nights.テつ You have run a lot of ball screens.テつ At this point in the season, do you want the ball in his hands?
COACH FISHER:テつ At the end of a shot clock, I think everybody that cheered for SanDiego wants him to have the ball, read the defense, make a play, come off a screen, twist it, make a play off of it.テつ You can't do that for 40 minutes and 70 possessions.
I thought, and it was probably coach‑driven, that we got a little bit too conservative about five or six minutes to go with a 15‑point lead, whatever it was, and maybe said all we want to do is move the ball from side to side, then let him do something off a ball screen with 10 seconds to go.
I didn't like the feel as it kind of wound down.テつ But they cut into the lead.テつ We made a couple very timely baskets to allow that distance to remain fairly comfortable, not real comfortable, but fairly comfortable.

Q.テつ You sat Winston for five minutes early in the game after the turnovers.テつ Only starter that didn't go back out.テつ Talk about his game tonight.テつ Struggled at times.
COACH FISHER:テつ You know, I think if you look at the whole of what Winston did, he came out, he was in a stretch where he was our second big and guarding in the post.テつ He did the exact same thing that we asked Josh and Skylar to do.テつ He stuck an arm in, he fronted, he did not let the ball go inside.テつ He rebounded the ball defensively.
I think we started the game when Winston missed a layup that looked like was going to get the first basket of the game.テつ Whether or not that affected him, I don't know.テつ He had a couple turnovers.
I never would take a guy out for making a mistake.テつ We have substitutions.テつ We want to get a lot of people minutes because we think we have depth.
If you look at the minutes, he played 22 minutes.テつ We had two guys over 30.テつ I think you do what you feel like you have to do at the moment.テつ Then when you get a flow going, and we had a real rhythm going, I really wanted to take Xavier out, but Dutch said, Let's ride the guys we have right now while we have a rhythm and a flow going.
You do what you think is the right thing to do.テつ Sometimes it is.テつ But nobody comes out not knowing they're going to go back in.テつ When Winston came out, he knew he was going to go back in.

Q.テつ Was that flow why he wasn't in in the end of the game?
COACH FISHER:テつ He was in at the end, wasn't he?テつ You know, you have people that are out there in a bit of a rhythm.テつ Matt makes a three, so you got a guy that can make a three when the shot clock goes down.テつ Polee was playing well.テつ You want X in there.テつ So that's three perimeter guys that were functioning pretty effectively for us.
So that's what we did.テつ We've had that happen before in various games, where a guy, whether it be Winston or JJ or Skylar, not X, but the rest of them, would sit, and not worry about it, not fret about it.

Q.テつ He's so incredibly talented.テつ I wonder at this time of the year how much you need Winston to have big games, kind of be on?
COACH FISHER:テつ Well, we can't win as much as we want to win without Winston playing well for us.テつ He knows that.テつ I know that.テつ We need him functioning.テつ We need him playing.
Winston is so much improved from a year ago, so much improved from the start of the year, being able to move on and move into the next segment, next play.テつ And we want to win a lot more games before we finish.テつ For that to happen, we need Winston to play at peak efficiency.テつ I would agree with that.

Q.テつ You mentioned that Dwayne didn't play in the Arizona game.テつ Even the Kansas game, I think he only had six minutes.テつ Can you describe how he earned your trust as the season went along, what you saw in him that made you confident playing him in Mountain West play.
COACH FISHER:テつ Backtrack a little bit.テつ I think those that know the history, Dwayne Polee's dad was a whirl beater when he played.テつ His dad is now coaching at the University of SanFrancisco.テつ I think the dad and his mother are a big part of the reason why Dwayne maintained an equilibrium where he was able to deal with it.テつ It's hard.
His dad never called me and said, What's going on?テつ Why isn't he playing more?テつ Nor did his mom.テつ I'm sure they talked together to say, What's going on?
But I know for a fact that they were with Dwayne, Stay with it, stay with it.テつ They may have said, Pretty soon he may wake up and realize how good you are.
But if you were in our locker room after games, when he had limited minutes, you would love his demeanor.テつ We've talked about it.テつ I've used him as an example for everybody.テつ Dwayne is the consummate teammate.テつ That's allowed him to flourish when he got the time.
He had some games where we started giving him segments, he played well, then you get more segments.テつ He went from eighth man, the ninth guy coming in, he kind of gradually went up the pecking order.テつ Now he's our sixth starter really.テつ He's our sixth starter.テつ We count on him energizing our team when he comes in.テつ He likes doing that.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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