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March 21, 2014

Cameron Bairstow

Craig Neal

Kendall Williams


Stanford テや 58
New Mexico - 53

THE MODERATOR:テつ Representing New Mexico from the Mountain West Conference, Cameron Bairstow and Kendall Williams are the student‑athletes.テつ Coach Craig Neal is here.テつ I'm going to ask Coach Neal to make a statement about the game and then we'll go to questions for all three participants.
COACH NEAL:テつ I thought it was a very good game.テつ We just had a hard time scoring the basketball, which we haven't done most of the year.
I thought Stanford played a really good game.テつ We just didn't‑‑we weren't able to make enough baskets and get enough stops.テつ I thought our defense was pretty good.テつ Held them to 38% field goal shooting except for threes.テつ They made 8 of 15.
And so just feel really bad for our guys, especially these two seniors and another senior in our locker room.テつ They've given our program and our fans everything you could ask for out of two guys and three guys as seniors.
Not a lot of fun, and we've been here before and, you know, just really proud of what they've done for our program for the four years they've been here.テつ And they had a fantastic year this year.
And got to give Stanford a lot of credit.テつ They played very well.テつ They are a very good team.テつ Play in a good conference.テつ And, you know, I thought we were up for the challenge, we just couldn't get over the hump.テつ So that's about all I've got.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions for all three members of New Mexico.

Q.テつ The first 6 1/2 minutes when you guys fell behind 20‑4, was there anything that stood out to either three of you guys about what went wrong at the beginning?
COACH NEAL:テつ I think they went 7‑7.テつ And we allowed them two easy lay‑ups and didn't have very good defensive pressure.テつ I thought our guys were tuned in on what we were doing.テつ We had tried to rest them the last two days and they played with high energy and played with toughness, but, you know, we just got off to a bad start.テつ We couldn't make any shots.テつ And they got some easy ones.
Like our guys always do, we battled back and got it tied 45‑45, we just couldn't get over the hump.

Q.テつ Actually for any one of you guys.テつ There was that initial run that they made obviously.テつ I am curious if there was any kind of shock factor or stun factor, maybe a "here we go again" because there had been so much pressure put on this tournament for you guys.
KENDALL WILLIAMS:テつ No shock factor.テつ Like Coach Neal said, they went 7‑7 to start and we battled back.テつ They didn't put any pressure on us, they just executed a good game plan and we didn't make enough shots.テつ It's pretty black and white like that.

Q.テつ For Cameron.テつ You guys got back in the game, you tied it at 45‑45.テつ And after that, by my count, I think you guys were about 1 for 13, something like that.テつ What happens after you've battled back to that point and then slip behind again?
CAMERON BAIRSTOW:テつ Yeah, I think we did a good job to battle back.テつ And to that point, in the second half I thought we were playing reasonably well offensively.テつ Unfortunately, we just couldn't knock down shots down the stretch for whatever reason.テつ And I think we did take a number of good‑‑we had a number of good looks, unfortunately they didn't go down.
But I thought our defense after that, 20‑4 run was pretty good.テつ To hold them to 32 or 35‑‑wait, 38 by the end of the game, especially the last 35 minutes was outstanding.テつ Unfortunately, we couldn't knock down the shots we needed to to get ahead.

Q.テつ Craig, was Alex's no field goal in the first half, was that a byproduct of the foul trouble or something else they were doing to keep Alex out of the game for the most part?
COACH NEAL:テつ I think it was a byproduct of foul trouble.テつ You know, he only played 26 minutes, and I don't know what he played in the first half, I don't have the first‑half stat.テつ But very similar to the Kansas game earlier in the year.
And, you know, it's just one of those things where he couldn't get it going, couldn't get in a rhythm, and I think the foul trouble hurt him.

Q.テつ For either of the two seniors.テつ Give us your emotions right now, second year in a row you have a great year and then get upset in the first round.
KENDALL WILLIAMS:テつ Obviously you don't like to lose in the first round.テつ You never like to lose.テつ Like we said going into the game, it's a win‑and‑go‑home tournament and we didn't win, so...

Q.テつ This is for Cameron.テつ Was there maybe too much energy expended in bridging the gap and catching up and you were maybe spent at the end of the last couple of minutes?
CAMERON BAIRSTOW:テつ It's possible.テつ I mean, to finish the game shooting‑wise as we did, you might have to attribute that somewhat to maybe legs being tired.
But at the end of the day, their starting unit played just as much as we did, so that's no excuse and they managed to make shots down the stretch.
At the end of the day that's what it came down to.テつ And they managed to put the ball in the hoop down the stretch when we couldn't.テつ So I don't think you can really attribute it all to that.

Q. テつFor Kendall, you have been a pretty dynamic offensive player your whole career.テつ Today was it the combination of the zone and the length inside that made it difficult for you to find a shot?
KENDALL WILLIAMS:テつ You know, I shot the ball 10 times, so I thought I had good looks.テつ And some of them were short.テつ The first one was a long air ball and I just couldn't find the hoop, so that's kind of the end of that story.

Q.テつ Coach, this is something you have been asked coming into this game and you said the unfinished business tag was for the program as a whole not this team.テつ I am curious if there is a tag that will be put on the program moving forward if there is any regret for using unfinished business to put on the program.
COACH NEAL:テつ No, I don't have any unfinished business.テつ I mean, I've not‑‑it doesn't concern me.テつ We've done about everything you can do.テつ It is just getting better in the tournament.テつ We've won championships, regular‑season championships, won conference tournament championships.テつ We just haven't found our rhythm in this game or the second game.
And, you know, hopefully we can continue our program in an upward direction.テつ Very proud of what these guys have done with our program and left their footprints on our program at a high, high level.テつ Not only winning, but also in the community and what they have done academically.
But, you know, it's just part of it.テつ I just wanted to get these guys back and have another chance, it just didn't work out for us this time.

Q.テつ Cam, Kendall, seniors, the tag was テや忖nfinished business.テや敕つ Kendall, you are a senior, not used that.テつ I am curious what you two think of the tag that was on shirts and the kind of phrase used all season long.
CAMERON BAIRSTOW:テつ Yeah, I think it was something more for the fans, that tag.テつ I think we as a team had, of course, expectations of postseason success, especially after last year.テつ And unfortunately, we couldn't get it done.
However, I don't think you can describe the year we had and the run we did have in the previous tournament.テつ And obviously we were pretty excited and thought we had a good shot at this and the bracket we had and in the first round the team we were matched up with.
Obviously it is pretty disappointing.テつ But at the same time I think often it is overlooked how successful we have been in the regular season and even the postseason when you count in winning the Mountain West Conference Tournament.テつ I don't think it can be overlooked.
I think we took care of a lot of business this year, unfortunately we just couldn't take care of it in the one area where we struggled in the last two years.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Kendall, anything to add to that?
KENDALL WILLIAMS:テつ Yeah, just that, you know, it's tough to lose.テつ Like I said, in the first round it is tough to lose at the end of the season.
We did win a championship.テつ We had a chance to win our regular‑season championship.テつ And it is just disappointing coming this far.
They made a lot of shots, they made a lot of plays, and then you look at your stat line and you go 1‑9, didn't just make enough plays.テつ It just goes like that sometimes.
THE MODERATOR:テつ On that note I am going to dismiss the two student‑athletes and we thank you for your efforts here today and your season.テつ We will stay with Coach Neal for just a little while longer.

Q.テつ One seasonin, rookie season is over.テつ Anything you will look back on and change, do anything differently?
COACH NEAL:テつ No, I think our program's in a good spot.テつ I hate to see those three guys go.テつ That's the hardest thing.テつ Just because they meant so much.
But, you know, success is failure turned inside out.テつ And we got to figure some of that out and hopefully we'll continue the program in the right direction and, you know, be able to get over the hump sooner rather than later.
And just really proud about what they did and really happy for their careers and, you know, I just wish it would have ended a little better way.
But at the end of the day there is only one team that wins this thing.テつ So at the end of the day unless you win it, you're going to have that feeling when you're a senior.テつ And it's not easy.テつ It's not a lot of fun.
I remember vividly in my memory about when I lost my senior year and it stays around you.テつ I just wish they could have continued their journey and could gather some more experiences and memories for themselves.テつ And it just didn't work out.

Q.テつ I asked you about the Alex struggles and I am curious about the Kendall struggles.テつ Was it the length Brown covering him or what went on that they were able to take Kendall out of the game?
COACH NEAL:テつ It is just one of those things that you can't play great every game.テつ You know, Alex, I think he just loses rhythm and when he gets in foul trouble and that's just it.テつ It's not easy to sit there for 5 or 6 minutes, that's why I got him in at the 8‑minute mark in the first half and tried to get him going again.
And, you know, Kendall, I thought Kendall made some excellent plays.テつ I thought he made some great passes.テつ I thought he did a lot of good things.テつ We put him in ball screen a lot because it was successful, but he just couldn't get anything to go in and that happens.テつ You're going to miss shots and you're going to make shots.テつ He missed a shot to win the regular‑season championship, came back the next week and came back and hit a shot to win the tournament.テつ So it's just part of it.
I thought Cameron was outstanding.テつ We were able to get some good low‑post scores.テつ And we had some good looks from him at the end of the game and they just didn't fall.テつ We missed some critical free throws.テつ And, you know, when you miss free throws when you are right there, it's tough.テつ But our guys battled and they did a good job.

Q.テつ The sequence with the elbows, walk us through your perspective on how that all went.
COACH NEAL:テつ It's just the rule, you know.テつ We had two of those instances the last week or so.テつ Chasson just got fouled and he was just protecting the ball and his elbow hit Hugh.テつ By rule any contact above or at the head is a technical dead‑ball foul.
So I don't think it was intentional.テつ As a matter of fact, he is just playing the game.テつ And it just happened to hit Hugh right on the chin.テつ And so it was just one of those situations.

Q.テつ You guys get it to 2, they put, I guess Robbie Lemons was the name of the kid, in the game.テつ Were you pretty aware of he had only taken 12 free throw attempts all year?
COACH NEAL:テつ We fouled who we wanted to foul.テつ And we did a nice job.テつ I thought our guys were really in tune to who we wanted to foul and he just was the guy that caught the ball first.テつ One of the three guys that we wanted to foul.
And we told them the three guys we wanted to foul, and, you know, he hit two big free throws.テつ And that's what happens in winning advanced tournaments.テつ Somebody has to make a play or somebody doesn't have to make a play.テつ But he hit two big free throws.テつ And he was one of the guys we wanted to foul because he hasn't played a lot.
We wanted to foul Huestis or Nastic.テつ They took Nastic out of the ball game.テつ So we had Powell, Huestis, and Lemons as the three guys we wanted to foul, and our guys did what we wanted them to do, he just made two free throws.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Anything else for the head coach of New Mexico?テつ All right, best of luck.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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