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Post Game Quotes
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/24/2011

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Postgame Quotes
UNM Head Coach Steve Alford
UNLV vs. UNM
2/23/11

Opening Statement:

"I really appreciate the effort the team gave today; it was a great game of college basketball. They played really hard, but we have to keep looking for ways to win the game late. We finally had a game in which the ball was ours at the end of regulation and we just couldn't find a way to get the ball in the basket."

"In overtime they had a two-possession lead on us, and we still get a really good shot off to try and tie the game. We're just trying to help the guys. The coaches are doing everything we can to make them make a play at the end of the game because the effort has been really, really good and I appreciate it."

How frustrating is it to battle back and ultimately lose?

"We've had five games that have gone down to the last play of the game, literally, the last play of the game, and it's very frustrating. We're sitting at 17-11, when you we could be at 22-6, but that's basketball."

"Our guys have fought, they've continued to work extremely hard, and we're going to have to continue to do that, because finding wins in this league is hard. We're all frustrated. We just need one game where we can win one in that fashion, and then hopefully we'll be clear of mind."

You have to be pleased that you kept fighting.

"They've never quit, I think that's what I appreciate the most. We had a brutal foul shooting night. We got there 37 times tonight. That's the best A.J. (Hardeman) has played in months, and I think he can see how important he is to us."

"All the young players are 28 games into the season now. They've had a tough go at it. We just have to carry momentum forward and be able to make some plays late."

Is it expected that freshmen hit a wall?

"I hope not, but we have a lot of them. We have four freshmen and two sophomores. Those six underclassmen are six of the ten that we have so I hope there's no wall for them to hit. It's the pressure of the situation. They're part of a program that has had a lot of success over the past three years, and all of a sudden you start losing a couple and you feel it. That's part of it, but as coaches we have to help them make plays and get confidence."

UNM Posgame Player Quotes vs. UNLV Feb. 23, 2011

Phillip McDonald

On his last two 3-pointers in the final seconds of overtime

"Yeah, it was the shot I wanted, but I just didn't get a good handle on the ball so I didn't get a good shot off like I wanted to. I got the rebound and I tried to get the ball off again really quick, but I didn't get a good handle on it."

On being in so many close games and ultimately coming up short

"We just have to finish. That is our biggest problem right now. We need to finish these close games and our record would be looking a lot nicer right now. We have to keep going, keep pushing and looking toward the next game."

On New Mexico's run in the second half

"We knew we had to make a run. We wanted to fight and we know we're a good team that is capable of coming back. We had no problem making a comeback. We're a talented team. Now we just need to finish ball games."

On what the team needs to do to finish close games

"Defensive stops toward the end. We need to focus on shutting them down so it doesn't come down to the last shot. If we would've gotten more defensive stops we could've won the game. We didn't make stops, we didn't make plays and...that's the game of basketball."

On staying positive

"You've got to. You've got to stay positive. This is Division I basketball; it's a tough game. You have to stay positive, keep going, stay focused and get ready for the next game."

Dairese Gary

On how the team responds after a physical game and a tough loss

"It is a must. We have to. We have more games to play. We need a win. We have to look at this and see that we can play with anybody. We just have to put an entire game together. I believe if we play an entire 40 minutes like we did on the comeback that we can beat anybody. It's just a matter of putting an entire game together."

On being the senior and leader of this season in which the team has endured many close losses

"It's very frustrating. We're not used to this. We're used to winning close games and there have been a lot of them this year that we haven't (won). It's tough and it's stressful. At the same time, being the senior and one of the leaders on the team I have to keep my composure and keep my head. We just need to keep moving on and keep looking to the game ahead."

On the confidence level of the team in the last two minutes of a close game

"I love the last two minutes of the game. In the past, that's where we've been good. We go in there and buckled down with toughness which wins the game. That's what we lack right now. We have to come together as a team and as a family and figure out why that's not there anymore and once we do that, we'll win."

On the level of play New Mexico displayed in the run in the second half

"We just got a sense of urgency. Once you get down, you have to play that hard to get back into it. We have to figure out what it takes to come out like that at the beginning of the game. We can do it. We've proved it so many times that we can. We just have to put 40 minutes together. A.J. Hardeman was a spark off the bench. He came in, gave big minutes and was a spark of energy."

On the importance of having a spark-off-the-bench like Hardeman

"It's very important, especially toward the end of the season when things get kind of wore down. If you have that spark, that's something that can get you over the hump every time. Having someone like that will help you out a lot."

On his match-up with UNLV's Tre'von Willis

"It was fun. He gave me a couple baskets. He was hot tonight. In the first half, I don't think he missed one shot. Coach got on me a little bit about playing harder defense because he was scoring. I took it as a challenge and it was fun."

UNM vs. UNLV 2/23/2011

UNLV Head Coach-Lon Kruger

Thoughts on the game

"I'm proud of the guys especially in this environment. New Mexico makes a run and takes the lead and our guys stand right back up there and then tough it out through the overtime.

We had a lot of guys in foul trouble and making tough plays. Gordon (Drew) is a tough match up for anyone and Gary (Dairese) is really tough and the guys battled; just kept battling and battling.

When you beat a good team on the road in their place you feel very satisfied and you grow from it. We came out of Colorado State feeling better and making some progress. The thing about this group is that they just kept plugging and plugging. They've got grit. Chace (Stanback) had foul trouble all night and the other guys stepped up. "

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