Jan. 28, 2012
Head Coach Steve Alford
"It was a really good win. I'm very proud of our team and we really did a good job defensively. This was a team that was really athletic and long with really big athletic guards that could present some problems with us, especially when we are big-big. I thought we got a lot of good minutes. Tony Snell had a very good game offensively which was a huge key. I thought the key to the game was Kendall Williams. I thought the job he did on Hank Thorns made it really difficult for him. Thorns is a terrific player and he kept him off-balanced most of the night. Kendall had that assignment most of the night. That is probably as good defensively that Kendall has been since he has been here and that has been a good growth to see. Overall, it was a terrific win and we needed these two. We have made some improvements this week and that is a very quick turn around. We have a busy week next week."
On offensive rebounds
"We did a great job on rebounds. We have been a good rebounding team all year. To hold somebody at three offensive rebounds is really good. Our board play has been getting better and better. Drew Gordon is somebody that does an awfully good job for us on the boards. I think everyone played dynamite when we only got one minute and everybody that played got a rebound. We are doing a good job on the backboard."
On strategy for the game
"We weren't going to out-run and jump this team. They are long and athletic. They have good size and we had to get into them and block them out. I have to look at the tape but from what we viewed live and statistically, it looked like we did a good job blocking out."
On Jamal Fenton
"He is a leader for us. He was a little sluggish in the first half and got chewed pretty good. I thought in the second half, Jamal did the things that we needed him to do. He got our tempo going again and we started to get a little stagnant offensively and that is what happens. That is why we have to condition ourselves mentally, physically and defensively because it takes so much effort. You can't allow the effort of the defense to make you sluggish offensively. I thought in the second half that started to happen and they pulled it back in six or seven. Jamal gave us a really good boost and got a couple of lay-ups for us and gave us an up tempo which is what we wanted to do."
On Jamal Fenton's three-pointer
"He had a great three right in front of our bench and he has been shooting the ball well. He only took one three today but I think he is getting close to 45 or 46 percent on the year behind the line, so he has done a good job shooting this year."
On Jamal Fenton's ability to shoot
"He knows he has got the ability to shoot. As long as he has good shots, we want him shooting the ball. He is a scoring point guard that has shot the ball well for us all year. As long as they are good shots, he can shoot."
On TCU keeping up in the first half
"They have made big comebacks. They were down against Colorado State and came back and took them into double overtime. They have been down and UNLV shocked them with a 20-2 start and it became even after that. They have made good comebacks. Air Force and Boise at home and Boise had them down 12 with six or seven minutes to play. They came back to win that game. We knew how explosive they can be and they started to make some three's there in that stretch in the second half once we got up 15 points. It was a really good credit to our guys. They didn't panic and we did a good job of getting a good shot and getting some stops in there to stop that run."
Talk about your defensive performance tonight against a tough player like Hank Thorns?
"He's a really good player, being a senior and a veteran, and when I matched up against him last year I did a good job. His quickness and experience really posed a threat to us tonight so I was glad that I got the assignment. I did a good job on him and that was a good win for us."
Coach Alford thought that tonight was the best defensive performance of your career; do you feel the same way?
"Yes, those are the things that he's asked from me the last few games, and all year really was to lead the perimeter attack defensively and be a leader on both sides so it feels good that he's saying that."
Since league play began you've been a lot more aggressive offensively as well, can you talk about what's changed?
"Just like you said, I think the key word is aggressiveness. I've taken a more active role on both ends of the floor. I got into a better rhythm on defense and they say that defense leads to offense so it's easy to get confidence that way. I'm trying to be balanced and lead a good team that already has a lot of talent."
As a senior, do you know the value of these games in the race against SDSU and UNLV?
"Going against Air Force is a big game for us. These next to games are really important now that San Diego State just dropped one against CSU, and that put us in the hunt again. We were one game behind from first place and if we can get this next two in the win column we'll be in good shape."
What do you see different in this 13 day stretch than from what you've seen previously?
"Practices and the coaches have been very intense these past few days, every time Coach Alford steps on the court he is giving it his all so we have to do the same thing. We're trying to build toughness and just keep at it."
Is toughness something you can teach?
"That's a good question, I think that you can teach toughness, but it's up to the players to be tough. You can say that you want to do all kinds of things but if you're not tough as an individual it's not going to happen."