Post Game Quotes: New Mexico 109, Charleston Southern 93
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  11/17/2013

Coach Craig Neal

Opening Statement:

“I’ll start off by saying that a win is a win, but I’m not happy with my team. Frankly I’m embarrassed with the way we guarded in the second half. I thought we did a good job of playing in the first half the way we wanted to play, we did a nice job by holding them to 36 points and that’s what we wanted to do. We only lost two four minute games in the first half, and we lost a second one a game in the second half and you don’t want to do that."

"In the second half I think our guys got very lackadaisical, and they put #5 for Charleston Southern on the line a lot, it’s hard to guard him with the way the rules are and I thought our guys did a really good job the first half and then the game got out of hand and just became a back and forth game. In the end I’m proud of the way Bairstow and Kirk played, for all the people who think we’re not going to get them the ball by running is crazy. They had 29 and 24 points which is the most they’ve had in one game together but I just wish we would guard better."

"We want to hold teams under 65 and we were on pace to do that and then it just got away from us with them shooting 57% in the second half. My hats off to Charleston Southern, I told everyone before they got here that they could shoot the ball and they really can score. I’m a big fan of their coach, I’ve known him for a while, he was an assistant while I was an assistant, they were picked to win their league and I like the way they play. They have really good guards and Saah Nimley can play, he has a big heart. I thought most of our guys played well and we still have some issues with people not understanding their role and I’ll handle that or they won’t play so that’s where I am with that.”

On the defense during the second half…

“I think they had a hard time adjusting to Naah Simley. I thought they did a nice job and we made some adjustments, but we just fouled them. We gave up 57% from three and they made shots. I think we have to make some adjustments. I talked about it last week that I think we’re helping too deep in that we’re giving too much space for shooters on the weak side and I think we have to correct that. Our starters came out and let it get down to 12 and then got it back up to 23 and then we subbed and it went back down again, we have a lot to work on defensively and I don’t think that the newcomers have bought in to how we do it, they did the first half but I thought that we had some breakdowns in the second half.”

On the team going to a zone defense early in the season…

“I think I went to zone because I was tired of fouling Nimley. I think we kept fouling him and I didn’t want him to score. They were scoring at a high clip and we kind of took them down and away from the line.”

On the takeaways from this game….

“I think we need to work on guarding. We have a lot of work to do as far as defense is concerned. I can’t believe we gave up 57 points in one half. That’s the hardest thing. We’re going to get back to work because we’re not going to be able to win games allowing people to score that easy.”

On the play of Hugh Greenwood…

"He’s really expanded his game during practice and it was good to see him do that. It’s hard for me to see him get those two fouls, he tends to do that once in a while but I thought he played well. I was happy with the fact that he was looking for his shot, he’s been doing it in practice. I think he’s more confident and he made some things happen and we expect him to do that. He didn’t play many minutes in the first half, but he played 13 in the second half. He was good when he was in and we just can’t have him get in foul trouble because we’re a different team when he’s not in.”

Player Quotes
Cameron Bairstow
On fouls:
“Just the aggressive nature I would say and especially with the rule changes this year it is a lot easier to draw fouls. Coming down the lane you saw how it is to take a charge so if you stay aggressive it’s not too hard to take a couple fouls throughout the game.”
On summer experience and career highs for this season:
“I don’t really go into the game expecting stuff like that. I play my role whether I get the shots is just based on how the games going. The flow of the game and I usually try not to force it too much but my teammates were finding me in good spots today and I took those shots and had to make them today.”
On what went well and what didn’t:
“I would say offensively we were pretty good and defensively we were pretty good until about half time. Even until the 10 minute mark when we were up at about 30 we kind of just relaxed and didn’t play the way we should have They got back in the game a bit.”
Kendall Williams
On second half defense:
“Probably mental toughness more than anything. Locking in and being able to finish teams off especially at home that’s something that we’ll focus on and take very seriously. Obviously Coach Neal is so that’s something to move on from both they had a lot of tough shots no excuses. You’re at home.  93 points there is no excuse. It’s still a good win.”
On mental toughness and adjusting to defense:
“You can probably split it down the middle. We still need to go out there, we were playing good defense to be honest with you. Like I said there’s no excuse for the points they made. But at the same time they hit some really tough shots. They were at the free throw line. We are still trying to adjust and we’re in zone. I felt a couple ticky tacks here and there but that’s the rule. Ticky tack now doesn’t have the same definition. So something we need to adjust to and hopefully we can go to this tournament and make those adjustments so were not giving up 93 points.”
On offense:
“Free throws we need to work on the most. As a team we didn’t shoot the best free throw percentage but we got there. We shot 43 of them, I think we were more efficient from the floor than the free throw line but you know it’s still early and you have two big men that both go 18 to 26 and a lot of guards that shot the ball really well. Offensively, I don’t think there’s too many complaints on that end.”