Coach Neal Post Game Quotes
New Mexico vs San Diego State
February 22, 2014
“I'm really proud of our guys. I know I say that a lot, but I've never been around 14 guys who have really bought in to what a new coaching staff is trying to do, what a new coach is trying to do: believing in us, believing in our game plans. It's been coming and I knew it was coming. I'm really thankful for my team and really happy for my team. A win that I know they wanted, a win that I wanted. You have to win those games if you want to be relevant and we want to be really relevant. I thought the difference was our defense tonight, but I thought we were able to get really good shots in the first half to limit their transition baskets. I wanted to get them in a half court game and make them score in the half court. I wasn't really happy with all of their offensive rebounds in the first half. I said it before and I'll say it again, I've got the best power forward in the country playing for us named Cameron Bairstow. Kendall Williams was terrific tonight. It's just a big win.”
Top rated offense against top rated defense:
“I don't know what you guys watch and what you guys are thinking when you watch our defense, but we've held nine straight teams under their average. So if that's bad defense then that's bad defense, but our defense was terrific tonight.”
Ability to keep Shepard and Thames off the free throw line:
“That was huge. I don't think either of us even got into the bonus in the second half. We wanted to give them space. We wanted them to make jump shots over us. I thought that was a big key to our game and I thought our guys did a great job of moving their feet. Deshawn was awesome tonight.”
Dispute after the game:
“Hand shake lines aren't good and I still don't understand them. When two competitive teams go to war, they are not nice. I don't know what happened, but it's my responsibility to control my team and that's what I did.”
Opinion of the national audience:
“We had a chance to get back, but our loss against Boise [State] threw it off. I like where my team is and I think people will realize how good we are. We have a Cincinnati win and are 6-1 on the road. I think what I like about the national audience is that they don't know how great of a program we have, how great of a university we have. We've been ranked in the top 25. We've won four out of five championships. We have unbelievable thing here and I'm just glad the country finally gets to see it.”
“I don't think they felt pressure because of the way we played at UNLV. They know if they do what they're supposed to do and follow the game plan, they will be okay. I felt the pressure because I really wanted this for our guys.”
Junior G Hugh Greenwood
On difficulty of game: "It was tough, it was really tough. We did a really great job of helping on both screens. Something we struggled with early on in the year but it was physical for me to get over the screens but I cut back in front so it was tough. It's always a growl between us two teams and Mountain West as a whole so it's always good to come back with a win."
On how good it feels to win: "There's a little bit of rivalry going on, it is huge for us but in the picture we've still got four or five more games to go and knowing we still have to play at their place last game of the season. Just taking it one game at a time. Like I said it's huge to get a win, it's huge for confidence, our defense is the best it’s been all year. You want to peak at the right time and that's what we're doing right now. The defense is playing really well, we're moving the ball, we're scoring, it's all coming together but we're not peaking too early."
On guarding Xavier Thames: "Yeah I mean he's a great player, an unbelievable player. He's healthy this season that's huge for him. He missed some shots that he would normally make. I was behind him, I was trying to pressure him as much as possible. Credit to Kendall he did a great job getting fouls here and there, we need to switch up the match ups. We prepared for him, he's a great player, we know he's going to come back again when we play them at their place."
On game plan for keeping them off the free throw line: "To keep them off the line was huge, but knowing they don't shoot a lot of threes (the paint is) where they want to get a lot of shots, they want to attack the paint and score in the paint and get rebounds and get fouls so we kept them at three free throws so that was huge for us. I mean that's a difference, you can get a couple extra points from free throws and that's what we did tonight."
Senior F Cameron Bairstow
On how badly he wanted it: "I just went out and played, we knew it was on the line and what the game meant to us so we wanted to get out to a quick start and we managed to do that. And we went back a little bit in the second half, but besides that I think our defense was outstanding."
On hitting a few late shots on the way to 26 points: "I struggled with UNLV, tonight I just felt good with it. It happens, sometimes you're on and sometimes you're off. I just felt good with it and kept going with it down the stretch so I'm glad it worked out well."
On pressure in this game compared to others: "I don't believe so, both teams have two losses if we lose to any other team you're still there and then they go take care of business. So when you get to these games they really do set you up so in terms of losses and wins you have to play every game. It's not like this was going to win the conference or anything, it's one which puts us even with San Diego State but we've still got a number of games to go and we need to win them."