Post Game Quotes: (---/RV) New Mexico 80, Colorado State 73
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  01/04/2014

Coach Neal Quotes

Opening Statement


“Really excited to get out first winning Conference. Very tough team, I know they’re going to keep fighting, keep battling. Really proud of how our guys came back from break. Having twelve days off. Things we have to improve on, you can’t be up and give a team 25 points in the last seven minutes and thirty five seconds. You know we played really really good defense. And then they scored twenty five points at least in the last eight minutes. But I thought our guys sustained good effort. We didn’t shoot the ball well. Our main three guys were 19 for 45. So it was one of those things that we just didn’t make some shots that we usually make. We were able to get the line again. Cam and Alex got another double double so that was really good for our team. So it was a really great win coming off break. We’ve got a lot of work to do to get better. And we’ll continue to do that. I’m really satisfied with the guys minutes and how they played and how hard they played. So we just gotta get better. We can’t give up double figure points and not extend it out and think we can just play with people and not guard and do stuff like that. So we have to get better with that.”


How is it with Hugh coming back: 

“Good, stability. He played well. I think there were a few lose balls he didn’t get that he usually gets just because he hasn’t played. I think just getting him back to game shape and playing up to his level but he played 34 minutes for a guy that’s been out three weeks so really happy with the way he played. He’s a great leader. Back to back Mountain West Championships he’s been our starting point guard. So there was not much decision to put him back in the line up. The decision was Cullen or Deshawn. So and that will be an ongoing situation depending on how they play.”


On Alex missing shots

“He had 14 shots. I would say 85% were good looks or he wouldn’t have shot.”


On what Coach Neal learned today:  

“It builds up a notch. The intensity what it means. How you prepare. How serious you are about things. I mean every game is serious, but once conference starts it’s another season and it’s like I said earlier in the week we have a program here and every time we put a team on the floor we’re trying to win championships. And that’s what I told our guys. We’ve won four the last five and you know it's your goal to be something special and win five. So thejourney started today. I told them it’s a quest for another rings and they gotta take everyday that they step on the floor and every opponent they play, they have to respect them and play to try and win a championship. Now you know we got a long way to go. I like my team I love their effort. I like all 14 of my guys and I think we got a good team with a lot of work to do.”


On last year’s CSU game and physicality compared to this year: 

“I thought it was pretty physical but you have to realize that they had (Colton) Iverson and (Pierce) Hornung, two of the most physical guys ever to play in this league. I won’t say ever but two of the most physical guys to play the six years that I’ve been in the league. And Iverson was a load and I think they are physical, I like their team. They played hard and I knew they were gonna fight. Larry’s a fighter and his teams are always tough. But I think my team’s got a lot of toughness also. It was a good win for us.” 


Cameron Bairstow
On realizing when Colorado State couldn’t guard him…
“Probably pretty early on. I had a couple of quick drives to the hoop and kind of went from there. And then they switched [CSU forward Gerson] Santo over to me and then Alex [Kirk] got to go inside a bit more. And they did a good job fronting the post and making it tough for us to score inside. But I think free-throw line was key tonight. We kept them from their season average of 30, and we managed to get there a number of times.”
On missing seven free throws and finishing 13-of-20 from the free-throw line…
“No, I mean you’re going to have nights where you make them or nights where you miss some. I was actually surprised I shot 65 percent. I thought it was lower than that. But you’re going to have those nights and you just got to find other ways to score.”  
On allowing Colorado State to score 25 points over the last 5:51…
“It’s definitely been a problem so far. A lot of it’s mental: being able to stay mentally engaged and not zone out in the last eight minutes of the game when you’re up by 10. It’s something that we’ve been able to overcome so far, but it’s something we need to fix going forward because it could be a serious issue.”
On what the team learned from the game…
“There was a lot of stuff we need to work on. Defensively, in that last eight minutes, giving up 25 points is not going to be able to cut in most games. I think we did a good job moving the ball and getting good shots today, which was good. And then we did a good job helping out and making them shoot threes, which wasn’t their strength. But they did make a number of threes, but that happens in the gameplan.”
Kendall Williams
On winning their conference-season opener…
“That’s it, right there. We’re all excited to come out here, get back to our championship ways in conference and get off on the right foot. We’re out there and I thought we made a lot of good basketball plays and I think it’s a good start to the conference season.”
On his impressions of Hugh Greenwood returning to the starting lineup…
“Just good old Green. Fifty percent from the field, 50 percent from three point, great defense, great assisting, just his presence. I said it before, before the game, having him back – his presence. He takes up a lot of the floor. So I think that just helps a lot. It stabilizes our team. There’s a lot of intangibles you can’t even account for. Even with shooting, coming back here, and his rebounding – obviously, he always rebounds. It’s just nice to have the full team back.”
On allowing Colorado State to score 25 points over the last 5:51…
“That’s probably our biggest focus right now is closing. Not even closing close games, closing games where we’re ahead at that margin. We’ve always been a good team that has closed close games, but being able to put these teams away – and they came in here kind of inexperienced, first league game – and we should have been able to take lead and run with it. But, unfortunately, we took a step backwards and let them creep back in. It’s just something we need to work. It’s a mental thing. It’s something that just going to have to be aware of throughout.  the conference season.