Postgame Quotes - New Mexico vs. Boise State
March 3, 2012
UNM vs. Boise State
"I'm obviously extremely proud of our guys. I take my hat off to Boise and Leon (Rice). I have always had tremendous respect for that coaching staff and they had a great game plan. They obviously wanted to slow it down, spread us, play four guards and we played two bigs and in the last ten minutes to go to match them four guard to four guard. I thought that was the difference and it speaks volumes again to the unselfishness of guys like AJ Hardeman, who didn't get as many minutes as he does usually because we had to go with four guards. I thought we made some really big plays and a lot of pressure situations. When you're trying to win a championship and the team you're playing has you down five inside ten (minutes) that pressure gets even tighter. We haven't had a lot of close ones and that really helped our guys to be able to finish a team off and do it the way we did it. I am very, very proud of them because they had a lot of pressure on them, dating all the way back to October. I think this is the first time in five years that the team who was picked to win it actually won it. There is a lot of pressure with that and I think we felt that, but to get to twenty-four wins and a championship speaks volumes of these guys. We have made free throws down the stretch but the most amazing thing with all the pressure was a season low of five tunovers. We had to play against a lot of pressing, some zone, some man and changing defenses at half court and our guys really handled that well."
On Drew Gordon...
"He has gone to a whole other level in the past week from a points standpoint. He has always given us the rebounding and that athleticism and he makes all of his three points and makes the one three, so now he makes coaches look foolish for not letting him shoot more threes. He is doing a really good job with scoring. He has always been a high rebound volume guy but in the last three weeks he has put up points and that has really meant a lot to us. You are seeing our field goal percentage go up and I think it is going to open up a lot of things on the perimeter because we are going to force a lot of teams to trap us. That will open up a lot of things for our jump shooters."
On the transition game...
"In the first half in was 13-0 in transition points and I thought that was a big key. I thought the first ten minutes they did a really good job of taking us out of our transition game and making it more of a half court game. They play possession game like Wyoming did and you have to do that coming into here. We got some momentum going and Hugh got a big steal, Kendall got out on the flagrant one foul and that gave us a little bit of a cushion and got us to a five point lead."
On Hugh Greenwood...
"He started to shoot and that is what we needed him to do. He can really shoot the ball and if we can get scoring like we are getting out of him that helps us on a night when Tony doesn't shoot it well or Phillip is 1-for-3 (shooting). I think it just helps us when guys that normally make shots don't, you have to have someone else step forward and Hugh did that."
On Tony Snell...
"The three pointer he made was a huge one. He missed his first six and he kept shooting which is what we need Tony to do. I thought he did that and I thought he made some big plays defensively. He had a big block and he did a nice job defensively. He had seven assists even though he and Kendall didn't shoot it particularly well. We have had a lot of confidence with Tony and he has been a go to guy for us a lot during the year."
On getting out of the gates faster...
"I thought we played well, we played hard and we played a team that shot the ball well and rebounded the ball well against us. They came in with a very good game plan and they played us hard. That is what this league is, but to pull away in the end, that was the key."
On tournament play...
"Now you have played everybody twice. The league race is something that is really special and I have felt that way even as a player. I didn't get one until my senior year as a player. We didn't have Big Ten tournaments when I played so the league championship always took on a whole different meaning when you go for two and a half months. You get to play everyone at home and play everyone on the road. It's really about who gets hot. League tournament play, where you play three teams in three days, comes down to who shoots the ball well. The league championship means an awful lot to us because it is a two month body of work. Regardless of who we play in Vegas next week, it is a team we have played before and they know us and we know them. It is about guarding and hoping you make some shots."
Senior Forward Drew Gordon
Did you shoot any threes in high school? How many threes have you shot in your entire life?
"Three or maybe four; that shot was just an end-of-game situation where I wasn't going to lose the game or the momentum was going to swing in the other direction. The coaches told me no and I said yes and it just worked out. "
You're scoring a lot more in the last few games, is that something that's intentional?
"I like to pass out of the post a lot, but I know that teams will be able to pick up on that easily so that's why I had to start getting to the basket more. That way the coverage will pull in and I'll have the ability to distribute out of the post. But I'm definitely trying to get to the basket more."
Do you think your evolution from a double-double guy to an elite scorer has something to do with your improved jump shot?
"Definitely, when I didn't shoot the ball past ten feet teams just sat on top of me and they were able to double me knowing I wasn't going to be able to shoot the ball, but now I've been able to shoot and step out. That's opened a lot of things up because now teams have to be more cautious and it really helps our offense."
How are you holding up after playing 38 minutes tonight?
"I'm holding up, there are definitely some bumps and bruises but it's March. It's tournament time and this is what college players live for. Whether it is 12 minutes of 32 minutes as long as we win I'm happy and I'll show up to play the next day."
Boise State played four guards tonight is that something you like or is it a completely different game?
"I like it, because it gives us a different look and it really puts us up for a challenge defensively. Boise State is a good team and they were able to drive us whenever they wanted to, so that prepares us for other teams that play that way."
You haven't really faced adversity like you did today against the Broncos, what does it say about the team that you were able to come back from being down?
"I think the team really builds on each other. When you face adversity it can go two ways: people start arguing and it goes south or people support each other and make sure that whatever their role is they play it to the best of their abilities and they're there to pick other people up."
Freshman Guard Hugh Greenwood
Who is the Hugh Greenwood that played this week? Where did he come from?
"He came from a guy who wanted to win. I really wanted to win, winning a championship level was one of my dreams coming here and to do it on senior night was great. They've been great ambassadors for this program and to see them win and celebrate the right way was great. I'm happy we won and we're going to embrace the moment, but we still have a long way to go."
What are your feelings going into your first postseason as a freshman?
"They're great, I'm excited. We're looking forward to going into the tournament. We'll wait and see what happens with TCU and SDSU and our seeding then we'll able to start preparing accordingly."
Will the mindset be any different if the team is ranked on Monday?
"I think it'll be nice and I think that being ranked is where we should be, and if we are we can't be content and complacent with that. That's what happened last week we got ahead of ourselves and we weren't able to wrap up the regular season championship. We bounced back and took care of business and now we're champions."