Nov. 28, 2012
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UNM Head Coach Steve Alford
UNM vs. Mercer
"I'm really pleased with the outcome; obviously, I thought our guys did a lot of good things tonight. We really guarded and took them completely out of what they wanted to do. I thought we really held them to 30% shooting and under 30% from the three and I just thought we did a really good job defensively and in the second half it got out offense going. I'm pleased with the effort these guys gave tonight."
What did you think of the Twin Towers (Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk)?
"They just continue to get better. They tried going at us early and I thought the guys did a tremendous job; both Alex and Cam managed to stay out of foul trouble. Alex has 16 points and 13 rebounds and Cam has 16 points and 5 rebounds, we're just getting great production from our two bigs, especially in the beginning when they were going at us inside and they not only managed to hold their own but they were performing pretty well themselves."
Would you say that Cam and Alex have been the most consistent players at this point?
"You guys think of consistency differently than I do and I keep getting a lot of Tony Snell questions. In this home-stand he has 16 assists and 3 turnovers and that's pretty good, I'll take that. But whether Tony takes 4 shots or 13 that stuff varies game to game, Kendall didn't take a field goal tonight so I'm not going to go home and wonder `what's wrong with Kendall Williams?' That's our team; we've got a deep team that you're not going to have all six playing at a high level offensively every night. We look at it differently and I thought Tony did a lot of good things in this home-stand."
Is this one of the better defensive performances that you've had this year?
"I think defensively we've seen a lot of progress. We're not fouling and we're making things really difficult on opponents. We're taking away what they want to do. I think the guys are just doing a lot of good things. We've got some tough travel ahead of us so I hope the players are able to get some good rest because I'm from Indiana and that's not an easy trip to make."
Did you think that Alex Kirk would be this good this early on and be putting up the numbers he's putting up?
"I don't know. We don't sit in the office and think about what those numbers are going to be, I'm just pleased through seven games with what he's done. I thought he started slow today and didn't have a good first five minutes, but both him and Cam I really like the fight I'm seeing out of my centers."
The bigs went 10 of 11 from the line tonight, is it good to know they can make the foul shots?
"It is, I told Cam that I should have had him shoot the technical instead of Jamal, Cam is like at 90%. We just let the senior do it this time, but that's over with."
How about playing Coach Lansing a guy that you know?
"Yeah, I know him and he was on my staff for a number of years at Iowa and then we came here and he went with Coach Waltman, and Coach Waltman was someone who I played for at Indiana and there's a lot of Indiana ties. He's going a really good job there and they're off to a great start. They're going to have one of their biggest home crowds yet so it'll be a good game."
On having both Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk in at the same time...
"We just try to look for them because they have mismatches. One of them had a mismatch tonight trying to get to the ball and hopefully they will foul them and get to the free throw line."
On your increase in assists...
"I just try to stay aggressive intensively and draw attention to an open man and make plays."
On changing gears with 10 minutes to go in the game...
"I just try to find my shot and keep driving. I need to look for my shot and go out there make plays."
On playing a team who wants to make it more difficult to run the plays that you want to run it up and down...
"Not really, we just to stay with our game plan and keep following it. We knew that they were going to zone us and switch it up trying to mess our offense up. We tried to stay composed and run our offense."
On the defense...
"Our main goal is to keep them four or six points below every four minutes and that has been our key defensively. Offensively we know that is going to come but we have no excuses, we always need to play defense."
On being ranked and the first true road test...
"It is great to be ranked, everyone wants to be ranked. We try to stand up there, play hard and prove ourselves every game."
On what to expect at Indiana State...
"I have no idea. We need to take it one game at a time."
On the big men and how it has changed with Alex and Cam...
"It opened it up a lot. Sometimes when we go down there they double and us, as guards, we try to move and get open shots. It causes problems for other teams."
On how quickly Alex has progressed...
"I already knew he was a great player. We have been seeing him workout hard while he was sitting out when his back was hurt. We have seen him getting better and stronger."
On Alex and Cam hitting their foul shots...
"It definitely feels great when we punch it into them know that they can make those foul shots. It is big time to foul a big and know that they are hitting their free throws. It makes it hard for the other teams to come back at us."
On being part of a team that hasn't put forty minutes together yet...
"We didn't do that tonight either but we are still getting better. As long as we are getting better every game that is all that matters. It shows us that we are going to get there eventually."
On the dynamic between him and Alex Kirk...
"It changes it up because there aren't a lot of bigs to rotate. I feel like we work well together in terms of knowing the plays and rebounding. Being able to guard big forwards which is when you are playing four guards sometimes an issue you have to consider but with Alex and me in there it evens it out. Chad is doing a good job, so either way it's good with me."
On the four guard line up and having such a large round...
"We always knew that with Drew and AJ leaving that there would be a big hole to fill but giving credit to the guards, they are doing a lot for us. We just feed off of them and they make our job so easy. Most of the plays just come off a screen and dive or a screen and react. Most of the credit has to be given to the guards."
On the increased percentage of free-throw shots...
"The mindset changed. The first two years it was a problem but for whatever reason it's been something I have done with confidence this year. Going to the line I feel like it's two points that are up for grabs and I am shooting it with more confidence this year. It is primarily mental."
On grabbing the T...
"I don't think I have ever shot a technical in my life."
On what they want to do at Indiana State...
"We want to win it but it is going to be tough. This will be the first true road game of the season and they are a really good basketball team. They have only lost to UCLA and that is alway going to be tough. This is one of our biggest challenges yet."
On the thoughts of the team being ranked and 7-0...
"We have a lot of area to improve on which is a good thing. We continue to grow like last year and hopefully we can make it to the tournament with confidence and ready to go."
"It is always going to be an issue with Drew gone, that is a lot of rebounds right there. We have been doing a great job as a team working out and going to get them. We need to continue to do that."