New Mexico vs. Saint Louis - Quotes
Dec. 31, 2011
Head Coach Steve Alford
"I thought this was a really hard fought college basketball game between two really solid teams. I think they're terrific. They make you work, they don't beat themselves and they are really good defensively. That's why I'm really proud of our guys. They shot nearly 50% from the field and I don't think that anyone has gotten to the line this year at the level that we have. We have been doing it all year long and that's a great thing and a great trait that is a characteristic of your team and through 14 games it's what we have been doing. To do that against this team says a lot about our guys. I thought both teams played really hard and there was a good sense of urgency and we were fortunate enough to win."
On the defensive effort at the end...
"It was basically a one possession game the whole night and anytime that you can take that to two possessions or three possessions it's big. That steal got us to a two possession game and they might have cut it to three or two but then we take it to three or four and that was big. We made of free throws down the stretch and that is what we have been doing all year. I wasn't proud of what we did the first half on the line because I thought we could have had a 7 or 8 point lead if we had just made foul shots. We are getting to the free throw line and have had a lot of guys come up big. Drew (Gordon) and Jamal (Fenton) had really good games for us. A.J. (Hardeman) fights and he won't ever show up in the stat sheet for a lot of you guys because he does all the other things. He takes charges, he blocks shots, he is in the right position and he helps the teammate that gets in the wrong position. Conklin is an outstanding player. I thought A.J. gave us a lot and for him to make free throws down the stretch and shoot that little 12 footer that our entire bench, staff and players were saying 'no, no, no, no' and then it was great shot A.J. He just made some game winning plays down the stretch."
On Saint Louis' defense...
'We knew we were going to have to drive the ball. They do a good job defending screens and they do a good job of taking you out of that kind of thing. They are really good with the pick and roll defensive which we like to pick and roll and they are really good on-the-ball defenders. Most of our points were really scored on dribble drives and the free throw line. We would have been in serious trouble if we had gotten to the line 10 times and getting there 35 times without watching tape tells me that our guys are aggressive. I like that because I think this team got into us a little bit like (New Mexico) State did five weeks ago and we didn't handle it very well. I think we have grown and matured a little bit. This week was a measuring stick week and I think we passed it. We are definitely better than what we were five weeks ago and now we have two more home games. We have the chance to get to 14-2 before we start league play. Our league is doing really well but we are the only team in the league that has as many wins away from home as we do at home. We have six home wins and six road wins. Home has got to pay us back and we have to make sure that we take care of home."
On three point shooting...
"We knew they were very good defensively and we didn't want to take bad shots and for the most part we didn't take bad shots. We didn't have a lot of possessions that are bad and we had a low turnover game and a low bad shot game. They did a really god job of taking out three game away but in taking that away I was very pleased with our guys and that they didn't allow them to take away other things. I thought we went down the side well and that we drove the ball well. Anytime that you can outscore your opponent by 13 at the line in a tight game where both teams are very similar that could be the different. I thought that was the difference tonight."
On conference play...
"I feel that we are much more ready than we were five weeks ago and that is what is important. I said it five weeks ago when we were 2-2 that it wasn't that discouraging because I knew that this team had a high ceiling. I knew that this team had a lot of room to grow and we still have a lot of room to grow. I still think that there are things that we need to get better at but we have got their attention and they are starting to listen. We have had to deal with winning road games over finals. We have had to go away from home on Christmas break and win. They have done a good job and been in every game, (New Mexico) State here at home got away from us a little bit in the last 40 seconds, but all 14 games we have been right there, even in the 2 losses. They have grown and matured and we have to continue that. I really appreciate the fans. Everyone knew that this was a really pivotal game for us because this team is going to win a lot of games in the Atlantic 10 and they have already won 12 games. It was a must win for us and the non-league and our fans were terrific all night long. It was a big game and we appreciate that."
On player's minutes...
"Jamal has had 6 games in a row that have been really good and he is playing really well. But Hugh is also playing really well. Right now we have good roles. Minutes will fluctuate a little bit game to game with how people are playing but right now we have a lot of guys playing really well. We like what Hugh's doing, he gives us a bigger, stronger defensive presence so both of those guys (Hugh and Jamal) are playing well. We really like the minutes and how everything is turning out right now."
On the control of the paint...
"Our first league game is against Wyoming and they are as big as anybody we will see in our league so that is a good test for us when it is paint vs. paint. We are getting better at it. I think our bigs are doing a better job at catch pivot and our guards are getting it to them better. It is not just about posting but about where you are posting and we are much better at that now. There is more attention to detail. I think we have stayed away from runs because our guys are learning that if someone scores two baskets in a row to not panic but get good shots. We got better shots and that is a sign of a team maturing a little bit."
On Drew Gordon pivoting...
"You have two teams that mirrored each other in that we had to play Conklin straight up and they had to play Gordon straight up. If you trap or help off both teams have enough weapons that other people are going to hurt you at the three point line. I thought Conklin did a lot of good things and obviously, Drew did a lot of good things."
Senior Forward Drew Gordon
On the defensive effort put forth by Saint Louis
"They did a really good job with that. It's something we really haven't seen. They played on top of the ball and the man basically the entire game and it was difficult to get people open. I think our wings did a really good job adjusting to that and making sure they got open and made the right pass. I was impressed that they played against us and how we handled it."
On the last few minutes of the game
"It was a fun end of the game. We just need to play tough and focus. Coach has been harping on it all season: that we need to stay focused and concentrate. I think that down the stretch we did a good job at that. We messed up a little bit, and I fouled a three-point shooter, which was not smart. But for the most part, everybody did exactly what they were told and listened to coach well and kept their focus and that helped us out at the end."
On how good the Lobos are
"I think that we're really good. We have the potential to be great. It's something that we're striving for. Saint Louis was an amazing team to play and it was a tough week for us on our schedule and to come out with two is huge. We're still growing up in how we're playing and our execution. By the time we peak I think we'll be a great team."
Junior Guard Jamal Fenton
On his late hot streak
"I'm just understanding my role better on the team...I'm just doing whatever coach wants me to do...Just being a little energy guy off the bench...Just making a defensive play or making a three pointer; whatever I have to do to make the team better."
On how the Lobos handled the Saint Louis defense
"On tape we knew we weren't going to get enough. Usually we're a good three-point team. I'm pretty sure we only shot eight threes a game. Usually we shoot 18. They took away the three pointer, so coach said we have to drive them to death."
On the importance of the ten-game win streak the Lobos are currently on
"It just gives us another target. We've got to keep the streak going. I know coach wants us to keep playing hard even though we're on a ten game winning streak. Every game counts. You can't take any team for granted. We just have to keep playing hard and keep playing Lobo basketball."