UC Irvine at Utah State post-game quotes
Utah State 62, UC Irvine 59
USU head coach Tim Duryea:
"An ugly win, which for a coach is a great thing to be able to say. We haven't had many ugly wins around here the last couple of years. When you have a team that can win ugly, that means you have a team that can defend a little bit. I challenged our guys before the game to hold those guys to under 40 percent from the field and under 30 percent from 3-point range. We put it on our board, we said, 'That's what we're doing. That's my challenge to you.' Hats off to our guys because it was not easy offensively. They had a great game plan in terms of defending us. We won the game defensively.
“We had a lull at the end of the first half, we had a defensive lull, especially from our backcourt. They lost their defensive presence and really cost a lot of points in the last 10 minutes of the first half. To their credit, Koby (McEwen), Sam (Merrill), Julion (Pearre), (DeAngelo Isby) and Diogo (Brito), those guys came back in the second half and we held (Max) Hazzard and (Evan) Leonard to five points in the second half and they had 17 in the first half. I challenged those guys at halftime, the backcourt, and they responded. All-in-all, ugly win. That feels great to say."
USU sophomore guard Koby McEwen:
"Started off well defensively. Kind of let up in the second half of the first half. We grinded it out, it came down to the wire, our team stayed together and we got the win. So, I'm happy we won, it was a good team win and onto the next game."
USU junior forward Quinn Taylor:
"Anytime we can get a win, it's a good game. It was good to be on the winning side of a close game. The two years that I've been here, we've had a lot of close games where we ended up losing, so it was good to get on the winning side. Free throw percentage went up compared to our game against BYU, so everything is looking in the right direction. We guarded really well. Our offense kind of struggled there for a little bit, but all that matters is we came out with the win."
UC Irvine head coach Russell Turner
"It was a good college basketball game. It came down to the wire. We would have taken that coming into the game. We learned a lot about ourselves, and we still have a long way to go. I'm pleased with the defensive performance of our team. We showed tonight what I expect us to be able to show against a good team in a tough environment defensively. We didn't shoot the ball enough to win. Some of the credit for that has to go to Utah State. We're going to get better, that was my message to the team. We showed progress tonight, so that's good."
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