Freshman Guard Koby McEwen
“It was a good game. We had to grind it out a little bit. They were running a methodical offense: pass, cut, screen and post up. They were a physical team and we had to match their physicality. They are a good offensive rebounding team, we had to really get on the glass, we missed a couple defensive rebounds. Overall, I thought we did a solid job.”
On starting the second half…
“They play passing lanes which means the gaps are open and we have room to drive and pass the ball out to open teammates. We weren’t doing that enough in the first half. To start the second, we decided to turn it up a little.”
On driving and getting to the line…
“I haven’t been doing it early in the season. I’m trying to get back to being tough around the rim, driving to the basket, getting fouled and making my free throws. You’re going to see that the rest of the season. I’m going to try my best to get to the line and put up points.”
On getting a grind-it-out win...
“It was a build on UVU. We had to grind it out from the first minute to the last against UVU. The difficulty wasn’t quite up to par with the UVU game but it was the same style of game. We shot okay from two, not great from three. When they run an offense like that, we have to be disciplined on the defensive end and get rebounds.”
Senior Wing Jalen Moore
“It was a tough first half, a grind-it-out first half. We were able to go up by two at halftime. To start the second half we tried to switch things up and be a little more aggressive. We shot well and scored 43 points, which is good for us. We shot our free throws well for a change and we were able to come away with a win.”
On the physicality of New Orleans…
“You want to play good teams to get you ready for conference. No team in our conference is bad. Most of them have athletes like this team did today. They had a scorer on their team and that’s similar to our conference too. It’s a good defensive matchup for us to work on some things and on offense to work against a team that wants to get out and deny is good for us too.”
On the second half defense…
“We switched it up on them, played some zone, some man. That kept them thinking a little on offense. The zone worked. They didn’t shoot well from 3 so the zone was working for us. We played well in the second half, a lot better than the first half.”
USU Head Coach Tim Duryea
“New Orleans is one of the more improved teams from what they have been. They do a great job with their talent. They play with a lot of purpose. They play close to the basket, they give you problems and they are physical. To hold them to 40 percent overall, that’s always our goal and we did a good job.
“If you look at the stat sheet, the only disappointing stat is turnovers. We had too many turnovers in transition and too many turnovers in the open court. We’ve got to do a better job taking care of the ball. We try to turn it over 10 times or less and we had too many. We had some stretches where we were really good and some stretches where we weren’t very good. Some of our guys got kind of down during the game and I had to prop them up to get them to play.
“We’ve got to get a little more mature and mentally tough to realize that everything isn’t going to go perfect every night. When things go sideways, you’ve got to grab each other and yourself and turn it around. Mentally, we didn’t do a great job of that. But, it was a great win and not much to complain about.”
On having nine days off…
“You can look it it two ways. We should be foaming at the mouth to get out there and compete. It was a long week of practice and finals week. We got a lot done and had some really good practices, but the juice wasn’t there. We didn’t have enough juice tonight.
“The holidays and Christmas break, all those things factor into a basketball game. It’s the toughest time of the year for Division I basketball players. All of your friends are going home, you know they are going to be there for a month and you know you are grinding it out, getting a three-day break and coming back to practice Christmas night. Mentally, your group has to be mature and tough. Hopefully we’re learning.”
On Sam Merrill’s 3-pointer...
“Big shot by Sam (Merrill) and a big find by Jalen Moore. We were running a play for the post to score inside but Jalen (Moore) saw that Sam’s (Merrill) guy was cheating into the paint. With his size he does a good job of seeing over the defense. He skipped it into the corner and Sam (Merrill) knocked it down. That was the shot of the game to turn the tide back our way. They had it going and they were knocking down shots. They had gotten the lead down and we were turning it over. That was a huge shot. Sam is productive.”
New Orleans Head Coach Mark Slessinger:
"Utah State made some 3's at different times during the second half, which was big for them. We couldn't get a defensive rhythm. We forced some turnovers and we had an opportunity to get hot right out of the gate, but we played them even instead of getting ahead. In the last six or eight minutes we had some point-blank, wide open 3's that we should've made. It's not that technical. We have to make some shots. We got some good looks and they didn't fall."
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