USU men's basketball head coach Tim Duryea addressed the media on Friday and answered questions about the upcoming Mountain West contest against UNLV on Saturday, Jan. 7. The complete transcript of the press conference can be found below.
“UNLV is an athletic team. They have a lot of interchangeable parts as far as players go. They have a lot of athletic kids that are roughly the same size.
“Defensively, they can switch some things and play both man and zone. They’ll press you a little bit in the full court. They are a typical Marvin Menzies’ team, like we used to play at New Mexico State all the time.
“They have played a very tough schedule and have done a good job for the situation they took over and have been in. They didn’t play very well their last time out, but the game before against Wyoming they were very impressive at home. That was a quality win.
“They have a lot of new players, but Jalen Poyser, their leading scorer, is a guy that we are familiar with and have played against. He is a quality guard that can hurt you from inside the lane and make 3s and can hurt you from there, as well. They have a lot of new players that they are trying to work into the lineup. They have had different guys start, but they are playing hard. For the schedule that they’ve played, they’ve done a very commendable job.”
On the various starting lineups UNLV has used
“They play the same way no matter who is out there. It is more about how you want to defend against what they do, rather than who is doing it. That will differ game-to-game, but this game it will be important because of what they do offensively. They make you stop them. They are not trying to trick you. They have a lot of interchangeable parts that they can move in and out. One of their better players is a kid who hasn’t even started a game and that is Jovan Mooring. He is a kid that we are very impressed with on film. He is very good in the pick-and-roll. He was the leading scorer in the country at the Division II junior college level at South Suburban Junior College in Chicago. He is a very capable guard. Kris Clyburn is a kid we recruited out of Ranger Junior College. He is a sophomore that has three years to play. He is the younger brother of Will Clyburn, who played at Utah a few years ago and was a very good athlete and a very good player. We are familiar with their personnel and familiar with coach Menzies from our days in the WAC.”
On the status of UNLV’s Christian Jones and Dwayne Morgan
“(Christian) Jones is probably their best low-post, inside threat. (Cheickna) Dembele comes off of the bench and has a lot of size, but Jones can score with his back to the basket. (Dwayne) Morgan hasn’t played in about six games, but is a very talented kid. He is one of the hold-overs. We are familiar with him and he was a highly recruited, highly touted kid that has done a good job for them. I don’t know what his status is and why he hasn’t played in so many games.”
On how the USU defense played against New Mexico
“I felt good about our defense in the second half. We didn’t do a great job of executing our game plan in the first half and were too tentative in what we were trying to do. We really didn’t change anything in the second half, but we did execute our game plan better. We doubled (Tim) Williams a little harder, kept the ball out of the post with a little more effort and did a better job on their perimeter players. I thought we were good defensively against Brown the whole game, sticking with him off screens, Sam (Merrill) did a great job there. Overall, we made some defensive plays in the second half. We got more aggressive, a little less tentative, we got more deflections, some steals and blocked some shots by being more aggressive. I wish we would have had that mentality the entire game instead of just the second half. But, I was really pleased with the plays we made in the second half.”
On the starting lineup against UNLV
“We’ll go with the same lineup that we did on Wednesday night. Hopefully, things will go well, where we can settle into a rotation and make everyone more effective in terms of starting games on both ends of the floor and how our roles fit together. One of the keys to your starting lineup is how the players in the starting lineup make each other better. That is one of the things that Sam helped us with the other night, obviously eight assists and zero turnovers, he scored the ball, but missed some of the shots that he normally makes. The thing that he did the best was making his teammates better.”
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