USU men's basketball head coach Tim Duryea addressed the media on Thursday and answered questions about the upcoming Mountain West contest at San Diego State on Saturday, Jan. 14. The complete transcript of the press conference can be found below.
On San Diego State
"San Diego State is a very good man-to-man defensive team. They are very quick and very athletic. The one difference this year is that they are playing smaller than they have in the past. They shoot the ball better. They are playing Max Hoetzel at the four, he is a spacing four and could even be a big three. And then they are starting Zylan Cheatham plays the five. Last year he played the four.
"They are following the trend in college basketball in playing a little bit smaller. They shoot it better from the perimeter. They shoot a few more 3s and score it a little easier than they have in the past. They are very formidable at home. They've had some tough road games. They are just 1-3 in the league, but they've been to some tough places in Boise and Nevada.
"On defense, they don't have the shot blocker in the middle like they've had in the past, but the main difference is offensively.
On San Diego State's increase in 3-point shots
"Max Hoetzel is the big reason. The guards, (Jeremy) Hemsley and (Trey) Kell, Daraki Allen and Malik Pope are about the same they have been the last two or three years. When you take out Winston Shepard, who didn't shoot a lot of 3s, and play smaller and insert Hoetzel at the four, then their 3-point attempts are going to go up."
On the status of Malik Pope
"He has been hurt for quite a while and makes a big difference with their team. He is long and gives them more size. He gives them some punch from the perimeter. I don't know his status for sure, but we'll prepare as though he is going to play."
On if not playing soft is the number one focus heading into the SDSU game
"We've got to pare down what we do defensively for this game. Clear their heads a little bit. See if we can play faster, play harder and play more clear-headed on the defensively end. It is a must. That is what we have to do. We can't wait until halftime to start guarding somebody. When you come here, it is a great environment to play in. But, you need to match them with their defensive intensity and match them on the boards. Those are things that have been issues for us here in the past."
On if the volume of preparation during conference effects defensive numbers
"Familiarity should help you defensively. Sometimes you walk that line of trying to do too much and trying to prepare your guys too much. I'm not sure if that happened last night, but I was extremely disappointed with the way we started the game on the defensive end. I knew we would be okay offensively. We are playing very well offensively. But, you cannot win on the road with the attitude that we are going to outscore our opponent and get in a shootout and win. Maybe at home you can fall into that every now and again, but on the road at this level you can't have that mentality. That was disappointing to start the game like that last night."
On if the defensive breakdowns at Wyoming were individual or team errors
"Watching on film, it was really a team thing. Our man, zone and transition defense were not good enough. It wasn't one guy or one position. Gorski got six 3s, but it wasn't against one person or against one defense or the result of the same breakdown. It was a myriad of things, between man and zone and miscoverages, missed switches and things like that. We simplified at halftime and pared everything we did down, came out and were more aggressive. We just gave up the one three after half and that is the mindset that we need to go into this game with. We need to simplify, play faster, play harder and try to be a little more clear-headed and see if we can improve."
On the schedule for the weekend
"We'll be off today. Tomorrow, we'll try to get a lift in and then a practice over at the arena and then have our normal shootaround on Saturday. Really it is a normal, between-game situation. We normally take Thursday off quite a bit once we get into league."
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