USU men's basketball head coach Tim Duryea addressed the media on Friday and answered questions about the upcoming Mountain West contest against Colorado State on Saturday, Jan. 21. The complete transcript of the press conference can be found below.
On Colorado State
“You know what you are going to get when you play Colorado State. They are playing seven guys in their rotation, which is a scary thing for a coach. But it can work sometimes in your favor, where your teams’ roles before so well defined. Guys know when they’ll play and when they’re not going to play and know that they are going to be playing every night. As long as you avoid injury or foul trouble, it’s not always a negative. It makes practice situations a little tougher sometimes and there are some negatives and positives.
“In league play, Gian Clavell is having a great year. He is a scorer and an extremely good rebounder for his size. He plays with a ton of energy on both sides of the floor. Emmanuel Omogbo gets 10 rebounds a game. Anytime you have a guy averaging ten a game, especially on a team that is as good at rebounding as Colorado State is, that is very impressive. Omogbo, (Prentiss) Nixon and Clavell are the big three on offense.
“They are going to play you mostly man-to-man and mix in a little zone. Like I said, you know what you are going to get and who you are going to get it from when you play them. There isn’t a lot of mystery.”
On Colorado State’s results with its seven-man rotation over the last two games
“They just haven’t made shots. New Mexico is playing very well right now on both ends of the floor. Fresno (State) did a good job of guarding them at home the other night. They had New Mexico on their home court, but New Mexico is playing really well. Fresno (State) is never an easy place to go and play. Their athleticism seems to overwhelm you sometimes at Fresno. They missed some shots and Fresno made some tough shots and the game got away from them a little bit.”
On attacking Colorado State’s seven-man rotation
“You have to be who you are. You can’t focus on doing this or forcing that, a lot of times then you become hesitant and get out of character. You have to play how you play. You have to be aggressive and push the pace, when you can. The depth is an advantage on the other team’s side when you have that many guys. A lot of teams play an eight-man rotation anyway. With the style that coach Eustachy plays anyway, that has been his style. They are a mid-pace team, they make a lot of plays for each other and then defensively they have always been a half-court, grind-it-out, get-after-you, tough, physical team that rebounds the ball really well. I don’t see it as that much as a disadvantage.”
On winning five of the last six games against Colorado State
“The number one reason for that is that we have shot the ball pretty well. We won two starkly different games last year. We went up there and won a shoot out, where both teams were in the 90s. It was an out-of-character game for both teams. It isn’t like Colorado State doesn’t score it well or we don’t score well, but a 96-92 game on the road to win, you don’t every predict that or see that coming. The other game here last year they were in the 50s and it was more of a grind-it-out, possession game. Knock on wood, we have shot the ball well against them. More or less, we have held our own on the boards against them. When you play them you try and hold your own and we have shot the ball really well. The matchup has always been a favorable one for us, but I don’t see a concrete reason that I can point to other than we have shot the ball really well.”
On the week off
“The bye came a good time for us. Anytime you spend a whole week on the road and have some tough games, it is always good to come back. You can give your guys a couple of days of rest and get them back into the swing. We missed the entire first week of class, so it was great to give our guys some days to get reorganized academically and get caught up. On the basketball side, we have really focused defensively this week. We really need to improve in those areas. When you look at our stats on the offensive side in league play they are all pretty good. But when you look on the defensive side, none of them are good enough. The best thing that we have done so far is rebounding the ball. We are almost plus-2 on the boards, that isn’t a great stat, but it is a much improved stat for us over last year. Our defensive percentages are no where they need to be and that has been the focus this week.”
On the importance of winning at home
“Home games, in this league this year, are immensely important. The fact that it is so hard to win on the road, especially this year with teams being so even, a home loss is almost like a loss and a half. It is so hard everywhere you go for many different reasons. It is probably that way in most leagues. There are other leagues where road wins are a little easier to come by than in this league. You’ve got the altitude at a couple of places, you’ve got great environments in a couple of places and teams that are so close to being even. Teams realize that and focuses in on home games and knows how important they are. Those factors together make it really, really hard to win on the road.”
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