USU men's basketball head coach Tim Duryea addressed the media on Monday and answered questions about the upcoming Mountain West contest at New Mexico on Tuesday, Jan. 24. The complete transcript of the press conference can be found below.
On New Mexico
New Mexico is playing as good or better than anyone else in the league right now. If you look at their scores, they could be close to being undefeated. Obviously the Nevada game everybody knows about, and then they had an 11-point lead at home against UNLV and lost that. They are a very talented team and are playing really well. They made a lineup change recently, inserting (Dane) Kuiper into the starting lineup, and that has made them better in terms of shooting the ball from the perimeter. They also have Elijah Brown and Tim Williams that everyone knows you have to deal with every time you play them. They are defending better than they were earlier in the year and are always dangerous offensively.
On how Utah State is maturing as a team
We came in on Sunday and watched a lot of film. More than anything we spent our time in the film room and then did a little preparation on the court. We never really settled into the rhythm of the game on Saturday. We seemed rushed on offense and were in a hurry. Defensively, we did a really good job in the second half. The first half we gave up some easy baskets. When you are talking about 48 percent versus 40 percent, you are talking about two, three, four baskets and we gave up a few layups that were just defensive mistakes on our part. In the second half we guarded really well. We have been playing a lot of young guys, who most of the time do not act like young players. But, the other night we acted young and played young and it took us a long time to settle into the game. Whether that was because of the atmosphere, or because of Colorado State, I think it was because of Colorado State more than anything else.
On what Utah State did right in the victory over New Mexico earlier in the year
We executed our game plan in the second half. We mixed our defenses. We were aggressive offensively. The biggest thing is in the second half we made a defensive stand. In our man, in our zone and in our junk defenses. We were very aware and alert to the game plan. We did as good a job at executing the plan as we have all year. It is ironic, because it was one of our more complicated game plans that we've had. In the second half we did a great job of following it. When you play them you have to play well on both sides of the ball. You better score the ball when you go into the Pit to have a chance to win because you know they are going to be hard to guard there.
On the play of Elijah Brown as of late
We caught a bit of break there and got him into foul trouble. That doesn't just happen. Our guys did a great job of playing offense with an aggressive nature and taking it at him. That was a huge break in him not being on the floor in the second half. We did some things with our defense that took him out of the game a little bit.
On the health of the team
Jalen (Moore) is much better and played without tape (on his hand) on today. I expect him to be 100 percent healthy tomorrow. Koby (McEwen) has been dealing with a foot injury, but he is pretty close to 100 percent. Sam Merrill has had a bug and some tendonitis in his knee, but I think by tomorrow he'll be feeling a lot better too with a couple of days rest.
On the late start of the game
You just have to start you day a little bit later and then stick to your same routine as normal. On the road, you always know you are going to have a little longer shootaround than you do at home just to get used to your surroundings. We'll just move things back a couple of hours and then stick to the same routine.
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