Stew Morrill Quotes - 01-29-13

Jan. 29, 2013

LOGAN, Utah -

Opening statement on traveling and weekend opponents:

"Well we are hoping that we can get out of here tomorrow okay, that is our first concern with the travel woes with the weather and all. Hopefully we don't have too many trials and tribulations. Last year on this trip it was tough sledding in the Seattle area, so hopefully we will get out of here okay. Obviously these teams both played us very well at home, we had to make a spectacular shot to beat Idaho, and Seattle was in the game the whole way. So we know that we have a big challenge going to their courts, Idaho is probably as efficient an offensive team as we have in the WAC, they are shooting high-percentages, they have a lot of offensive weapons. They have just been the victim of some close games that haven't went their way, including our game. They are very capable and very impressive to watch. Seattle, we ran into a buzz saw up there last year. They just seem to play a lot quicker and pressure a little more and rebound the ball on the offensive end a little more. Trying to keep our guys fresh with our limited numbers and trying to prepare for the games is a bit of a challenge because we don't want to be in the practice court for very long and yet we don't want to go into the games not prepared for what we are going to see. We are trying to shorten practice because we have no subs and it has kind of been that way for awhile but it is worse obviously now. We're trying to shorten practice and stay as fresh as we can, stay injury free and all those kinds of things."

On dealing with first-half turnovers:

"That's been a little bit of being victim of who we've been playing. We have had teams that are press oriented and trying to adjust to their quickness, at the start of the game and not always making the adjustments that you think I am making. We are just trying to get better as we go in a lot of different areas of the game. That is what we have been stressing to this group, is don't give in to tough losses, don't give into the injuries that we have got. Just try and keep battling. Our turnovers have not been necessarily what has beat us, obviously they are things that you don't want to have. We have had some low shooting percentages. The positives from last weekend were we held teams down in field goal percentage, we out-rebounded them and we just had a little trouble scoring and we need a whole lot of guys to make some shots, not just a few and to believe that they can be effective out there."



On improvement of UTSA and Texas State and how they were able to be successful this past weekend in games at Idaho and Seattle:

"They are both playing a lot better. UTSA had a guy go for almost 40, that will help you. I mean anytime you have a guy have that spectacular of a game it gives you a chance to win. They are both good examples of teams that are not giving in. They started out really struggling in league but have gotten better. They have kept their personnel and that certainly has helped them but they both are playing quite a bit better than the first week that we saw them in conference. Texas State causes a bunch of turnovers with their press. That is where Idaho has had at times had some difficulty, like we have with turning the ball over a little bit more than they want to and at times that has been a little bit of a bugaboo for us as well. That is what happened in our game at Texas State, is with their press and they caused Idaho to turn it quite a few times. Unfortunately that is not a strength of ours, we are not near as athletic. We don't press and all that sort of thing so we are not going to out all of the sudden with eight guys and try to cause a bunch of turnovers. That is just not going to work."

On offensive struggles with lower field goal percentages:

"We have had a lot of guys miss open shots. We missed nine lay-ups in the LA Tech game, that will hurt your shooting percentage for sure. We missed a lot of easy opportunities and we also missed some open jumps shots. So I think we are trying to find points from different areas than we did before we lost Preston (Medlin) and Kyisean (Reed) and guys that are not use to getting a lot of shots are getting more shots. Hopefully they will settle in and get comfortable with making some shots, but, we missed a lot of open shots and easy shots. It is not a question of overhauling or offense or anything like that, we just have to make good on the opportunities that are there."

On the amount of defensive stops in the Louisiana Tech game with improved defense and rebounding:

"I think that they know that that is their only chance, that is what we stress to them last week, not their only chance but their best chance. We were giving up a high-percentage a higher-percentage than we normally do when we had all of our players. Now we don't have the same offensive weapons, we had better dig in defensively or we are not going to be in games. We did that over the weekend at home, we will see what we do on the road, that is always a different deal with the environment and travel and so forth. I think they just really worked hard to try and keep themselves in games when we weren't making shots, so the only way to keep themselves in the games were to defend a little better and rebound the ball."

On Spencer Butterfield's increased load in scoring and rebounding and the team's improvments:

"He is a very confident player, he has been since the day he stepped on campus. A little adversity hasn't bothered him, he is going to keep plugging and try to do more. You have got to be pleased with how he has responded to the situation and for the most part, I don't really have a problem with the way that we have responded to the situation so far. Our guys are trying and I said that the other night as long as we keep trying to get better, as long as we play as hard as we can, that is really all you can do now. The one thing that I can tell you is that playing hard doesn't always solve everything. You still have to play better, you still have to make shots, you still have to do some things to give yourself a better chance to win. So we not only have to play hard but we have got to get better in some areas like making some shots, to give ourselves a chance to win. For example, if we go to Idaho and give them 50 percent overall and 40 percent from three and let them out rebound us by six, which is what their stats are in league at 50 percent, almost 41 percent from three, plus-six on the boards, we are not going to be in the game. We have got to try and do those areas and we have got to pick our offense up. Some guys that struggled the other night that were oh-fer for whatever, they are going to make shots, I am confident that they are not going to be oh-fer, that they are going to make some shots and they have got to believe that they are. As I told them yesterday, we have only been a little over a week without two of our very important guys. We are trying to settle in and try to figure out how to play without those two guys. Hopefully we will get better as we go."

On Jarred Shaw bouncing back from the UTA game with a double-double against Louisiana Tech and learning to be more consistent:

"I hope so. That is part of any first year player. Learning what it takes, you know he got discouraged in our first game over the weekend and had a tough shooting night. He responded very well to that, he didn't get head down, he came back out next game and played hard. It always helps when you make some shots. The real test for Jarred (Shaw) will be when things aren't going real well offensively, are you still going to rebound and defend with everything you have to try and help us win. Even though you aren't making shots are you going to get your head down and not be as productive in other areas. That is what he is trying to figure out is how to play hard no matter what is going on out there, usually when you do that, some shots start coming around when you worry about other areas of the game. We will see. I think that is one of those things we will find out as we go."

On history with going Moscow as he's probably making final trip there:

"You know how long I have been going to Moscow? I went to Moscow as a player, and you all know how long ago that was, when I played at Gonzaga. When I started coaching at Gonzaga, Idaho was in our league, the Big Sky, when I played and when I coached. When I went to Montana we were in the same league the 13 years that I was there. I got a little bit of a reprieve from going to Moscow, not that Moscow is a bad place, got a little reprieve when I was at Colorado State, but now the 15 years that I have been at Utah State I have been going there. I guess what I am saying is that Moscow is a wonderful place but I have probably been there enough. Plus with Coach V (Don Verlin) being up there, this could be our last meeting if we don't meet up in the conference tournament and I think both of us would like nothing more than for this to be our last time playing each other."

On Idaho's center Kyle Barone being perhaps the most consistent player in the league:

"Unbelievable weekend last weekend, just unbelievable. He is a guy that has been a starter since he was a freshman, every year he has gotten better. He is really hard to deal with down low, he is athletic and strong, he has a very good touch, he is averaging 12 boards in league. He is a first-team all-league guy without question. We have got to help some on him and we have got to do a good job when we don't help."

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