USU men's basketball head coach Tim Duryea addressed the media on Tuesday and answered questions about the upcoming game against New Mexico on Wednesday, Jan. 31. The complete transcript of the press conference can be found below.
On New Mexico:
"I hadn't really watched them throughout the year because I knew we weren't going to play them for quite a while. But watching them the last four, five games, they are really, really impressive. Probably were the most impressive in their last game against Colorado State. They played extremely hard, they played extremely well, shot the ball in from three, really were active defensively. I'm not sure I've seen a more active defensive team in the conference all year than I saw from New Mexico against Colorado State. They're coming in here, obviously, confident, playing well, playing hard, they play a lot of people and they make you play 94 feet offensively. You've got to be on it from the time you throw the ball in until the time you score. It's a 94-foot game. Then defensively, they put the pressure on you made or missed shot, they're coming right back at you and if you're not on your game they'll lay it up on you before you know it. So, really impressed with the job that Paul (Weir) has done. there was a little bit of a sentiment before the league started about poor, poor New Mexico. New coach, new players and that couldn't be farther from the truth."
On New Mexico's team aspect:
"It's similar to when you play Air Force on the opposite end of the spectrum. You have to prepare for what they do as much or more so than you prepare for who's doing it because guys are rotating in-and-out. Obviously, Antino Jackson is playing really well for them at the point, makes a lot of things happen. Anthony Mathis plays really well off of Jackson because Mathis is a catch-and-shoot player and Jackson makes a lot of plays for him. The fact that they're playing so fast benefits Mathis well. Their post guys can all put the ball on the floor. They're not all 3-point shooters, but they can all put the ball on the floor which puts a lot of pressure on your defense on the interior because they're catching the ball on the perimeter so often and they can drive the ball. With you having to space out to those shooters, there's a lot of space in there for those guys to operate off the dribble. Then they are subbing all the time, and they keep the defensive pressure on you. It's guarding what they do offensively and defensively more than who's doing it, but realizing that who's doing it is pretty good."
On New Mexico's depth:
"I would say that is a luxury. Paul is doing a great job of using all those guys. Sometimes you can have that many guys, but you don't get the most out of them or the most out of all of them, and he has planned a style that they can all contribute to and he is starting to get really good contributions. Last game for instance, Troy Simons came in and played really well and so did Jachai Simmons. If you look at the stat sheet in the league, those are not two guys that really jump out at you, but they made five or six threes between them and played really well. You go into the game worried about Jackson and Mathis, and then guys like that jump up at you and knock down shots. They come at you in waves and it's 40 minutes of 94-feet basketball going both ways. Obviously, we've got to be fresh mentally and physically because we don't have the numbers to throw out there. So, our guys are going to have to buck up and really be mentally tough for 40 minutes."
On New Mexico's negative rebound margin:
"They shoot a lot of 3-point shots, so long rebounds. Colorado State, for instance, they got out-rebounded by 20. They shot such a high percentage and got easy baskets, so it didn't matter. Not many games when you're out-rebounded by 20 are you going to win period, but much less by 15. So, there are so many possessions with the way they play that every rebound has less significance. They're minus five, basically, in league minus four and a half. So, they're hanging in there okay, but they can have some games where they really get hurt on the boards. The thing that saves them, the thing I'm impressed with, is how fast they're playing, and yet they turn the ball over barely 10 times a game. That's pretty impressive."
On New Mexico's turnover margin:
"Their game is to create way more possessions, shoot way more shots than you do. The fact that they create turnovers and then don't turn the ball over, you look at their stats and they're going to shoot the ball five or six times more a game than you are, and most of the shots are going to be threes. Half their shots are 3-pointers. That's kind of how they beat you. They outlast you, they get more possessions, more field goal attempts up and with the way they shoot the ball, that gives them a good chance."
On Utah State's mindset:
"We were a little sluggish in practice yesterday. We had a tough week. When you play Air Force, it is tough mentally on your preparation. Then we went to Fresno, and the game was a lot slower pace than usual and it was a possession game. That was partly because of the way they were guarding us and pressing us, and we were pressing them a little bit, softly. So, the game became a half-court possession game. There was a lot of stress on each possession and, obviously, it was close all the way through. Mentally last week, we had a tough week. Yet, winning helps everything. We had a tough week mentally the week before because we didn't finish a couple that we could have. Our goal tomorrow, we've got to go into the game fresh not only physically, which we're trying to do with our numbers, but also mentally because it's going to be a game of runs, a game of waves and you can't get too high if things are going well and you can't get too low if they make a little run or force a couple turnovers. I like where we are, and yet the last two weeks have been hard."
On senior forward Alex Dargenton and senior guard Julion Pearre:
"Julion is still out. He's probably going to be available after the bye for the Wyoming game. I would say Alex is more questionable than probable for tomorrow. Definitely not out for sure, but definitely not in for sure. It would be really nice to have him."
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