USU men's basketball head coach Tim Duryea addressed the media on Friday and answered questions about the upcoming game against Boise State on Saturday, Feb. 10. The complete transcript of the press conference can be found below.
On Boise State:
“Boise State is a solid, well-coached, well-rounded and experienced team that really does a good job playing together. Obviously, they have a lot of self-confidence and a lot of belief. They’ve done a good job of winning close games. They’ve done a good job closing out close games both at home and on the road. It’s what you expect from an experienced team like them. They have talent and weapons throughout the roster. They have a good amount of depth. They’re just really doing a good job. They’re solid in all areas. Defensively, they play a couple of different defenses and play them both well. Rebounding, they’re plus-eight in the league, the leading rebounding team in the conference, and really did a good job on the offensive boards at New Mexico. Offensively, any time you’re averaging 80 points a game, you’re playing at a fast pace and you’re playing at an efficient pace, and they’re doing both of those. Really, there’s not many holes in their game, not many holes in their team and I really like what they’re doing.”
On Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison:
“He’s really developed as a player the last couple of years. He’s really expanded his game and really become one of the two or three most dangerous kids in the league to guard. I think it starts because of his versatility. He can get the ball off the glass on one end, and he can lead the break and make a play for himself or his teammates on the other end. He can also get out and run, he’s a good finisher at the rim. He’s become a very, very solid 3-point shooter. They do a lot of things for him to put him in a position to score, and he comes through.”
On how USU matches up with Hutchison:
“We tried our best to limit him as much as possible (in Boise). Obviously, he’s their first option. It’s really hard, you’re not going to take him out of a whole game. We got lucky that he just missed a couple shots. There at the end, he made a couple plays that we were actually doing a good job guarding him, he just rose up and made a couple of tough shots. But you really expect him to do that with the caliber of player he is, his size, his athleticism. He’s only one of the problems you have when you’re trying to defend them. Chris Sengfelder’s doing a really good job for them, Zach Haney is improving as a low-post scorer. (Alex) Hobbs and (Marcus) Dickinson came off the bench at their place and really were probably the difference in the game, the production they got out of those guys up there. So, you have your hands full at all five positions, it’s not just about Chandler, but obviously he’s an elite talent.”
On Justinian Jessup’s performance at New Mexico:
“Jessup is one of those guys that you worry about every possession down the floor. He requires your attention because he’s one of those guys that can take four or five shots and end up with 12 to 15 points. He’s going to get them three at a time if you’re not where you need to be. That starts in transition. They do a great job of what we call pitching the ball ahead, passing the ball ahead for 3-point shots. They get out and run really well. You have to know where he is at all times on the floor. That makes him really dangerous, just the amount of attention you have to give him.”
On USU’s ability to close out games:
“That’s the one thing we haven’t done against them. We have not closed out games very well at all against them the last five or six times we’ve played them. We’ve had close games almost every time. The games have been very good, whether they’ve been played here or at Boise. They’ve done a better job than us in terms of the last three or four minutes in getting that stop you need to get or making those tough, contested shots you need to make. That’s really where almost all of the games have been decided in the series lately. Hopefully, tomorrow night, we can keep ourselves in there and, again, have a chance to make it a four-minute basketball game at the end of the game and hopefully make a couple plays. It’s going to take a Herculean effort on our part. They’re very good, they’re very confident and they’ve won here before. They’ll come in and have a lot of belief. It’s up to us to play as well as we did there. That’s going to be hard to do. We played extremely well at Boise. That’s what made that outcome really hard to take. I thought on most nights, in most places in the league that night, we would have won the game. But credit to them for the way they closed it out.”
On Utah State’s effort at Wyoming:
“Watching the film, I just thought we were an out of sync basketball team from start to finish. It never felt like that we really had anything going. It never felt like we had control of the game or a feel for the game. I thought we were totally out of sync offensively. We did not shoot the ball well because of the shot selection we took. We had very poor ball movement, which created tough shots. We did not rebound the ball well offensively. All those things kind of put us on our heels the whole game. They got out in transition quite a bit in the first half. We just never took the bit, so to speak. I just never thought we were competing in the game at a level that we needed to play at to have a chance to win. Basically, our starting front line did not play. You can overcome a lot, and our guys have, but that was just probably a little too much to ask.”
On USU’s lack of depth at Wyoming:
“When Dwayne Brown plays a few minutes and doesn’t even attempt a shot and can barely get up and down the floor with 101- or 102-degree temperature, that’s the spot we were in. Quinn (Taylor) really makes a lot of things work for us that maybe don’t show up even to the casual observer, and a lot of times don’t show up on the stat sheet. He is a tremendous facilitator for our offense in the way he screens and the way he moves. Then, defensively, the way he communicates. With Alex (Dargenton) still being far, far less than 100 percent, we had Daron Henson playing the five spot, we have Diogo Brito at the four, positions those guys haven’t even practiced. And you’re out there on the floor trying to win a key game in the Mountain West. You have two teams that have six wins going in, and it’s a key game in terms of the standings. It’s a really, really frustrating way to have to play that game."
On Quinn Taylor and the health of the team:
“Quinn had his echocardiogram yesterday, and everything went well. He has been cleared. He will practice today. We’re going to keep everything crossed that there are no issues today. Really, with our off-days from the bye, he really hasn’t had any activity in six days. That’s an issue as well. We have to try to get him moving around today and get his fears overcome a little bit and his confidence up in terms of his heart. Then we have to get him some basketball under his belt. Six days without basically haven’t done anything is pretty rare when you don’t have a physical injury in the middle of the season. So that’ll be a little bit of a challenge for him. Dwayne, his fever has broken this morning, but he has coughing issues, he has headaches and I don’t know what his availability will be for practice today. I’m sure it will be limited, if any. We’re just trying to get him better so at shoot around tomorrow, he feels like a human being and maybe has a little bit of energy we can use. Obviously, he’s been really key for us. When we’ve played really well, most of the time Dwayne has had a lot to do with that.”
On Julion Pearre at Wyoming:
“He had some game rust and was a little in a hurry, turned it over a couple times when he really didn’t need to. But he was aggressive, and I liked his mentality. We just have to clean up the turnovers a little bit and knock the game rust out of him. But, Julion’s a senior. He realizes there’s six games left in the regular season, and he doesn’t have a lot of time. I think he’s basically looking at ‘hey, I’m going to go in with an attack mentality and let it all hang out.’ That will sure help our team if we can get him playing well down the stretch. He’s a guy that gives us a little bit of experienced depth there, and would give Sam (Merrill) a little more rest than he’s been able to get, or allow Sam to move over to the other wing position, and so that gives us a lot more versatility in terms of scoring.”
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