USU men's basketball head coach Tim Duryea addressed the media on Tuesday and answered questions about the upcoming Mountain West contest at UNLV on Wednesday, March 1. The complete transcript of the press conference can be found below.
"UNLV is athletic and long. They play different defenses. They can pressure you in their man-to-man. Throughout our time in the Mountain West, they have been very good team and program. Marvin (Menzies) is in his first year and had a lot of upheaval in the off-season. They've had different combination of guys that they've played, different starting lineups. It is one of those years that you go through.
"When you watch them play, you see a group that has the ability to do some things on offense and defense. They can stretch you out offensively at the four spot. They can score in the post. They are long and athletic down there. Jovan Mooring is a very good guard. He can shoot it from deep and is very good on the pick-and-roll. They've been a little inconsistent in shooting the ball from the perimeter and that has been their biggest weakness so far."
On if UNLV's down year is surprising
"When anyone has a down year in this league it is surprising. It has been such a deep league and they have been such a good program for so long that you are used to seeing them have a lot of talent. They had a very tumultuous spring and summer with two coaching changes and a lot of departure from their roster last year. One of the guys they had coming back has been injured all year, Dwayne Morgan. They are playing a lot of new, first-year guys. As we know, that can sometimes be hard."
On the advantages of playing in the Thomas & Mack Center so close to the tournament
"It is a good game for us, especially since this is the road trip that we didn't make last year. There are only two guys on our team that have set foot in this building in a regular season game, that would be Jalen Moore and Julion Pearre. I think it is great. I would rather play the game late, than early. With the last day of the regular season having a bye, who knows about that? We'll see how that works out."
On keeping his players from not overlooking UNLV
"We talked about that today as a group. We have a lot to play for in terms of our record on the year, in terms of seeding in the tournament and we are trying to look at it as we don't care who it is or who they are. We are preparing to play the game and trying to get the win and whether that be against this team or that team, that is really secondary to how we are approaching the game. With all we are playing for, we are trying to get ourselves prepared and play as well as we can and ride the momentum that we have created over the last week to 10 days through the tournament."
On Jalen Moore's aggressiveness as a key going into the tournament
"It is no secret when Jalen, Koby (McEwen) and Sam (Merrill) play well that we play pretty well. That has been a constant throughout the later part of the season. Jalen is going to get time at the three and four spot and he needs to be aggressive at both spots and we are better when he is."
On his favorite buffet in Las Vegas
"I'm not the most experienced buffet man, but since we are staying there for the league, I'm going to say the Rio, even though it is a little bit older it is hard to beat."
On how UNLV has changed since the first time the two teams played
"Jovan Mooring, who I consider to be their best player, wasn't starting and they are playing bigger now, starting Christian Jones and (Cheickna) Dembele. Dembele was coming off of the bench when we were playing them before. They were playing a little smaller when we were playing them before with Green at the four. It is senior night so with Green and Jones as seniors, we expect both of them to start. They'll resemble more the team that we played in Logan. They are playing more man-to-man now than they were then. They were playing a lot of zone earlier in the year and from what I've seen on tape they are playing more man and trying to pressure you out a little bit. They are trying to take away things with their pressure. Their zone has really become their secondary defense."
On avoiding a letdown against UNLV
"That has really been my worry since we got back to work this week, the mental state of our guys relaxing a little bit and making the mistake of looking at the standings. We know ourselves that anybody can beat anybody on either court on any given night in this league. Vegas has had some scores that have been all over the board, some really close games and some games where teams have gotten away from them. It is their last home game and it is their Senior Night and you expect a very spirited effort from them. Hopefully our guys will get themselves ready, similar to what we did at San Jose and that is what I hope we draw on. The last road game we had a win, we prepared really well and had a lot of energy. We played with a lot of togetherness and bounce in our step and had success. Hopefully we are smart enough as a group and know that we need to replicate that preparation if we want to replicate the result."
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