USU men's basketball head coach Tim Duryea addressed the media on Tuesday and answered questions about the upcoming game against Mississippi Valley State on Wednesday, November 15. The complete transcript of the press conference can be found below.
On Mississippi Valley State
"Mississippi Valley decided to start the year off with an extremely tough schedule. Everyone around here, along with our players, know how tough the places they’ve opened up the season are. Watching the film, they’ve competed really hard. They just hit some bad stretches. That can happen to you at the Marriott Center and the Huntsman Center. I’m really impressed with Tereke Eckwood on their team. He and Jordan Evans are both combo guards. They can hurt you off the bounce, they can hurt you from 3. I think both those kids are talented guys. Their post players like to post up off the block. They like to face and put the ball on the floor, so they’re not really traditional post players. They’ll play mostly man while mixing in a little zone. All-in-all, they’ve had a tough stretch to open the year."
On MVSU never having a lead this season:
"This is the third game on the road for them in the last five or six days. I’d like to pick up, not necessarily against them but for our team, their mentality is to pick up where we left off last night. We had a tremendous second half defensively, and I would like to start the game off with that kind of mindset."
On the new roster and not being able to go off last season’s film:
"You can’t go off last year. The only sample size we really have are the two games they’ve played here in Utah. They had an extremely tough year last year and kind of revamped the whole roster. There are a lot of new players, playing at places they’ve played you can see where that would lead to a tough start."
On building momentum for the long road swing coming up:
"We knew going into the year that the first three games were really huge for us. Five-game, 12-day road trips are really almost unheard of in college basketball. It’s an extremely tough stretch we have coming up. We’d like to have some momentum going into it. We had a very short, abbreviated workout today. Winning is always nice, but I think our guys felt good about how they won last night. They played a quality team last night and for the most part, other than the end where we got a little sloppy with the ball, they think they played a quality game. Watching the film, I would agree. There were good things on both sides of the ball, we just have to clean up some of the turnovers, which we can do, and go from there.”
On what he’s learned about his team seeing them in game situations:
“You learn when the chips are down and the game is tight, who you can count on to take care of responsibilities, do their job, execute. That’s more than anything what I’ve learned through the first two games. I saw a lot of the same things last night that I saw from a couple of the games in Italy. We had some really tight games where the guys could have folded the tent, more or less, and they didn’t do that. I really like the competitive spirit of the group. I thought we showed a lot of improvement from game one to game two. Last night was more along the lines of the team I’ve seen through our summer trip, our scrimmage in Oregon and through the exhibition game. I’m learning more about who you can count on and who is improving. We have a lot of young, inexperienced guys going out there and I saw a lot of improvement last night in some areas from a lot of different guys. That’s one thing you always look for as a coach, especially early in the year. Guys like Daron (Henson) and Dwayne Brown and DeAngelo Isby in the second half, where they just kind of feel like they belong a little bit. There were stretches last night where I thought those guys mentally took a step.”
On the change in the team’s tempo early in the season:
“That’s something we’ve stressed from the beginning, is the pace. I think your pace is dictated a little by what your rotation ends up being. If we’re playing seven or eight guys a majority of the minutes, it’s a lot harder to keep a fast pace or tempo. We want to have more possessions, we want to shoot the ball from 3, and those things come up a little quicker if you’re playing with a lot more pace. That’s the plan of the way this team has to play. It was disappointing at Weber State because I didn’t think we played that way at all. That’s not the personality that we need to be good. Last night was more along those lines. I’d still like to get more 3-point shots up. I think we got 18 last night, which is six or seven fewer than we’d like to have. We would like to play at a quick pace and not turn down open 3s. If we can do that, I think our possession time will continue to be less and our number of possessions will go up. That’s what we’re looking for."
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