USU men's basketball head coach Tim Duryea addressed the media on Friday and answered questions about the upcoming game at Gonzaga on Saturday, November 18. The complete transcript of the press conference can be found below.
"Gonzaga has been really impressive in their last two games. They are averaging about 30 3-point attempts per game and shooting at an over 40-percent clip. They are very good from the 3-point line and yet (Killian) Tillie and (Johnathan) Williams inside can really score and are good passers. They play with a lot of pace and skill and really put a lot of pressure on your defense on both made and miss shots and play fast.
"Defensively, they'll change it up on you and play man and zone and are very good at both. They are very good at protecting the rim and do a great job in both defenses of protecting the rim without fouling. All-around, they are very solid.
On their offense utilizing the 3-point shot similarly to Utah State
"They've played against a lot more zone defense than we have the last few games. They have a good shooter at every position, similar to us. At the four, they are not quite as perimeter oriented as we are. Tillie can make a 3-point shot and so can Williams, but they are more high-low oriented, but their guards are all good shooters."
On the biggest concern going into the game
"The 3-point line. We've got to take away 3-point shots from them. We can't give them 30 attempts and 11 or 12 makes on the night and win the game. We are going to try and take the 3-point line away as much as we can. That will put a lot of pressure on our interior defenders to keep the ball out. When the ball does go in, we need to challenge shots. The other thing we need to do is blocking out. They are tremendous offensive rebounders. The freshman, (Corey) Kispert, is a very good offensive rebounder. We need to block out well. We need to force them to take tough, guarded 3-point shots and only give them one."
On Gonzaga's ability to rebound
"They are playing high possession games and have played against a lot of zone and have penalized the zone with second shots and third shots. When you watch them on film, they are flying in there to get the boards. We need to get our defensive set, because not only on misses and makes, they are bringing it at you fast. We also need to block out and only give up one shot. Hopefully, that is a guarded, contested, tough shot. And we only give them one."
On the experience of playing at Gonzaga
"It is one of those games where we've talked to our team 'this is why you play college basketball to go to venues, such as this, and play ranked teams, such as this'. It is why we play college basketball. You get to go and measure where you are and put yourself out there and see exactly where your team is. It is a game we'll use to grow and get better and carry forward and make your team that much tougher. It is a good game, it a game that you don't need to get your guys excited to play."
On how many of Gonzaga's players contributed last year:
"Williams was a returning starter. Tillie played in a decent role. (Josh) Perkins played in a fairly substantial role. Not a lot, but they've got the same type of team. Last year they were very good inside, huge with the two kids that left to the NBA and the foreign kid. They are a little more mobile and versatile this year than they were last year. Last year was one of their best defensive teams they've ever had, which got them to the championship game. They are along the same lines this year, they can really defend you and can score from all over the floor. They can play at a lot of different speeds and just a really good, all-around team."
On the Gonzaga's freshmen that are contributing:
"There is a freshman big, a 7-footer that comes in and helps them. Kispert is a starter for them. Tillie is only a sophomore. So, they have good young players mixed in with some guys that have been there and experienced a championship run. It is a pretty good mix."
On the status of Koby McEwen:
"He is day-to-day. He's got an ankle injury that is going to come down to pain tolerance, in determining if and when he can play. There is no structural damage in terms of breaks. He won't practice today, but will go through shootaround tomorrow all taped up like he would during the game and we'll see how much pain there is there."
On how he was injured:
"It happened twice. The one near midcourt, he got rolled up on. Later on there was a loose ball and people were diving around and he got it tweaked there too. Two different times, the same ankle, he got tweaked. The first time (athletic trainer) Brandon (Wells) put him back in, but the second time he was done. The x-ray and the MRI were clean, but he has a sprain there that will be a day-to-day basis."
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