USU men's basketball head coach Tim Duryea addressed the media on Sunday and answered questions about the upcoming game at Portland State on Monday, November 20. The complete transcript of the press conference can be found below.
On Portland State:
"Portland State is a modern-day basketball team. They have a lot of position-less players, a lot of interchangeable parts, a lot of kids out there that are the same size doing a lot of the same things. Their whole deal is to speed you up offensively. They are going to pressure you full court on made shots and on missed shots. They are going to play man and zone and score off turnovers. Points off of defense is huge for them. They rebound offensively from all different angles.
"It is the type of game that you don’t face at this level very often. It is a game you typically see at the high school level or the junior college level. To do it effectively at this level is a credit to them. Coach Peery in his first year is basically recreating the style that he had a lot of success at Southern Idaho and success at Indian Hills Community College. He’s transferred that style and it fits their personnel and they are off to a great start."
On the familiarity with the Utah State coaches and the head coach at Portland State:
"We are very familiar with Barrett and he’s even been over to our practices when he’s been out of coaching. He’s been with Coach Sendek at Arizona State and at Santa Clara and played a totally different style there. However, he is very comfortable with the up-tempo, full court, changing defense-type system, and that is what he’s employed here."
On the volume of Portland State’s scoring:
"They score a lot of points, they shoot a lot of 3’s and are adequate shooters. They can really take you off of the bounce. They have a lot of mismatches because they are playing small. They can go by you and create havoc and therefore when a shot goes off of the glass, a lot of times you are not matched up and they are aggressive offensive rebounds. They had 23 offensive rebounds in their last game. That is an issue. We need to keep the ball in front of us and keep with our match ups solid so we can block out and get the ball going the other direction."
On their transfer from Gonzaga, Ryan Edwards:
"The seven-foot kid is a Gonzaga transfer. He is kind of the piece that doesn’t fit, if you look at the puzzle, and yet he does a really good job for them. He is a skilled low-post scorer and a very effective 3-point shooter."
On how USU is handling facing the No. 1 and No. 2 offensive rebounding teams in back-to-back games:
"I think in the first half (at Gonzaga) we were really good on the glass and blocking out with physicality and with contact. We were putting our body on their body and making some space around the basket. It is a different type of issue that you are dealing with against Portland State. You are not dealing with the huge size that you do at Gonzaga. You are dealing with quickness, kids that are just relentless in chasing the ball down. That is their identity. Their identity is speeding you up, going by you offensively and then chasing the ball on the glass with angles, mismatches and from all different positions and combinations. You have to try and make sense of the game when you play them because it is a style that you really hardly ever face as this level."
On Portland State’s ability to defend the 3-point line:
"Their whole goal defensively is to turn you over. If you can handle their pressure in the back court and get the ball to the front court, then there are some things you can take advantage of. You may take advantage of them with two or three easy baskets, but they don’t flinch. They are going to keep coming at you at 94 feet and keep running two guys at the ball, keep running guys through passing lanes and be relentless for 40 minutes. You have to handle the ball, be aggressive, but with a controlled aggression. You can’t fall into their style and their pace, but you are getting the shot you want, but it may just come a little sooner than normal."
On the concern of playing against that style without a healthy, experienced point guard:
"We are going to find out really shortly (if we are comfortable with playing Diogo Brito as the point). Guard play in games like this is paramount. You can’t win games like this without good guard play. The more guards you have and are healthy, the better situation you are in. All of our guys do a good job of passing and handling. That has to be a strength of ours, being undersized. We are going to be have to be on top of that in our game when we face them. It will really come down to when we play a game like this, not necessarily effectively running your system or your stuff, but executing basketball plays. We need read and react plays that we can’t really script, or that may not be normal plays that we usually see. We need to be good basketball players on Monday night, more than anything else. We need to pass and catch and make decisions and not get sped up. But, we also need to be aggressive enough to take advantage of the opportunities we are going to get."
On who the starting point guard will be on Monday night:
"We don’t know about that yet. We will have to decide that in the next day or so and see how Koby’s health is and we’ll play off of that. I thought Diogo did a tremendous job and so did Abel (Porter) and Crew (Ainge). Those guys did a really good job too. Diogo really took advantage of some things and created some opportunities for his teammates and got the ball in the basket a little bit. He really showed some poise for a kid who just got some reps at that spot the night before in practice. He’s had a lot of international experience and has played with a lot older players and against a lot of different styles. He’s an intelligent player, has a high IQ and has a good feel for passing the ball. That is his strength as a player."
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