Postgame Quotes

March 20, 2004

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Gonzaga Players

FORWARD Adam Morrison
On what Coach Few told them after the game: "To remember the season, remember the great season. Obviously we wanted to go farther. We had a good year otherwise. But he told us to remember this feeling, remember the seniors guys and all they have done for us."

On the mood in the locker room after the game: "It feels as if someone took your life away almost. This is all we've got, this is all I've got, is basketball. We can't play anymore, the year is taken away, especially for the senior guys, who've been here four or five years, who've put all that heart and effort into it and they don't get to play anymore."

On the referee's in the first half: "We're not going to stand on a soap box and complain. We got in foul trouble and I guess that is us to blame. Not having Ronny and the other big guys hurt us. They've been our core group all year. It just didn't happen tonight for some reason. But we're not going to hang our heads in disgust, we're going to come out here with Gonzaga pride and keep going."

On the 20 point deficit being too big of a deficit to come back from: "We feel that we can come back from anything. They mad shots and we just didn't do what we had to do to get the win."

FORWARD Kyle Bankhead
General comments on his feelings right now: "I don't know if I can put into words right now, I don't know if it's hit home. At the moment right now, I'm just thinking about that I'm not going to be out there ever again. I wish I knew the words to capture how I feel right now."

On Gonzaga's expectations for this season: "The expectation was to play four more games. It's really disappointing that we're not going to be able to do that. The expectations were not fulfilled as far as the NCAA tournament goes. It's really disappointing, but I hope that we can realize that we did accomplish quite a bit this year. It's just hard to think about that right now."



On foul trouble early in the game: "You can feel that way if you let yourself feel that way. That played some role in the game and we've over come that in games past. I think it was a combination of a bunch of different things, but that was one of them."

On watching the referee's from the bench: "I obviously didn't agree with all the call, but that's part of the game, getting some breaks, not getting some breaks. Like I've said, we've been able to overcome that in the past. We just weren't able to do that tonight."

On not having Ronny Turiaf for a majority of the game: "It's a huge factor in us losing. Whenever you don't have one of your star players, your go-to-guy, it's going to hurt and it's going to affect the outcome of the game."

GUARD Blake Stepp
On Nevada's defense: "They played man to man. Hill-Thomas followed me around the court wherever I went and always had a hand on me."

On his performance: "I felt good, they just didn't go down. I felt well during practice and before the game, but obviously, that didn't happen on the court."

On if it's easier being the underdog: "No, I don't really see an underdog in this game. The seeding is out after Selection Sunday. There are 65 good teams in the tournament."

On ending his career at Gonzaga: "It sucks. It's been three or four years. We put a lot of effort into it and had a great season. To go out like this is not what we wanted to do, but it doesn't always go your way. We accomplished a lot of goals, but right now, it definitely doesn't feel good to lose it."

On how Ronny Turiaf's fouls affected the game: "Anytime you take Ronny out of the game like that, especially in the first two minutes, it hurts our game plan. Offensively, we kept trying to bang it in there, but Ronny is a big force defensively and he changes shots. When they penetrated they had a little less fear and awe, which probably helped them out a little bit."

On Gonzaga playing too tight: "We didn't necessarily feel tight, but they shots just weren't going in. Blake got his shots up, and I got mine up, but they just didn't happen to go. Gonzaga has never really had a problem with tightness; we've always been willing to take the big shots. We were taking them all down the stretch, they just weren't going. Everyone wanted to take them. When you think about 'tight,' you think about guys not wanting to take them, but every one of our guys took one just trying to get us back in there."

On season being over: "You certainly had higher hopes for this year, but everybody does. When you prep for a game, you always go into it thinking you're going to win the game. We obviously came out on the bottom with this one, but at the beginning of the game, we were pretty focused on what we were trying to do. But we couldn't stop them. They did everything that they wanted to do. They hit some huge shots every time that we tried to make a run."

Gonzaga Coach Mark Few
General comments: "We just got beat tonight. I know they beat us to a lot of balls and rebounded, out shot us and out defended us. They were really, really good today. And so we tip our hats to Reno and their staff. They came out and they were confident and ready to go. They were very, very aggressive and usually the most aggressive team wins. And they were that tonight. But certainly that doesn't diminish anything we have done all year. When we walk out of here we will focus on that and not on the last 40 minutes. "

On Blake Stepp's injury: "There was blood. He got hit in the game and we had to take him out and put a wrap on him."

On the 'Cinderella' factor coming full-circle: "To me, it's certainly not the end of our circle. I don't see us slowing down. We will continue to keep doing what we have been doing. Today was just about Nevada and they were playing very, very well. They did everything right and made the plays when they had to and stuck with it even when we made some runs. I would chalk it more to that than any history."

On six fouls in five minutes to start the game: "It changes drasticall. When you go back over our three loses this year -- the first lose Turiaf basically didn't play. The second loss, against Stanford, we got into very, very early foul trouble and stayed in foul trouble. Basically, that is the common denominator."

On next season: "I usually don't talk about that kind of stuff this year. We can worry about that kind of stuff in the spring. We can just take a step back and reflect on the best season of our program. Looking back to '99, most people thought that we would never be able to top that, or when we were sixth in the country with Dickau."

On Nevada's defense of Stepp: "Blake has probably faced that defense 31 times this year. Grab and hold and crowd him and play him physical and get a lot of help. They are a very athletic team. Down the stretch and on this road trip, they have really been defending well."

On the early deficit: "They came out and were pretty much hitting everything. They made a couple of threes and guys who weren't great shooters were stepping out and striking it. The difference in the entire first half was that they were beating us to every loose ball or every 50-50 ball. We only shot 30 percent. We kept letting get to the free throw line. I think they had 19 free throws in the first half and that is way too many. We take away those easy baskets and get them off the line we probably wouldn't be down so much. Bottom line Nevada was really hungry and just beat us to every ball."

Comments on the ebbs and flow of the season: "There were stretches when this team played very, very well. We played well -- very well -- in our conference tournament. It is a little difficult when we had a long stretch between the end of the season and the conference tournament and then between the conference title and the NCAA tournament. And today was Nevada's day."

Nevada Coach Trent Johnson
Opening Statement: "I thought these guys to my right did a heck of a job from start to finish. Going into this game, we hadn't shot the ball well in our last six or seven games and it was just a matter of time. They stepped up against a really good basketball team, but again I felt all along that I've got a pretty good group here."

On protecting against the 'awe' factor: "It's a basketball game.What we talk about as staff and players all the time is respecting the game of basketball. We're just competing against who we're playing. Yes, it's hard at this time of year because so much is magnified by the attention of the games, but it's still a game. These guys just do a really good job of that -- going out, playing, and staying focused -- that's a reflection on them as much as anything."

On Garry Hill-Thomas' defense on Blake Stepp: "All respect due to Gonzaga and Coach Few and Blake Stepp, but these guys that play for me are pretty good players. Garry's been guarding a lot of good players in the WAC Conference. Blake's probably one of the top two or three guys he's guarded this year. They get out there defensively pretty good and again going into the game our biggest concern was we had not shot the basketball very well. I told the kids, 'Sooner or later we're going to break out and when we do we'll be OK.' Defensively we didn't do anything special, we just tried to compete a little longer. I thought I was going to have to put Nick in a casket the way Turiaf and Violette were throwing him around. They've been guarding good players all year."

On the WAC race in preparing them for today's game: "Not to sound like a broken record, but I think our league this year was probably one of the more under-appreciated, under-rated leagues in the country. We had four teams that won 20 games, one that won 19, SMU is the eighth place team in our league. We beat Purdue at Purdue after Purdue had beaten Duke, we beat a Texas Tech team. When we won the West Championship Tournament I thought the kids were relieved to know, and I know I was, that we were getting outside of that league, the travel schedule so on and so forth and have an opportunity to play against somebody else that didn't necessarily know everything we did in terms of if he went right or he went left."

On feeling relieved and/or accomplished: "I'm happy for them, but we have games to play, I'm more concerned right now that they get their rest and they don't run around Seattle and celebrate and have a good time. We get on a plane tomorrow and go back to Reno, we've got guys that have missed a ton of school this month. We've got to get back and go to school -- those are my concerns. When the season's over, there will be plenty of time to sit back and reflect. It's not like we came into this game not thinking we could compete and win. We've played UConn, we beat Kansas, we played Texas Tech -- we've played a tough schedule. We have a lot of respect for the teams in the tournament, a lot of respect for this team and this coach. We feel we can compete with a lot of people."

On Gonzaga's defense: "We felt going in to the game with our posts and with guards on the perimeter we had a quickness advantage and that if we could bring our posts up with their posts. Gonzaga was probably a little tight, and rightfully so, because they are favored to win the whole thing. I've been in that situation as an assistant coach where everytime you step on the floor, someone's out there to get you."

On Nick Fazekas: "Nick from day one has been a guy that's capable of scoring the basketball, he's not intimidated by anybody. Nick thinks he can score on Shaquille O'Neal, now what happens on the other end of the floor is a work in progress. There was a situation this afternoon where I think Turiaf had knocked him down and I thought Nick was about to die. He laughed at me and I said, 'Are you all right?' and he said, 'Yeah,' and I said 'Ok, well can you put a body on him?' and he said, 'Coach, he's stronger than me,' and I said, 'No kidding!' Defensively is where he's made his biggest strides, offensively he's been a good player all along. He's got stuff that you can't coach, he's got great hands, he's got a great feel. He's got some guys around him, like he said earlier, that get the ball to him in the right situation."

Nevada Players

On gaining respect: "Coming into the tournament, we weren't respected nationwide. We were the underdog going into the last game against Michigan State, and we came together as a team and got that victory. So, who is to say that we couldn't come in tonight and get this victory too? We were the underdogs by far tonight against a highly ranked Gonzaga team. My hat's off to Gonzaga, they played well today, but we played better and came out with the 'W.' "

On Blake Stepp: "He's a great shooter, and he has NBA range, so when he came off of picks, we had to hedge, double him, and help. We did a great job on him tonight. Garry Hill-Thomas did an excellent job."

On Gonzaga's inside game: "They weighed a little bit more than us down in the paint, and they did a good job bullying us a little tonight, but in the second half, we got around those guys and made it uncomfortable for them to shoot it."

On Nevada's win: "It is the best thing that has happened to this team in a long time. We're just grateful for this win, and we played so hard. We got a lot of rebounds and got Turiaf in foul trouble, and the game just went our way."

On Blake Stepp: "We concentrated on not letting him get any deep threes, trying to be very physical with him, and just not let him get on a roll. He had an OK game, but we stopped him."

On Todd Okeson: "He came out shooting threes, he played defense when we needed it, and passed the ball well. He got it done."

On Hill-Thomas' defense against Blake Stepp: "Garry has played good defense all year."

On what the team did when Gonzaga cut the lead to under 10: "In the second half they got more confident in their offense and started making some shots. We were pretty excited at halftime, but coach brought us back down to earth and we tried to play as well in the second half."

On what it's like to have things not go your way, as Blake Stepp must have felt: "As a shooter you can't build any confidence if your shot doesn't go in. I don't want to take anything away from Garry because he was following Blake all over the court. Garry did a good job of not letting him get any open looks. He missed some shots in the first half and that carried into the second half.

On Gonzaga's weaknesses: "Their big guys. Like Nick said, on the defensive end they didn't want to foul. Turiaf was in foul trouble and didn't play most of the first half. I think that was a big thing."

On attacking the basket down low: "We planned on attacking down low, coach told us that they don't really want to play defense down there, they just count on going to the offensive end and doing their thing down there. I got a lot of good looks and I think it helped to have all these guys around me because in the zone I really feel that I move around and these guys draw the defense and I'm standing there wide open."

On going one-for-five from the three-point line and his 25-footer in the first half: "Was I really one for five? I just went out and coach gave me the green light to shoot them so I just went out and shot them."

On what the team did to frustrate Gonzaga defensively, especially Blake Stepp: "He's a great player. I just tried to make him work for whatever he could get. He crossed half court and gave up the ball, and I made it as hard as I could for him to get it back. He just missed shots."

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