#2 UNLV 88, #6 Colorado State 72
March 9, 2007
Coach, if you want to just give some comment on the game.
COACH KRUGER: Again, a ballgame that, you know, had different stretches throughout. Some parts where there was a real good pace to it, we had things going defensively, other parts where it seemed like it took forever to finish the last 12, 13 minutes.
A lot of good guys stepping, in making some plays. A lot of guys shooting the ball well obviously, created a bit of a margin there prior to halftime and played with that throughout most of the game.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q: Kevin, you were in a zone there with the three pointers in the first half. Did you know going into this game that you were going to have an opportunity? Did you think they were going to leave you open?
Kevin Kruger: Just, you know, with the way we play as a team leaves a lot of people open. Like we've said kind of from day one, there isn't really one person you can focus on.
I was, you know, open. My teammates were finding me. The ball was just going in tonight.
Q: Kevin, you get a second chance at BYU. They beat you by 27 up there. Have you been looking forward to a shot at them again?
Kevin Kruger: I think so. You know, we really just had to take care of business, you know, yesterday and today. Tomorrow's going to be no different. We're going to go into tomorrow the same way we went into the last two days.
Q: How nice is it to play at home and not to travel? You have a lot of fans here. How will that help you tomorrow against BYU?
COACH KRUGER: You better answer it the way he posed it or he won't like it for his story (smiling). Don't have to travel. I guess that's the answer.
Kevin Kruger: It's nice not to travel. What was the other one?
COACH KRUGER: Got our fans here.
Kevin Kruger: We've got our fans here, that's always nice.
COACH KRUGER: He didn't even try to trick you. He just laid it out there.
Kevin Kruger: And it will help tomorrow (smiling).
COACH KRUGER: There you go (smiling).
Kevin Kruger: It's nice, you know. We sleep in our beds, play in our gym.
Wink Adams: This is my first time playing at home, a conference tournament. To me it feels great. I mean, it doesn't change for me.
I mean, it's just like playing in the regular season, playing at home in front of fans. Everybody else have fans here too. It's a great atmosphere to play in.
Q: Both of you shot well tonight. Do you feel like you will have to shoot as well if not better tomorrow to give yourselves a chance to win?
Kevin Kruger: I think, you know, each game you're going to have to step up a little bit because you're playing a winner from the day before. Tomorrow you're playing the winner from the day before and the day before that.
We're just going to have to play well and stick to the things we do well. I think, you know, it will help us be successful.
Q: Wink, describe what you were feeling when you were matching Kevin knock down his first five threes in the first half?
Wink Adams: I mean, when Kevin's hot, all I can do is get the ball in Kevin's hands to give him an open shoot, try to create advantages to get other shooters open.
I believe in Kev and other people. Kev knocked down two in a row, and there's more to come. I tried to get the ball in his hands as much as I can.
Q: Kevin, you seem kind of modest about the way you were shooting the ball tonight. You said last night you were afraid you might get 0 for tomorrow. I guess you didn't have to worry about that.
Kevin Kruger: It's still a possibility. Tomorrow I might go 0 for again, or 0 for. I'm not going to take anything for granted and stick to the feeling I've had lately. Hopefully it will translate into success tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, we'll let you two go. Thank you.
Kevin Kruger: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for coach.
Q: I want to talk about the foul situation. Colorado State was in the double bonus about seven minutes into the second half. How is the team going to have to improve? Can you talk about how it's going to have to change tomorrow afternoon?
COACH KRUGER: Colorado State, as does BYU, they got those big guys inside, they pound it in there, tough to guard without fouling some. We got them into the bonus way earlier than we would like to, for sure.
But, again, they're big targets. They're hard to guard in there.
Q: Talk about just the game tomorrow. BYU, they're playing very well, but yet Keena Young, one of their best players, struggled the last two games. Are you worried he's due for a big game tomorrow?
COACH KRUGER: They've got a lot of players that are great. They're playing with a lot of confidence. Keena Young is a huge concern all the time. He's a terrific player, big time scorer, in that midrange, low post area especially. A lot of other guys, too, to worry about.
Really like the way they're playing. I think they've been the most confident, most aggressive team over the last well, throughout the conference. That's why they're conference champions.
Love what Coach Rose has done. They've just got a ton of weapons. They play with great energy and play very well together.
Q: Do you recall a point in the season where you said, No matter what happens from this point out, we're a success, or has that point come yet?
COACH KRUGER: We felt good about the progress we've made throughout the year, yet I think our message and reminder to the guys is we've got to focus on getting better.
Regardless of what's happened previously, you know, there's no advantage to not continuing to try to get better each day. Or the attitude of playing to win one more and playing to get better as you do that.
Certainly the guys have done well. A lot of teams in the country can feel like that. I think a lot of those teams also feel like you've got to make progress and there's still better things to come.
Q: Obviously BYU, they like to push the ball up the floor. Are you going to try to control the tempo and maybe slow it down or continue what you've been could go in this tournament?
COACH KRUGER: BYU does a great job pushing the ball. We like to push it. I think BYU is pushing it a little more aggressively than we are. They're doing it great. As always is the case, we'd like to limit theirs and still get ours.
Yet that's a fine line, because we don't want to get caught up into a situation where they're playing like they're most comfortable playing, which obviously is pushing the ball very aggressively.
Q: You guys certainly are not playing tonight like you thought you are already in the tournament. And of course BYU the same way. Can you talk about the matchup, having a one two seed, which is so rarified in conference tournaments?
COACH KRUGER: Based on the standings, based on the play throughout the conference season, you've got the two teams that have played the best during conference play.
BYU, I think they're playing with a ton of confidence. I think our guys are, too.
I think it will be a great game. I think the atmosphere will be terrific. BYU has a lot of fans here. We've got a lot here. Should be really exciting and enjoyable game.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
COACH KRUGER: Thank you.
Coach Layer, general comments on the game.
COACH LAYER: I thought we had seen the best UNLV team last Saturday, but I thought they were even better tonight. There's no way in the world that I would have thought we would even be in the game having witnessed them shoot 15 for 25 from threes.
I'm just proud of our guys for fighting and getting after it and making it a game as late as a couple minutes to play. I would have figured anybody that would have shot 60% from threes would have been up 20, 25. I'm proud of our guys for hanging in there, competing to the last tick of the clock.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q: Jason, what's it like when you're out on the court and a guy is hot like Kruger was, hitting three after three?
Jason Smith: It was a struggle, but Kruger's a really good player. He was really hot tonight. He did a really good job tonight.
Q: Cory, you were going like you knew it could be your last game. Jason, you just look exhausted. How did you find anything left after last night?
Cory Lewis: We just dug deep. We knew as a team we had to come out and play hard because they're a very aggressive team, a very good team. We knew we had to play even with more energy because we was at their house, too.
It was going to be a hard fought game. We knew we had to find energy, some way, somehow. We had to full together as a team and keep battling.
Q: Jason, it seemed like as the game went on, you kept driving inside. Even when you had the open shots, they sometimes weren't falling. Was it just one of those nights?
Jason Smith: It was definitely a struggle for us inside. They also had Anthony. He's a real big presence inside. He affected a lot of our shots. They have a really good team. I think UNLV will do really well in our tournament.
THE MODERATOR: All right, guys, we'll let you two go. Thanks, Cory and Jason.
Questions for Coach Layer.
Q: Can you talk about their guard play.
COACH LAYER: Well, they just shot the lights out. Gee, what are you going to say? I mean, they had, what, four or five guys knock down threes. What are they shooting on the year, 33%? They have just a little bit better than an average game, we may win.
But they shot the lights out. I thought we played much better tonight than we did on Saturday here. I thought we battled. Every possession, every bounce of the ball we fought. They just had it going. I mean, I don't know what you do.
They were 9 for 12 from threes in the first half. 9 of the 12 were contested. They had three open looks. Well, hey, we were doing our job. We were playing pretty well.
You know, their pressure is really, really good. They've got five seniors who have been through the wars in two or three different leagues. They're on their home court. They're should shoot the lights out. Who beats 'em tonight?
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, coach.