TCU-Colorado State Post-Game Quotes

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March 7, 2006

Colorado State
Coach Dale Layer: I thought it was I think both teams played we motion and with big hearts. I thought it was ugly at times. I thought both teams had some jitters. But I thought that the last two minutes of the game, we had big hearts, stopped 'em when we needed to, got big rebounds and made just enough free throws to pull it out. We're typically a really good free throw shooting team. I think we were 73, 74% coming in. It's a different environment, and there's a little more pressure. I think our guys will learn from this and respond well by heading into Thursday. THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Question: Coach, what took Jason so long to get warmed up?

Coach Dale Layer: I think we were a little jittery. I think the whole team was. I think both teams were. You know, Jason never kind of got a rhythm going first half; got in a little foul difficulty. I thought the second half, he was much more aggressive; came out the first play, knocked down a jumper. I thought he was back to his old self. This is a different environment, and this will be a good learning experience for us.

Question: What did TCU do a little bit differently today as opposed to what they did a couple weeks ago when you beat them by about 16?

Coach Dale Layer: I thought that the big difference was Nile Murry just was very, very confident. I thought Freddy did a terrific job on him, yet he made some great shots. Even with Fred and Mike Harrison at times with hands in his face, you know, he's a guy that they rely on. I thought we fouled him a little bit too much. I think he's leading the league in free throw shooting percentage. You can't foul him. If he gets 8 points at the line, that's huge. But he was certainly their key, and I thought we did a really good job on him. But he just made some huge plays and huge shots. Freddy, would you like to follow that up?



Freddy Robinson: Yeah, he was just offensive juggernaut tonight. He was very assertive.

Coach Dale Layer: Do you know how to spell "juggernaut" (smiling)?

Freddy Robinson: (Smiling).

Question: You played San Diego State pretty close, two games, pretty competitive games. What did you do well in those games and what did you not do well in those games?

Coach Dale Layer: We didn't stop, number one, that's Brandon Heath's number, either time. He was a guy who made huge shots. I thought at their place, they hurt us in transition, but we hung in there and battled. But Abukar had a terrific night his first time out. They've got a lot of weapons. I thought in our place, they got a nice little lead there in the second half. I thought we turned up some intensity defensively and kind of clawed back into it. But they're an unbelievably talented team. If Abukar was maybe on anybody else's team, they may have had three first team, all league guys because I think they certainly are deserving. So, they're talented. They're confident, but I think Brandon Heath was the offensive juggernaut. Can I use that one again (smiling)?

Freddy Robinson: Spell "juggernaut."

Coach Dale Layer: He was the guy who made all the clutch shots in both games. When they needed baskets, he delivered. We got to do a better job on him.

Question: What do you have to do?

Coach Dale Layer: I think Freddy is playing much better defensively than he was definitely the first time. Fred has stepped up to the challenge, takes great pride in anchoring our defense. Fred has to be the guy that makes him make and take tough shots. He's going to make some. He's a terrific player, a Player of the Year in the league. But you got to make him make and take tough shots.

Question: Freddy or Michael, what does it mean to you guys to have your season still going?

Michael Harrison: It means a lot. Every game you play to win, and we're out here playing for our two seniors, Andrew Patterson and Michael Morris. We want to keep our season going as long as possible.

Freddy Robinson: I agree (smiling).

Coach Dale Layer: That's a verbal juggernaut (laughter). I thought Mike Harrison responded extremely well the second half, really attacked the basket. When Mike attacks the basket and gets things going in an aggressive manner, he's an unbelievable player. How he was not one of the top three teams all league is baffling to me. But I think he's well deserved that kind of recognition. I think Mike proved to tonight.

Question: At your place, you were able to just shut them down, pull away. Tonight you had the home court advantage practically in terms of fans. Why couldn't you just put them away there with three, four, five minutes left?

Freddy Robinson: Well, like I said earlier, their whole team is really assertive. The guards, the post. Just like us, nobody wants to go home early. Everybody is going to play their hearts out. I think that's one of the reasons that it was such a close game today.

Coach Dale Layer: If I might be permitted to answer. Free throws, we didn't make free throws down the stretch. I know it wasn't directed to me. But, heck, you know, I guess I have the freedom to speak (smiling). Had we made free throws, it would have been a game where my heart didn't jump out of my chest in the last three minutes. We'll make those. We're a good free throw shooting team.

Question: Michael, first half you got in a little foul trouble. I think Jason and some other big men were in that situation. What kept you guys aggressive in the second half to the point where you were able to still have an impact and not be any danger of fouling out?

Michael Harrison: If the first half, when I got in foul trouble, I knew I had to calm down so I wouldn't be out the game for the whole game. The second half came around, I wasn't in foul trouble any more, I know I could assert myself, be aggressive, try to get my team going.

Question: How hard was it in this kind of game obviously it ebbed and flowed as far as which team was the aggressor. How hard was it to make sure you stayed that way?

Michael Harrison: I mean, we've played TCU three time, so we really know each other's teams really well. So we knew it was going to be a hard fought game. We knew it was going to be really tough. Tough to get easy baskets in the inside. We stayed tough, aggressive, knew if we kept going at them, they would fold.

Coach Neil Dougherty: First of all, I want to congratulate Colorado State. I think they played very well, made the plays down the stretch. They needed to win in this game today. Also, just talking to our team in the locker room, it's always tough when you're playing your last game of a season. But I think particularly for me this year, as tough as things were for us, a lot of things were out of our control with injuries and illnesses, just tough luck. I really, really just appreciate the seniors that we had this year and how they just hung in there throughout a very difficult season. As I told them, I'm just a horrible loser. I don't know. Everyone's got their bad things. But they continually brought me back all year long. I think, again, tonight, it was good in terms of a measuring stick, how hard a team that has only won six games is willing to play. I'm just really kind of going to miss four kids that played very hard all year with little success in terms of wins and losses. It was a joy coaching them. I'll just answer any questions you have about the game, though.

Question: This is the kind of game that you've guys had all season, being close there at the end, and have the chance, and just weren't able to get it there at the end.

Coach Neil Dougherty: I mean, golly, I can't even think of how many games we had that looked just like this one. The majority of the whole season has been that way. We have had goofy things happen to us all year. And, again, for example, the bounce of a ball and how it's gone. Like I said, it's tough because I want to explain this the right way. At a key possession in the game, and I can't remember what the time was, but I do remember it was tied score, we have a ball bounce off of our head and Colorado State is able to grab it and put it in to go up by two and go ahead for a lead late in the game. When that happened, I was just looking out there and I just thought, "Wow, we just found another way to give up a lead." We've had some weird things happen all year long, but that was just another strange one. I don't know if I've seen that happen in a game at that juncture where a rebound goes off of a head into the hands of another guy and he lays it in.

Question: Could you also talk about how Nile just played there in the second half. Seemed at times he was going to be able to take it over.

Coach Neil Dougherty: Well, I think one of the things that we were trying to do is just take advantage of Nile's ability to go get a shot. Battling foul trouble most of the game, without Chudi being available for us, a lot of times, offensively, we had severe limitations of where to go with the ball. I think Nile showed once again, with everyone in the whole building knowing where the ball was going to go a lot of times, was able to make some plays for us. He made some big shots. But, more importantly, he was able to get the ball to the basket quite often. We were trying to I thought a couple other times, you know, maybe he deserved to get a foul and another trip to the free throw line, but some people saw differently than that, so we didn't get that accomplished. We were just trying to keep the ball in his hands, two things: because either he was going to score or find somewhere and get fouled and go to the free throw line. I believe he was eight for eight from the free throw line again tonight. That's just our best chance to win down the stretch of a game.

Question: Nile, can you talk about the difference between this game and previous games against Colorado State? It seemed like you were getting better shots and able to score tonight.

Nile Murry: I mean, coming into the game, I just knew I had to be aggressive. I mean, both teams had a lot to lose because neither one of us wanted to lose or this be our last game. Having that on your shoulders, you know, you're going to come out and play to the best of your abilities and try and do everything that you can.

Question: Coach talked about how you guys hung in there. Why is it that you were continually able to hang in there?

Nile Murry: We just have a coach that never lets us quit. Once you have players that buy into that and continue to play hard, it doesn't matter what the score is, you're going to continue to play hard.

Judson Stubbs: Basically the same thing what Nile said. Every day in practice, we kept working hard. Coach kept getting on us, wanting us to keep going hard even though we had a rough season this year. Basically we just did the same thing in each and every game: you know, just went down and played our best.

Question: You guys did a nice job on Jason Smith for seemed like about 38 minutes. Talk about what you did to him during the game and also about the way you finished.

Judson Stubbs: We knew we had to try and contain him, you know, try to limit his touches, which was going to help us to win the game. Chudi being out, most of the guys were trying to pick up the slack coming off the bench. That was basically what we were trying to do.

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