Feb. 28, 2013
Louisiana Tech head coach Mike White
On Tech’s domination:
“Shocker. Shocked. You have heard me say it all year that on nights that we make shots to complement our ability to defend, we are pretty good. That happened tonight at a level that had not been done by us all year.”
On whether he had seen Stew Morrill sit down before:
“I have not paid that much attention to him. I have seen him win a lot of games. I know that.”
On the ranking’s effect on the game:
“Maybe it did give us some confidence. Maybe it did, and we talked about that if you remember the other day that I thought there would be a chance that it could deter our focus a little bit. Conversely, I thought it may help us with our confidence level a little bit, and maybe it did. Our bye out of Bracket Busters I think may have helped us a little bit in that we had Central Baptist come in. We did not play Saturday. We were able to give them off Thursday, give off again Sunday, go real light Monday, and I thought we played with more energy and purpose than we have played with in a while. We had a newfound pep to our step, and I thought our mental awareness was off the charts.”
On Brandon Gibson’s performance:
“Utah State is big and strong and physical, and in their lineup, unfortunately they have had to overcome some injuries in a tough way. I hope Spencer Butterfield is okay. He is obviously a really good player that went down tonight. They are having to play a couple bigs at the same time a bunch, and when we play Brandon, who we call a wild card for us with Chris Anderson. Whether they are wild cards or undersized forwards, what have you, they are a tough matchup offensively if they can hold their own on the defensive end. Brandon, against teams like that, seems to find himself open behind the three-point arc more often than he finds himself open against other teams.”
On whether his team played a complete game start to finish:
“Definitely the best half of basketball we have played all year in the first half. I thought our maturity level was pretty good in the second half. I do not think it dropped off a bunch with our energy, and I was proud of the way our kids handled that.”
On the crowd’s impact:
“I thought they were tremendous from the tip. I thought they were there as early as they have been there. A lot of times we will have fans trickle in after the game has started. It seemed like it was a high level of energy from the tip.”
On the interchangeable players off the bench:
“Someone asked the other day what has helped us overachieve or what surprised us the most. You are sitting here 24-3, and you did not expect to be 24-3 at the time, and I am honest about that. We are 25-3 now, and we have been through a crazy two-month run. I did not think we would be sitting here 25-3. I thought we could be near this good defensively. I knew we would be up and down offensively. We are still a relatively young team. The bigger factor to me is the fact that you have a high character group who has accepted playing 14 minutes on Thursday and maybe getting 35 on Saturday depending on how productive they are.”
On J.L. Lewis’ ongoing foot injury:
“He got hurt at Central Baptist and he is getting better and better. It is just a rehab thing and he is trying to get the swelling down with a bruised foot. Kenyon McNeail is playing with the same thing and Brandon Gibson has been playing all season really with a torn meniscus.”
On the approach to Saturday’s game with a possibility to clinch a share of the WAC title:
“That is the exact verbiage we used in the locker room. Our focus ought to be over the next 48 hours as high as it has been all year because we have a chance Saturday to win at least a share of something that has not been done here before.”
On the energy level of his players:
“I think we have had a handful where we have come out defensively with that energy, but rarely do we come out making shots like that with that consistency, and I thought it really helped us in terms of running the lanes and gaining an offensive confidence. After the first couple went down, we were just in a really good attack mode. We had a lot of momentum going and we rode it threw the first 20 minutes. [Alex Hamilton] was tremendous off the bench like he always is. As we talked about earlier this week, the law of averages told us he was going to be good tonight, because he struggled the last couple. That is the bright spot of having 11 guys you can play. He comes off the bench and was terrific in transition. Kenyon McNeail was really good. Brandon (Gibson) came off the bench tonight and was as good as he has been all year. I thought Isaiah Massey and J.L. Lewis gave us quality minutes. Everybody contributed in one way or another.”
On Utah State not utilizing Jarred Shaw in the 2nd half:
“I thought they did. He is a tremendous scorer and he is playing as well as anybody in our league right now. To me they have the best one-two punch with him and Spencer Butterfield, who I am a huge fan of. He is as tough a kid as there is in the WAC, one of the best shooters, one of the best rebounding guards in our league. Those two are a handful and they are complemented by a pretty intricate, disciplined system; a very good team that I definitely do not think we are 20-something points better than. I just thought we played awfully well tonight.”
On the ESPN announcers saying LA Tech is a Sweet Sixteen team:
“I do not know that I disagree with them with the team we saw tonight. I wish we could bottle that and be the same team Saturday and next week. That is what we are striving for, but we all know it is tough to be as consistently good as we were tonight.”
Utah State head coach Stew Morrill
"The game was over early. They established the ground rules by just dominating us. We were never really in the game. It was a thorough butt-kicking. They are playing really well. They are extremely active right now. The defense just causes havoc when they turn up their press. You cannot get much going. They switch everything. They are doing a great job. They got a lot of depth. They looked like a Top 25 team to me tonight."
On Utah State’s depth:
“That did not help, but it would not have mattered if we had 20 guys out there tonight. It was not about that. I would like to have our team, but we have four guys out for the season and may have lost another one and have three starters and all that, but that was not anything to do with this game. We could have had everybody and they just dominated the game. They were alive, active and made good plays. We could not them when they were driving by so many times. It was just a total domination on their part."
“They caused a bunch of turnovers. I think what they do is put it on the officials and to be frank with you, I think they get tired of calling it. I think they do a great job of not fouling and then they are so aggressive and occasionally fouls are overlooked. I am not saying that as a negative. I am saying that as a positive on their part. If you can get away with it, why not do it? They are so active in the game and we turned it over a bunch. We ran out of gas and when you get down like we did, the game was over early. They could have beaten us about as much as they wanted to."
On Spencer Butterfield’s injury:
“I do not. They are taking him to the emergency room. He is in a ton of pain. He has had a hip problem he has been playing through and was going to fix it after the season. I do not think Conner (Garner) is planning on going anywhere. I would have liked to have used his redshirt year if we needed to, but he is planning on being a student at Utah State, so he has told us several times if we need him, do not worry about it and put him in. We had no choice tonight. He was out there playing as a walk on and got some shots."
On whether Tech is worthy of an at large bid to the NCAA Tournament:
“Yeah, they are. That does not mean they will get one. I think our league is a one-bid league just with the way it is viewed and the RPI of our entire league. There were a couple times that we got at large bids in the WAC and I thought we deserved them. We were fortunate enough to get them. A time or two in the Big West we did not get them. They are certainly good enough to. Will they if they do not win the tournament? I would not hang my hat on it. I hope they do though."