Friday, November 25, 2016 Post-Game Notes & Quotes – New Mexico 105, CSUN 89

New Mexico vs. CSUN Notes

New Mexico Coach Craig Neal – “It was an interesting game, I thought these two guys right here played really, really well for us. I think Jordan grew up a lot today; he directed our team and did some nice things. I thought Sam was very consistent. Probably one of the best benches in a long, long time. These two guys really did well. I thought it was an all-around good effort, I thought our guys played extremely hard. We have to continue to work on defense but they’re a really, really potent offensive team with their transfers and their athletic ability and how well they shoot it, they’re a tough match-up for us and they’re a tough match up for anybody. All-in-all I think we got to continue to work defensively, which I said, but also rebound. You got to understand that, long jump shots are going to lead to long rebounds. So we’ve got to clean up those two areas but all-in-all we’re happy with our bounce-back win. I thought our guys came out and gave a great effort.”

On the team bouncing back and team’s response to yesterday? – “I think I meant “bounce-back” because we went through this last year. We had a tough loss against Auburn with basically the same group. “Bounce-back” in the sense that last year we came out and played our second game here against Hawaii. I thought today they were really focused. I talked to these guys, I was really worried about how their energy was when they were stretching and warming up and we talked about that. I thought that they did show maturity, I thought they did a nice job in forcing 21 turnovers and we set a record for scoring. But I was really proud how we showed some maturity even when it the lead was cut down. A year ago, not sure they would have been able to hold it. I thought these guys really bonded well and reacted after the time-outs and do what we ask them to do and make big plays. Their execution out of a time-out has been a really, really big improvement.”

On first half play? – “I think Jefferson got into a little bit of foul trouble. We had three-four guys with two fouls. We had to turn to our bench and I think being confident in being able to those guys, they played pretty well. I thought they played a great effort. I think when you can get that kind of play out of those guys off the bench, we will be highly successful. This team has a chance to be really good but we have a long way to go. I’m not saying they’re not good now, I’m just saying I have high expectations for them as their coach for each one of the kids on my team. We got into a little bit of foul trouble, we were a little stagnant, and then we got some energy and made a nice little run there in the first half.”

New Mexico Sam Logwood on the difference between first and second half? – “I think honestly it was just the maturity of our group. We came together and decided we got to buckle down and get some stops, and do whatever it takes to get a win. I feel like that’s what we did and came out with it.”

On bench playing time first half? – “They are a part of our team, they can play just as well as we can. I have faith in everyone on my team. In the middle of the game they were just picking up where we left off, did even better than we did. I feel like that gave us energy when we got back in the game.”

New Mexico Jordan Hunter on difference between this year’s team versus last year’s? – “I think for us this year, through our adversity last year, we showed more maturity today. We’ve been working on that. He’s been preaching to us about maturity. We really came out together, even when they had that little stretch when they put it within two, we kept it together and were able to pull it out.”

CSUN coach Reggie Theus – “I thought our effort today was 100% better in terms of focus and energy. Our bigs did not get in foul trouble early on, which has been one of our biggest problems. It’s one of those games, we had a stretch in the second half where we turned it over 3-4 times in a row and we just could not get past that point. We did a good job on the rebounds which has been a problem for us in this tournament. For us, these games are about battling and giving you a chance. Today we gave ourselves a chance in the game for most of the game. I hate losing but I am encouraged in terms of our effort. This is a great tournament because of the level of play. These are the kind of games that get you ready for conference.”

On today’s defensive strategy? – “I was trying to protect my bigs from foul trouble. This is our sixth game and in our first five games our bigs have been in foul trouble in the first five minutes. I’ve tried to cut down on that today with our defense. The type defense I like to play is very difficult to play now that the rules have changed. It’s difficult to do the things that keep the pace of the game going. I still like to body up the other team’s players as much as they will let you get away with. We are young in all areas of our team, young together, and I think that as we become more cohesive our defense will get better. It’s about energy and the focus and the things you have to have to win in conference, I think we have those things.”

On this season’s schedule? – “We play UCLA, Stanford, Boise St., St. John’s and this tournament. It’s a really tough schedule and the thing that matters most is to compete. The prize is at the end of the season. This is the fight in between. You do not try to win the battle, you want to win the war. That’s the bottom line. Our team needs to go through some adversity so that we can get better. I really believe that these games will help us. It’s difficult for me to coach against these teams because we like to go small. We have guys giving 3-4 inches and 20-30 pounds and it makes it difficult to match up. It’s really about the battle.”

On Northridge’s team chemistry? – “Since I have been here, this is the most vocal group I have had. These guys are extremely hungry. I know Aaron (Parks) plays with a chip on his shoulder all the time. To have a transfer come in from a high-major to a mid-major, it’s all about the mindset and showing him that the chip is real and that there is something to prove.”

CSUN guard Aaron Parks on playing in this tournament? – “It great to play against guys with different talents and different heights. I feel like the more we play against these types of teams and the bigger the opponents are, the more we will improve. Our team and I like to compete and to be able to play against these high level teams allow us to get better and learn from these games.”

On Northridge’s offensive strategy? – “I love the offense because you get the opportunity for guys to show their talents and take guys off the dribble. Our coaches let us do what we do but also what he wants us to do at the same time. I feel like we have a lot of room to be able to work and be able to create different things.”