Coach Jim Larranaga, Miami – Opening Statement: “I thought Fresno State was able to get the tempo they wanted to start the first half but when Zach Johnson came in the game he really calmed us down. We quit turning the ball over, started to get better shots and then the lead started see-sawing back and forth. We got into some early foul trouble in our frontcourt so it made us smaller and we were able to survive until halftime. In the second half, I thought we played really well and it was a great contest. They (Fresno State) are very good and I thought we played really well. It came down to one possession and one missed shot that turned into an offensive rebound dunk. Zach had himself a great game and deserves a lot of credit for helping us win this.”
On Zach’s performance: “I look at like we have seven starters. I didn’t start Zach at the beginning game of the but I did for the second half and moved Chris Lykes to the wing. Zach is bigger and stronger against their press and can see a bit better over it. He and DJ Vasilijevic handled the pressure very well. We ran a different offensive set and Zach was very good at making the decision of whether to score or dish and he had three big assists, those were important plays. The defense collapsed to stop him from scoring at a high rate but what makes a guy really good is if he can make his teammates better and he did that.”
Guard Zach Johnson, Miami – On game-winning tip in: “I thought Chris (Lykes) had a great look. There was about six or eight seconds left and I knew that our best chance to win, if he missed it, was to get on the offensive board. I took off, the ball just bounced my way and I put it back in.”
On playing for Championship: “It means a lot. A lot of teams don’t get to play for championships throughout the season and to have the opportunity to play in this championship is great for our team and our program and it’s a good feeling.”
Coach Justin Hutson, Fresno State – Opening Statement: “That’s a good team over there. Very well coached. Not a surprise. Coach has been doing it for a long time and I was proud of our guy’s fight throughout the game. There were ups and downs but if we had a little less turnovers, it would have helped us. Twenty turnovers are not going to beat a team like that.”
On foul trouble – “Get them out and get them back in, try to make sure you keep them fresh so they don’t make a mental mistake while they’re tired. They recognize they have four fouls but sometimes when you get tired, fatigue makes us all do silly things. Get them out, get them in, keep reminding them so they don’t pick up the pressure. “
Guard Braxton Huggins, Fresno State – On hot hand: “I guess a little bit. I was just trying to get it going on defense and get some stops. That was the main thing our team was focused on, trying to get some stops to win the game. “
On the end of the game Miami’s missed three-point attempt: “Yeah, I definitely did (think we were going to overtime). That possession wasn’t the one that made us lose the game. Like coach said, throughout the game we had silly turnovers, we had our pick-and-roll issues and our defense wasn’t that good. We have to get back and work on that, watch some film. But the last couple of possessions weren’t the ones that made us lose the game.”
- The two-point game marked the seventh time in Wooden Legacy history that a game was decided by exactly two points… This was the sixth consecutive year that a game has been decided by two points.
- Miami has now won six of its last eight contests that were decided by two points or less… Fresno State on the other hand has now lost four straight games with a one of two-point margin after previously winning 11 in a row.
- Miami is playing in its ninth ESPN event (20-6 record in those, with a record-most four titles).
- Miami has scored at least 78 points in all five games this season… the Hurricanes have now won 66 of their last 69 games when putting up at least 78 points, with two of the losses coming in overtime.
- Miami won the game despite being outshot from the floor (.466 to .439), making fewer 3pt-FGs (seven compared to Fresno State’s nine), being outrebounded 43-29, and not making more than two consecutive shots the entire game.
- Miami has now won three of the last four times it has had a lower FG% than its opponents… Today marked just the seventh win in the past 29 games when being outshot.
- Zach Johnson came off the bench to lead the team in scoring with 24 points, the 13th time he has scored at least 20 points… No Hurricane reserve has had at least 24 points since at least prior to the 2010-11 season.
- Chris Lykes scored 17 points today, with Miami improving to 7-1 when he scores at least 17.
Fresno State (2-2)
- Fresno State is playing in its first ESPN event (1-1 record in those).
- The Fresno State bench contributed just two points today, with the reserves shooting 0-3 FG.
- Nate Grimes pulled down 15 rebounds, just two shy of his career best… This was his sixth career game with 10+ rebounds… His 15 rebounds is tied for sixth most in a Wooden Legacy game, and is the most since 2015 in this event.
- Braxton Huggins scored 28 points today before fouling out… In his career, his teams (New Mexico State and Fresno State) are now 10-1 when he scores 20+ points.
- Deshon Taylor contributed 25 points, reaching double digit scoring for the 48th time in his last 52 games… It also marked the sixth time in his career he has scored at least 25 points.