PWL QUOTES – Vanderbilt 67, Fresno State 59

Vanderbilt Coach Jerry Stackhouse

“This was a really gutsy win from our group. We were down some bodies, we were down a starter in [F] Quentin Millora-Brown who had the flu. Another player, [G] Noah Shelby had the flu. [G] Ezra Manjon just battled. He wasn’t healthy tonight, he wasn’t himself, he hasn’t been himself the last couple of days but he gave us everything he had. [G] Jordan Wright hurt his back last night but he was able to gut it through. But the guys that were out there, [G] Tyrin [Lawrence], [C] Liam [Robbins], [F} Myles Stute, they played like veteran players. They’re guys that know what we’re doing and they got the win for us tonight. I’m really proud of our group, proud of how we were able to just weather the storm. It wasn’t a perfect game, it was a little bit of an ugly game, but we’d rather win ugly than lose pretty any night. I’m proud of our guys.”

(On holding off Fresno State in the second half) The guys just battled, I think that was it. It was all the ebbs and flows in this game. We got up a little bit, they got up a little bit, we got back, we got up a little bit. Those guys [Fresno State] were a desperate team. There’s a lot of pride in that group. That was a 23-win team from last year and they just got off to a slow start this year. Before it’s all said and done, I think you’re going to hear a lot from Fresno State. They have guys that can really score the basketball, they take pride in what they do on the defensive end, and they’re really in the gaps, they’re scrappy, and they made everything tough for us. This is a big win for us. I thought Liam [Robbins] came in and really protected the rim for us. He had eight blocks and he probably affected five or six more around the rim. If we don’t have that type of protection, they have the guys that can convert around the rim and can play above the rim. We were fortunate that he played at a high level tonight and that a number of our guys played at a high level.”

(On Jr. F Myles Stute) – “Myles has been consistent for us. Myles has been really steady all year. He’s a guy that we try to get as many good looks as we can, especially big looks when we’re down and just need a bucket. He’s a guy that we try to draw something up for to give him a good look. He’s super confident with his shot, he’s gotten better putting the ball on the floor. I think if he continues to showcase that along with his shooting ability, he’s going to have a real opportunity to display that at the next level. He’s just a great team guy. He’s been rebounding the ball for us. He’s probably been our most consistent player so far this year. We’ve had some ups and downs and haven’t played as well as we would have liked to, but we’re in a good spot. We know that we’re building, we know that we’re developing. I’m proud of him, proud of Tyrin [Lawrence] and Jordan [Wright]. Those guys are giving us the leadership that we need and that’s what we’re looking for, especially with our younger guys. We have a lot of freshmen that we have high hopes for, but they have good examples in front of them with those guys. Guys like Ezra [Manjon] who’s an unbelievable person, not just a player. These last two games haven’t been a real indicator of who he is and what he’s capable of doing because he’s been under the weather. But besides that, he’s just a beautiful person. I think all of our guys kind of gravitate to him and what he’s about. He’s a faith based guy like I am – I’m a preacher’s kid. Even though I say some words sometimes you might not think that, but we do believe in a higher power that’s protecting us and hopefully he has big plans for us to do something special this year.”

(On his takeaways from the tournament) – “It was really good. That Saint Mary’s team is a really good team. I was telling our guys when we watched the film today that they do some things that we aspire to do. I think he [Saint Mary’s Head Coach Randy Bennett] does a great job. That guy could coach anywhere. I know he’s probably found a home at Saint Mary’s but he’s as good as any coach I’ve faced. When he gets those guys to play and pay attention to detail, that’s what we preach all the time. We have another level to go to get to where they are. With that said, due to some kind of self-inflicted wounds, we weren’t able to get that game last night. Because we’re a really good team ourselves and I think that we will continue to grow, this was a big step for us tonight. To be able to win this game, bounce back and not have a hangover. It would have been easy to have a hangover from last night because we were disappointed. We sat in the film session and saw all the things that we know how to do right that we did wrong, and you can have a hangover from that. But I thought our guys came out and responded and gave us everything they had, being a little undermanned tonight.

Fresno State Coach Justin Hutson

“Great tournament. Happy to be here. Always well run. Wouldn’t expect anything less from the Wooden Legacy. I think this is maybe my third or fourth time being here with multiple schools. Really enjoyed it besides the two results. There were good teams here, we lost to another good one tonight. To play an SEC team on ESPN is an honor. We didn’t come through down the stretch. Too many turnovers down the stretch but I’m proud of my guys and the way they responded.”

(On coming back from down 10 in the second half) – “You always start with your attitude and your mentality. Once you go there, it’s not enough sometimes. I think we went zone and that helped us a little bit. We went big and we went zone and they missed some shots. Then the guy next to me (G Jemarl Baker) made some shots and got us back into it.”

(On the takeaways from the Paycom Wooden Legacy) – “We’ve been injured, so we’re just happy that we’re coming out of here relatively healthy and able to play ourselves into shape. There were some good things that we saw that we hope we can bank on night in and night out. Then there are a lot of things that we can work on and we can go back and get to work and get better.”

(On the turnovers) – “The ones we did have were unforced, panicky, maybe it was fatigue, and those have to stop. In any sport, if you’re going to turn the ball over, you’re going to lose. That’s just how it works. You can do a lot of good things in football, but if you have fumbles and interceptions it’s not going to work. Our guys are going to have to get better at taking care of the ball.”

(On if defenses are causing the low 3-point shooting percentage) –  “Yeah, I would believe so. I thought we were inept against the zone last night (against Washington). We have a lot of good shooters and we couldn’t find them. We didn’t make a lot of decisions. I didn’t like the shots that we got last night. I thought if the ball would have moved and we just saw the floor a little better, we could have gotten better shots, but we didn’t. Tonight it was a dogfight. It was tough to get a shot on either end of the floor. They’re big, they’re strong, they’re well coached. You’d like to say we missed shots but you always got to give credit to the other team.”

Fresno State Guard Jemarl Baker

(On the progress the team made in this tournament) – “We’re just out here fighting, man. We’re here to fight and coach has been trying to instill in us to just keep being tough and we have to continue to get tougher. I think we’re playing better. We’re playing better, we’re fighting and we just have to continue to get better. Then, as we continue to progress, it’ll start to turn into wins.”