March 11, 2004
Utah Head Coach Kerry Rupp
My hat's off to San Diego State, its tough to beat anybody three times and I thought they really came out and got after us and did the things that we've struggled with them in the past. I was proud of my guys, I thought we hung in there and did a good job with some great defensive stops down the end. And we did a great job on the boards, I thought the boards were a key for us; as much as they were on the boards in the first half I thought we turned the tables on them and got on the offensive boards in the second half. I just thought it was a gutty effort by our kids, because they came after us very hard and very aggressive and we knew were going to have to take their best punch. I thought the boards were the key for us.
Nick is such a big part, just as Tim (Frost) is. Nick being the captain and I think our young guys really look up to him and are very comfortable with him being on the floor. It was a tribute to our guys to hang in there and buy him some minutes. And when he came back in, it seemed like our guys got some more energy having him back on the court and they really started to believe they can make it happen for themselves.
I think the big thing with this team is that we've had guys that our younger guys have been able to rally around. They see how they react in adverse situations and under pressure. Two new coaches and a new staff and these guys have been great in showing these younger guys that everything was going to be okay and just need to stay focused.
BUTTERFLIES BEFORE THE GAME?
Every game is a big game for me, it seems like I have butterflies before every game. The way I handle it is to make sure we're prepared as best we can possibly be. That's the one thing we've really worked hard on is making sure that myself and the staff have done a good job of scouting and preparing and having a great gameplan. Also having adjustments in order for different things that they could possibly do. Like today, it was very hard to execute offense with as much as they came after us with the traps at different times and the pressure they put on us. Our guys had to really do a good job of making plays for themselves.
San Diego State Head Coach Steve Fisher
On Nick Jacobson
"Jacobson did to us tonight what he has been doing to people throughout his four year career. He is a big time player who makes shots when you have to make shots to win. He did that tonight."
On End of Game
"Unfortunately for San Diego State this was a microcosm of our season. Could have, should have would have but didn't. We had opportunities that we didn't seal the deal on. You can't accept that. I feel badly for Aerick and Ben that they had to end their careers like this but this is a game that maybe we could have or even should have but didn't win. Utah had a lot to do with that down the stretch. When you are four points ahead with three minutes to go you need to find a way to make a play or make a stop, unfortunately we didn't get it done when we had to."
"I thought we did a better job of making them play in a scramble mode and not letting them come down and look and look in to the post all night long. I thought we were more aggressive in how we pressured that created some issues for them. Jacobson was awesome and made some big time baskets."
Utah player Nick Jacobson
On Teammates' performances
"Chaney was huge today in the second half. It seemed like he has been in a funk for the last month or so and just going through some things. But, he really came out today and wanted to make it a point to have a great second half because he knew we needed him and he stepped up big time. He stopped some big shots and got some big boards.
Hawkins did another great job. He's getting better every game. He made some mistakes but he got a big offensive rebound and three-point play for us that turned the tide towards the end of the game.
Markson came in and he didn't get a lot of minutes but he didn't feel sorry for himself. He came in and hit a big layup. Everyone should be proud of themselves with the way we finished the game and feel good about it for a couple more hours."
On foul trouble
"I was definitely frustrated. I don't think any player wants to be on the bench during the most important stretch of the game. It was good for me because I've slowly been trying to trust my teammates more and more and it's difficult because of the age difference between us. I'm used to playing with older guys instead of guys quite a few years younger than me. It helped me a lot to see those guys up their play and know that I'm not on the court and step up. That gives me confidence in them, knowing that I don't have to do everything and that they are more than capable of playing big games. While it's frustrating in the end, it turned into a good thing for me."
Utah player Tim Frost
On SDSU defensive pressure
"The intensity was lot more. They showed glimpses of it last Saturday, but it was really a big focus for them today."
San Diego State player Aerick Sanders
On the season:
" It's unfortunate that our season had to end like this. We were in 98 percent of our games until the last two or three minutes, but we just couldn't get it done."
On the end of his career:
"It's been fulfilling. Unfortunately there will be no March Madness to end my senior year, but I had a lot of good memories here. I'll never second guess myself for being an Aztec."
On fouling out of his final game:
"Watching the last two minutes of your career on the bench is hard. I had faith in my teammates, it's not the first time I've fouled out of a close game. I tried to stay positive and be a coach on the bench."
San Diego State player Chris Walton
On the season:
"Not finding ways to close out games has been the story of our season, unfortunately. I feel terrible for Aerick that he had to go out like this. It was right there for us and we had the opportunity to take it, but we didn't jump on it."
San Diego State player Brandon Heath
On being underdogs today:
"We just had to step up. We knew our backs were against the wall and we knew what we had to do, but we lost and now we have to go home."