The following are quotes from Utah State men’s basketball coach Stew Morrill prior to the New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech games. On Senior Night:”Senior night as well as it turned out being, is a good thing to have done and behind us to be completely honest with you. You always want it to go well and you have that concern that it might not go the way you want it to and I have been involved when it hasn’t. There were just a lot of things going on with all six of those guys and their families, I had a player reunion I had to speak at, and we had Idaho coming in, and we were all looking to pay them back. It was one of those days that make you go whew. I am glad that it turned out right for us and I am glad it is done. What a great tribute to our seniors, I thought it was fabulous and I know the kids’ parents all felt good about it. Of coarse the game topped it all off, we were able to play well and get back at Idaho a little bit with the win. It’s time to move on and get ourselves ready for this week.” Looking Ahead To This Week:”Wednesday will be upon us in a hurry. It’s always a little different when you play on Wednesday and you have the travel aspect involved. It is all for TV, and like I have said many times, we will do whatever we need to for TV. We were in (Sunday) trying to get some preparation and practice to get us ready for the week and ready for the travel and everything that goes into it.” On New Mexico State:”New Mexico State is undefeated at home this season, in conference play, and they get really juiced up when they play us. The fact that we have won the regular season, some of the past history we have with them, and the fact that they beat us in the tournament last season, I am sure they will be ready to go.” On Louisiana Tech:”I think that the Louisiana Tech situation and can’t help but think that it’s a lot for them seeing as they have been eliminated from the tournament so this will be their last game. You just never know what that might mean to their guys. It’s obvious that they will be working hard to try and knock us off. I think we all realize that there is still a lot to play for, anytime that you go out and play a game you should always play to win. There are all kinds of potential, I call it potential because I have been down this road before, for post-season ramifications getting involved in these late game of our season.” On Potential Postseason Bids:”I have learned years ago that you can’t always believe what the experts say about your team because everything can quickly change with just one loss. The very best thing that we can do is to try and keep winning, obviously. Hopefully we understand that and we are excited about where we are at and what we need to do. As a team, we have tried to have fun with it and making them feel good about what they have accomplished, and yet still be excited about what they can still accomplish. We keep talking about those things in a positive manner and we will continue to do so.” More On New Mexico State:”The matchup with New Mexico State is the same old problems that we always have when we face them. They are big, they are quick and they cause all kinds of problems for us. They always seem to play us man-to-man and they get into us, and block shots, and overplay on defense. The 59-49 score we had here is a good indication of what I am trying to say. As a team we all have to be ready for what we are in for. The crowd is another thing to deal with.” On New Mexico State’s Personnel:”That New Mexico team is more than just one guy, that’s for sure, but (Troy) Gillenwater is the ring leader that’s for sure. Their building is tough to play in but it’s not like coming here is a picnic, the guys that we have under the far basket in the (Dee Glen Smith) Spectrum are treat for sure. Playing in a hostile environment is all part of the experience and we try to teach our guys not to let them get into their heads and just go play. Every game brings in something new when you throw in travel and closing out the conference season on the road. There is no doubt that every team would like to end the season on their home court before the conference tournament.” On The Utah State vs. New Mexico State Rivalry:”They get geared up to play us, there is just no question about that. That isn’t something new to this team though. We have won the conference several years in a row now and we have come to expect everyone’s best shot in conference play. Add on top of all of that the fact that we are ranked No. 21 and we have a 13-1 league record, teams in the conference are going to get geared up to play you. We have had a target on our back all year and to me that’s what makes this season an unbelievable accomplishment for these guys to find a way to win the league. Because it is four in a row it doesn’t have the same significance to some but to me it adds to the significance when you are picked to win the league and everyone is gunning for you every night. We take teams best shots night in and night out.” On WAC Tournament Seeding And This Week’s Games:”I am very glad because that means we won the league and that we aren’t involved in that scramble for second or third; also with the new format of the tournament it really helps our team coming off a long road trip and not having to play until Friday in the tournament. We will get back and have a chance to get rested a little bit before tournament play begins. We are also very fortunate to be chartering this trip, which helps along those lines. Hopefully that will give us a chance after this road trip is over to get rested and ready for the fun down in Vegas.” On This Week’s Two-Game Road Trip:”I hope they look at it as a chance for some payback but I am not sure that they will sense we have already beat both of these team, granted it was at home when we beat them. It will be brought up that they thumped us last year. You have to be ready as a team and know what you are in for. Sometimes the payback for our seniors came when we played them the first time, so I’m not really sure as to what effect that will have on these games. There is always a lot that goes into games and some of it has impact on the guys and some of it just doesn’t. We always sit down before a game and talk about something before we watch film and some of it is pretty humorous and fun stuff. Some times it serves as motivation when talk and other times is just humorous. It’s too hard to be serious every single day in a five month season.” On Utah State Being Able To Regroup After Last Weekend:”That team has been tremendous when it comes to focusing in and getting ready to play. Like I have been saying, it is a quick turnaround coming off of a very emotional event, plus playing a team that hasn’t lost in conference at home this season. There are plenty of sub-plots to this game with New Mexico State and how we handle all of that. When I was playing at Colorado State and we would play BYU and every year it seemed like they were always bigger, stronger and quicker at home. That couldn’t always be the case, but it sure seemed like it, compared to when we played them in our place. I think that New Mexico State is similar to that because when you get in their building they are moving, and playing hard, and you add to that their size, and it becomes a tough challenge. They make it hard on you to run offense and they throw a lot of different things at you, they press you and do a number of things. It has been a while sense we were able to win down there.” On Brockeith Pane:”Brockeith is getting more experienced in our system and at our level of play. That happens a lot with talented junior college guys, they always get better as the season goes on. Junior college kids get even better from their junior to senior year. I think that’s what happening with Brock right now. He didn’t have a great game the first time we met New Mexico State, but we were able to get up 15 in the second half, and it wasn’t like his performance dictated the outcome of the game. We were in decent shape because they couldn’t score either, and if we had the same game at their place that would be fine. That would mean that it was an ugly game and that they wouldn’t be flying up and down the court scoring a hundred on us. I remember after that game saying, ‘it’s a win,’ and we will take them anyway we can get them.” On The Offensive Balance Of This Year’s Team:”When you have a team that depends on balance, you can’t come out and have a game like we did at Idaho where everyone had a bad game. We can accommodate one or two guys having a rough night, because we depend on eight or nine guys, but we cannot have four or five guys having off nights. Obviously it always helps when we have several guys have big nights. Brockeith and Tai (Wesley) both stepped up and had 22 point games at Saint Mary’s and then again against Idaho. When we had Jaycee Carroll we had to have him score 25 a night just to give us a chance at a win. When you have this balance you can accommodate guys having off nights when your team doesn’t depend on a big scorer. We are dependent on Tai in a lot of ways because he does so many things and we are not the same basketball team when he isn’t on the floor.” On Troy Gillenwater:”Gillenwater is pretty dang good, if you look at his stats you see that he does NBA type things when he is on the floor. You think you have him covered and realize that you don’t when he shoots by you because he has so much skill and size. There are a time on the bench when he does something we look at one another a say, well there isn’t much we could’ve done about that. That’s how good he is. There are a number of guys in our league that have that same kind of ability.” On Tai Wesley Doing A Better Job Of Not Getting In Foul Trouble:”Tai has been doing a better job recently of staying on the floor and staying out of foul trouble. There were a number of games earlier this season that it was a problem and a concerned. This is going to sound like I’m blaming officials but I am not, when you go on the road you get in foul trouble more, it’s just a fact. We try to do some things where we can combat it a little bit. We really try some different looks that will not get our guys into foul trouble.”
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