Saint Mary’s guard, Emmett Naar
Q: How do you think you guys played?
Naar: “I thought we came out good -- we had a lot of energy. And defensively I thought we did a great job. They have some great players on their team. 12 and 32 are really good scorers, so Calvin and Joe did a really good job on those guys. When you hold a team to below 40 percent you have a good chance of winning, so we were pretty happy with that.”
Q: How do you feel about the progress of your defense?
Naar: “We just try everyday to get better. In particular, guys like Calvin. He’s made big jumps this year compared to last year, just individually. Obviously Joe and Dane are outstanding defenders -- Jock has come a long way, too. And then as a team, it’s something we practice everyday. If we can just improve each day, hopefully by the end of the season we’ll be pretty good.”
Q: I’m guessing you don’t see zones very often?
Saint Mary’s Forward, Evan Fitzner
Q: How important is it to establish intensity early on?
Fitzner: “It’s huge. As a starter, that’s what you’re supposed to do, you’re supposed to bring energy right away and just take it to the other team, try to set what's going to happen for the rest of the game. So it’s big.”
Q: How do you evaluate your defensive improvement?
Fitzner: “I think we’ve improved a lot there, but we still have a long way to go. We’re kind of a group of guys that know how to score. But we’ve had to learn how to defend, especially like me, Calvin [and] Jock -- we’ve all come a long way there. We just have to keep improving in that area. It’s a big part of what makes us good.”
Q: They had some good scorers on their team, how much confidence does shutting them down give you?
Fitzner: “It’s a confidence booster. They definitely have some good players. So good job by us defensively, we just have to build on it.”
Q: How fun is it to watch Jock finish?
Fitzner: “It’s big time. He’s come a long way. We came in here together, so it’s awesome, seeing his progression over the last couple years. Now he’s really been playing well, scoring well, defending guys, getting rebounds -- it’s been a lot of fun to watch. It’s big for our team whenever he shoots a high percentage and having that threat of throwing it into the post for him and watching him go to work.”
Q: Did that Texas-Arlington game spark anything for you guys?
Fitzner: “It always hurts to lose like that. We didn’t really have great energy that game. That was kind of the take away. We can’t come out flat like that, like we did in that game, we just got to be ready to go. So it’s kind of helped us in the last two games. We just have to build on it.”
Saint Mary’s Head Coach, Randy Bennett
Bennett: “I think we’re making a little progress. I don’t know if I’ll ever be totally pleased on it. I just know our number last year, we held teams to 40 percent, and we’re not there. There’s no reason why we can’t be there. Dane being out on the floor helps that. I think we’re getting better. I think in the last couple games, we’ve been able to play our bench and get those guys some reps, and try to be as good defensively as the first six or seven guys are. Sometimes when we sub we dip down defensively. That can’t happen”
Q: What’d you think of the way you guys moved the ball?
Bennett: “I thought we were really good there. I don’t think we shot the ball great from three -- the numbers say we didn’t. I think somewhere in those last three or four minutes.
“There was a lot minutes in that game where it was fun to watch us play because the ball just moved well. They went zone and that kind of affected us a little bit, but in man we were good. We’re getting better. We didn’t turn the ball over. We had seven turnovers and that’s where we try to keep it.”
Q: What’d you think of Joe’s floor game?
Q: Is that good for you to see the zone?
Bennett: “Yes, it is. That’s a great question. Because we hardly ever see it. But we’re going to see it in times, people are going to play that against us. We practice it all the time, but we need to see it in games so it doesn't catch us off guard.”