San Diego State coach Steve Fisher shared his thoughts after his team's 70-55 win over Oklahoma in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday.
Q: Thoughts on the game?
Fisher: This was what we hoped to do … be playing on Sunday. Very proud of how we competed. We talked at halftime of making sure we came out and prioritized how we guarded. We have a little bit of an MO where our secondhalf defense doesn't match our first half, and today our second-half defense was superior to our first half, and that's how we won. We found a way to win. The score was 4848, and over the next eight minutes and change, we outscored them 153 because we didn't give them easy baskets, we didn't give them secondchance opportunities, and we took advantage of our opportunities. So that's what a good team does, that's what a veteran team does. We've got veteran players here that are part of the only NCAA Tournament wins we've ever had. So we are hungry to add to it and proud of the fact that we got one tonight.
How would you describe Jamaal (Franklin)'s performance tonight?
Jamaal does what every coach expects but doesn't always get. He gives you maximum effort every second he's out there, and it's not 100 percent what you want, but you're not going to ever fault him for effort. And I think that permeates through the whole team. He is a guy that when you say you can't do this, he works that much harder to prove that he can. And I think that that's the will that he brings. Has allowed him to grow but our team to grow, too.
You talked a lot about Romero Osby yesterday in glowing terms, but his performance tonight, can you give us an idea how difficult it was to stop some of the things he was trying to do?
“Romero Osby? I said before, the tape I watched, if there's a better player in the Big 12, I don't want to have to play that team. He's very, very talented. I read all the stuff that they had in their guide on their team, and reading his comments, you can tell he's quality, not only basketball but a quality person, and you win with that. He's a hard guard, competes very hard, and he's an outstanding player, and he gave us a lot of problems.
You talked about the defense in the last few minutes and how you guys stepped it up on that end. Would you attribute that to sort of the experience of you guys having been in the tournament before or something else?
I think that experience always helps, but effort has to be there. Effort has to be there, and … sometimes it's just a little, little, little thing that if you let up just that much, that hard shot becomes a little bit easier and they make them. I thought our consistency, the fight when we got fatigued — Chase Tapley, I have a rule if you take yourself out, you can put yourself back in. And Chase took himself out in the second half and said I'm ready to go back in, and I didn't put him in for another five minutes, and there was no greater cheerleader on the bench for his team than he was. In a lesser time, a guy would say, come on, but he was caring more about the team. He's a veteran senior, started for us for four years, so I think those kinds of experiences as you grow as a person, as a player, they're always helpful.