Game Talk: Arizona 96, Gonzaga 95

It might be the best basketball game I've ever witnessed. Neither team would give an inch and it was a war. Had there been another second or two on the clock, Gonzaga might have won the classic encounter. Every player was exhausted and releived it was over.

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Coach Olson
"This was the type of game that it's hard for anyone to lose and have to go home after that kind of effort. Like I said yesterday regarding Gonzaga, I think they're every bit as good as any 1 or 2 seed around. They certainly have a huge heart and down the stretch when it seemed like we'd get up a little bit on them, and then all of a sudden big shots and big follow ups. If you didn't care who won, it was certainly a great college basketball game."

On the keys to the win
"From our end of it, five guys in double figures. I think that one of the key stats for us was that in 250 minutes, nine turnovers total and that's been something that has plagued us before but we did a good job of taking care of the ball."

How much foul trouble hinder the team's effort?
"In the first half it hurt us. Ricky was really playing well and he picked up his second (foul) and we felt like we needed his experience in the second half and it took him out of it. We held Channing Fry out until the five minute mark and we felt we had to go with him. There was no sense tryring to save anybody…I thought both of them used good judgement. At that point what we tell them is that if it comes down to a bucket or your fifth foul then someone else is going to have to make that play for you because we don't want you out of there."

On the big plays
"There were so many big plays and big shots. There were a lot of tense moments. When you're on the floor or on the bench you try to keep your head in the game so that you can do what you feel needs to be done. "

On the physical play of the game and the play of Gonzaga center Rony Turiaf
"We've said this before, and I don't think that there's a more physical group inside then what they have, and I thought that Luke did a great job on Turiaf. Limiting the number of shots that he had was key, but there were so many guys who played with unbelievable heart that it's hard to pick out just any one guy. I mean Skinner, when you look at the big shots that he hit from three, it would really be hard to focus on individuals because both teams played so hard and competed so hard and they did that as a team, without concern for their individual numbers."

Channing Frye
On the excitement of playing a double-overtime game in NCAA Tournament play

"I think that it was a very exciting game and I don't think that anyone was real nervous. I don't think that anyone, even on the bench, was nervous and we had confidence in what we did. That had to be one of the funnest, most exciting, most hard fought games that I've ever played in my life. My heart goes out to Gonzaga. That team gave it their all and things just didn't fall at the end."

On playing such a physical game while in foul trouble
"Tonight it was just a battle down there from the tip and I felt like we did the job and they did what they had to do. I just had to be smarter. That fourth (foul) was kind of iffy but things happen like that and you've just got to adjust. But you know me and I've been in foul trouble before so I know how to deal with it."

On Gonzaga guard Blake Stepp
"First of all, we knew he could shoot, but sometimes he would net it from five feet past the three-point line. When someone's hot like that there's very few things that you can do."

On the play of Gonzaga
"Gonzaga's not a team that will beat themselves, it going to take someone to beat them." On what it might feel like to lose such an BR>"If you have to go out, well this is the way to go out."

Andre Iguodala
On the excitement of being a part of the game
"I think in high school I've been in a lot of close games, but not like that caliber. It was pretty fun out there and it was exciting to be out there."

On the scrappiness of Gonzaga
"They're the type of team who's nver going to give up. " On his hitting a big three
"In shoot around I'd been hitting my shot all day, and I've been feeling really comfortable in the gym. I just haven't been getting to many good looks, but Jason got it to me and I was open and I took the shot and I hit it and it felt great. I thought that we had it at that point but they came down and kept fighting and battled back."

Hassan Adams
On the battle with Gonzaga

"They played hard and they gave their heart. Great coach, great team, and they went out there and fought. They went out there and played their game."

Salim Stoudamire
"It just came down to possessions and who was going to dig down and play the toughest defense, and luckily we came out on top. We can blow teams out but we can dig in and win the tough games that go down to the wire. That just shows you what we can do. I'm just excited to play against Notre Dame now."

On guarding Stepps
"Stepp is a good player and it shows. It was tough guarding him because he came off of so many screens with the ball and without the ball, and he kept moving. Big players step up at big times and that's what he did. He's a great player, of course you know he's from Oregon."

On the officials calling it tight on the perimeter
"The PAC-10 is very physical and we're not used to getting calls (against us) on perimeter like that, especially when you can beat a guy to the spot. I just tried to use my quickness and tried to anticipate (Stepp's) moves, but the refs were calling ticky-tack fouls so I had to kind of back out and try to contain as much as possible. That left open shots, but you just have to live with it and adjust as much as possible."

How difficult was it playing 42 minutess?
"Man, playing the whole second half and the two overtimes, (conditioning) helps a great deal."

What were your feeling emotionally in such a close game?
"Highs and lows. One minute you're feeling like you're on top of the world, the next minute you're feeling like crap." On the difficulty of winning a national championship
"This game puts things in perspective that it isn't going to be a cakewalk.

Luke Walton
On the last play of the game
"I didn't even know how much time was left when that ball came off of the rim, and I just grabbed it and heard a horn go and my body just gave out. It was a war and that's as good as a team as I've ever played in my five years of college here. It was an incredible game."

On the feeling of moving one step closer to New Orleans
"This is our last chance and we've worked so hard and put in a lot of time to get another shot at the national championship."

Rick Anderson
"That's the best, biggest game that I've ever played. Everybody was on that court and I could see it in their eyes that every person on that court wanted to win that game. We got a little lucky at the end and we came up victorious and that was one of the greatest games that I've ever played in. Just unbelievable, hard to explain."

Does this kind of game help?
"I think it helps us mentally and physically. I think that our confidence and our experience in big game situations is going to be better now."

On playing so many minutes
"I was running up and down the court with (Tony) Skinner, guarding him and I was like, ‘you getting tired? You've been playing the whole game.' He was like ‘I never get tired.' And I just looked at him like are you kidding me? Then I said, all right, let's go, let's start playing."

Jason Gardner
"It was one of the best games of all time, I definitely think that's an ESPN Classic. Two overtimes, both overtimes the game was close all the way through. I think that it's one of the best coaching jobs, on both part, overall a great game."

On the play of Stepp
"I think that Stepp is one of the best shooters in the country and he showed that tonight. He did a great job of keeping his legs and hitting big shots."

Luke Walton
On the game being a test of nerves

"With the team we have we've played all sorts of games and have been all sorts of places. I think that our team is already at the point where we aren't going to get rattled at the end of games whether it's close or not."

On hitting the shot to tie it at the end of regulation
" I knew that we needed a bucket and they were doing a good job of making the shots hard for us to get, so I got some position down low, J(ason Gardner) got me the ball, and I was just going to go strong to the hole with it, and I just drop stepped and I had a good look and I hit it."

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