Quotes - New Mexico

SAN JOSE, Calif. - New Mexico Head Coach Steve Alford and his players were extremely complimentary of Washington and how they played Saturday night during the Huskies 82-64 win in their NCAA Tournament second-round matchup at the HP Pavilion of San Jose.

New Mexico players Dairese Gary and Roman Martinez

Q. Ro, the way things started going there midway through the first half, was there a feel like that at any other game that you guys had, or did these guys kinda surprise you and seem like they were playing at a different level than teams you've played so far?

ROMAN MARTINEZ: Well they got out in transition and we had no answer on the offensive end and they kept on scoring. You know, we couldn't respond in any way defensively, offensively and we weren't efficient on offense. So just one after another. A lot of credit to them, good team, like Coach said, but defensively we just didn't come to play tonight.

Q. Dairese, the last time the guys were down 12 was against Creighton at home. Did not being necessarily down by that many points in a lot of situations impact your guys' inability to come back in the second half?

DAIRESE GARY: Like Coach said, they're a good team. They kept comin' at us, but we've been down before, we've been down a lot this season, you know, we always found a way to win. Tonight we didn't have that answer. Their transition killed us pretty much, they got out fast and layups after layups, and if you don't get stops you're not going to win ask that's what happened.

Q. On UW pushing the ball at UNM:

DAIRESE GARY: We pushed the ball at them, too. It's just they had more easy shots than us. They went to the basket hard. I mean, if they have more opportunities to score than us, like I said they had more easy shots.

Q. Ro, probably five minutes that you were back here getting the stitches during the game. How long did that feel to you? Just talk about that injury. I don't think anyone doubted that you would come back but talk about that.

ROMAN MARTINEZ: I got elbowed in the eye and went out and tried to get back as fast as I could, and it felt like a long time. I was asking what was the score if we were coming back any, but I wanted to get out on the floor again. It was my last game, and I wanted to try and make a difference at the end and they just were too much.

Q. Ro, Quincy Pondexter said you guys looked tired in the first half and they got up on you so much. Was that the case?

ROMAN MARTINEZ: No, I don't think that's the case. I think like Dairese said, they got a lot more easy buckets. We couldn't get a defensive rebound and they were more physical throughout the game, and I think they pounded the glass tough and a lot of credit to Washington. Good team, they played very well.
New Mexico Head Coach Steve Alford:
COACH ALFORD: Well, an outstanding basketball team that we just played and got beat by. We've played 35 games this year and I think our team would agree that that's the best team that's played against us in any given night. We didn't do some things well tonight, but I thought Washington was terrific.

They're extremely fast, they put a lot of heat on you defensively, it's a well-balanced team with a deep bench, and they took advantage of some of our lack of experience and you've got to give them credit because I thought they were an outstanding basketball team.

Q. Steve you were doing a lot of different tinkering and trying to figure out things in the first half. When does it start getting to the point where you're like, wow, nothing is going right?

COACH ALFORD: Well, it's just a really good basketball team that's playing really well. They've won 9 in a row in the Pac-10 and in the National Tournament now, so Lorenzo has them playing at a very high level. They're very deep. They're extremely fast.

If you compare 'em to our league they got the size and athleticism of San Diego State and they play the tile of BYU, and that's scary and that's what we ran into today, a combination of San Diego State and BYU wrapped together. That's hard to complete against.

With them playing at the level we're playing we're going to have to make a lot of shots and we didn't shoot the ball well. I think Washington's defense is getting better and better from the tapes I've watched. I think they're playing at a high level at both ends, and I've said it all year long, sometimes -- I thought our guys played hard and sometimes you you've got to take your hat off and shake the opponents' hand and say "job well done" and that's tonight.

There is a Final Four caliber team and the tough part is they're in a difficult region. Romar has them playing well, we wish them the best of luck and very, very pleased with our season.

Q. I know it's tough for everybody, but you've got to have a special feeling right now for Ro and going out like that.

COACH ALFORD: I think sometimes we get hung up in the moment and we forget what the NCAA and the basketball deal is all about. I think it should always be about the student first and the entire package of a student athlete and that's what Roman Martinez is, he's an academic All-American. He's going to graduate with honors at our institution. He's done everything we've asked of him and more in the community. He has represented our program in every way, shape and form, at the absolute classiest level you could ever ask for a young man to do. He won 91 basketball games in four years.

So there are a lot of guys that go through their career and when it's over with they can say they were academic All-Americans, get their degree, do the things in the community that he's been asked to do, have the pressure being the lone senior and when it's all said ask done, win two Conference Championships, plays in postseason three years and win 91 basketball games. That's a brilliant career, and we are so happy we had the opportunity to be with him for three.

Q. On Martinez getting hurt and getting stitches:

COACH ALFORD: That's Ro. We wish it wouldn't have happened. We don't want anybody to get hurt, but seeing his uniform at one of those time-outs, that's the way he plays, and he's been a tremendous example for our young players and hopefully they can continue to look at him and feed upon his leadership just as Ro has done that with guys that have come before him.

Q. Lorenzo called Dairese a bull for the way he got into the lane. How much better can he get coming back next year?

COACH ALFORD: I think as his jump shot continues to show consistency. He's got to be one of the best in the country. He's proven that. We won 30 basketball games and there are only four teams that beat us this year. We beat six ranked teams. We've done a lot. We've won many games and now on the national stage he proves himself as well.

He'll go into the senior year with the opportunity to be the winningest player in low bow basketball history) lobo) he's going to go into his senior year maybe win 3 championships. He won 2. He has a chance to be in postseason every year, and I think he goes into his senior year being the best guard in our league if not one of the best in the country. I think he's done those type of things here in the last month to warrant that.

Q. Coach, Darington's wrist, do you think it affected his play today?

COACH ALFORD: I'm not for sure. You'd have to ask him that. I don't think -- he had some swelling in it. It's kind of like a sprained ankle, you don't have a fracture in a sprained ankle, but you get swelling and soreness. We took x-rays, but it was swollen and sore. I'm sure it's cumbersome and it's something that I appreciate his efforts tonight of just giving it a shot and doing everything he could and working as hard as he could.

Our team has done that all year long, and I'm appreciative of the efforts these kids have given consistently all year.

Q. I know the hype around Darington has been building up around him the last few weeks. Do you think he's coming back?

COACH ALFORD: I have no idea. The game ended 20 minutes a what players are doing from this point on we sit and evaluate just as we sit and evaluate ourselves as a staff, and we will do that in the next coming days and moments. So we haven't given that much thought.
Additional Quotes:
Darington Hobson

On his wrist - "It's sore, it's throbbing. But I did the best I could do, no excuses."

On wanting to run - "I said yesterday it was going to be an up-and-down game and we just took some quick shots. On made baskets we didn't get back and get matched up quick enough. They just did a good job of getting out and running."

On playing it, as opposed to scouting it - "They are just like UNLV or BYU, the way they get out and run. There was no difference. We just didn't do a good job of getting back and matching up."

On not having lost in a long time - "It hurts, especially because it's Roman's last year, last game. We just wish we could have sent him out a little better. But when you look back at everything we accomplished, we had a great season."

On struggling in transition defense - "We couldn't get matched up fast enough in their transition game, and it hurt us."

On trying to help his team out with anything he could - "I just tried to defend and make plays and just rebound. But tonight, nothing was good enough. Tonight they were the better team."


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