2008 WEST COAST CONFERENCE MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
March 9, 2008
No. 4 Santa Clara vs. No. 1 Gonzaga
GONZAGA HEAD COACH MARK FEW
That was a hard-earned March tournament game. We had to dig very, very deep to find a way to win that thing. For long stretches of that game Santa Clara played harder than us and just wanted it more. They were beating us to the ball and executing their offense very crisply. When you allow them to do that, they're a very, very skilled basketball team. They run some good sets and they get the right guys the ball in the right places and we were conversely not doing that on the other end. We had way too many turnovers, which we haven't been doing recently, which is why we've been playing so well. We were very fortunate to get out of there with the win. We tip our hats to Santa Clara.
On Santa Clara senior guard Brody Angley:
He's a heck of a competitor. He's a great kid. He's been through a lot and I think he's got a future somewhere and hopefully he'll continue to play. He's a heck of a college player and he was a tough match up for us his entire career.
On the play of Gonzaga junior forward Josh Heytvelt:
I thought Josh played well tonight. I thought he played the best defensive game he's played for us probably in his career and that's tough to do. (Santa Clara center) John Bryant's a load down there. He can get down and score, but then you also have to get out and show up on all those ball screens they run for Brody because he's so crafty with those ball screens. Josh did a great job and he was also able to get us some shots on offense and really give us an offensive lift when we were struggling there.
On the competition level in the WCC Tournament:
We've had battles in this conference every year I've been here. It's been hard fought and I think that might be the national perception (that there is little competition for Gonzaga in the conference) and it just isn't true. We've had some incredibly close games every year and this tournament has always been a dog fight for us. I tried to prepare our guys for that. The teams we're going to be playing have a level of desperation we haven't seen this year and we have to be able to match that or beat that. We couldn't get that done early enough but to these guys' credit, they responded and we were able to get the win.
GONZAGA JUNIOR GUARD JEREMY PARGO
On advancing to the finals:
It's a big sigh of relief. Me and Matt (Bouldin) struggled a little bit tonight and did some things a little out of character. For us to win, we have to play better and do some things to help this team. Fortunately for us, we have some guys on this team that can play well and step up and do some big things down the stretch. Josh (Heytvelt) had a great game tonight. (Abdullahi) Kuso defended well. You always have to find those guys that can step up and do a great job and that's what we did tonight.
SANTA CLARA HEAD COACH Kerry Keating
It's hard for a first year coach to really have the appropriate words to describe the end of the season meeting we just had. The reason why these four guys are up here (Brody Angley, Mitch Henke, Josh Higgins and Okey Mbanugo) is that this is the first senior class that I have had the privilege to coach in our program--and our program is always going to revolve around the seniors. Even thought two of them play a lot of minutes and two of them don't, all of their attitudes are very similar. And there's absolutely no way that our team could have given the effort we gave tonight without the attitudes these four guys had in a transition year. I've been involved with (transition years) before at other schools and it can be very difficult, but these guys made it very easy for me, my staff, and the team. For that I will always be grateful and appreciative and hope that we can have guys in our program that will emulate the personality and the heart and the desire that these four guys have. They're all four gonna graduate. They're all going to be working members of society. Maybe some will be playing basketball, maybe some won't, but they'll always be members of our program and I want to make sure they have an opportunity to say anything they want to.
On the West Coast Conference:
I'm a big proponent of the conference, and I've been adamant about that since I got here. I was adamant about that when I met with the conference office when I first got the job with my athletic director. I was raised in the Big East Conference, and the conference (teams) cared about each other. And I'm not about separating any one team from another. I'm about competition and (I'm) all for the conference. And I know there has been a lot of talk about the coaching changes and the fact that Gonzaga has established itself as the team that has been representing this conference in the postseason, but I hope that throughout this season we proved that we can be one of those teams to be represented in the postseason.
SANTA CLARA SENIOR GUARD Brody Angley
On the last few weeks of playing college basketball:
To be honest with you I can't remember (laughs--post concussion). No, it's been fun. It's tough knowing that at some point it comes to an end, but that's the conference tournament--knowing that you (may have) only one game left and it's no guarantee. But that's what makes this game so much fun. Especially playing with these guys and your teammates and knowing that you can count on them--to just lean on them whenever you need them to make a play. I'm just grateful to have been a part of this program and to have played with these guys.