Mike Anderson, Gafford preview UTSA

Daniel Gafford
– The main thing we’re trying to do is get the taste of a loss out of our mouth. We’ve had to try to balance practice and finals and we’re doing well with that.
– On Desi Sills: He’s added a lot of energy. He’s our main energy guy. He’s been showing potential the last few days in practice and in games recently. We like that he never backs down. He’s always motivating the team.
– Playing in LR: Half of El Dorado is going to be there, he laughed. Being able to make it out and achieve different things, they want to come out and see what I have to offer. The atmosphere was crazy down there last year. As soon as tipoff hit everyone was ready to watch Razorbacks basketball.
– Down the stretch in the last game, the ball was sticking in guys’ hands. We need to move the ball, cut and that kind of thing, and if it doesn’t happen then we get stagnant.
– On UTSA: We approach this one as any other one. We have to play at a level we haven’t been at before. If we don’t play hard and play well then this Saturday could turn out like last weekend.
– The loss showed us a lot of things. Like the Texas loss, it showed us we have to learn to play with a lead and grind it out for 40 minutes.
– On the defense: Defense has been a main focal point in practice. For stretches, we didn’t guard well, I didn’t protect the basket and they were attacking the rim easily. We have to fix those things.

Mike Anderson
– I’m anxious to see how our guys respond. Finishing up finals this week and practice has been kind of jarred around finals. This is these guys’ first time to go down to Little Rock to the other home site. Looking to see how they’ll respond to the adversity. I’m sure they’re looking forward to it. It’s a different venue but it’s an exciting one. Should be a great atmosphere.

– UTSA has won 3 of their last 4 games, Anderson said. They’ve got some guys that can shoot the ball and put the ball in the hole. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. It’s the next game on the schedule, so it’s a big one.

– Desi was a spark plug and his effort was contagious. He did a good job attacking the rim. He’s used to winning, and that’s one thing I like about him. He does the things you have to do to win. He continues to get better each and every game. Defense is obviously one of his strengths. He’s tough and he can score and get to the basket. He’s getting more and more comfortable. I love him because he talks and he’s a communicator on the floor. There are big, big days ahead for him. When you get to this time of the year, it’s just basketball. Now, we get a chance to work with these guys and see what they bring to the table. This time is good for a guy like Jordan Phillips, too.

– It’s always a chore when you have to balance finals and practice. We were able to get in for practice for about an hour and a half. We have to be consistent. Sometimes the worst thing that can happen to you is success and then you get a pat on the back. We’ll see what happens when we get the grades back, he joked.

– The freshmen are up and down. One guy who I know is capable of more is Gabe. He can play better than he did Saturday.

– On playing in LR: I enjoy it and I always have even back in the day. We are the show in the state, and when we go down there there are going to be people there who haven’t had the chance to see us play. The people down there, they’re so receptive and the hospitality is great. We get to visit the Children’s Hospital, too. Our guys get a bigger kick out of that than the kids there do. It’s kind of neat.

– This is one of those deals that it’s one of the best shows in the South, so if you want to come see it then be at the Verizon Arena on Saturday. When you watch us play in person when we’re playing well, it’s two hours of sheer entertainment. These guys are fun, fast, exciting and sharing the ball. I encourage fans to come out and see them.

– The pat on the back can set you back. We played at their tempo. We always talk about creating havoc but we played a half-court game. We didn’t really get after it. The lesson you learn is you have to come with it each and every game. That’s something I’ve been trying to drill into these guys. If someone isn’t bringing it, then someone else has to. You can’t get complacent.