HOUSTON HEAD COACH Kelvin Sampson
“We got nothing out of Devonta (Pollard) in the first half (at Tulsa). That’s when I decided not to start him and just go to him. He scored two points against Tulsa. As I’ve said many times, we’ve got a very small margin of error on this team. Devonta has to play for us. He did the second half. I ran two plays for him to start the half, and he scored five points right away. We got into a press and put him at the point of the press. We kept turning them over, and we got it going.
We had our best stretch of the year. We outscored them 21-0. We could not play any better at either end. Our press was good, our half-court defense was good, our rebounding was good, our shot selection was good, and our unselfishness was good. Everything was great. So, you go into halftime down 12, and the next thing you know you’re up 11.”
On the free throw shooting down the stretch
“I’ve coached 1,000 games it seems like. The two things we emphasize in practice every day in close games to win them are number one don’t turn it over, and number two make your free throws. We went to the lane four straight times and went 1-for-2. You keep going 1-for-2, and that’s going to catch up with you. You have to make your free throws.
We had a turnover in there, but our defense was great. They scored one basket in overtime. That was it. Defense all night was great. We just kept letting them hang in there. We never could get the three point lead with the ball, because we weren’t cashing in at the free throw line.”
On if he thought about fouling Brandon Goodwin at the end of overtime
“Yeah the guy coming in had made four threes all year: 27 percent. Had that been (Adonys) Henriquez or somebody I would have thought about it. I didn’t know how Jherrod (Stiggers) didn’t foul him on that. Give the kid credit, it’s a hell of a shot. I second guess nothing on that, it’s just a hell of a shot. The one that tied it to put it in overtime: a two isn’t going to hurt you. Only a three. We retreated a little too much. But again, the kid has shot 27 percent. What do you do? He made two hard shots. I don’t know if we should be fouling 27 percent three point shooters when you’re playing good defense. The kid just made two great shots.”