Houston 76, UCF 71

Jan. 8, 2011

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HEAD COACH James Dickey
Opening Statement
“Let me first congratulate Donnie Jones and their team on a great start to the season. They’re a great team and deserving of their ranking. They play with great confidence, are well coached, share the ball, get to the free throw line – they do a bunch of things that lets them win games, and they will win a bunch this year. I’ve known Donnie for a long time and he does a really good job.”

“Having said that, I wanted our players to expect to win even though UCF was 14-0 and ranked heading into the game today. I want to protect our home court, and this is a special place to play. It’s got a lot of tradition and history.”

“Kirk got us off to a terrific start, and some other guys played well too. We shared the ball and did a lot of good things in the first half to get the lead. Our defense was very good.”

“We gave up too many points in the second half. We knew they were very good and would make a run, but we need to limit that better. We were in foul trouble a little bit, so we had to go with a lot of different combinations. Another thing is we were outrebounded and gave up too many offensive boards. We need to get to the free throw line more than the other team. We also need to defend without fouling. So we still have a couple things we still need to work on.”

“What I’m most proud of tonight was when UCF made their run, our guys really responded and pushed the lead back to 11 points. We made it too exciting at the end, especially with the inbounds play. We had plenty of timeouts and didn’t need to make a risky entry pass. But we hit some big free throws, and I was happy about that. I’m happy with the win, but we need to back to work, correct some things and get ready to play on the road.”

On the opening minutes of play in the first and second half
“It’s always important; we always talk about the critical time periods of the game like the opening few minutes. It always helps when you can hit some shots. When you get up by that many points, it’s a psychological effect to get up by 20. We couldn’t get there, but we did limit them to only 21 points which is a big thing.”

“We talked about the start of the second half, and we knew they’d come out and respond, but I was happy our guys responded.”

On the defense 
"Good teams are going to give you your best shot, and you have to respond and be as tough or tougher. At Southern Miss, we played tentative, offensively and defensively. We still have to get better in the second half, but a big thing for us is we fouled way too much."

On Alandise Harris
“I knew he was going to shoot that 3-pointer. I just know him well enough to know when he’s going to pull the trigger. You can’t dare him like that.”

“Alandise Harris played well for a freshman. We tried isolating him when the shot clock was winding down, and he drove the ball extremely hard and hit some big free throws.”

“We told Harris that he’s a tough matchup since he’s big and strong and he has the quickness and ability to drive the ball. He was getting to the glass and getting free throws. UCF made a nice adjustment and put a bigger guy on him, but he’s able to take a lot of guys off the dribble. And a big thing for him tonight was he wanted the ball.”

On getting nervous in the second half when UCF made a run
“We didn’t get nervous, but I wanted that clock to run. I was concerned because we were in foul trouble with a lot of time left. Our coaches suggested running a zone, but I’m really hard headed and decided to stick with the man-to-man defense, and it worked out for us this time.” On the win “Our message for the team from now until next Saturday is we can’t be satisfied. We won one game, and it was at home. We’re going to enjoy this tonight, but then get ready for the Mustangs.” SENIOR GUARD Zamal Nixon On what this game means “It’s a great start to get our first conference win. We can’t celebrate too much because we have to go to Dallas and play SMU on Saturday.” On a faster start than normal “We were trying to be more conscious of playing 40 minutes, a whole game. Sometimes we only put one half together and not a full game. We put a full game together tonight.”

On Kirk Van Slyke’s play
“Kirk played great. Even in Southern Miss, he hit three big 3-pointers for us, and he carried that over to tonight’s game.”

On the mindset of the team
“The game of basketball is all about runs. Everybody is going to have their runs. We went on our run in the first half, and they didn’t have one in the whole first half. We knew they were going to have a run in the second half. We knew we had to hold our heads up high when they were making their push because good teams are going to make runs. Luckily we were able to withstand their runs and finish the game up.”

On a faster start than normal
“It started out defensively. We came out aggressive and tried to stop them on every possession in the first half, and that is what did it for us.”

On his play down the stretch of the second quarter
“They found me, so I had to finish. My teammates found me and I had to finish.”

On what this game means for the team
“This lets us know how we can be defensively. If we stay together and have each other’s back, we can be very good defensively. We played a lot of great help defense today and that is what got us the win.”

On the mentality of the second half
“The game started getting close. You got to eat after that. If they call your number, you have to eat.”

On his driving to the basket
“I am determined to get to the free throw line and to make free throws. The rim was close, and they were coming at us.”



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