Jan. 18, 2007
Houston Head Coach Tom Penders
"It was more of their press that was able to turn us over late in the second half. We coughed the ball up too easy too many times. That gave them momentum. They weren't going to come back on us just hitting two-point shots. Anytime we breathed on Morris Almond, he went to the free-throw line. I thought our kids did a great job of defending him. He got the respect of the whistle tonight and spent the entire second half at the foul line. I'll have to look at the tape (to see what caused the fouls)."
On What Allowed Rice to Come Back
"We didn't stay low with the basketball and look up the floor. We stopped running our offense. It also was tough to recover from the foul trouble. We played most of the game in a passive man-to-man where we had two guys helping in the lane and the other three guys playing straight man."
On the Team's Offense
"Our half-court execution was pretty good throughout the game. The problem was handling the press. They were reaching, grabbing and holding our kids up the court the last 10 minutes of the game. They got away with that and you do that when the referees don't blow the whistle. Some nights we are able do that. That's what you do down 19 points with nine minutes to go. We didn't do a good job of handling the ball under that type of pressure. "
On What's Next
"We're still a very young team, and you just have to keep playing. When Lanny (Smith) went down (for the season), it changed the goals for the season. Let's just play hard every night and do the best that we can. That's all there is to it. All I ask them to do is play their heart out every time we take the court. There were a lot of strange things that happened out there tonight. I want to look at the film very closely because it didn't seem like we had a lot of breaks go our way.
Houston Guard Robert McKiver
"We panicked on the offense end. We didn't take our time and that was the key to the turnovers. We didn't stay low with the ball, and we didn't dribble the ball with confidence. We lost our composure with some of the calls that the referees made. They shot a lot free throws but that's not the reason we lost the game. It was hard for us to stay focused."
On the Crowd Noise down the Stretch
"I really don't think that the crowd noise bothered us. A gym is a gym. The bottom line is that we didn't execute and do the things that we needed to do to win the game. I'm not going to blame the environment."
On the Offense down the Stretch
"I may be disappointed with how we played down the stretch, but I take all of the blame. I'm one of our star players. I'm the point guard. You have to be able to take the blame after losing when you get the glory after winning. I didn't control the end of the game. Everything is on me. I have to go back and get better. I missed two free throws with us up by six. As bad as it may be right now, we're not going to give up.'"