Jan. 19, 2011
HEAD COACH James Dickey
"Tulsa came out and really got to us early. They were ready to play, and we came out flat. They hit some big shots and moved the ball around well. We were not very good in transition because they beat us down the floor a lot. We were a little flat offensively to start, but I was glad with the way our guys battled back. We didn't have a good night offensively shooting the ball, but we did hit some timely shots. Our guys battled back, and in the second half we did a good job defensively. Their defense was good; we had a hard time getting anything going offensively."
"Our guys really did a good job on the defensive end and did a good job on the boards, except from the 15-minute mark to the 10-minute mark. We gave up some offensive rebounds. We were tired, and I started cycling the bench and started getting guys in when our guys looked a little fatigued. We just weren't as aggressive. When Kirk (Van Slyke) and Maurice (McNeil) got into foul trouble, they started playing tentatively on the boards. We did things down the stretch that allowed us to win."
"We played great defense, got to the free throw line, hit those free throws, and we had some timely possessions offensively. Kendrick (Washington) hit a big shot, and Adam (Brown) hit a big one off the glass, and then we didn't turn over the basketball. We took care of the basketball. I was happy to see us get the decisive play defensively by getting the charge down there by Alandise (Harris). He is starting to understand the importance of things, and that was a big play near the end of the game. We hit free throws down the stretch to seal the victory."
"I am proud of the way we came back, proud of the way we competed, and I was really happy of the fans coming out, especially the band and students that came here tonight. I was happy to see them and pleased with the way they performed. We didn't shoot the ball the way we are capable of, but we defended as well as we have all season."
On Kendrick Washington's first game back
"I wasn't sure. I didn't put him in till late in the first half. He only practiced one time. We had put in a few new things. More importantly, you are always concerned with their timing and about their conditioning coming off an injury. He did a very good job over the last 10 days of riding the bike and getting some cardio in. Yesterday he did a very good job during practice, and we didn't use him very much."
"You are always concerned that they are going to be a little tentative and if it is going to be sore. He played as physical as he has all year, and he made big plays, hitting two big free throws for us. We want to go to him as much as possible down there. He responded very well. We got a little bit more out of him than we expected, and he was very productive."
On having both Alandise Harris and Kendrick Washington now able to get significant minutes
"It gives you some flexibility. It gives you a little bit of comfort on the bench. We got into some foul trouble against SMU and were certainly in foul trouble with Kirk Van Slyke and Maurice. Guys are starting to understand that when their number is called, you have to go in and play the way you are capable of playing. It gives us a deeper team, especially across the front line."
On the team coming together
"The guys are starting to understand the value of protecting the basketball and defending. Those two things give you a great chance to win. Our defensive awareness has certainly picked up and all five guys when they are on the court are aware of what is going on. That comes from work and concentration; you can't have great defense without those things."
On the three-game winning streak
"We all want to win and put a streak together but more important than the winning streak is knowing how we won each of those games. I'm concerned about what goes into what gets us the next victory. I'm a big believer that comes from practice and how you take care of yourself on and off the court. We need to get to what I call the `Magic Level' where you're not too high or too flat for games. We were a little flat to start but you have to give Tulsa a lot of credit. They played well and executed."
SENIOR GUARD Zamal Nixon
On the similarities between the last two wins (SMU and Tulsa)
"Both teams were good teams, and both games were competitive. We did a good job once again tonight on closing down. We need to keep practicing like we have been leading up to those two games and keep the intensity up."
On the team coming together
"It's a great sign that we're playing well right now. But the biggest thing is we can't be satisfied or complacent; we have to keep working hard. We got a good win tonight, but every night in conference is going to be tough, and we have a tough game this Saturday vs. UTEP."
On going 12-12 from the free throw line
"You weren't surprised, were you? (laughs) After that SMU game, Mr. (Mack) Rhoades even got onto me about that one free throw that I did miss so I knew I had to get back in the gym quick and work on shooting. Everyone was on me but I picked it up tonight."
SENIOR GUARD Adam Brown
On the beginning of the game
"We were flat as a unit and didn't have our intensity to begin the game. When you get hit, it is not a matter of if you get beat up or not; it is a matter if you fight back. We chipped away slowly and then were able to grab the lead."
On Kendrick Washington's return
"Kendrick is a hooper; he can take time off and come back real strong. I was expecting him to come out and play well. He actually called me asking for a ball, but I told him to keep that quiet because he wasn't supposed to be working out or training. He can take the heat for that though; I'm not going down for that."
On the game
"They made it real tough on me; they played good defense all night. I knew I would have my moment sometime tonight and when my number was called, I had to answer. Just because I wasn't scoring as much doesn't mean I can take the night off. When I scored that last drive, I knew they were trying to block shots all night so I drove into the paint and pump faked to get the defender in the air and I finished the play."
On returning to basketball
"I've been around the guys but couldn't really condition. I broke that rule a little bit; I couldn't sit still that long. I was doing a little work on my own, but I didn't tell coach. I guess he'll find out now.
"I wanted to be ready for conference play. I got used to it last year, but we need to keep working on building this team's connection. We are going strong right now and need to keep building onto it. Keep making it stronger."
"UTEP is a great team but we can't be worried about what they are going to do; we just have to focus on what we can do. We have beaten ourselves this year and haven't done that for a while, knock on wood. We need to keep the intensity and focus up for this Saturday."