Houston 52, UTEP 57

Jan. 22, 2011

Recap |  Final Stats


Opening Statement
“I want to congratulate Tim (Floyd) and UTEP; they played extremely hard and played a great game tonight. They made big plays when they had to down the stretch. They were terrific defensively and really made us work. The two areas that were significant to the game were offensive rebounds – they had 14 offensive rebounds and 12 second-chance points from that. They also got to the free throw line 22 times, and we only got there 10 times. Free throws and offensive rebounding were the difference tonight.”

“The last three minutes of the game we only had one basket. We weren’t efficient down the stretch. UTEP played extremely well.”

“I’m disappointed since we had the biggest crowd of the year. I’m sorry because they seem to really like this team, and we couldn’t give them the win tonight. I’m sorry for them and our players, but we just have to go back and get ready for Rice.”

On the last UTEP possession
“We made Culpepper work really hard. He had 18 points, but it took him 16 shots to get there. We told our guys that when you shoot the ball, the shooter knows where the ball is going quicker than anyone. You have to get disengaged with your man and box out to complement your defense by getting rebounds. That was a huge offensive rebound, and it took the wind out of our team and the crowd’s sails. They were able to get that rebound and work the clock down, and Julyan Stone made a huge shot.”

On the UTEP defense
“They did a good job on our big guys. Harris was 1-4, Mo was 2-4, Kendrick was 2-5 and Kirk didn’t score in the second half. Thibodeaux had a couple of really good looks but didn’t have good rotation on the ball. That’s something we’ll work on. It wasn’t just the big guys that weren’t shooting, but we like to go inside-out. We didn’t finish around the basket. UTEP was physically tougher around the basket in the first half, and we have to go back to work and improve on being tougher down low. That’s what you have to do in conference play.”

On the physicality of the game
“It was disappointing but when you look at the physicality it comes back to the same two areas of concern for us tonight – offensive rebounding and free throws. You need to be able to drive it hard and get to the glass and draw the contact. We got to the line 29 times against Tulsa, and we only got there 10 times tonight. I liked the way our guys competed; UTEP was just more efficient down the stretch.”

On what the team has shown him so far
“I know our guys will compete. I know we can play really good defense. I told them before the game they’re becoming a much better defensive club, and we have to hang our hat on that. We have a lot of confidence offensively. We didn’t move the ball that well offensively tonight. A lot of that goes to their defense, but we didn’t reverse the ball enough and put their defense on notice enough. In the first half, too many points and shots came off jumpers and not enough in the paint.”

On moral victories
“No, don’t even mention it. Next question. Don’t mean to cut you off, but no. We didn’t play well enough.”

On Rice
“Records won’t matter for this game; it is a crosstown rivalry. Both of our teams need a win, and it’s going to be tough. They will build off their win vs. UCF. Ben (Braun) is a great coach and will have them ready to play.”

On the team’s schedule
“Tomorrow will be our mandatory day off. We’ll come back work out on Monday and Tuesday and head over there to Rice to shoot around on Wednesday and then go through our normal gameday routine.”

On not being able to get to the free throw line
“We shot 10 free throws this game, and last game we took 29. We have to be more aggressive. We were not aggressive enough to get to the line. I credit UTEP; they played great team defense tonight.”

On what UTEP did well tonight
“They communicated. They talked the whole time on the floor. A big part of the game is communicating with your team. They were all on the same page on the defensive end. We didn’t get in a rhythm. We had a couple of runs, but that’s just going to happen in the game of basketball. We never really got in a team rhythm.”

On the physical play down low
“Early in the year that is what plagued the team. They were saying we were soft down low and that we didn’t have any size. Lately that hasn’t been the case, and we’ve been playing a lot bigger than our size. They came out aggressive and prepared very well for us this week.”

On UH’s defense tonight
“We did a great job. It was only 90 percent of the job. Coach always says complement your defense with the rebounding, and we didn’t do that today. They got a lot more offensive rebounds than we would have liked. Those are huge plays and got extra points on those rebounds.”

On what he has learned about his team tonight
“We got heart. Preseason, the buzz in the air was that Houston wasn’t going to be as good as they usually are and we would finish at the end of the bracket in Conference USA. We are learning how good of a team we can be. We need to peak at the right time, and we haven’t peaked yet. We get better every game. It’s letting us know we can play with the best.”

On preparing for Rice
“We need to do same thing we did for UTEP and every other game. We need to wipe this game out and focus on Rice.”

JUNIOR GUARD Darian Thibodeaux
On what UTEP did well tonight
“They just had the momentum. They played defense really good. They played a better game than us defensively.”

On the missed rebound down the stretch
“He just made a great offensive play. I didn’t box out and find my man.”

On his approach with Randy Culpepper
“I was just trying to keep him from catching the ball in the soft spots he wanted to catch them in and get him out of the offense. I wanted to keep him frustrated.”



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