Feb. 7, 2009
2008-09 Houston Cougars Men's Basketball Postgame Quotes
Rice Owls (7-15 2-6 C-USA) at Houston Cougars (14-7 5-3 C-USA)
Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009 Hofheinz Pavilion Houston, Texas
HOUSTON HEAD COACH Tom Penders
"It was a great basketball game to watch. It was typical of the series. The fans got their money worth. It was nothing less than what I expected it to be. I expected a close game. Considering where we've been all week, and only having one day to practice, they had the advantage. Rice came out and did a lot of different things, and that's good coaching, but we settled in defensively in the second half."
On the play of Aubrey Coleman
"He's by far the best player in the conference and one of the best in America. He finds different ways to get it done. He comes up with big plays and gives you everything he has. He's not there yet, in my opinion. He's just scratching the surface. He has so much more growth area. We're making sure he has the ball down the stretch. He's a closer.
"The great thing about it is he is a local kid. We get a lot of flak for not having a lot of local guys. He's a kid that we felt, when we recruited him, that he was one of the best players in the country and for our system, and if he grows in our system, he has the ability to go to the next level. We don't hold back our players, and we give them the green light and Aubrey is using the best judgment. He's just such a gamer. I just love that kid. I've been doing this for a long time, and I can't think of a kid that I've thought so much of as him."
On motivating junior guard Aubrey Coleman
"I know what motivates him. He's not one of those guys you pat on the back and say that it's going to be alright. You got to challenge him, tell him he's better than that."
On importance of rebounding and free throws
"We really dominated the glass; that was big. Tonight it was real important because we were struggling shooting. We didn't give them many second opportunities in the second half. We had a lot of hustle turnovers, which happen when you're going too fast.
"Free throw shooting is really important for us. We're getting the ball inside; we're getting it into the paint. The referees let us play tonight, so we didn't make as many whistles in the paint. They were great; they were consistent on the both ends. They let both teams play. If we had that kind of game all year, I'd be real happy."
On aggressive play of junior forward Qa'rraan Calhoun
"We're showing him, because they're doubling (Marcus) Cousin and paying attention to Kelvin (Lewis). You can not only pop out and knock down some threes once in a while, but you got to go to the boards and on the fast breaks, you got to be looking to finish.
"He has to show it in practice, but he's that perfect complimentary player. He had a great night against UCF and had a great night tonight, so that just shows you. If you play basketball, play it right and share the ball and keep thinking inside out, they're all going to get their opportunities. Once you forget about one guy, we've got another that will step up."
HOUSTON JUNIOR FORWARD Qa'rraan Calhoun
On first taste of Houston-Rice rivalry
"It was fun they played tough. We tried to match their intensity. They came out from the jump."
On finding his way in the offense
"A lot of the coaches told me you have to be aggressive. Kelvin hit that big shot at the end that energized everybody."
On Rice's Trey Stanton hitting 3-pointers
"Our scouting reports didn't tell us that. We just know next time that he can hit those. We did not expect them hitting threes, but they did. He hit some big threes tonight."
On continuing to win games
"Eight more games, and we just want to win them all. This determines the future. You don't want to lose any because they could put you in the NIT or not even the bubble. It's one game at a time right now."
On the crowd
"It was the loudest crowd since Iowa State. We came out on defense one time, and I thought I was in Syracuse."
HOUSTON JUNIOR GUARD Aubrey Coleman
On his second-half performance
"He (head coach Tom Penders) just told me to play my game. This was my first game against Rice, so I was not trying to do too much. I was shooting too much in the first half, and I calmed down there in the second half. I started having fun and started focusing on defense. Plus the crowd gave us energy and momentum."
On taking it to the basket
"My jumper wasn't falling, and I had to attack differently. They started doubling me, and I had to go with a new approach. The two threes from Qa'rraan and Kelvin when we were neck and neck were huge."
On the importance of the win
"Every win is important. Everyone was asking us if this game was going to be different; this game was not different. It was just like the UCF game. We saw a lot of screens. We just had to talk and stay together."
On Rice's offensive rebounding
"It was real important. That is what kept them in the game. They started shooting threes, and that is how they came in. We started scrambling around, but you have to give them credit they played good and real hard."
On his rebounding total
"I just had a nose for the ball every time the ball went up. I believe that is another opportunity for us to win so I just crash every time"
RICE HEAD COACH BEN BRAUN
"This was a big game for us. We put ourselves in position to win the game, but we fell short. Houston had to make some big shots and some big plays to beat us. I will take our chances if we can come out and play with the aggression we did and make a few shots that we missed, maybe get to the foul line a few more times and just get a few more stops. We were a couple of stops away from turning it around."