Feb. 14, 2009
2008-09 Houston Cougars Men's Basketball Postgame Quotes
Tulane Green Wave (10-14 4-7 C-USA) at Houston Cougars (16-7 7-3 C-USA)
Saturday, Feb. 14, 2009 Hofheinz Pavilion Houston, Texas
HOUSTON HEAD COACH Tom Penders
On the game
"It was a strange game, in that Aubrey Coleman got in foul trouble and sat almost the entire first half, and we played without him and won, which two weeks ago would have been impossible and that's great. It was great for the team and great for Aubrey to see that too, cause sometimes he does put a lot of pressure on himself and feels like he has to carry the ball club.
"I wouldn't have disagreed with him a couple of weeks ago, but now some of the other guys helped out. Nick Mosley has given valuable contributions and was key early for us to build that lead. Marcus Cousin was struggling offensively and defensively for a good part of the game and Nick came in and really gave us a lift. We're trying to build the depth on the bench, and we took a major step tonight in that area.
On sophomore guard Zamal Nixon's performance
His work ethic has improved tremendously, and he matured. I told him if you want to play this is what you got to do. You've got to be as good a defensive player as Desmond (Wade) and you have to stop turning the ball over and be more direct. He's done all those things. He's worked very hard in the shooting area, and he's really got it together now.
"I've got a good feeling right now in my heart about this ball club because we have a lot of different ways to win ball games now, and he's a big part of it. I couldn't be happier because a lot of kids come out of high school with a lot of hype, and they don't all make it their freshman year. For the first time in his life, he was hit with an obstacle, and that obstacle was Desmond Wade. Some kids would have quit or hung it up facing that situation, but instead he fought through it and earned his playing time.
On importance of Nixon when Aubrey Coleman got into foul trouble
I can't tell you how much it means because its nice to know you've got others that can step up and get the job done. I told Aubrey after the game that this is the best thing that can happen to him; he saw that our guys can win if your he is in trouble. Maybe this will be good for Aubrey too. He was just smiling away like he scored 50 points. That's the kind of kid he is, and I can't say enough about that kind of attitude.
"Qa'rraan Calhoun played a really good game. (Marcus) Cousin came out at the end of the ball game and was huge again for us is the foul line. It is to our benefit because we are a very good free throw shooting team and we should be able to continue that.
HOUSTON SOPHOMORE GUARD Zamal Nixon
On being a playmaker tonight
"Tonight with Aubrey in foul trouble, I knew had to step-up, and that is what I tried to do tonight."
On attacking the basket
"I have to mix it up because the next couple of games I need to keep them off balance. When we do ball screens, the guys go under, and I was able to knock it down, but when they went over I was able to go to the rack. It will keep guys on their toes when they are guarding me because they will not be able to figure me out."
On playing with twin point guards
"It works out well all the time. With Aubrey (Coleman) playing so good this year, there hasn't been much time for anyone to get at that two-ball position. That is why you have seen me and Des(mond Wade) splitting point-guard minutes. With he and I, it always goes well."
On the depth of the team
"This shows everybody that we can go really deep. There are guys on this team that do not even play, but if they got put on another team in the country they would be starting."
On getting into the starting lineup
"I've been a little passive, and (head) coach (Tom Penders) has been pushing me to be more aggressive. A game like this gave me a confidence boost, scoring 23 points and I only turned the ball over once."
HOUSTON JUNIOR GUARD Kelvin Lewis
On being a defender and shooter at the same time
"I do not worry about that, I worry about playing defense. It happens that the offense is coming in the past couple of games. I am working through it and it is paying off."
On junior center Nick Mosley's performance from the free throw line
"We expect games like that from Nick. He is one of the best free-throw shooters on our team. In practice he is always at the top from the free-throw."
On contributions from the bench
"We have been having great team practices. Everybody on any given night can have a great game. For instance, Zamal had a great game tonight and we know he can do that on a consistent basis. We needed that tonight and it was a team win."