Feb. 23, 2008
2007-08 Houston Cougars Basketball Postgame Quotes
Rice Owls (3-23, 0-13 C-USA) at Houston Cougars (20-6, 9-3 C-USA)
Saturday, Feb. 16, 2008 * Hofheinz Pavilion * Houston, Texas
HOUSTON HEAD COACH Tom Penders
On playing a tough Rice team
"You expect your local rival to give you everything they got and play as well as they can play. They (Rice) came off a very tough performance their last game and we came off a heart breaker (in our last game). Fortunately we didn't take them lightly and I told the kids what to expect. I told them that they were going to come out loose and they are going to be shooting and we just have to grind it out.
"That's exactly the kind of game that it was and fortunately we played pretty well to win. If we had brought our C+ game we could've lost, but Rice played really well and I expected nothing less. Willis (Wilson) does a great job and he's an excellent teacher/coach. I knew that he would have them mentally ready so they wouldn't be intimidated or anything else I just expected this to be a close game."
On the play of C Marcus Cousin and G Zamal Nixon
"It's nice to have some other guys stepping up and chipping in and helping out too. (Marcus) Cousin gave us a big lift tonight late in the first half and for a good part of the second half he did a really good job rebounding and jamming up the middle and hanging on a couple of loose balls that looked like that they were going to go right to Rice, but he came out of nowhere and grabbed a couple of big loose balls. It's nice to have some guys you can bring in.
"I thought Zamal (Nixon) played really well in the first half and I probably should have used him more in the second, but we were playing so well when we got up about sixteen (points) and I second guessed myself for not using him more because I thought he had a lot to do with us building a 10 point lead in the first half."
On the performance of sophomore guard Kelvin Lewis
"Kelvin came in sick as a dog, but he did a super job tonight. We needed it from him. We needed from Marcus Malone, Lanny (Smith), and everybody it was a good team effort. I'm very happy with the win. This is a game that we very easily could've stumbled on. I felt very good building a 16-point lead.
"I warned the kids that I know they (Rice) are going to make a run. They had now pressure on them and they will make a run and they sure enough did. Maybe I shouldn't said that, but that's what I expected. We answered their run and that what was critical. When you get down sixteen (points) you say, `oh what the heck.' You start letting threes (pointers) fly from all over the place and Rodney Foster hit 3 or 4 threes and we said, `Go ahead and take them.' And they went in. I expected that."
On having 20 wins for the season
"It's nice. It's very nice to be 20-6 at this point. I think we played good ball tonight we are going to play better ball on Wednesday. We are facing a very good and talented team that seems to be really coming on in Southern Miss. I'm surprised that they struggled so much earlier in this season because they were picked ahead of us by a lot of people in the preseason."
HOUSTON SOPHOMORE GUARD Kelvin Lewis
On his big game tonight
"I was trying to get back in game shape. The last few days, I've been sick and I couldn't get out of bed. In the first half, I was just trying to feel my teammates and they were making shots."
On his clutch free throw shooting down the stretch
"No, there was no pressure at all. Coach Hobbie has been working with us all week on free throws. There's no pressure shooting free throws because we worked so hard on them."
On Rice's effort in the game tonight
"We knew it was going to be a dogfight. It's a rivalry game. My hat goes off to Rice, because they are a good team. They played hard and I respect that from them."
On DaShaun Williams' play
"DaShaun Williams picks us up everyday. We feed off of him. We work hard just like him. And we want to play hard just like him."
On DaShaun Williams' emergence as a key contributor
"No, I'm not surprised at all. I played basketball with DaShaun Williams all summer. He's a great player. He's finally getting the opportunity to show what he can do."
On Coach Penders' advice as Rice kept hanging around in the second half
"Coach Penders was telling us to keep our focus. He told us that basketball is a game of runs. We were just trying to maintain our focus and knock down our shots."
HOUSTON SENIOR GUARD Robert McKiver
On getting big contributions from Kelvin Lewis and DaShaun Williams
"Guys like DaShaun Williams and Kelvin Lewis stepped up, and I don't have any problem with that. It's my job to get my teammates the ball. And if that's what we have to do win, then I'm all for it."
On Rodney Foster's big game for Rice
"Wow, he was on fire. He was just on fire. He had a great game. He was shooting from where I usually shoot from. He had a good game."
On Kelvin Lewis' clutch free throw shooting down the stretch
"He works everyday on his shots. And he just makes big shots."
HOUSTON JUNIOR GUARD DaShaun Williams
On attacking the basket offensively
"Coach told me to attack the basket if I want to score. So, I just attacked the basket, but I'm having trouble with my free throw shooting and I need to work on that."
"For me it's all about getting to the basket and being strong and trying not to settle for jump shots. We want to get to the basket and make strong plays and big plays when we need them."
On Rice's defensive focus on Robert McKiver
"Robert McKiver is a great player. The best strategy for any team is trying to keep the ball out of his hands and make other players make plays. Kelvin Lewis did a great job in stepping up. I tried to pick it up for us a little bit. We knew they were going to try to keep the ball out of McKiver's hands, and the other players just have to step up and make shots."
On Rodney Foster's big game
"He was hitting big shots, and he hit two or three right in my face. He was shooting from close to the Cougar. He was making big shots tonight."
On Rice's effort tonight and the team's upcoming schedule
"They're a good team. We have to put this one behind us. We have a big game against Southern Miss coming up. It's like a four-game tournament for us these next four games. We need these wins to make it better for us. We're just going to take it game-by."