Feb. 27, 2014
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HOUSTON HEAD COACH James Dickey
"Mentality was the difference between tonight and the game at Memphis. The guys know that we have been inconsistent, and they know what we have been harping on. We had a rugged, long practice on Monday. The guys really responded in a positive way. We put the bubble on the rim. No shots were going in. We were going to rebound every possession and defend. They had a tough mentality, and they really responded. We got after it as a family, we got after it as individuals, and we got after it as a team. I was proud of the guys."
"We beat an outstanding basketball team that is very talented and deserving of their ranking. Josh (Pastner) does a great job. I have a lot of respect for him and the job that he does. They beat us soundly in Memphis. We have a lot of respect for their program. I was really proud of our guys tonight. Danuel (House) gave us a huge boost off the bench. So did Jherrod (Stiggers)."
"The last few games we've had great bench performers. The guys have come in and really contributed. We had 44 points off the bench. House knows how to make big shots, and he's not afraid to take big shots. That was a huge play on the four-point play. His three late in the game was a huge three, and he made free-throws down the stretch."
"A good win. Very good win against an outstanding team. We're happy about that. We wont get to enjoy it very long, because we turn around and get ready to play Temple on Saturday night. Really proud of our guys. They competed. Down the stretch we just gutted it out. Our defense was better. Our rebounding was better. We would have liked to take care of the ball a little better. They got some run outs, but not as many and not as many easy baskets as they did in Memphis."
On the physicality of the game
"How many times have you heard me use the word toughness since the first exhibition game? I don't have to use it tonight. The guys played tough. This league is outstanding, and the guys that win are tough. The first play at Memphis, TaShaun (Thomas) got knocked all the way from the free throw line to underneath the basket. We showed that to our guys, and we wanted to make sure we played the game clean, but we had to get physical. That's the way practice was. Our guys were thinking we needed to have some legs for Thursday night, but they responded. It wasn't easy for them at all, but I was proud of the way they responded. They understood the message that we were trying to send about the defense, the rebounding and the toughness. They had a competitive spirit."
On the play of sophomore guard Danuel House
"When you look back at the games where he really plays well he gets to the free throw line. He got to the free throw line Saturday against Central Florida and he was 8-for-8. Tonight he got there nine times. It's not a surprise when he plays that way. Tonight he had some great ball fakes. They're going to run at him. Those are things that don't show up in the stat sheet. He took six shots and had 18 points Saturday. Tonight he took eight shots and had 19 points. That's efficiency. When you look at it, it's because he gets to the free throw line. He's taking good shots, and he drives it hard."
On the contribution from L.J. Rose
"That's the second time against Memphis he had 10 assists. He had 10 over there. L.J. played really well for us. Your point guard has the ball in his hands a lot. He needs to play well. He didn't shoot the ball well, but one of the most impressive things is he had seven rebounds from the point guard position. We've talked to him about that. 10 assists and one turnover is impressive."
On what it would mean to finish .500 in conference
"I want to beat Temple, but we want to win as many conference games as we can. We want to get that bye in the first round of the conference tournament. We know what's ahead of us. We have a short turnaround. Temple has played really well at home. They've got four starters in double figures. They're the only team in the conference that does that. It'll be a tough challenge for us. We have to be ready to go. This will be an important trip. It's a big game for us on the road against a team that we beat here earlier."
HOUSTON SOPHOMORE GUARD Danuel House
On his scoring tonight
"What I tried to focus on was just helping the team get ahead. I appreciate the open shots that my teammates set up for me to hit. All I can do to help them get the assist is knock them out. Contributing at the free throw line is a big part. Coach told us that we need to attack to try to get their best players in foul trouble."
On how key boxing out on rebounds was tonight
"It's big because they're a team that is big on second chance points. We worked on it in practice with the bubble on the rim. We may have been mad at each other with tempers flaring up, but the drill actually worked. It showed in the game tonight, because we were able to sustain their blow. Even if we did give them a second chance rebound we were able to make them kick it back out, because we were down there swarming to get the ball."
On if he wants the ball in clutch situations
"Yes sir. It's always been like that; ever since middle school, because my coaches and my teammates believe in me. I'm glad that they do believe in me to take and knock down the big shots. It's not just on me. Each one of our guys can take a shot and knock it down. They just chose me and I really appreciate that."
HOUSTON JUNIOR FORWARD TaShawn Thomas
On the intensity that he played with during the game
"All week leading up to the game the coaches told me that I had been playing slow, and I felt like I was after watching the film. I just told myself to play hard. Plus it's my birthday today, so that gave me more reason to play hard today."
On his thoughts leading up to the game
"I just told myself to just worry about the win, because I knew if I had my goals set on just getting the rebounds, then I would have messed up on some defensive assignments. So I really didn't try to think about it that much. I just stuck to defense and followed the game plan."
On the physicality of the game
"That's how we practiced. There were no whistles. We even got into a couple of arguments with the coaches over no whistles in practice. When we got into the game I came into the huddle and said, "think of it just like practice, if they call something just move onto the next play."
On whether he felt Memphis was playing with as much aggressiveness as they thought they would
"They played like that in Memphis, so we knew it was coming. We just told ourselves to not get punched first. We wanted to be aggressive this time and just come out swinging first."
On the difference between this game against Memphis and the last
"We played as a team. The coaches were trying to tell us this week that our mentality was to focus on playing as a team."
On the four point play towards the end of the half
"It was an energy booster for us. I felt like they were getting ready to go on a run, and they were starting to pull away a little bit. When (Danuel) House hit that shot it gave us an energy boost and momentum to get back into the game."
On what it means to be one of seven players with more than 1,300 points and 800 rebounds
"It's an honor. Growing up I never thought I would even be mentioned with those guys, so being able to play at the same school, and being able to put my name alongside those is just an honor. Plus it's my birthday, so I can definitely say that it's one of the best birthdays I've ever had."
On whether it matters to the team to get to .500 in conference play
"We've been talking about that since we went on our drought. The coaches just said that we've got to win out and keep hope alive."
HOUSTON SOPHOMORE GUARD Jherrod Stiggers
On physicality of the game
"That's how we practiced. They had no whistles in practice."
On the aggressiveness the team showed
"Mentality. I felt like this week we had a tougher mentality. It wasn't about shooting the basketball, or who could get the most assists or rebounds. It was just playing defense and playing tough."
On importance of boxing out during the game
"It was very important. They have some big boys. Jumping with them you are probably not going to win every one, so it's best to put your body first, because you aren't going to get it."