March 2, 2013
HOUSTON HEAD COACH James Dickey
"I'm really happy for our guys and the coaches with their scouting report. It was a good performance by our team overall. They did a terrific job of getting themselves ready to play. As I told them after the game, they should always be that way.
"We shared the ball extremely well. We had 26 assists in the game and 21 field goals in the second half. As coaches, we always look for the things we can do better. I was unhappy about the stretch in the second half from about the 13 to 8-minute marks where the lead went from 30 to 18. That second group that we put in didn't defend. I wanted that group to come in and certainly not allow them to go on a run. We settled for some jump shots, and the bottom line was we didn't defend during that period. What was disappointing was that in that last 13 minutes of the game, Marshall scored 37 points.
They have some good players and a talented basketball team. Tom (Herrion) is a good coach. I'm really happy with how our team played. We allowed too many offensive rebounds but overall a good performance. We did a terrific job of playing with enthusiasm and sharing the ball."
On the importance of winning these final games before the Conference USA Championship
"It's very important. We've been talking about this all along. We are not looking to anything but Wednesday night. We need to get that one; we will have one more and then we go to Tulsa. We need to get as many conference victories as we can and, more importantly, we need to get better and gain momentum as we move towards the tournament."
On individual training during practice
"All of us as coaches understand where we are in late February and going into March. We try to keep our players fresh mentally and physically, but the guys have to continue to improve. We look at the film, point out the good things we are doing and build on those. We learn from the things we are not doing quite as well, and we work on those. The two biggest things this time of year are the focus and the energy.
"Whether you are out there an hour and 15 minutes or an hour and a half, you have a 40-minute game and the focus and the energy will always be important. They need to take care of their bodies physically, drink water and get rest. They probably think we are a little old fashioned about that, but taking care of their bodies is important. We want them to stay fresh mentally."
On the Cougars' mental focus
"In the first seven minutes of the second half, we were a team that was hard to guard. We shared the ball. I pointed out to a couple of guys that, even though they could have scored, they let someone else score. Even though maybe they had the angle, I told them to dish it back to someone else if they can get a dunk. We shared the ball, made good decisions and didn't turn the ball over, but we also didn't force as many turnovers and didn't get as many defensive rebounds. Overall, we played like a team today. The guys who came off the bench did really well too."
On sophomore forward Mikhail McLean's communication and leadership on the floor
"He is our energizer and our best communicator. He played today the best he's played since he hurt his hand. Our team has gotten better since we've played him. He makes us better. He's the best at talking on the floor, he encourages his teammates and he's the ultimate team player. I couldn't have been happier with him. He did a terrific job today. He could probably shoot free throws a little bit better, but he rebounds, plays hard and his strengths are his energy and communication skills. He's a good leader on the court and in the locker room."
On second-half performance
"I wasn't very happy about that 8-minute mark when they cut the lead to 18. What I was concerned about were the two things that got us there: lack of defending and shooting the ball quickly on the other end. Those were the two things that I was frustrated about. We got some other guys back in the game, and we got back on track like we had been earlier."
On how game stacks up against others this season
"The UTEP game here might have been our most complete game, but if you take out that stretch from today's game in the second half, this was probably our best 40 minutes of basketball this season. When you're up 69-39, you shouldn't give up 76 points. That's a little bit disappointing. It gave them some confidence, and they're already big and talented. They had three guys in double figures."
On team's shooting
"We've been getting better at attacking. We attacked pretty well against UTEP on the wings. When you've got slashers who can slash to the basket, you have to use them too. We're doing a better job of that."
HOUSTON SOPHOMORE FORWARD Mikhail McLean
"We communicated a lot today, on defense too. That was a big part of it."
On the difference on offense
"The big difference today was great ball movement. We did a great job of getting a lot of assists on a few turnovers, so that was key."
On his role in the game
"The coaches depend on me a lot to bring leadership to the floor on defense and offense. They expect me to communicate a lot, so I just try my best to always do that. I hold myself accountable to that. If we don't talk on defense, it's my fault. I try to be consistent with it."
On energy throughout the game
"At practice we work for about two hours straight on just defense, defense, defense. When we get the chance to go on offense, it's a great opportunity."
HOUSTON SOPHOMORE FORWARD TaShawn Thomas
On the defensive end
"We were just playing hard. Coach told us that if we put a lot of pressure on them they would have trouble handling it."
On what Marshall did to get back
"They were just hitting shots. Coach said we felt like we lit up when we got up 30. He called a time out, and he told us we needed to pick it back up."
On what was different on offense
"Nobody was being selfish with the ball. Of course, in basketball, somebody is going to miss even if they are open. Nobody had their head down when they missed. We kept a positive attitude."
On Mikhail McLean's communication on the court
"It helps us out a lot. Sometimes, we don't have energy, especially on the road. If we don't have any energy going on, Mikhail is mostly the one that tries to bring the energy back up. Sometimes I like to talk, but I'm not as consistent as him when it comes to talking. Mikhail is one of the main leaders when it comes to defense."
On energy throughout the game
"It comes from just being around and having to work so hard on defense at practice. When something good happens on defense, like someone gets a block, we get happy because all that stuff we were doing in practice is finally paying off."