March 3, 2010
HEAD COACH Tom Penders
"It was the kind of game that I expected in terms of competitiveness. I thought we were a little loose with the ball. We made had turnovers at halftime which is what we're averaging on the season. Rice did a great job. They gave us a lot of problems with a smaller line up. They used a lot more speed than that first time that we played them. So, we had a lot of trouble getting dribble penetration on them, which we go quite easily the first time that we played them."
On winning eight straight against Rice
"I remember that, when I first got here, Rice was averaging 19 or 20 wins per season in the WAC and we were getting beat by them. It's nice that we've been able to win against them. But, it doesn't mean anything because whenever Rice and Houston play each other it's going to be a dogfight. The only time it has been was our last game at Rice."
On Rice's 17-2 run
"They were red hot. They pushed the ball down the court, which they didn't do at all the first time we played them this season and they got transition baskets. We didn't expect them to look to run."
On the game
"Never pick a fight with somebody that has nothing to lose. They played that way and I told our players that they were going to come out and play like that. We didn't know that they we going to like that or know we didn't know. The first half we did a great job defensively. In the second half, with some our defense getting away from us, they started spreading the floor more, doing some back screens, and reversing the ball more. And, they hit some three pointers, drove the ball to the basket, moved the ball really well and ran their stuff extremely well. But, we were able to tighten our defense with a few minutes left to break the game open."
On senior guard Sean Coleman
"I have a lot of confidence in Sean [Coleman] since we recruited him and he's started to believe in himself. He's an offensive weapon and a very good defensive player. And, he's very smart player that can take the pressure off of Aubrey [Coleman] and Kelvin [Lewis]."
On the seniors playing on Senior Night
"I don't care what Aubrey [Coleman] will say, but he was nervous. Kelvin [Lewis], I don't know, but I knew Aubrey [Coleman] was because he had that look on his face like it was Christmas morning. I tried to not talk much about Senior Night because I know players get that way, but he came out strong in the second half."
On the Cougar's perimeter defense
"Aubrey [Coleman], Zamal Nixon, Kelvin [Lewis] and Desmond [Wade] did a great job defensively on the perimeter late in the ball game, which helped turn things around for us."
On senior guard Kelvin Lewis
"We weren't looking for him for too long of a period there and we ran a couple of plays were we missed him a couple of times. He hit the shot that game us the lead late in the game and that game us a little cushion. Then, we had a steal and Aubrey made a lay-up that gave us a five-point lead. It was good to see. Kelvin [Lewis] didn't have a great first half but he ended up with 16 points and three steals. He did a nice job defensively, which he always does. "
On Rice's defensive game plan
"They came out and played all man-to-man. In the first game, I don't think we saw five minutes of man-to-man from them. We spent all day yesterday preparing for zone. They played all zone against UTEP and for about four or five straight games. That's what a good veteran coach does. He keeps you off balance, and he sure made me coach tonight.
SENIOR GUARD Kelvin Lewis
On playing the last regular season home game of his career
"It felt good. It was great to beat the Owls because they're our rivals, but we really just took it as another game."
On winning after having a 14-point lead <
"In a game like this, it didn't matter if we won by one point or eight like we did. We know how good and how hard they played. It was a battle and we did a good job responding."
On what helped him play better
"I was settled the whole game. I just had to get my wind back in the second half because I didn't get to practice very much yesterday."
On how they will gain consistency in the conference tournament
"It would be great to go to Tulane and win; It will give us some momentum. The record isn't really where we want to be, but we could close it out at 8-8 and get a seed that way.
SENIOR FORWARD Sean Coleman
On playing the last regular-season home game of his career
"It was good. It really snuck up on us fast, but it was great to go out beating our rivals. But now that we just closed up the regular season we have to think about the conference tournament."
On getting back into the game after losing the big lead
"It was a one point game and Aubrey got a big 3-pointer and Kelvin hit a great shot, so we made some great transitions to get back into the game. We have to give them a lot of credit. They fought hard and didn't give up. We maintained our poise and pulled out with a victory."
On the favorite moment of the night
"It was awesome when Aubrey shot that 3-pointer from the corner when it was a one-point game. It was a big three. It was off balanced and hard to make and he made it, and I think that helped us transition. After that, Kelvin made some great shots and Zamal made that dunk. That three-pointer united us and helped us finish out the game strong."
On the team's ability to beat anyone in the conference
"We made certain mistakes in games in the last 10 minutes that lost us the game. I think we know now that on any given day we could beat any team in the conference. We just have to go down there and play our style of ball."
SENIOR GUARD Aubrey Coleman
On how Rice rallied
"We gave them too many second-chance shots. We got some quick shots, but we didn't transition the defense the right way, so they got some layups and second-chance points. They chopped the lead down, but when started boxing out and stopped them from getting the rebounds, we finished the game out."
On favorite moment of the game
"My favorite moment of the game was when Zamal Nixon got the dunk. He was out a couple of games and I really didn't think he had it in him. He used to dunk back in the day, but he got so sick he lost his strength and his jumping ability, so that really surprised me. That was the highlight of my night."
On Rice having more fast-break points
"We took some bad shots and they did a good job with some long rebounds. Their guards did a great job getting the ball and running it. In the first half we did a great job stopping them at half-court. I don't know what their coach told them during halftime, but they did a good job coming out in the second half. We really kept our poise and bounced back though."