March 4, 2009
2008-09 Houston Cougars Men's Basketball Postgame Quotes
#5/3 Memphis Tigers (27-3 15-0 C-USA) at Houston Cougars (18-10 9-6 C-USA)
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 Hofheinz Pavilion Houston, Texas
HOUSTON HEAD COACH Tom Penders
On the game against Memphis
"It was an extremely hard fought game. Memphis is one of those teams that always comes with intensity, particularly when we match up. Our kids had a tremendous amount of energy, too, but we just didn't make enough shots to win the game. We battled them on the boards and did an excellent job handling their pressure defense but we just didn't make enough shots. Memphis never makes it easy on you and they don't let you run your favorite sets. In the first half, we had three or four opportunities on lay-ups and put backs that would have helped us get a little closer or even given us a lead at halftime. In the second half, if a shot falls here or there, then we might have had a shot at it. I'm proud of how hard our guys played and how competitive the game was, but we needed to play a little better to get the job done against one of the best teams - if not the best team - in the country."
On the Cougars' shot selection
"Not everyone of them, but Memphis forces you out of stuff. Our shot selection could have been better, but we missed some very good open looks. Memphis makes you do things you don't want to do, which is what great defensive teams do."
On falling a little short at the end
"I really felt if we could have taken a three or four point lead, they would have had to put us at the line. We were hitting our free throws. But we just couldn't climb that little hill. Memphis just came right back."
HOUSTON JUNIOR GUARD Aubrey Coleman
On the crowd
"It's good to get that fan support. It really gave us energy. Everyone brought their A game tonight."
On Qa'rraan Calhoun's big game
"That's what Qa'rraan does. He steps up when we need him. We didn't have anything to lose. He was on, so it was good he took them. It just came down to making decisions. It's like I said, we just need to play smart."
On his defense in the second half against Memphis guard Tyreke Evans
"That's what Coach (Melvin) Harrelson told me to do. He wasn't doing anything spectacularly, there just wasn't any ball pressure on him. I just pushed up on him and made him make decisions."
On hanging around with Memphis
"As you can see, we hung with them but we just couldn't pull it out. That just tells me that they can be beat. It just comes down to making smart decisions and being tough at the end."
On the rest of the season
"We have to keep our heads up and push forward. Now we know what we have to do. We have to go to the conference tournament and take it one game at a time and try to win out. This is a good preparation game for the conference tournament. It showed us that we could play with them but at the end of the game, we need to make smart decisions."
HOUSTON JUNIOR FORWARD Qa'rraan Calhoun
On the game
"I just got tired of hearing about the 56-game winning streak. I saw Robert Dozier say `UAB and Houston are good teams but they can't beat us.' That just made me want to come out here and win even more. It felt like everything I shot was going to fall. I just really wanted come out and play."
On slowing down the Tigers
"If they get a big lead, they're going to run away with it. When they scored or made a big play, we just tried to slow them down. That's what helped keep us in the game.
MEMPHIS HEAD COACH JOHN CALIPARI
On the game
"That was a gut check game. They never really went away. They had a chance to beat us the whole day. I'm getting scared right now we've got some guys that can play awful for 28 minutes and then come in the last seven and beat a team. That's really dangerous. We had three or four guys that just have got to better than that. There's a lot of good stuff from the game from us. We didn't turn it over much."
On what let Houston back into the game
"We broke down offensively and gave them some baskets. For all of us in college basketball, this is a long season; we're all worn down. Everybody has their issues and we're no different and for us to win on the road again, I'm happy. I told them that I'm hard on them now because my vision is beyond just a game. It's about being monster,s which they're capable of doing."
On the difference
"Dozier decided he was going to step his game up. I was on him. I took him out. I said, `we've got to have a man out there.' And so he tapped me on the back and said, `put me back in.' When a player does that, he now owns his performance. Then he did his thing. "
On the Tigers' free throw shooting
"We're a much better free throw shooting team, not as good as Houston, but we're probably 70 percent now. And you're talking about a team that was 50 percent last year. "
"They're a good team. Aubrey, the big guy Cousin and Calhoun is making three-pointers now. That's what's happening in our league. Tom has done a good job. He put his team in a position to win. "