March 7, 2012
HOUSTON HEAD COACH James Dickey
"First of all, I would like to congratulate UTEP. They played extremely hard and did a great job in executing down the stretch, in regulation, and certainly in overtime. They made some big plays and got the ball to the basket. They did a very good job of executing down the stretch and I would like to congratulate them on the win."
On UTEP's missed dunk that resulted in a critical 3-point bucket
"That was a big play. We didn't rebound the initial inbounds play, very well. We let (Julian) Washburn get free and they kind of took us high and went back door. They probably feel like they should have gotten the two points on the dunk, but they ended up with the three. They made a very good hard cut. Good play on the inbounds. We didn't really defend the first part of the action, very well. Gabriel (McCulley) hits a big three, and that is a big shot."
What was the momentum turner for you guys?
"When you analyze the whole game, in my mind there are two things: we weren't efficient enough, offensively, down the stretch and you aren't going to win many games when your guards go 8-for-38."
On Houston's missed free throws
"Two things on the free throws: one, we didn't get to the line, enough--we settled for too many jump shots--and two, we missed too many free throws."
How did their defense effect your game plan?
"Well, we got shots. We knew (their style of defense), I mean we played them three times. They are going to run the box, the triangle and the man. Some of the shots that we got, were very good looks, we just didn't make them. We had cautioned our guys, that if you don't have the hot hand on the perimeter, you have got to drive it more and get to the free throw line more. I don't think that we did that. I think that we started settling for jumpers, thinking that we were going to shoot ourselves ahead. At the end, that started catching up with you. When you look at it, Joe Young is a good free throw shooter and he didn't get to the line. He also went 0-for-8 from three point. (Darian) Thibodeaux hit four big free throws for us at Rice, and he didn't get to the free throw line."
SOPHOMORE FORWARD Alandise Harris
What were you all struggling with, down the stretch?
"We were struggling with scoring. We were trying to run the play, but they kept us from getting to the bucket with their trick defense."
FRESHMAN FORWARD TaShawn Thomas
On UTEP's missed dunk that resulted in a critical 3-point bucket
"They were just in the right place, at the right time. We needed that rebound, but we just couldn't get it. They were just there in the right place, at the right time.
UTEP HEAD COACH TIM FLOYD
"We feel very fortunate to get the win, it's our sixth win this year with five minutes left to go in the game and we have a lot of confidence in that area. I was not sure how much confidence we would have given the fact that we lost three in a row. I think Houston will beat themselves up for not making free throws. They played with a great deal of poise, and guarded us well. They made some free throws late and they did not turn the ball over. They played well, we did not have an answer for Alandise Harris. We got a lot of poise out of our team down the stretch. We got the looks we wanted to get. They only had two team fouls with about nine minutes left to go in the ball game. The real key was our ability to drive it and get at the rim to try and go make some free throws because we were struggling shooting the ball, and we used the free throw line as an additional scorer tonight. Gabriel McCulley got us a three; I wanted to go hug his neck, because he had not given us any in a couple of games. I think he'll appreciate that one tomorrow, he always plays well back here in Memphis and he certainly played well tonight. Jacques Streeter coordinated our offense, and did a great job. I thought we had a tremendous defensive effort out of Julian Washington."
Did you do anything differently in the second half to get better looks?
"I thought we got tremendous looks in the first half and we got so frustrated. We only took six threes tonight. We were getting what we wanted to get and were not getting them down. At half time it was all about getting their confidence up. I told them we were 8-for-25 from the field, each guy go back and think about your misses and wouldn't you like to have those back, I've seen you make them. We didn't do anything really different."
Coach you have the rematch coming up, just talk about Memphis and how well they have been playing?
"Dominating team right now. The best athletes across the board in this league. Guys that losing bothers them and you know they're going to come and play. We got down 13 to them last time, we were fortunate to get a shot or two in the second half. We expect them to play again through Tarik Black, as he put up 26 points and 10 boards against us. Joe Jackson is a difference maker and the reason why are playing so well right now with his aggressiveness. They'll probably just try to suffocate us and take us what we are trying to do tomorrow. With their athleticism it's going to be a challenge for whoever plays them."
UTEP GUARD JACQUES STREETER
Do you think the box-and-one helped you guys out defensively tonight?
"Yeah I think it helped us a lot. It did a great job of take Simmons out of the play and Julian Washburn did a great job of that."
UTEP FORWARD GABRIEL McCULLEY
Talk about this teams ability to come back, and did you have confidence with five minutes to go?
"Definitely, in over-time I just talked to the guys in the huddle and I just told them to keep fighting, I've been preaching that all year in the huddle. What you guys saw in over-time was just a reflection of our coach. Coach Floyd instills that in us in our practices and we've been having some tough practices over the last couple of days. How we're playing right now is just a reflection of him and we want to keep that going."
When you made the free throw there in over-time you pointed to the crowd was that your family?
"It was the UTEP fan base, we call it West Memphis-El Paso. We have a lot of fans here from El Paso and a lot of fans here from Memphis. I was just letting them know that we mean business and we're trying to do what we can to win games in this conference."
Talk about the upcoming rematch with Memphis
"Memphis is a great team. We're just looking forward to playing those guys again. They're one of the best teams in the South right now and up there with Kentucky. They're playing real well right now, and clicking on all ends. Their bigs are rebounding and their guards are playing well. We're just going to have to come out and fight like we did tonight."