March 6, 2013
HOUSTON HEAD COACH James Dickey
On Leon Gibson's senior night
"You're always happy for the seniors. Leon (Gibson) had 18 points and 12 rebounds. I told him it's amazing what you can do when you play with energy and you move yourself at both ends of the floor. I was really happy for him. He played really well. When I put him back in, I was going to take him out and let the crowd recognize him, but there wasn't an opportunity. You're always happy to see a senior go out like that."
On building on the win
"The Saturday game we enjoyed for about 24 hours, and then we got back together on Monday, and I told them to make that win special, we had to build on it and win Wednesday night. Now that we've got two, we have to go on the road and build on these two going into the conference tournament. Plus we want to get as many wins as we possibly can. When we go to the conference tournament, we'll be thinking about one thing and one thing only, and that will be getting ready for the first game. But we've got another regular-season game to play on the road. It's going to be their senior night, and they'll be charged up emotionally. We've just got to be ready to play."
On if the team talked about the previous meeting against Rice
"We didn't say anything about that. We just weren't playing very well at that point. We were doing two things. One, we were really bad on the offensive end, and we had some turnovers that turned into poor transition defense for us and gave them some easy baskets. We just wanted to correct that. We have to play well from that stretch from the 13-minute mark to the media timeout at 8-minute mark. We have to do a better job during that stretch."
On the play of sophomore guard Joseph Young
"Joe should have shot a better percentage. If you take 17 shots, you have to shoot a better percentage than that. Joe didn't shoot the ball very well tonight, but he is starting to understand to get the ball to the right people. When you get 20 points, it shouldn't take you 17 shots to do that. Joe is a good offensive player, and he has great confidence."
On Houston's shooting
"We didn't shoot the 3-ball very well tonight. I told them we had to pass on some of those. We ended up 4-for-16. You have to recognize when you don't have that fever from the 3-point line. You have to move the ball and drive it and get to the free-throw line."
On the difference between tonight and the previous game against Rice
"We had to be aggressive. We were too soft in the second half. They made shots in the second half at their place. That was something that Coach (Alvin) Books did a great job with. We had to be aggressive, and we had to be physical, and we were. We did a pretty good job of that."
On Elvin Hayes, Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler being honored at halftime
"I told Elvin on the radio that I was so honored to have him as a part of our broadcast team and a part of our program now. I saw Clyde and Hakeem in the hallway before the game, and I told them we were honored that they came back and were recognized. It's been 30 years, and they're still a huge part of college basketball."
On what it means to beat Rice
"They have to know what it means to beat Rice. This is a huge game for our fans and our institution. They need to understand that."
HOUSTON SENIOR FORWARD Leon Gibson
On the emotion of senior night
"My emotions were pretty high tonight knowing that this was my last game here. It was an awesome two years here. The guys wanted me to come out, and play my best, and go out with a bang."
On the dunks at the end of the game
"Coach (James) Dickey wanted me to go finish the game. I don't know who shot the ball. I just saw the ball go up and come down perfectly."
On the night being big because of the legends in attendance
"Seeing them today put me in awe. I just saw three Hall of Famers, top 50 greatest players of all-time. I knew they would be watching, so with it being my senior night, it was a very emotional night."
On gaining momentum going into the conference tournament
"The win tonight for us was huge. This is a cross-town rivalry, and we let one slip away at their place. We were ready to go after that night. It was my senior night, so we wanted to go out with a bang, and we knew we had to get this win. Hopefully, this will roll over to the way we play Saturday."
RICE HEAD COACH BEN BRAUN
"I've said this before, but I'm always willing to say it again. This is really how I feel. In the years that I have coached, I really haven't had a group that's given it their all the way that this group has. We've been shorthanded, and we've been injured. When we get in foul trouble, we're thin as it is. This group has never quit. They compete at a very high level. I'm really proud of the way that our team has played. I think tonight was another example of that. We got ourselves down early against a Houston team that was playing very well and at a high level in the first half. We crawled back, and we became more aggressive. We did some really good things tonight."
On what Tamir Jackson has meant to the team
"When you have a senior like Tamir Jackson on your team, all things are possible. Our team follows his lead. If anybody plays harder than Tamir, I'd like to know who it is. He plays awfully hard, he plays both ends, he's battling every possession and there's no quit. That really has rubbed off on our team. It's kind of a legacy that he's going to leave behind. He set a Conference USA record, amazingly, that he's played more minutes than any player in the history of Conference USA. He's played through some injuries and battled some things, but he'll never tell you that. He'll just go to battle every possession."
On Max Guercy and Tamir Jackson
"Much like Max (Guercy), when Tamir (Jackson) came here, he stepped in it right away as a freshman and didn't skip a beat. He almost forgot he was a freshman. He's kind of left that with Max and Max has been able to step in and move Tamir to the off guard. The rest is history. That's allowed Tamir to do some things. Tamir has had some influence on Max and on our team. It's important to give him that recognition because it's accurate. Max is going to have a very good career at Rice. The fact that he's played with and under Tamir is going to be to his advantage as well."
On having close game during the second half
"We missed some shots. We got some good looks, but our guys kept fighting. We beat Houston in a couple of loose balls tonight, but we couldn't come up with them. I give Houston credit. They did what they had to do when they had to go down low. It seemed like every turnover we had led to a basket. We did a pretty good job on (TaShawn) Thomas the first half. We gave him some pretty good double-teams and made it tougher on him, but we had a tough time containing off second-chance points.
RICE SENIOR GUARD TAMIR JACKSON
"I just try to do whatever I can. If I have to score, I have to score. If I have to get people open, I get people open. If I have to battle down with a big man and get some rebounds, I'll do that. If I have to guard the best player, I guard the best player. I try to do anything in my power to help our team be successful."
On senior year performance
"It's been tough record-wise, but it's been a great season to play with these guys. I've been excited all year, because these guys are going to have my back, and I'm going to have their back. Our record really doesn't matter. I like the bond that we have as a group."