Men's Basketball Postgame Quotes vs. East Carolina

March 10, 2010

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2009-10 Houston Cougars Men's Basketball Postgame Quotes
2010 GMC Sierra Conference USA Championship
(10) East Carolina Pirates (10-21 * 4-12 C-USA) vs. (7) Houston Cougars (16-15 * 7-9 C-USA)
Wednesday, March 10, 2010 * BOK Center * Tulsa, Okla.

Houston Head Coach Tom Penders
Opening statement

"We were ready to change and do a lot of different things today, but we had the big lead. We decided to stay real vanilla in our playing, which meant straight-up, gap, man-to-man defense, no trapping and no switching. We might save a few things for tomorrow. We did the same thing with offense, and we were lucky to be able to do that.

My goal was to have nine guys play double-figure minutes. We didn't quite make that goal, but almost. We had eight guys play double figure minutes, which was good. You are able to do that when you have a big lead. But people can also see what can happen when you take a couple of great players out of the game, and the other team has nothing to lose, and they get a couple of shots and get the score down to 12.

That is college basketball. Just ask the Seton Hall coach. You worry about that as a coach. `Did I sub too early? Should I have waited until the five minute mark?' All those things go through your head, but our kids maintained their poise. The most important stat for me today is that we battled fairly even on the boards, and we are not a great rebounding team. We also kept our turnovers down. Points off turnovers, 18 to 7; that is always a huge statistic. We are either No. 1 or No. 2 in the country in fewest turnovers per game and 19 assists shows unselfishness as a ball club. We have to keep that up.

Sometimes, Aubrey [Coleman], as great as he is, feels like, `I gotta do it myself.' With Maurice back, it is a relief, and he is a real important part of our success this year. He has played well after the early season and adjusting to this level. We are a much better team with Maurice [McNeil] out there. "

On being "already dead" "D.M.W., dead man walking, if you are already dead what do you have to lose? The most dangerous person in a war or fight is the guy that already thinks he is dead. And that is was we have to be. I have been through this walk before."

On getting in the flow of the game

"Our plan was to come out early and execute the game plan. We would have been happy to come out of here with a 1-point win today. We knew they were going to make a run, but we had a big lead. That is why we were able to cruise through to the finish like we did."

On distributing the ball to teammates
"It was my goal coming in. I know that every team is trying to stop me. So early on, I was just moving it around and trying to get warm and comfortable. That is when I attack. That was my goal coming in, just trying to get everyone involved. Not trying to be Superman like coach says I do at times."

On the key to the game

"The key to the game was sharing the ball. Desmond [Wade] and Aubrey [Coleman] had a whole bunch of assists and they made a whole bunch of plays. Some of them we did not finish on, but we got the foul. They had five assists, but had we connected it would have been more like 10. We were sharing the ball and we were playing together. We have nothing to lose, really. Like coach says, `We are already dead.' So we play like dead men out there."

On the next game against Memphis
"They are a great team, and I think they are already in the [NCAA] tournament. We just have to go out there, play hard and battle with them. We cannot take any plays off and we have to play hard. Even though we beat them, they beat us pretty bad too. So we have to remember that and also play hard. We cannot take any plays off."

Opening statement

"The game was a lot like most of our season. We had some really good moments. We didn't quit. We had a section there where we made a lot of mental mistakes, offensively and defensively, and didn't overcome those. It was a lot like the regular season. A lot of potential and coming up a little short, but we were really resilient and they never quit.

Difference from the first half to second half?
First, it was the turnovers, and the second thing was offensive rebounds. We gave up five offensive rebounds, between those two things that was nearly 20 points and we were down 13 at the half. We've done that on other occasions. When we've taken care of the basketball, gotten good shots and shot a decent percentage, it's pretty rare to lose the game. I can count on two, three or four fingers teams that have shot 50 percent and lost the game. For a long time it was one. It's happened two or three times this year. Turnovers and offensive rebounds have normally been the culprit in regards to that outcome."

On potential of Houston to make a run in the tournament
"They can make tough shots. I don't think anybody understands how good a coach Tom Penders is. His kids believe in themselves and what he's doing. They don't have all the pieces but they have some nice pieces. They have small men who can step out and shoot the ball, big men who can run the floor and guard pretty good for their size. And, of course, Lewis and Coleman are really incredible. We had Coleman guarded a few times, and you can guard him, and he still makes shots. That's why those people with the NBA logo were sitting in the corner watching him."

Difference in the first half from the second half

"We were a little more patient on offense, and trying to go inside-out and kicking it out and trying to shoot open shots."

On head coach Mack McCarthy

"Coach Mack is a great person, and a great coach. I look at him like a father figure. He's probably the best coach that I've played for. I wish him the best.



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