March 13, 2009
2008-09 Houston Cougars Men's Basketball Postgame Quotes
2009 Conference USA Tournament
(5) Houston Cougars (21-10 10-6 C-USA) vs. (4) UTEP Miners (19-12 10-6 C-USA)
Thursday, March 12, 2009 FedExForum Memphis, Tenn.
HOUSTON HEAD COACH Tom Penders
"Coach, you talked about surviving. Can you talk about how you survived this one?
"Well, we made it very interesting. UTEP and U of H has gotten to be an incredible rivalry, and this was typical of the series the last three years. There was excitement. I felt last year's game should have gone to overtime or we could have won at the buzzer, but they won the game. This year, we felt like we stole the game from them because of all the momentum they had going into overtime, and yet, our kids showed a lot of mettle to hang in and make some great plays. I thought there were some unbelievable plays."
Can you talk about the diving play by Nick Mosley?
"Incredible play. It was an incredible play. We call him the `Rubberband Man,' and there you saw it. He expanded to get that thing, and then Zamal (Nixon) got it just before it went out of bounds. That was huge. If they get the ball, then they have the opportunity to go ahead, so that was a very big play."
"In regulation, we didn't put the game away when we had the opportunity at the foul line. That's our strength. We're the best in the league and one of the better ones in the country. Some nights it's there, and some nights, you miss them. The guys that were at the line, I felt really comfortable with, but we missed enough of them to make it really exciting."
And your reward is that you get to play Memphis...
"We're pleased to move on and get to the semifinals, but that's a heck of a task after a ball game like this. But that's what these tournaments are all about. That's where stars are made, and hopefully, we have enough in the gas tank to hang in and make it interesting. That's all we can do."
UTEP HEAD COACH TONY BARBEE
"I told my kids in the locker room after the game that I couldn't be more proud of the way they played. They dug their heels in and found a way to get themselves back in the game. I told them on the board before the game, whatever happens, whether we get out to a quick start or whether we start out slow, just stick to our principles, stick to our game plan, stick to everything that we've done this year and it will get you back in the game no matter what happens. We did that. I'm proud of them. We had our opportunities in regulation. We had our opportunities in overtime. This time of the year you have to take advantage of your opportunities. We just weren't able to capitalize on some of the mistakes. Whether they caused them, or we did them on our own, we had plenty of opportunities and we couldn't capitalize on them when we had them."
Talk a little about the ability of your team to come back.
As the game was going on, we talked about that. I talked about that we have been in this position a couple of times this year. A couple games ago, we were down 15 points with 10 minutes to go and we found a way. We found a way in this game. When the opportunity presented itself, the ball slipped out of our hands. We couldn't finish at the rim. We missed a couple of free throws. Give them credit. They made the shots. They made the plays when they needed to make them."