Men's Basketball Postgame Quotes vs. No. 4/3 Memphis

March 13, 2009

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2008-09 Houston Cougars Men's Basketball Postgame Quotes
2009 Conference USA Championship
(5) Houston Cougars (21-11 • 10-6 C-USA) vs. (1) Memphis Tigers (30-3 • 16-0 C-USA)
Friday, March 13, 2009 • FedExForum • Memphis, Tenn.

Opening comments

"We really had very little left after last night's incredible, intense battle with UTEP, and Memphis looked sharp."

"You have to try to catch Memphis on a bad day when you're having a good day. I say that for 99 percent of the teams in the country. That's how much I think about that ball club. I'm sorry we didn't have any gas or energy to make it interesting. We couldn't rebound. We looked like we were wearing snowshoes for most of the game. I credit my kids for all-out hustle. They played as hard as they possibly could, and that's all you can ask."

"Memphis is the only team in the country that I think is quicker than we are. They play great D and slap it on you every night. There's no such thing as a perfect game, but you have to do everything right and your guys have to knock down shots. We just didn't have it in the tank.

Anyone who stuck around to watch the game last night could understand that."

Memphis had maybe a 27-0 run in the second half. Could you talk about their run?
"They pass the ball so well. Their interior passing is excellent. Their guards do a great job of passing, and it all starts with Tyreke (Evans). He's a different kind of player because he can also break you down better than almost anyone I've seen since Chris Douglas-Roberts."

"If Memphis isn't a No. 1 seed, it's utterly unbelievable to me. I've coached against them the last four years, and they have been the most dominant team - easily - in the last four years. And how they still don't get respect is absurd."

You're the top scoring team in the league. They're the top defensive team in the league. Did you get the shots you wanted? Did you like the looks and not make them? How were they making it difficult for you?

"We wanted to get off to a good start. We tried to execute our game plan and move the ball around. We had some good looks, but we just didn't make them. They played tremendous defense and made us work for every shot."

You scored two free throws in the beginning of the second half to cut it to 10 and looked like you were in the midst of a real comeback. What happened for your perspective? "It seemed like every shot Memphis threw up, it went in. We couldn't buy a bucket. They were playing great D. Even though they came up with a big run on us, we kept fighting. We didn't want to give up at the end."

You're the top scoring team in the league. They're the top defensive team in the league. Did you get the shots you wanted? Did you like the looks and not make them? How were they making it difficult for you?

"When you're a scorer, you have to have your legs under you to keep your shots consistent. It just wasn't there for us tonight. We had open looks, and they just weren't falling. We tried to gut it out and play defense and hopefully come up with some steals. It just didn't happen tonight."

"We played overtime last night and gave it all we had. It just wasn't there for us tonight. They're a great defensive team."

Opening Statement

"Well, someone asked me a question about the three seniors, and I almost got emotional because they're the winningest players in the history of college basketball and we still have season left. And, I think 40 years from now, they will still be the most victorious players in history. Think about it. "

"I think aside from what they've done here to just transform this program and to truly make it a national one, one of three programs that kids want to look at. Everyone's asking, `why does everyone want to go to Memphis? He must know somebody. No. They watch our team play. And, that's why kids are interested. I'm just proud of them. We started a little shaky. But, I'll tell you what. I made Antonio mad at halftime, and he said, `wait till the second half.' And, then he looked up and said, `they've scored two points, coach.' They were pretty good."

How important were the minutes that the bench played tonight?
"That's the second thing I talked about after the game. I made a highlight for each of the guys coming off the bench so they could watch themselves at their best because that's what we need them to be. Pierre helped himself in my eyes today. I'll go back to playing Pierre some.

Lately, he just did not deserve to be out there. Now, in his time, he played. But, it was nice that I could go to Chance McGrady and have him play well. And, I could leave Roburt Sallie and Wesley Witherspoon in there and all of a sudden, we're still pretty good. And, they played the way we wanted them to play. It was like our team still playing. And, that's what we have to be. Our bench really gave us a chance to rest guys. And, it's going to be important because this evening game is going to be double overtime or six overtimes--I'd go for that, too."

Talk about how well Shawn Taggart is playing.
"It takes pressure of Robert (Dozier) , so he can go do what he does. But, it's also that we can go into the middle of a zone; we can throw it to the baseline and we can score. We don't have to rely just on driving the ball. We can throw it in the post and then we become multi-dimensional.

The other thing that we needed today was that we needed to make some threes. And I told Roburt Sallie at halftime, `get in there and make some shots.' The key for us will be whether or not we make free throws and three pointers. We've done the other stuff in every game this year."

Yesterday certainly wasn't your type of basketball with two points apiece, how determined were you guys coming in to this game to play much better than you did yesterday?

"We knew in order for us to keep going we need to start being more aggressive and coach told us that we needed to start playing more the way we were playing at the end of the season. We can't have just one person out there doing everything and us not doing anything so in order for us to do what we do we had to contribute... We're lucky we got the W, we just knew we had to step it up."

"We just had a lot of people being aggressive and being physical out there, taking the charge and doing what we can. I came in got some rebounds, got a couple of foul shots, got it going a little bit. We played great defense like we always do."

Yesterday, 15 minutes without a field goal, and today, 10 minutes without a field goal to start the second half for Houston. With those kinds of stretches are you aware of what you're doing to the other teams and how are you aware of it?
"We're aware of it because we aren't taking the ball out of bounds...It's just the pride that we take in playing defense. Coach tells us if we're going to win games it comes with defense first and that's how we like to play. We strive off shutting guys down and not letting guys dunk the ball and get easy lay-ups. When we do that, it just makes everything much easier."

Dozier: "We take pride in it. We aren't as offensively gifted as we were last year so we just have to the little extra things like creating offensive opportunities and that's what we did."



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