March 25, 2008
HOUSTON HEAD COACH Tom Penders
"I am really proud of these kids. We have been in every single game this year. Not many college teams can say that. This was a big challenge for us tonight because this team is a very good basketball team."
On individual efforts of late
"I can't give enough credit to guys like Horace McGloster, who is only a freshman, but never gave up on himself. Marcus Malone's last two days of practice looked good so he played today and we needed him. Kelvin Lewis, other than Fluff McKiver, spends the most time in Hofheinz Pavilion. He's here early in the morning, the kid is here at noon, and the kid is here late at night. He never makes excuses; he has improved in all phases of the game, and he is going to be a special player. I am so happy to see him playing in, what I call a comfort zone. He has been focusing so much on defense now that he doesn't stress on offense. I think that is what all outstanding players are able to do. I am thrilled about it and I am thrilled about our program as well."
On Tafari Toney
"He is one of the best forwards in Conference USA. Center, forward, whatever, he is healthy, he is a warrior and when he doesn't get the quick whistle blown on him and he is able to stay on the floor, he is something special."
On advancing to the semifinal round
"When we were invited, and learning about the concept, I loved the thought that we might be able to host a game or two. If we are lucky enough to go to the next game, you are in a two out of three series. It is something different and on the cutting edge.
On the CBI
"This is the tournament of the future. It is going to be a huge tournament. The Gazelle Group, that runs this tournament, does most of the first-class, big time, in-season tournaments. To be affiliated with them and be the first school to commit to them was a huge step in helping us schedule. We have a difficult time scheduling and it's not like it was ten years ago. The Gazelle Group is going to help us schedule. Teams like Valpo, Nevada and others in this tournament and in the NIT are in the same boat.
"It is a great opportunity for us and I thank Mr. Maggard so much for having the foresight on the Saturday before Selection Sunday to make the commitment to the CBI. He is a genius to do it. We had another chance to play at home and we are going to be written about, talked about and have a chance to play on National TV again on Wednesday. It is a win-win situation for us."
HOUSTON SENIOR GUARD Robert McKiver
On the win
"It means a lot. It is always the best when you get out on the court. Of course it's not the NCAA Tournament, as everybody knows, but when you are going out there competing it is an honor. We are definitely honored to be able to play another game."
This time of year, it is either win or go home. It is nothing to really get afraid of, or get all uptight. I think we play better when we are loose. We were good tonight and we had a great game."
"They played well. They kind of surprised me when they were bringing it down 1-on-1. The point guard (Jarryd Loyd) was getting to the rim and the other guys getting to the rim. Offensively we were hot. We hit shots at times when we needed them, and went on two or three big runs, which closed the game out."
On Tafari Toney
"When he believes in himself, I think he is one of the best forwards around. That was the key tonight. I know I had 33 points, but his rebounding and playing hard down low was a big key tonight."
SENIOR FORWARD Tafari Toney
On Valparaiso's height
"Coach Penders told us that they had some height out there, and not to go in there and show fear. You have to be relentless on the boards. We have to play loose and you do that and you can beat anybody."
"That is my job. Coach gives you a job to do and you have to do it. You have to go out there and rebound. It is not even just the job; you obviously want to help the team. So the rebounding is crucial out there. Everybody knows we are one of the smallest teams around, but you can't show it. You have to fight. You have to say that we are here."
On Kelvin Lewis
"He works real hard. He is going to be a big impact next year. He works real hard, and not just on his shot. He works on everything, defense, and he brings it to practice and brings it back to the game."
VALPARAISO HEAD COACH DR. HOMER DREW
"I just wish that those of you in Houston would've had a chance to see us play a little bit better than we did because we're a much better basketball team. We felt our game against Washington was a good game. No one had more than a five- or six -point lead for the entire game but down here you just have to compliment Houston. They're very athletic, they're long (long as in blocking shots) and they can get up and down the court.
"We got off to a good start in the first half. We had the lead but Tafari Toney really made it difficult. Anytime we could get to the rim, he blocked a lot of shots. He controlled the paint inside. That hurt us at getting some easy baskets to keep it close.
"It didn't take a mental giant to figure out that the two (McKiver & Lewis) could hit 3-point shots. You keep thinking that they would have to miss one every once in a while. When you look at what they did McKiver had 33 points and Lewis had 28 points, they were 13-for-27 from the 3-point line. I can't remember them (McKiver & Lewis) missing a shot.
"We threw different people at them (McKiver & Lewis), and we threw a triangle-and-two at them, and they still continued to shoot the ball well. McKiver has a great chance to be playing with the Houston Rockets when his college career ends. He was that good.
"You have to credit Houston. They controlled the backboard and had 15 offensive boards, and that really hurt us, especially in the first half. In the second, they hit their threes, and we got down 20 and could never make a run at them. I was proud. In the second half, we played harder and a little more efficient, but they just shot the ball exceedingly well and dominated the boards.
On Houston's 3-Point Shooting
"We knew they shot a lot of threes, and they shoot 77 percent % from the free-throw line as a team, which is outstanding. We didn't want to foul them and send them to the free throw line. We were caught in a really difficult bind. If we got out on the three, they have the quickness to go around. Early, they were getting around and getting to the rim on us."
On Houston's Starters Shooting Threes Late
"I was pleased because it gave our guys a chance to play against quickness. For us to continue to move up in the Horizon League, we must be able to play against quickness. I get a chance to know angles on quickness and you get that by playing against good quick athletes. This helped us. If they want to stay out there the whole game, that's fine because we would get better and it will carry over to next year.
"I feel bad for Jarryd (Loyd) and Shawn (Huff) because they're two seniors, and these two have led our team to 22 wins with their leadership. I've coached 40 years, and the chemistry and togetherness of these three (Loyd, Huff and Diebler) and their seven teammates are fantastic, and I'm thrilled to be their coach. I am very proud of them.
VALPARAISO GUARD JARRYD LOYD
"They (Cougars) were on it. It seemed like they were everywhere. Every time I brought the ball up, it seemed like two or three guys were chasing me. I looked for my 3-point shot, but I felt like my legs weren't there today. I knew the played a fast-paced game and they played great defense."
VALPARAISO SENIOR GUARD/FORWARD SHAWN HUFF
"They were switching a lot of screens, so it made it a little difficult. Maybe, I should've been more aggressive and looked for more shots for myself. "
On his last game "Anytime you lose it feels bad."
VALPARAISO JUNIOR GUARD JAKE DIEBLER
"It was difficult but you have to find a way to make it more difficult for them to get a shot. They were pretty quick and that's where they had the upper-hand. "