Nov. 6, 2010
HOUSTON HEAD COACH James Dickey
"I am glad we won. It was certainly a struggle. I would like to compliment coach (Jason) Copeland and his team. We knew they were going to be a well-coached team. They were able to spread us out and penetrate, penetrate-and-pitch, and hit some big shots. What I did not expect us to do was turn the ball over the first seven possessions of the game. We ended up with 26 (turnovers), 20 offensive rebounds (against us) and have two of our guards have 12 turnovers for the game. We are really counting on Trumaine (Johnson) and Darian (Thibodeaux) to handle the ball better for us.
A lot of that was due to Abilene Christian being very active and their defense playing hard. They were more aggressive than we were. They were up the line, they put pressure on us, and we didn't do a good job of getting the basketball where we needed.
When we did, good things happened to us. We shot 63 percent in the first half and 55 percent for the game. I did some quick math to the players about if we do a better job and score like we did at the game, it still would a much easier game.
Down the stretch we had some guys who did some great things. Maurice McNeil hit two big free throws; Adam Brown stepped up on the technical foul and hit two free throws; Darian Thibodeaux stepped up and hit two free throws. Trumaine (Johnson) made a nice baseline jumper that we needed, and he hit one of the two free throws that we needed at the end of the game.
We certainly made it really hard on ourselves. We got to go back, start taking better care of the basketball, do a better job on the defensive board play. We need to get tougher on loose balls. (ACU) was much quicker to loose balls, and their defense was much better than ours."
On how the next game feels being six days away
"Short in terms of practice preparation and getting better but it is here. I knew we needed to play someone else, and I thought we would struggle a little bit. I didn't expect us to be so careless with the basketball but their pressure had a lot to do with it. They are strong, athletic, play with confidence and run things that make it hard with the way they spread you out. They take advantages of mismatches inside. Copeland did a good job with his guards.
We can play a lot better defensively because we did it during the stretch. What we didn't do was complement our defense with defensive board play. When you play as hard as we try to play defensively you have to match it with defensive board play. That was an area that had a lot of holes in it seeing as how they got 20 offensive rebounds."
On status of Zamal Nixon and Kendrick Washington
"Zamal Nixon has a sprained ankle. I don't know when he is going to be back. He has a pretty bad sprain. Kendrick (Washington) has a violation of team rules, and it's going to be more than just this game."
On the conditioning during a real game
"It was better than I had expected. Part of the lack of conditioning is my fault because I am stopping them so much and trying to teach. We need to play more and have been doing that more in the last week. We will continue to do that more this week."
On Abilene Christian
"They are strong, thick men, who know how to play. Coach (Alvin) Brooks said at the scouting report that they will be well coached and really tough to play. They knew what strengths and weaknesses were. They took advantage of us. They have a real chance to be a good team this year."
On what he told the team after the game
"We have to get better particularly in two areas, taking care of the basketball and making free throws. I was pleased early we hit a bunch of free throws. Guys miss a couple, and it is contagious."
HOUSTON SENIOR FORWARD Maurice McNeil
On shaky start
"We got off to a bad start, and they got off to a good start. We had six or seven consecutive turnovers to start the game."
On how important it was to get a win
"A win was a win; it was huge. Our confidence would have probably dropped if we had lost."
On what the team learned about themselves
"Overall, we have to get much tougher in practice because from here on out the competition is going to get much better. Abilene Christian played a good game today though; they played good defense, and they were tough."
HOUSTON GUARD Darian Thibodeaux
On shaky start
"I feel like their defense came out pretty tough. We just weren't prepared from the start."
On what the team learned about themselves tonight
"We have to get better. We definitely have to take better care of the ball offensively for sure."
On the key to the team getting better in the passing game and the pressure defense
"It's working harder at practice and in your own individual time. Getting back into the flow of playing a full game will also make us better."
HOUSTON SOPHOMORE GUARD Nick Haywood
On what it was like to get the start
"It was a great feeling. I come out to practice every day and practice hard to help us win, and that's all that matters."
On if the team feels ready for the next game or if there is more to work on
"We're ready, but we still have a lot to work on to get better."