Houston Men's Basketball Postgame Quotes vs. Nicholls State

Nov. 18, 2009

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2009-10 Houston Cougars Men's Basketball Postgame Quotes
Nicholls State Colonels (0-2* 0-0 SLC) at Houston Cougars (1-0 * 0-0 C-USA)
Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009 * Hofheinz Pavilion * Houston, Texas

HEAD COACH Tom Penders
Opening statement

"All coaches are concerned with opening games no matter who you are playing. We're playing a veteran ballclub that spreads the floor around, distributes the ball well and tries to eat up the clock. We stayed disciplined on defense, which is critical when you play a team like that. I'm very pleased that we came out with a win. I'm not saying we played a complete game. There are a lot of areas that we can improve upon, but the effort, hustle and defense was better than I expected."

On the first timeout after the 7-0 Nicholls State run
"That's why I called the timeout. We made an adjustment. I just wanted to settle them down. They were a little too amped. It was obvious to me that they were being very aggressive. Whenever Aubrey (Coleman) tried to drive the lane, they really made him earn his points. We started to adjust and get stronger. We had a ridiculously high amount of turnovers in the first half."

On Maurice McNeil
"He should probably be starting, but the style of offense the other team was running I wanted him to look at a little bit. He didn't see much of that at junior college. He and Desmond Wade are starters. We have a very deep bench. We just have to figure out what rotation we're going to use."

On contributors
"We're going to hand out a lot of game balls tonight. I felt Wade and McNeil played great off the bench. Kelvin Lewis had an outstanding all around game. It's nice because he has improved. When he and Aubrey start clicking together, it's fun to watch. Desmond has really worked on his game and improved. I thought he played close to a perfect game."

On Kirk Van Slyke
"He was a little nervous but I thought he played great. He was amped, which is what you want. You just want to get the freshmen through their first game. I like his interior defense and changing shots. He was physical, and he's not your typical 6-9 forward. He can play inside and outside. "

On how the team felt about the first game of the season

"We didn't want what happened last year to happen this year, but our team is better this year. Everyone was nervous because it's the first game to really count. After a couple of minutes, everyone locked in because everyone knew it really counted. We had a few turnovers but this is a whole new team with junior college transfers and freshman. I'm very proud how Kirk (Van Slyke) performed. He held his composure."

On if they achieved their goals on defense
"Our defense is what really got us started. We just focused on defense, which is what got us the lead at the half."

On the difference between this year and last year
"It's a big difference. We came out with a mindset to win it early. They were a good team if they were to knock their shots down and runt their system, then the game could have gone the other way."

On the inside game
"They were basically playing football with us, so we would drive and make our foul shots but our shots weren't falling until Kelvin (Lewis), Kirk (Van Slyke) and Zamal (Nixon) got in a rhythm. The goal was to drive, get fouled and make our foul shots."

On the first game of the season

"Obviously for the first game, people are going to have jitters, but once we got in the flow, everything started to work."

On Houston's defense
"When we locked down defensively, we took them out of the game. They didn't know what to do. They were trying to go one-on-one because they weren't use to that.

"I feel the only reason we won was because we held their No. 1 guy in check. Their goal was to run set plays and they couldn't do anything else so we made them drive and they're not use to that."

On his offensive rebounds

"I play with energy, and I try to get every rebound. I run the floor and get tip ins. That's how I play the game."

On the physical game
"They look at me and Kirk (Van Slyke) like we're the skinny guys, but we have heart. We're not going to let us push us around like that."



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