Nov. 21, 2013
HOUSTON HEAD COACH James Dickey
"I'm happy we won, but certainly I'm not pleased with our performance. Howard did a great job. Our guys were not as efficient offensively. We've made progress in terms of not taking bad shots, but what we did take were quick shots tonight. We settled for jump shots. They got a little bit soft on their defense. They were going to try to take the ball out of TaShawn's (Thomas) hands inside. They played everybody else soft. Our guys sort of took that personally.
"We were settling for too many jump shots, and we didn't have a hot hand all night. We had been shooting over 50%, because we've been taking good shots. Tonight we shot the ball too quickly, and that's the reason we ended up shooting 39%.
"Our defense got better after that one run in the first half and got better in the second half. We knew (James) Daniel was a heck of a scorer. He's averaging almost 22 a game coming in here and had a very good game. (Jherrod) Stiggers did a better job on him in the second half."
On the slow start
"That would be my fault not having them better prepared and ready to go. You have to have an edge. What I told our guys all week is you have to have respect for everybody you play. They look at scores like everybody else. They know who's in this field, and they've seen those scores. Even though we try to guard against it I wanted them to understand that these guys can play. Coach (Kevin) Nickelberry does a great job with them, and they got some momentum. You have to be ready to go. We didn't have that edge early."
On the team's rebounding
On if he is still trying to find his lineup
"When you look at his stats he was 4-for-11, but he had 18 rebounds and seven blocked shots. He did some other things. With Danuel (House) when he shoots 17 shots he needs to make about 12 of those. He didn't shoot the ball well, but he had nine rebounds in the game. We have to get some other people rebounding. Our mentality has got to be to get it going more defensively and on the boards. We outrebounded them, but they shouldn't have had 13 offensive rebounds. They played hard. They're smart and very well coached. We knew they were going to come in here and play with a lot of confidence and play loose. We tried to guard against that with our players. We've got to be a lot more tuned in the next four days getting ready for Monday."
"I'm trying to get somebody who is going to play hard and guard. It's not anything new. We tell them before every game that they have to play hard and guard. Stiggers did a much better job for us. We're better when L.J. (Rose) pushes the ball at a high level, and he gets rid of it. He held onto it a little too long tonight, and he drove into traffic too much. He's a smart player, and he's going to be better. That's just part of getting yourself ready to go, having that edge and being ready to go."
On TaShawn Thomas' defensive play
"He's really done a good job for us. He's helped our back line defense. We took some charges tonight. Mikhail (McLean) took two charges. TaShawn took two charges. That's really hard to do with the new rules and the secondary defenders. He's really done a nice job for us. He's really springy and has good timing on his blocks. A couple of them he knocked out of bounds, but a lot of them he's been able to keep and play, and have somebody go chase them down. He didn't have his normal offensive efficiency down low. He was off balance a couple times in there when he could have really scored, but he did some other things for us. He played well on the other end of the court and did a good job for us on the boards."
On playing in the Progressive Legends Classic
"It's a great compliment to our university to play in this tournament and then to have an opportunity to have two home games out of it, and then to go on the national stage against an outstanding Stanford team. There will be four quality teams there with Pitt and (Texas) Tech playing in the other game. It's what these guys work for to be able to play in a nationally televised game. They'll get to be in front of a great audience; certainly a very knowledgeable basketball crowd in New York and the national media. This is what you work for. What the guys did at the end of last year gave us an opportunity to be there. I'm glad we're going there 5-0, but we're going to have to really lace them up tight and be ready to go Monday night. It's a great honor, and we're thankful for the Gazelle Group and for the Legends Classic to be a part of it."
On being 5-0 to start the season
"It's where we hoped to be although we never look ahead. I know our guys pretty well and know they weren't half way packed. Their mind might have been somewhat headed to New York, because they didn't have that sharp focus that they need to have. They're young, but that is maturing. We really wanted to be where we're at right now in terms of being 5-0 and playing better in front of our crowd. One of our goals is to get the crowd into Hofheinz and get our students back. We've had the opportunity to speak to some student groups. We have a wonderful group of young men. These people come and pay good money to watch them play, and I want to play at a high level and be able to win so that we can fill these seats out here and create a good home court advantage."
On the play of Danrad Knowles
"He's getting better. He's still learning. He wants to please. He runs the floor extremely well. He's showing glimpses. He's going to get more consistent. I want him to feel a lot more confident. He can rebound and defend, but right now he's getting excited over a dunk in transition."
HOUSTON JUNIOR FORWARD TaShawn Thomas
On the amount of blocked shots tonight
"In practice for the last couple of weeks we have been working on help side defense. So when my guy gets beat Coach (James) Dickey has told me to go get the block. That's all I've been working on in practice, and it carried over to the game."
On the defensive play tonight being effective
"We just tried to crowd the ball handler because we knew we had help on the weak side. We have been working on in practice playing hard, and trusting each other on defense."
On the slow start
"I don't know, I thought we came out ready, and they just punched us in the mouth. We definitely weren't ready at the start."
On if you were frustrated that shots weren't falling early
"No, not all. We just felt like they crowded us on defense. They played great defense to the point where we couldn't get shots to fall. In practice our scout team plays like that, so we have seen it. It was irritating that shots weren't dropping."
On knowing he was close to a triple double
"No sir, I wasn't even worried about that I was just trying to get the win."
On playing in the Progressive Legends Classic
"We are playing some really good teams. I have family that is near D.C. so playing Howard was exciting. Family kept telling me we needed to beat them. Lehigh beat Duke a couple years ago. Playing Stanford on Monday is a big game, they are a really good team."
HOUSTON SOPHOMORE GUARD DANUEL HOUSE
On what was said at halftime
"Coaches said we had to play defense, and start the second half better than we started the game. They told us we had to win the first five minutes of the half."
On getting in a rhythm
"I just took deep breaths, and my teammates were talking to me telling me to slow down and take what the defense gives me. I came out in the second half, the defense opened up and I was able to cut to the basket."
On Danrad Knowles getting adjusted to offense
"He told me it's still fun, and new. I give him two more games before he gets fully adjusted. We still have to talk to him, and help him out."
HOWARD HEAD COACH KEVIN NICKELBERRY
On how the lead was lost
"Obviously we got in foul trouble. Our guards got into foul trouble, so we has to sit them the rest of the half. With our injuries right now we just didn't have the players we needed to replace them with. That was a big factor, and Houston was playing better. Thomas took over a little bit and House got involved. We tried to take them out early but they got more evolved."
On Freshman Guard/Forward James Daniel being an asset
"We have nine freshman, and we started four of them. Those freshman are talented but they are freshman. He is going to be a big part of our future. He has scored over 20 points every game this year. It was probably a little more of a challenge tonight because the guards Houston were so big. But I was happy to see that he go to the basket and did what he does. It was a good learning experience for him and for us playing such a long athletic team like Houston."
On having such a large freshman class
"I am happy that they are talented, frustrated at the mistakes that they make, but the future is bright having so many talented young men. We just have to work through the ups and the downs of being a freshman."