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Postgame Quotes: Houston 72 Morgan State 57

Nov. 22, 2014

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HOUSTON HEAD COACH Kelvin Sampson
Opening Statement

“We played a lot early like it was our second game of the year. This team is our third game, and early in the season teams are still searching for an identity. They are trying to figure who can do this and who can do what. It’s November 22: we played eight days ago. We improved a lot in the last eight days, especially our half-court defense and rebounding. We probably work harder on that aspect other than anything.”

“Our shot selection was outstanding. I don’t know if we took one or two bad shots, which is pretty impressive this time of year. Now, we didn’t shoot the ball very well, and we didn’t make a lot of shots, but they were good shots. They were open shots. I’m going to keep encouraging our guys to take those shots. We have a simple goal. It is not a goal as much as it is a rule, that we have to rebound 50 percent of our missed shots. So if we miss 40 shots we have to go get 20 of them, and we practice that every day.”

“We work on rebounding. Guys like Davonta (Pollard), JC (Washington), ‘Chicken’ (Danrad Knowles), LaRon (Barnes), when the ball is shot, those guys do a great job of keeping it alive. When they can’t get it they tip it out, and it gives us a lot of extra possessions. We did a lot of good things. A lot of times when you don’t shoot well there is a tendency to think that you don’t play well. We played well. We didn’t shoot very well, but we played really well. A good thing about this team is that we are going to continue to get better. I saw a lot of good things. They best thing tonight that we did was play hard and compete.”

 

On Eric Weary’s play
“Eric plays with good energy, and he is not afraid. He mixes it up. We work hard in different parts of the game, as do all programs. We got after it a little bit today in our shootaround. Barnes got three stitches banging heads with Davonta going after a rebound today. Barnes and Weary; both those guys are getting to really understand concordance of offensive rebounding. Weary didn’t finish very well when he put it on the floor. There is absolutely nothing tonight that I saw that is not going to keep getting better.”

“I’ll be glad when we play our third game and our fifth game and our tenth game and our twelfth game. We are going to be significantly better on Dec. 22 than we are on Nov. 22. We have a new coach and new players. People talk about returning players: they’re all new to me, and I am new to all of them. We are still trying to figure a lot of things out, and the only that is going to help us is practice time and to keep playing more and more games.”

On the flow of the season schedule
“We need to keep playing games: it helps. The positive is that we have two guys that I have penciled in as starters that are hurt right now. L.J. Rose is supposed to be our starting point guard, and he’ll really help us when he comes in. Bert Nkali, we had him penciled in to be our starting center. We play one game in eight days and three games in three weeks. It helps get those guys healed. Bert is going to try and play on Dec. 4, but he won’t play on this trip and sometime after exams are over between Dec. 15 and Dec. 25 we may get L.J. back.

“Our team is going to continue to evolve as we go along, and as far as December, January and even February our team is going to continue to improve”

On expectations for the team
“We’re picked to finish eighth in the league. If we are going to be successful then we are going to have to be a blue-collar, hard-nosed team that outworks people. It doesn’t matter who we play. I saw Northern Iowa go to Stephen F. Austin and win the other day. We were watching Morgan State play Northern Iowa and Morgan State lead Northern Iowa in the second half. For us every team is a good team. There is no team for us that we say “if we play good we will beat this team.” We don’t know that, because I don’t know these guys. I have no idea how good we are.”

“For us, we have to understand that when that ball is tipped off it is time to come play. We will have some good shooting nights, but this is two straight games where we haven’t shot the ball well; on the road at Murray State and here. We didn’t shoot the ball well either night, and we found ways to win, which tells me that we are starting to figure out what our identity is.”

On team’s best player
“When you are missing a lot of shots there are a lot of opportunities to rebound.”

“All of our guys played hard. I never confuse guys that score a lot of points and guys that they play good. I’ve got guys that didn’t play very good that they just shot well, and I’ve got guys that didn’t play very good but played great.”

“We are a very imperfect team. We have flaws, but our strength has to be our effort. When it is there we are going to win a lot of games with effort this year.”

 

JUNIOR FORWARD Devonta Pollard
On how comfortable he got from the exhibition game to today’s game
“It’s just my effort and the way that I play in practice. The practice going up to the exhibition game I had ups and downs, but I feel like from the Murray St. game up to this game the practice before those two games I was playing hard, pressing hard each and every day. Then, some days coach just keeps instilling in me that if I press hard, then I should have a good outcome, so I’m just trying to keep it at that.”

 

JUNIOR GUARD Jherrod Stiggers
On the bubble and what it means
“It’s called the water drill. Every time we snap the ball we know it’s going to be a miss so it’s a battle for whoever gets it. Everyone get hyped, everyone gets pumped. Everybody gets scars, everybody bleeds. So when we say bubble drill, we already know where it comes. It’s an everyday thing, so when we get in the game it just comes natural.”

 

 


 

 

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