Dec. 13, 2008
Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils (0-11), Houston Cougars (6-1) Dec. 13, 2008 - Hofheinz Pavilion - Houston, Texas
HOUSTON HEAD COACH Tom Penders On getting out to a 6-1 start to the season "The only thing that would be better would to be 7-0. They all count. It was a hard played game, and our kids responded well. As the game wore on, we got a little smoother. We weren't operating on all cylinders in the first half offensively, but we played well defensively. I told our players we were going to have to grind this one out. Mississippi Valley State has played a very tough schedule. They weren't going to come in here and fold. We had to go out and play well, defend well and rebound. It's a 40 minute game, and this team has been a lot stronger and cohesive in the second half in just about every game we've played this year. Sometimes it just takes some time to wear teams down.
On the long layoff between games before returning to action against the Delta Devils "I did expect a little rust. I just wanted to make sure we played with effort. I wasn't mad at halftime. We were up by nine and were only shooting 38% in the first half. The only thing I was unhappy about was that we took too many three's in the first half. In the second half, we were 5-of-9 from behind the arc and got the ball inside a lot more consistently. The officials also started calling the physical play in the post in the second half."
On Marcus Cousin "Marcus Cousin played a really solid game on both ends of the floor. He had 18 points, 9 rebounds, two blocks and an assist. I would love to see that line every night. We kept telling him that if he worked hard on his free throw shooting, teams would have to play him differently in the post. And he's worked very hard with Coach Jerry Hobbie. I have to give Coach Hobbie a lot of credit. I'm very happy for Cousin, he's a very hard worker. He lives in the building and in the weight room and I'm very happy to see him come on the way he has. About 15 games are decided at the foul line. We let a few games go last year because we let a few foul shots go. Hopefully this year it will bounce the other way, because a lot of games are decided at the foul line."
SENIOR CENTER Marcus Cousin On getting out to a 6-1 start on the season "All we want to do is get the win. What we we're really preparing for is Arizona and Memphis. We wanted to come out and play a lot of defense, box out and find the open man."
On the mismatch against him in the post "After I get the ball, when the double comes I pass it out for the three ball."
On the difference between this year and last year "I'm in better shape this year, I'm 100 percent and that has really helped."
FRESHMAN GUARD Desmond Wade On getting closer to a 10-assist performance "I keep getting close. Hopefully in one of these big games coming up, I will come out and get 10 assists."
On the game against Mississippi Valley State "We just wanted to come out and win this game to prepare for the big games like Iowa State and Arizona and get us geared up for the bigger games so we could creep up into the top 25. Coach Penders wanted us to do the little things that could prepare us for those big games."
On the long layoff between games
"We've been practicing hard all day. We are going to come in here slow, but when the big teams come in we are going to have to start off fast because there would be a good chance they could put us away early if we start off too slow. But, we will get it there."