HOUSTON HEAD COACH Kelvin Sampson
“Liberty really played well, the first half especially shooting the ball. We knew they were going to come in here and try to control the tempo. Their game plan was to shoot in the last five seconds of the shot clock. That’s a little bit dicey sometimes but they were making a bunch of threes at the end of the shot clock and then we made some bonehead plays by fouling shooters at the end of the shot clock.
I didn’t think our ball movement was great and I didn’t think our defensive intensity was great but you know there are two halves. The last 10 minutes is about as good as we can play on both ends. We defended well, we rebounded well, we moved the ball well, and we got good shots. When we play both ends and we get five guys playing hard, whatever five that is, I think we can be a good team, I really do. ”
On the defensive changes after halftime
“I didn’t think our zone was that bad, they were making some tough shots. We still got to work on our zone, we just haven’t been running it that long. But when went to our small line up we were switching with a lot of screens and I think that really helped us because it kept the ball out of the paint.
A lot of their threes came from defensive mistakes and defensive break downs. We are going for a shot fake for no reason, were going by that guy and somebody had to help when they kick it out for a three. You just don’t do that. Our defensive discipline has got to get better. ”
On moments that help the team gain momentum
“You could tell the fans made a difference tonight. We had that comeback and we started making shots. That’s why it’s so important we get a great crowd in here to Hofheinz. I encourage people, come support this team. We’ve got a good team. Come watch them play. Come make a difference.
You know we go to these arenas and play in front of huge crowds at Arkansas, huge crowds at LSU and I’m sure it will be a sold out crowd at Connecticut. But you know we’ve got a good team and another factor tonight was that we got really, really solid point guard play. You know Galen (Robinson)’s numbers look good with six assists and no turnovers but I thought he played better than that. He played very mature, at no point in time did I ever see him get up or down. He just stayed solid, which we needed. He’s been working on his composure and poise and when things were going a little bit sideways tonight and they kept making shots; I just thought his composure was good, which at that position is critical.”
On Devin Davis' injury
“He has a foot issue, nothing to do with bones, it’s just an irritation in his foot and they are going to hold him out because this is a good time to get him healthy. He is almost day-to-day and he’s not going to play Saturday for sure. Some people would say ‘well after Christmas break..’, but we don’t have a Christmas break. We practice Christmas night and then leave the 26th, practice the 27th and then play the 28th and then we are on the road until the 31st. Our break is about 20 hours long.”
HOUSTON SOPHOMORE GUARD Galen Robinson Jr.
On his growth
“Coach preaches that he would rather me be solid than a rollercoaster that goes up and down. I’ve been trying to work on it every day. The good thing is that he notices my hard work.”
On Liberty shooting
“Whenever we ask Coach a question, it’s always one answer, ‘Play harder, there’s always another notch you can go to.’”
HOUSTON SENIOR GUARD Damyean Dotson
“Like Coach always says at the beginning of the game, you have to find a way to play defense like the last ten minutes for 40 minutes. At least get an effort to try and do it. We are still working on it. We are trying keep out intensity up. It’s a huge focus, we try to play 40 minutes of great defense. You have to start somewhere.”
On Liberty shooting
“Like Coach said, they hit some tough ones on the close out. They had the roll in, we helped too much and they threw it to the 3 man and they were hitting shots. They were dribbling it, penetration and kicking it the open shooter. The second half they didn’t make as many. We have to be more discipline on the ball, guard the dribbling, keep the ball on the paint and kick it out.”
On new move
“You catch the ball on the run, I worked on it before practice. The middle was open today. I was catching and driving it.”