Houston vs. UMass Postgame Quotes

Dec. 30, 2008

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2008-09 Houston Cougars Men's Basketball Postgame Quotes
Massachusetts Minutemen (5-7 * 0-0 A-10) at Houston Cougars (8-2 * 0-0 C-USA)
Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008 * Hofheinz Pavilion * Houston, Texas

On the story of the game for Coach Penders
"We're trying like crazy to develop a bench. There's a lot of ways to do that. You can experiment and run guys in and out and you could lose a few games doing that. Or, give them quality time by giving them quality time that they earn in practice. DaShaun Williams didn't play the point at all for us last year but he's been working very hard to be the backup point guard. Zamal Nixon is a very talented kid. He's been playing a combo - point and two guard. I was really happy he closed out the game strong. It gives me a good feeling going into these next few ball games that we have some depth. We have more depth up front, but I didn't want to mess around with it today. I wanted to keep the momentum and see if we could close a team out. We just didn't let them breathe. We didn't let them back into the game. Our defense was really strong."

On the fight the Cougars showed against Umass
"I don't think we fought the other night. Maybe it was Christmasitis, I have no idea what it was. We had a great win up in Toledo. They were a tough team and they had a week to prepare. We really fought up there. We have had a lot of fight and scrap, but we didn't have that the other night. I don't know what that was due too, but you will have a few games like that throughout the season. Usually you get hammered and get blown out. We didn't get blown out. We were mad. The team was really mad. We didn't talk about it until yesterday. You come out to play, but the team that comes out to fight usually wins. I guess it's impossible to do that every night. I don't know what it is."



On the game against Umass
"That was a very good UMass team that we dismantled. Defensively, we took them out of their stuff. We put on a clinic offensively. We moved the ball, only had eight turnovers and blocked seven shots. All of those stats are great. It was an effort game. We left it all out there. Our next game is at Mississippi State, so it doesn't get any easier. It will be a big game, and we're going to have to play every bit as well as we did tonight to be in the game."

On Kelvin Lewis
"We had a lot of good performances from a lot of different guys. Kelvin Lewis had a tough assignment. He had (Ricky Harris) who averages 21 points per game. All of the magazines had him and (Chris) Lowe as one of the best backcourts in the country. I don't argue with that. Last year, they tore us apart up at UMass. Kelvin just didn't let them breathe. When your leading scorer is able to shut down their leading scorer it's good. He let the game come to him. He wasn't as frantic. He's such a coachable kid. He's come a long way from last year, he's really developed.

HOUSTON FORWARD Qa'rraan Calhoun
On his big game against UMass
"Hopefully, I'll be able to do this every night now. I don't really care about the points. I just want to win and make the tournament. That's all I care about. I want to make the tournament."

On the Cougars never letting up against Umass
"We just came out with more fight today. We didn't really have any fight on Sunday. Coach (Penders) just told us to come out with fight and intensity."

On looking more relaxed on the court against UMass
"I try to stay relaxed out there. I try to let the game come to me.

On the game
"Anytime you let a team go on a 9-0 run, and you are down at the half, it is not really what you are looking for. They (Houston) actually made a lot of tough shots today and they played a great game. They pushed it when they had the opportunity, and if it wasn't there, they didn't make bad, quick shots. They also did a great job defensively. The post gives them the presence they haven't had in the past. He can block shots and does a good job of really solidifying the defense. They look more athletic, they were quicker to the ball and they looked like the better team today."

On the second half of the game
"We were still in the game to start the second half and we can't come out and let them do exactly what they did. It was unacceptable. Houston played a great game today, probably the best game of all the games I have seen on tape. Their two wings were fantastic and their two big guys were great. Their point guard came in when their guy was in foul trouble and did exactly what was needed."

On the shots made by Houston
"They did a great job of beating us on the boards, or at least making it look like that. I thought they dominated the boards when it was pretty close. They made a lot of shots tonight. We have had some games coming up to this point where we made shots and you get on a little roll and you are confident. They played with supreme confidence this afternoon and we may have wavered at times."

On Qa'rraan Calhoun and Aubrey Coleman
"Calhoun spread the floor for them, and he made shots and played by far his best game of the year. There is something you are going to have to give up when those guys are penetrating, and were going to get to them, but we had to give them a little space, but he was knocking down threes and really spread the floor for them. Aubrey Coleman was also good in the transition. They all played their roles well and did exactly what they needed to do to win."

On the second half
"They didn't put us in a very good position coming out. We were down by 10 at the half, and we wanted to go on a run of our own, but they just kept going on runs."

On the transition game by Kelvin Lewis
"They are a great team. After we scored, they would get the ball out fast. They were tough to guard, and they made it difficult for us to put together a string of points and make a run for us to come back."

On looking past the loss
"We have to forget about this game fast. We have another big game on Saturday against Vanderbilt. It is pretty discouraging, especially after winning four-straight, and then come here and take a loss like this. We have to keep our spirits high and try not to get down on ourselves. We will have to come ready to play on Saturday for a big game before conference starts."

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