Men's Basketball vs. UConn Postgame Quotes

Dec. 31, 2013

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Opening Statement
“Really proud of our guys. We beat an outstanding basketball team. They’re ranked anywhere from 15 to 17, but they’re top 10.  I’m so proud of our team. We have great respect for their program, players and coaches. It’s very difficult to take over for a legend like coach (Jim) Calhoun. (Kevin Ollie) He’s done a remarkable job, and he’s got two great guards. They were sensational tonight. But having said that we’ve got good players, and our guys played hard. They played as a team, and they competed. We didn’t play great for a full 40 minutes, but the first half was as well as we’ve played in a long time. We talked the entire portion of halftime about that being the most insignificant stat there is: the halftime score. We knew they would make a run, but we didn’t want them to make a run to let them take the go-ahead three. Then down the stretch we had a lot of guys make plays. It took a total team effort. Really proud of our guys. We beat an outstanding team. I was pleased with the fan support that we had. Happy that we’re 1-0 in the league.”

On Jherrod Stiggers’ game tying three-pointer
“He has great confidence. He has the ability to hit big shots. He’s hit them before. The one thing I’ll say about him is he believes every shot is going in. He’s never met many shots that he didn’t like, but one of the things he has done is he’s really improved his shot selection. We want him to shoot the basketball, and he has really matured in two areas. One is knowing what is a good shot and the second thing is going hard on the drive. And another thing I’ll say is he was on everybody in the huddle in the second half. He’s a competitor.”

On if the team did anything different to prepare for it
“No we really didn’t. Everyone knows that when conference season starts the intensity level rises.  If you can’t get excited about playing for the University of Houston, which is a great university; a tradition rich program; you’re playing a program like Connecticut; this is what you come to college for. Our guys were ready. What we have to do is sustain that better in the second half. I was concerned about coming out and playing flat in the second half, which we have done. They’re going to make a run, but we let up a little bit defensively, and (UConn’s Shabazz) Napier got hot. He got open, and he got loose. We let him loose too much.” 

On getting a big win over a top team in the conference
“We’re going to build on it. What I told the guys tonight is they deserve the opportunity to enjoy it. We’re going to enjoy it for 24 hours, but once we come back to work we have to put that behind us. We’ll build on the good things that we did, we’ll correct our mistakes, and then we have to get ready for South Florida.” 


On the three that tied the game
“I knew TaShawn (Thomas) was going to drive and kick it out, and I knew I was going to shoot it, but I didn’t know was going to have to double clutch it because he hit my arm a little bit. It was a big moment. It felt good, but I knew I had to get back and play defense.”


On making free throws
“Those were the biggest free throws of my life, because one, I couldn’t see; I got hit in the eye two plays before, and two if I made them it was going to put us in a good place. They called a timeout right before I went to the line, and it helped me out because I was able to recover. Jherrod (Stiggers) just kept telling me I better get it right and make the last two free throws.”


On getting points down the stretch
“All the points came from my teammates. The three-pointer was, because they were double teaming TaShawn. I just took it, and I made it.”



Opening Statement
“Once again we got down by a big margin. We have to play. We weren’t ready to play, and that’s my fault. I’ll try to find some tough guys, but what we’re showing now; we get down, and then that’s when we start playing. We play in spurts, and I’ve been telling y’all that this whole season. We can’t play in spurts, because we’re not good enough. They get 36 points from their bench, which really hurt us. They came in and played, and they beat us in every area. Coach (James) Dickey had his team ready to play. We knew that. I was telling the guys we’re going to get everybody’s best punch. They have to understand that. They didn’t understand that, and then we got down, and then we tried to start playing. That’s our story. We have to pull ourselves out of this pit right now, and try to win one at SMU, and go get a victory, and try to get one on this road trip. We have to leave this one in the past, and I’m going to look at the tape, and we’re going to go back to work.”

On what he told the team at halftime
“I didn’t tell them anything. I told them you have to play with heart. My best player has to set the tone, and he has to come out and play. He can’t have two points. DeAndre Daniels has to play. Our starters have to play. That’s why I changed the starting lineup. We have to figure out something. That’s my job as a coach to figure it out.” 

On if he thought the long three from Shabaaz Napier was a good shot since he had been hot
“No I want him to go to the basket. I know he got the last one blocked, but I’d rather take that, and have the opportunity to get an offensive rebound. The kid was huge for us in the game. He was hot. At that end take it to the basket. He was getting to the free throw line.”

On Houston forward TaShawn Thomas
“They did a disservice to him because he’s not a second-team player. He’s a first team in my book. He’s absolutely a great player. He’s hungry. He wants the basketball. Never complains, and just goes out there and plays hard. I want players like that.”




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