Here is everything Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said after his team’s 92-86 victory over Western Michigan on Sunday night at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
(Opening) “I thought we made more progress, and I’m not talking about the final score. I’m talking about the things that went into getting that victory. Got to tip my hat to Tucker (Haymond). Tucker’s been in our camps and been around since he was probably 7, 8 years old, so we know him very, very well. When a guy comes home like that, it’s almost like a rivalry game, you just don’t know what could happen. I think he was 3-for-18 from the 3-point line coming into this game – 17 percent – and he got a couple open looks early, and there he went. So he scores 20 in the first half, kept them in the game for sure. So great job by him. that team is a much better team than their 3-7 record would indicate. We watched film on them. We watched them play Villanova, a complete game. Villanova ended up winning the game, but they had cut it down four, six points against them. We knew they were a better team than their record indicated, and they showed that tonight. But I thought we gave a collective effort as a team and made a lot of good things happen for our team tonight.”
(On better defense in the final minutes) “Malik (Dime) did a great job protecting the basket. That really helped. We were kind of changing defenses down the stretch trying to keep them off balance and I think that helped. The way we guarded the ball screen down the stretch, we changed that a couple of times in the last few minutes, again, just to try to continue to give them different looks. We were comfortable doing it because that’s what we’ve been practicing. I talked a couple weeks ago about making some defensive adjustments, and I think they showed up tonight and helped us.”
(On trying to key on Tucker Haymond after a while) “After his first three we did. We just didn’t do it very well. We didn’t execute very well. I think he had four 3s at halftime … a couple times we went to help and then the rotation, we rotated too far and he got a good look there. We obviously did a much better job in the second half of defending him, but in that first half, he just got loose at us.”
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(On struggling to defend the perimeter) “We had a couple times we were in the zone, and we substituted, and when we substituted, two guys were kind of fighting for the same spot, kind of on the fly, and they hit two consecutive 3s at that point. It’s hard to see that if you don’t know our schemes, but it’s just that quick. They knocked a couple down. As we have adjusted and made some of these defensive adjustments, there were some breakdowns, and when there were those breakdowns, Western capitalized on it. We told our team before the game, they’re not going to hand us the game. We have to take it. And that’s a perfect example. We had breakdowns, they took advantage of it.”
(On whether UW can be successful if it continues to give up 86 points) “… We won’t. We have to cut that down. Our goals, because of the number of possessions that we have – I think we’re sixth in the country with possessions – we’re comfortable giving up 72 points. It’s more that we want to hold teams under 41 percent. We’re not doing either right now. Again, we have stretches where we did a fine job, but it wasn’t consistent enough. We just have to keep getting better at that.”
(On whether the last few minutes of the first half were disappointing) “It is. Against Nevada, I think they scored 15 in the last four minutes. So again, that’s something we, as a team, have to get better at. We had a lead against Nevada and then went in at halftime down. And here we had a comfortable lead and went into halftime up one. So we have to do better at finishing. Prior to that, again, I thought it was a longer stretch where we did what we were supposed to do. We’ve just got to keep adding to that, until we finally get it to where it’s complete and that’s just kind of how we play.”
(On UW’s transition defense) “At times, they threw over the top. It wasn’t as good. I’ve got to go back and look at the film to give you a more accurate answer. A couple times, guys tried to go get the ball after a rebound and we didn’t have it and they burned us down on the other end. You can’t give that up.”
(Were you aware Markelle was that close to a triple-double?) “No, I wasn’t. I didn’t know. I know now he had eight rebounds. We certainly didn’t take him out to prevent him from doing it. But I knew his assists were piling up. I knew he had five rebounds for a long time.”
(On settling on a rotation of eight players) “Each game is different. The nucleus of seven or eight is probably what will happen every game. But some games there may be nine or 10. But the rotation, what I would call a rotation, is not if someone plays five minutes. They’re playing double-digit minutes. But we definitely are more comfortable, regardless of who starts, (with) who’s in there. Dominic came in and really did a good job for us. He hit a big 3. He really played right. He helped us. And Carlos Johnson did a good job. So our perimeter is doing a good job that way.”