Here is everything Huskies men’s basketball coach Lorenzo Romar said after Washington’s 77-61 victory over Cal Poly on Tuesday night at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
(Opening) “It’s good to see our team go out and play right tonight. I thought we had to adjust to how we wanted to defend this team. That’s a very unique style of play that Cal Poly has and you just don’t see that very often. We talked about some adjustments we would have to make to be able to defend them, and we didn’t do a good enough job in the first half of executing that. In the second half, we did as good of a job as I think you could in guarding what they wanted to do. So I give our guys a lot of credit for that, with a two-day turnaround, preparing for what they brought, it’s just difficult. But our guys did a good job.”
(What did you remind your team of at halftime?) “Two things – one is we were losing the shooters. It’s just a habit. When there’s penetration, you begin to rotate and go where you’re supposed to help. With this team, we didn’t want to help. We wanted to stay home. We felt our guards were bigger. We felt if they drove to the rim, the guy guarding them could contest the shot. We wanted to keep our big guy home and help him contest the shot. That’s what we tried to do. But we’d get caught looking to see where that drive was going, and they’re well-drilled in circling behind the ball and where the guy was when you turned around is not where he is when you look back. You look back to see if he’s still there and now he’s relocated somewhere else. We were getting beat that way. In the second half, we didn’t give into that temptation. We just stayed home with the guy and let whoever was guarding, even when there was penetration, stay home with that guy.”
(Most complete defensive game of the season?) “No question. No question. No doubt.”
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(On going with a four-guard lineup) “Unfortunately for some of the guys that didn’t play as much, when you play against that team, they move you around so much that we decided to just go small. We went with a smaller lineup so we could guard them. With the bigger lineup, we thought about going zone. We’ve been playing a lot of zone. But we felt we could really smother them if we just executed the right way, and in order to do that, defensively, we stayed with the small guys so that we could stay in front of them.”
(On what led to some of the defensive breakdowns in the first half) “They weren’t as much breakdowns as much as we just weren’t detailed enough. One foot more, we’re there to contest that shot, and we just weren’t there. And again, it’s hard to break a habit in one day. We just played Sunday and yesterday we went over some other stuff in case we zoned and today we tried to cover it and its just hard to break those habits in one day, but our guys did it a lot better in terms of execution in the second half.”
(Reflection of a lot of defensive practice time?) “There’s no question. You’ve heard me say before and I hope this is the case, we have a whole bunch more games to play. But you plant a seed under the soil and you keep driving by, you don’t see anything above the soil, it’s just flat. But there’s something going on under there, and all of a sudden it breaks through and blossoms. Hopefully that’s what our defense will be like. In the last few weeks we’ve been really addressing it, addressing a lot of different things on that end. We haven’t totally seen the results, but we’ve seen some progress, and tonight I think we made even more progress.”
(Was it by design to have Noah Dickerson guarding the ball so much?) “Yeah. We did not want them to get in a situation where they were turning this corner with a ball screen. That’s what happened in the first half a little bit. He wasn’t switching on the guard. And then once he turns and the guy rotates, here we go, now they’re getting open. So we just decided we’re just going to switch it and you stay home. They may have thrown the ball inside five times max. They weren’t playing inside. They were playing outside. So we wanted to make sure we constantly had someone on the ball and not let them get any room.”
(On David Crisp playing better recently) “Playing with a lot of confidence and playing right. Growing up. Maturing. That’s what I see.”
(On turnovers in the first half) “Just getting ahead of ourselves. Playing in a hurry. Like Coach Wooden would always say, be quick but don’t hurry. We were hurrying, and for a lot of our turnovers, I think that was the case, just trying to go too quick, too fast. And I didn’t mention this, at halftime, we talked about taking our time, getting the ball reversed from side to side. And we did that a lot more in the second half and we got great, great looks at the basket as a result.”
(More on using one big guy instead of two) “If we would have stayed with two big guys … they were moving around on the perimeter the entire time. So you had one guy guardint he guard on a switch. If you have that other guy now, another big in there, they just keep getting these guys in situations where they’re covering little guards running around, and they spread you out and eventually they get a 3. We watched them play a couple of other teams that had two big guys playing at the same time, and they got great shots off of it. We did not want to give that up. If you go to the other end, we’re making a two, because we go inside to our big guy, and then they’re getting a 3. We get another two, they get another 3. We had to take the 3s away. Forty-one percent of their offense comes from 3-pointers. So we felt if we took that way, whatever the case was, regardless of how we had to do it, it would help our cause. Coach Callero has done a good job with that team and they just know what they’re doing in that system.”
(On attacking Cal Poly’s zone) “We started to put guards in the middle of the zone in the second half a lot more. That’s another advantage of when we went small. We had four playmakers on the floor at all times. Noah and Malik were able to operate down low, Noah played the majority of the minutes and those four guys were making plays on the perimeter, moving their defense around, and that really helped us, as well.”
(On Thursday game vs. Seattle University) “That’s not going to be an easy game for us at all. We’re away from our building. Yeah, we’re playing in Seattle, but it’s away from our building. They play a lot like, not in terms of style but in terms of possessions, a moderate pace. It won’t be a neck-breaking pace in that game. They’ve played us tough over the years, very tough. They’ve been up double digits on us, so it’s going to be a tough challenge for us.”
(On tonight’s game being good preparation for that) “Oh yeah, definitely. We couldn’t just run up and down the floor tonight, and that helped. I thought again in the second half our guys did a good job adjusting, playing that way.”