Here's what coaches and players had to say after tonight's game:
UW coach Lorenzo RomarOverview) "People asked, ‘Do you think we will score 100 on this team here?’ and I said, ‘No way will we score 100 on this team.’ That game was close to what I expected. Out of all the times we played Portland, and over the years, last year I thought was the first time we were able to distance ourselves from them. The other games have been really close, including a win at their place. So, this was more of a game that I expected.
They are a good team. I think they played Kentucky earlier in the year, where it seemed like they were a bit overwhelmed at that time of the year. But then they go to WSU and they cut it back to one – like they came back tonight. They came back to one. They go into Montana and beat Montana who turns around and beats UCLA there. That’s a good team. I would imagine that they are going to do a really good job in their conference. Luke Sikma is a really good basketball player. It’s been really fun watching him grow and develop. But with that being said, I thought that our guys did a really good job when they came back and made their run – bumping down and doing a better job defensively. I thought our guys shared the ball again very well tonight. We had 20 assists with nine turnovers. It’s just good to see that. Isaiah Thomas was a warrior tonight. He leads us in rebounds with seven. He chased, Jared Stohl, who is a tremendousshooter and they run a lot of stuff for him. He chased him all night and I thought did a good job. And then he went out and scored 20 points himself. Man he was a real warrior, as well as Justin Holiday. Justin Holiday, along with Darnell Gant, guarded Luke Sikma the entire game.
On the second half when Portland made a run) It was great. It would be great if we could win every game by 30 points, but that’s not reality. We were in a position tonight where we are going to be. We are going to be in this position a lot more coming up and we were able to be there. We haven’t been there, the two games in Maui were really close. This time we had a lead and we had to protect the lead. We made some mistakes in doing that, but because we are here, we are going to be able to learn from it. So it was a great situation. Would you have said, ‘Would you rather preferred to win by 30 or40? No.’ I like what he had to do in this game and what we learned about ourselves.
Justin HolidayOn whether scoring under 100-points is a disappointment) For me, personally, I don’t really think about how many points we score. As long as we win, I’m happy.
On whether they liked being tested in the second half) I don’t know if I’d say I like it. It would’ve been better if we’d just kept them down and not let them come back at all. It’s good for us to be in a situation like that, to be able to handle a team like that and keep them out and keep them from winning.
On when he was intentionally fouled) I tried to go up and he fouled me. I think it was bad on my part to try to go up on one foot. It could kind of be on me. I knew he was going to foul me but, hey, he fouled me and I fell.
Isaiah ThomasOn his feelings when Holiday was intentionally fouled Anybody who hits my teammate like that, I’m not too happy. It doesn’t seem like he was trying to hurt him, but it was a hard foul and it happens.
On how several UW players contributed to the win) We’ve kind of been like that all season. Like I’ve said, we’ve got a lot of weapons. If one guy’snot doing the job, somebody else can come in and do it. A lot of people stepped up today when we needed it and we played real well.
On whether they strive to win by double digits) That’s what we want. As players, we want to win by as much as we can but, I mean, we don’t come into the game saying we need to win by 20 or 30. We just play the right way and the outcome is whatever it is.
On whether they’re excited for a test playing on the road at Texas A&M Saturday) Definitely. We’ll see how mature we are. Away games are big because it seems like the refs are against you and the crowd is against you. You want to do whatever you can to get the win. Texas A&M is a great team and we just have to be ready from the tip-off.
Portland Coach Eric RevenoOverview "Washington is tough to play because they are just so dangerous on defense. Every turnover you have is so important because they shoot the ball so well. You have got to be aggressive, because if you sit backon your heels, then they will just keep making shots and building their lead. You have to come out, shoot the ball and be aggressive, and that is what we tried to do.The importance of momentum and clock management against UW) It is huge. That is why I was using my timeouts a lot more liberally then I wanted to. I was trying to buy one near the end of the game. You have got to manage the clock and talk to guys to make sure your players know they are OK out on the court. Luckily for us, we can shoot the ball well and that allowed us to stay in the game. It is really hard to slow them down and to stop them from getting possessions. The biggest disappointment for me was the amount of baskets they scored after makes in the first half. They were scoring against anything. I mean it didn’t matter if we were in man or zone. They were scoring at a rate nobody would like.
The difference with this Washington team is that anybody can really score the ball. You can’t lie off of a shooter or the post and expect to stop them, because they can score from anywhere. The biggest challenge is that we defend really well for a possession, and then they hit a three. We usually do that to teams, but people know who are three point shooters are and they can stop them. With Washington it can be anyone.
I have really been impressed with not only Washington’s athleticism, but with their fundamental defense. They just get after you and play so hard that with so many athletic guys it just tires you out after time.
To me it begs the question, is this the best Washington team I have ever seen? I don’t know, and I’m not the one to judge. The season will tell, but boy they are really good. With their shooting ability it really causes problems for other teams.
On compared to Kentucky) Washington seems more mature, and less likely to have ups and downs throughout the season. They seem more solid because of veterans. Kentucky has a scary group of young guys, but Washington has veteran guys who really understand the system and are playing really well.