Here's everything Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said after his team's 81-77 victory over Eastern Washington on Sunday night at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
(Opening) "I was really anxious to go play this game because we knew this was a really good basketball team, Eastern Washington. They didn’t prove any different than what we thought they were. They execute. They’re a confident bunch. They’re very poised, and they have a great belief that they can go out and win ball games, regardless of who they’re playing and where. And that’s special whenever you’re able to have those traits with a team. But our guys, again, I’m proud of them again. Through adversity, I thought we did a really good job. We pulled together and really, really gathered ourselves and had a great focus down the stretch in that game. We just kind of whittled away at their lead through defense and some guys hit some big shots. Robert Upshaw did a great job protecting the rim, then using his size to create problems on the offensive end. That’s a character win. UTEP, Long Beach State, this one. These are wins that when we play in our conference, we’ll be able to, again, draw from and gain confidence from.
(Concerted effort to get to FT line?) "They picked up three fouls very early. When Robert was in there, you could just see they were not flagrantly fouling, but ‘you’re going to have to make it from the free-throw line.’ Well, you foul him, OK, maybe he misses the free throws, but that’s another one toward the bonus, and you foul him again, he missed them, but now you’re closer to the bonus. And then we looked up, all of a sudden I think it was double-digit time left and we’re about to be in the bonus. We just told our team, ‘don’t take very many outside shots. If you’re going to take an outside shot, it’s off penetration and we shoot a rhythm 3. If not, get to the basket. Go inside.’ And I thought our guys did a marvelous job of that. We were able to continue to get to the foul line. And then Rob shot enough of them to where he found his rhythm.”
(Why go zone for a while in second half?) “At that time, they weren’t killing us offensively, but Shawn and Robert were in the game at the same time. And with their movement and their spacing and their multiple drivers, we felt maybe we can throw them off their rhythm a little bit and it will allow us to maybe make them pay on the other end by having Shawn and Robert in, because their tallest guy, Jois, was going to guard Robert, and then an even smaller guy may guard Shawn. We looked at playing zone a little bit so we could leave them in the game.”
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(Darin Johnson got more minutes?) “He just played within himself. I’ve seen Darin be even more aggressive offensively, but tonight he played a little bit not to make a mistake, which I don’t like guys doing, but he played safe. And he stayed in there and did a decent job defensively to where he was able to make a couple nice buckets for us.”
(Looked frustrated with team at times ...) “We made a couple of plays, uncharacteristic turnovers for this team. We’re averaging 11 turnovers a game. Like I said, they were unforced. Probably about five of our turnovers were just unforced, that we just hadn’t done (this season). Another testament to our guys’ resiliency. Just came back and kept trying to work. I thought down the stretch our guys really buckled down and played defense.”
(Upshaw going to have to shoot FTs better to be in game late?) “He was in at the end of the game tonight. He made most of his free throws down the stretch and you play games – obviously had a very bad start from the foul line tonight, but I think almost every tight game we’ve had, Robert has been in the game at the end of the game. It hasn’t hurt us one time at the foul line. I even remember against UTEP, they were going to do the hack-a-Shaq thing, and they were so busy trying to foul Robert, Nigel just kept driving to the basket, because they were trying to foul him. So we’re OK with that. What he does on the other end cancels that out. He protects the basket.”
(Different energy when Upshaw comes in?) “I don’t know. I think it’s a different look. Shawn gives a different look, Rob gives a different look. When they’re in together, that’s a different look. I think this team has just kind of embraced their roles, and just understands, OK, when we have this lineup in, this is what’s probably going to happen, and so on and so forth."
(Close to losing jacket tonight?) "I wasn’t close to losing my coat tonight. I was probably more disappointed in a couple of our decisions than I was the officiating, to tell you the truth.”