Below is everything Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said about his team's 66-57 victory over Tulane on Monday night at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. Lots of talk about mental fatigue after playing two games in three days.
(Opening) “Give Tulane a lot of credit for being discipline, trying to execute to the best of their ability. They challenged us. I would not want to take anything at all from Tulane, but I think we’ve played 11 games, and I think this may be the first one where we just weren’t ourselves. We turned the ball over far too many times. We just weren’t ourselves. A lot of balls we had in our hands, we couldn’t hold onto them. But we were able to still survive. It’s been a long – and I’m not making excuses – but it’s been a long couple of weeks when we talk about finals, different practice times, like I talked about before. More recent, travel, trying to get up. I think our guys have done a good job of being focused for every game.
"We know that tomorrow, we’re off for a couple of days. We would have liked to have taken a couple of days off if we could have these last two weeks with everything going on, but other than the one week when we had finals, kind of the nature of the schedule, you’re playing every three days or so, and we couldn’t really practice the way we like to practice, and it really showed. We were playing on offensive fumes tonight, and a little bit like that against Oklahoma. Lot of slippage offensively. A lot of things we need to shore up. You can bet we’re going to work on boxing out when we start practicing. But we’ll get back on the 26th. Our guys will be fresh with a couple of days off. … We will be able to get back playing the way we know we’re capable of. But in spite of it all, I’m still proud of our team to accomplish what we’ve accomplished at this point. I’m not going to let our performance tonight take away from that.”
(On Jernard Jarreau’s first half) “Jernard was really good. He was assisting. He was rebounding. He was playing very well. Let me say – Jernard Jarreau’s complete arsenal was on display in that first half. That’s why he is so valuable. That’s why we missed him so much last year. You watch the Oklahoma game and the things that he does. He’s a facilitator at 6-foot-10. He just makes plays. He blocks shots. He blocked three shots last game, he blocked two more tonight. It’s just unfortunate he picked up those fouls.”
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(What do you attribute the turnovers to?) “… Mentally, we tried. I don’t think we went out there … we weren’t loafing. I don’t think we overlooked anybody. I don’t think it was like that at all. I just think after so long – I’m telling you, we will look, when you get to that … sixth day consecutively that you’ve practiced and played games, your antennas go up. Look for slippage. We’ve had a day off here, a day off there. But I think that’s what it was. I really do, because we’ve not done that all year. If that had been a pattern, like this giving up too many offensive rebounds thing – that’s a pattern. We’ve got to fix that. But what happened tonight, it was so uncharacteristic. We’ve been averaging 11 turnovers a game. So uncharacteristic of our team. I just think we need a break. The break is coming at a very timely time.”
(Did you expect an 11-0 start?) “Like I said, I never expect to go out and say how many games we’re going to lose. You expect to win every one. I’m just proud of our team, the way it has come together so far, with one nonconference game to go. After we play Stony Brook, we can put this nonconference thing to the side and say, ‘hey, this is what we were able to accomplish.’ Again, that’s why I’m not going to let the way we played tonight interfere and disrupt what we’ve been able to do in this nonconference season so far. Because by and large, the big body of work, I think our guys have done a nice job. I will say this too – what’s great about this team is in spite of the turnovers, in spite of giving up too many rebounds, they shot 31.7 percent. And the defense again was able to sustain us. We preach that and preach that – that if we will guard, we can weather the storm when things aren’t going well offensively. And that’s what we did again tonight.”
(Can mental fatigue like that help you later in the season?) “See, that’s why you’re a journalist – you came up with those words I’ve been looking for. ‘Mental fatigue.’ I think we experienced mental fatigue right there. I was so excited about those words I forgot the rest of your question.”
(Can it help you later in the season?) “Yeah, but again, the schedule coming up now, every now and then we’ll have a Wednesday-Sunday. We’ll have a Wednesday game and we’ve got to fly back to get to class the next morning, and then we leave again on Saturday and play on Sunday. We have one or two of those. That’ll be the situation more like this that maybe we can draw from. But that’s the only thing – we don’t have exams, we don’t have other things going on that can create that mental fatigue.”
(Any similarities between this team and 2005-06 team that started 11-0?) “I don’t think so. I think they’re two different makeups. I’ve always said if there’s any team this team would be like, it would be more like the 2009 team, but then the 2009 team didn’t have a guy in the middle like Robert Upshaw. I think this team is more unique than any other team. It has its own identity. I don’t know if we can compare it to any other team.”
(Any superstitions?) “Not I. I don’t do the superstitious thing. If I’m superstitious about anything, it’s going to be getting in there and working on boxing out when we get back. I’m superstitious about that. We need to box out. We need to get our offensive precision back. We don’t have that right now. Like I said, we’re playing on offensive fumes. In terms of doing things to continue to maybe keep this going, I look at it as things we’ve got to get better at.”
(On the Dawg Pack and some former members in attendance) “… Some oldies but goodies up there. and they were – right from the beginning, I said, ‘whoa, whoa, wait, I’ve heard this before.’ They did a great job.”