Here’s what Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said after Washington’s wild, 107-102 victory over Long Beach State in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament on Tuesday night at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
(Opening) “I don’t know if any of you watched Long Beach State vs. Hawaii in their conference tournament championship, but if one thing down the stretch goes differently, Long Beach State is playing in the NCAA tournament. That is an NCAA tournament-caliber team. We’ve played Long Beach a couple of times over the years and it seems to always be a tight game when we’ve played against them. They do a good job. But our guys, after we came out pretty sluggish, I thought realized that if we didn’t get going, we were going to be going home for the summer and we weren’t going to be playing. Just came in and started really playing hard, playing with more energy. Once our energy level got up, the game was changed.”
(On finding energy and playing better) “... I also think we were looking for a combination of five guys that were going to play wide-eyed, five guys that were going to be down in a stance, ready, playing with energy, and I think we finally had a combination of guys doing that.”
(Was it bad defense? Good offense?) “You would count it as bad defense, but I say lack of effort on defense, and those guys can score the ball. But early on, I just didn’t think our effort was there. I thought we had a poor effort. Once our effort was at the proper level, things began to change.”
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(Moment when it started to click?) “I can’t tell you the moment, but I just know it was in the latter part of the first half, is when we cut that lead down to five, and that’s when we kind of recovered, so to speak.”
(Technical foul in the first half?) “I threw a tad bit of a small mini-fit. So I got a technical.”
(Did you want it?) “Wasn’t totally opposed.”
(Why is that?) “I just ... again, fighting for our guys.”
(But why did you want the technical? You thought it would be helpful?) “If they thought that I was really upset, then that was a good observation.”
(On the plan against Justin Bibbins) “... Even if he penetrated, stay with him and not help, not leave the other guys, because he’s very good at getting in the lane and finding people … When I say we came out a little sluggish, maybe even more mentally, because we were leaving guys and trying to stop him, where we felt or size could bother him. He ended up with seven turnovers, so we did a better job later in the game. Just his penetration. He’s a heady little player.”
(On the difference between this game and other close games they’ve lost) “We got stops down the stretch and made shots. Down the stretch, took care of the ball.”
(On what a high-scoring game like that means) “It means we get to play again. That’s how I saw it. We can work on whatever in the week, but right now, it means we get to play another game.”
(On four fouls against 3-point shooters) “We talked a lot about their ability to knock the 3-ball down, and subconsciously, maybe we were just a little overzealous and got too close.”