Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar met with reporters for a few minutes on Friday morning to preview UW’s second-round NIT game at San Diego State on Monday night. Here is what he said.
(On being able to hold San Diego State to 36 points again, like last season) “That would be awesome if we could do that somehow, but this is a different year. They have a different team and we have a different team. They are an opportunistic fastbreak team. If they have the opportunity, they’re not going to slow it down, they’re going to take advantage of it., but we’re always trying to force the issue, trying to do that. They play a little differently than that.”
(On keeping SDSU off the glass) “You have to box out, because those guys are relentless on the boards. Their starting lineup right now, the smallest guy is 6-4, then they’re 6-6, 6-8, 6-9. They’re very long, athletic and ferocious on those offensive boards.”
(On the team being bought in to the NIT now) “Yeah, I think so. Just that start we had before was rough. It’s also finals week. We normally don’t schedule games during finals week in the fall quarter because we know how guys can be distracted. But whatever it was, I anticipate us coming out ready to play.”
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(On SDSU’s length making them so good defensively) “I think they do a good job fundamentally in their defensive scheme. I think the way they recruit, often times we’re in gyms and we’re recruiting the same guy, because they like that length and that athleticism. A guy like Winston Shepard, he’s been playing that system now four years. Skylar Spencer, he’s their all-time leading blocks leader. He’s been in that system for four years. They’ve got some guys that have been in that system and have played that defense and they know it like the back of their hand, and that makes them really good defensively.”
(On SDSU’s key players) “They have multiple guys that can make plays. Winston Shepard I think obviously is the catalyst. He’s a veteran, he’s a guy that makes big plays for them on the glass, on defense, on offense. Trey Kell is an outstanding guard. He can really play the game. Jeremy Hemsley was the freshman of the year in the Mountain West. He’s now coming off the bench, but they have a number of players who are capable of making baskets.”
(On forcing tempo or settling for a halfcourt game) “We’re going to always try to force tempo. But every time we don’t set a screen, if we don’t come off of a screen hard, if we don’t have the proper angle on a screen, if we drive to the basket half-heartedly and we’re not aggressive, it’ll be really rough for us to score. We have to make sure that we’re efficient on offense.”
(On seeing the future of the team with Andrew Andrews on the bench last game) “It’s always interesting – you think that, when a guy’s out, that ‘OK, this is what they’re going to look like,’ but when Andrew’s gone, there’s going to be an entirely different makeup in terms of who’s going to do what. There’s someone not averaging double-digits that will next year. Last year, Andrew averaged 15 points a game and he averaged 21 this year, so his role was even different. So guys will have different roles. So it’s hard to say, ‘this is what we’re going to look like, this is a sneak preview (for) when Andrew’s gone,’ because the team will just be a little different.”
(On SDSU being tough at home) “They’ve done quite well for a long, long time. I don’t know the exact numbers, but I think they’ve only lost 12 games in the last double-digit plus years or whatever. They just don’t lose there. … So they’ll do well, they have a lot of people there, they’re very comfortable playing in that place. The last time we played them, I thought we played them tough, and they pulled away at the end. But I thought we played them tough. We had a chance until the last two minutes of the game.”