Here is most of what Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said after Washington’s 87-69 win over Cal State-Fullerton on Sunday night.
(Opening) “Well, this was the beginning of the eight-game homestand that we’ve been looking forward to having, and we came away with a victory. I thought Fullerton came out and had us on our heels with their quickness. We talked about their quickness for the last three days, but until you’re really in front of it sometimes, maybe you don’t get it. But I thought we adjusted. We began to guard better. Matisse, Dejounte, and Malik Dime, those guys, and then Andrew was busting his tail out there. started to get a lot of deflections and got our defense going, and made all the difference in the world.
(Seemed like you started flat?) “I would say that’s pretty accurate. I don’t know. The guy that knows that for sure would get paid a lot of money. I don’t know exactly why. You can come up with reasons. It was a little different here with the double-header. We warmed up upstairs instead of on the floor. Regardless – if you just pinned me down and said ‘come up with an excuse,’ I guess I can, but no excuses. You’ve got to come ready to play.”
(The difference?) “I just think we got down and defended. That’s what it always is with us – if we get down and guard. And we started to make them more uncomfortable and try to keep them in front of us a little bit. Malik was protecting the basket, and we got a lot of baskets in transition as a result of our defense. But that was the recipe to get it going. Just bear down on the defensive end.”
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(On the players having swagger) “I think we have that. I think at this point, I hope we don’t have to learn too many more lessons that sometimes right now that may be a detriment, because sometimes I feel like we think we can just walk out on the floor and it’s just going to happen our way. Because we haven’t played enough games where a game maybe we were supposed to win didn’t happen. So when we got down, I thought this was similar to Charlotte when we were in the Bahamas. We got down, started playing, same thing, guys started guarding, and there it was, the whole game changed. So hopefully again in a win, we can learn these lessons. We’re only going to be successful if we come out there and we’re getting after it on the defensive end.”
(Where are you at defensively?) “Not where we want to be. I think we conceptually understand, but it hasn’t become a habit yet with us. It has to become habitual, and once that happens, then I’ll be pleased that we’re making a lot of progress. But we have made progress in terms of knowing what we’re supposed to do. We just have to be able to react on the fly better.”
(What is Matisse Thybulle’s role in the offense?) “Matisse is a very good passer. He’s a good offensive rebounder. He’s worked and he hits the open shot. He’s shooting a pretty good percentage from the 3. He’s kind of an opportunist right now. He’s such a good athlete and so quick, he just kind of gets in there and has opportunities to make plays, and when he’s playing aggressively, he’s capable of doing that. But he came out, he hit some shots from the outside and you can just see his confidence grow. And when Matisse plays with confidence, he’s a different player.”
(Do you see his confidence coming along?) “Yeah, I do. I think it’s been a week-long coming now, he’s been making strides. I thought in the Bahamas, the Charlotte game, he started to make strides to start to play the way he’s capable of. He’s one of those guys that just has a huge upside. He’s just going to keep getting better and better.”
(Have any of your objectives changed?) “I think from Day 1 we’ve tried to lay a foundation of defense has to be our identity. In terms of the final number, we get a lot of rebounds, but we’re not dominating on the boards as much as we should. We have to do a better job of that. That’s something we talked about that we still haven’t got down. But no objective has changed. It’s the same from Day 1, what we wanted to accomplish from game to game and practice to practice.
(On Donaven Dorsey’s game) “I was very proud of Donaven, and you don’t look at the box score and see that he scored a lot of points, but Donaven competed. And he is the one guy other than ‘Drew that has game experience, and when he goes out there and competes, you look, he was in there for half the game because he went out there and competed.”
(On flat starts becoming a trend) “We’ll keep an eye on it. That can’t happen on Tuesday. It’s a good team we’re going to be playing against on Tuesday, so we have to come out ready to play. So we’ll see how we fare early.”
(On Malik Dime being a big who comes off the bench with no dropoff – you haven’t had that in a while) “We had one last year for a little while. But Malik plays with such energy and our guys feed off of Malik. Malik, he’s the most vocal guy on our team, and he plays with a lot of enthusiasm, and he makes plays sometimes that … our guys love him. He’s a great teammate. So when he makes these plays, it just charges everybody up. And he is a big part of what we do. A big part of what we do. He’s not intimidated by anything. He just goes out and plays.”
(On the turnover numbers) “Hopefully when you look at our number of possessions per game – it’s a little different than some others. You’re talking about a team that, some teams that are very, very deliberate that have 60-65 possessions a game and they commit 10 turnovers a game, well, that’s different. If we’re going 80, 85 possessions, there’s a lot more possessions in that game, so you may turn the ball over. Also, we play at a frantic pace, and when you do that, at times, mistakes are going to be made. Now, with that being said, our number is 13. We want to keep it under 13.”
(On TCU, Tuesday’s opponent) “They are an opportunistic offensive team. If the break is there, they will take it. If the break is not there, they will run halfcourt offense and they will execute. They will do a great job executing in their halfcourt, defensively. They won’t make many mistakes. You have to execute. If you don’t execute offensively, you won’t get a very good shot. So they’ll be very sound. So we’re going to have to be sound against TCU.”