Here is much of what Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said after UW’s 92-62 win over Montana on Saturday night.
(Opening) “I’ll be the first to admit that I did not see that coming. I have a lot of respect for the Montana program and Coach (Travis) DeCuire, Coach (Ken) Bone and their staff, Martin Breunig, all of them. We just watched them play Gonzaga and we were prepared to play a tough game down to the wire. We felt that’s what it was going to be. But give our guys a lot of credit. We came out ready to play from the outset. We took care of the ball early, and just played right early. So I’m excited that we were able to get that done. That Montana team is a really good basketball team.”
(On making sure freshmen don’t play too over-the-top, i.e. alley-oop off the backboard) “You know what, this team has been pretty good that way in terms of being workmanlike, business-like. It’s something, you throw it off the board and the guy scores it. I wouldn’t say that would be something we practice. Put it like that. But they’re young kids, and it’s just something you work through. My first thought was to just call a timeout and make sure we understand how we’re supposed to handle those situations, but I thought about doing it another way, talk about it a different way. I was probably more – well, we shouldn’t hang on the rim and get technicals, but Marquese played his heart out and played very hard and did a fantastic job, and again, those guys are out there working hard, and what we’ve told them before is you don’t go out on the floor to have fun. You work your tail off, and when you do, fun will be a byproduct. That’s what our guys did. I’m not going to get on all of our guys about that situation based on how we handled the whole game, and how we’ve handled our season up to this point.”
(On Marquese Chriss learning to stay out of foul trouble) “He’s learning. Again, a freshman. Marquese started playing organized basketball in the ninth grade, and he’s a freshman here. Just like anyone else, he has to learn. And to his credit, he came out and didn’t foul. You could even see there were a couple times early that he would have fouled, but he showed the officials his hands and said hey, I’m not touching him. That’s a level of maturity on his part. So we’ve got to give him a lot of credit for that.”
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(On the plan against Martin Breunig) “Our guys did a good job. Obviously, Martin got in foul trouble, but Noah I think drew two of those. Noah is a very crafty and smart defender, and that’s two fouls toward the five that were out there. our guys paid close attention to him. I think maybe as important as Noah was doing the job he did, I think Malik Dime on the back side helped. There were a few times Martin had good opportunities that he usually scores in the other games that I’ve watched, regardless of who he’s playing against, and again, he almost single-handedly beat Cal last year at Cal. So he’s certainly capable of doing that against anyone, against any front line, but Malik Dime was behind there and blocked a few, I thought, and just made his presence felt, to just throw the timing of Martin off a little bit.”
(On Breunig getting frustrated) “There’s not many that wouldn’t get frustrated if something like that happened where you pick up some fouls that I’m sure in his mind he didn’t think maybe they were fouls. It can be frustrating at that point. But I’m going to say it again and I’ve said it before – I can’t be more proud of a guy that was here and not here anymore as I am of Martin. I’ll pull for that guy forever, because he’s a great kid, and he’s doing extremely well.”
(On what they do to create energy at the start) “Coach (Daniel) Shapiro came to me and I mentioned this a little earlier, he came to me with the idea of meeting with our guys for a longer scout up on the board, first thing. Before, and for years, and just about everybody does it, you go out, you warm up, you get your warmups in, then you meet with your scout, then you go back out, and it’s kind of a hot, cold. You get hot, cold. Well now, the way we do it, our guys are cold in the beginning, then once they’re hot and loose and warm, they don’t come in and sit down for very long after that. That may have something to do with it. But I also think that this group loves to play basketball. And they love to play basketball with each other. The game is fun to them and it’s fun to watch their teammates and watch each other be successful, and I think that has a lot to do with guys coming out with that fire and wanting to play.”
(On Marquese Chriss getting stepped on) “I didn’t see it. I did not see it. But the way he came off the court, he’s come off the court twice this year that way, this time and then in an earlier game we had where they did not call a flagrant and when we watched the film, it was obvious a guy stepped on his head, so I kind of believed him.”
(On the emphasis going forward) “Well, just overall getting better. They still had 17 offensive rebounds. We still have to do a better job of boxing out. We do a good job of attacking the glass ourselves, but we still have to prepare for the game that a team does not turn the ball over, where they’re going to turn the ball over 10 times in the game, and offensively we’re just not going to be able to get easy baskets. We’re going to have to get that ball reversed. We still have to prepare for that, for when that day comes, and it’s going to come. Those are the things we have to continue to get better at. We focused on December being an important month for us to try to get as good as we can possibly get before league. I like our progression. I think we’re making good progress. But we still have a ways to go to get to a point where we can go in conference and compete at a high level.”