Huskies Insider Blog

Lorenzo Romar on exhibition victory: ‘I loved our guys’ effort’

Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar spoke with reporters after his team’s 98-80 exhibition victory over Seattle Pacific on Thursday night. Here’s most of what he said:

(Opening) “I’ll say, it was tough – we didn’t accomplish it. We didn’t get 10 new guys to play mistake-free basketball. We weren’t able to do it tonight. We had a lot of mistakes. But I loved their effort. I loved our guys’ effort, I loved our guys’ unselfishness. We were able to sustain our defensive effort for longer periods than I thought we would be tonight. Seattle Pacific is such a great team to paly because they run their offense very efficiently. They try to be patient, so they make you guard them, and we got a lot of reps guarding against a very efficient offense. I thought our guys did a pretty good job overall. We have up a lot of backdoors in the first half, something we talked about, went over, but it took us a little time to see exactly what it looks like when someone else is running it other than us. So in the second half we did a much better job defending it. Seattle Pacific is going to win a lot of games.”

(On the backdoor layups they allowed) “When you say backdoor – the way we defend, giving up backdoors is not the issue, if we have good coverage. We call it a blow-by – a blow-by, if I’m on the ball, a guy just drives right by me. Well, there are blow-bys with backdoors, too. If we’re denying and the guy takes four steps and we don’t know where he went, that’s a blow-by. If a guy backdoors and we’re there but he’s got a step on us, we should have help on the weakside, and that’s what we didn’t have tonight. So it wasn’t the backdoors, per se, it was our bad coverage. And the coverage was much better in the second half. So those were the mistakes. Offensively, we did not sustain offense very much at all tonight in terms of getting ball reversal from one side to the next. And that’s something that is going to take some time because we’re stressing pushing the basketball, and that doesn’t always mean shoot a contested shot early. It means try to gain an advantage before the other team sets up their defense, and if an advantage is not gained, we’ve got to reverse the ball. And we didn’t do that. And then obviously we turned the ball over too many times. We did a poor job of boxing out and rebounding. That’s the one area – I did not like our effort on the offensive glass. We should be a much better rebounding team than we were tonight on the offensive glass. Things that we can work on.”

(Six players in double-figures?) “Ideally, we’d love for our teams to have five guys average double-figures. That’s the way we run. So six is even better. There’s some things we did tonight that we haven’t done in several years – almost score 100 points, get 10 steals. We’ve forced turnovers, maybe, but not just pure steals, where we’re in the lane and they lead to points. … With that, you’re going to give up some easy baskets from time to time, but we like the tradeoff.”

(Do you think the officials will call hand-checking that strictly throughout the season?) “The officials talk about maintaining that level on the call, but I know a couple years ago when they first put it in, by the end of the year they weren’t calling it as much. But they have vowed to stick with it this time.”

(On extending lead after it was cut to 60-55) “I thought Devenir Duruisseau came in and gave us a level of physicality. You won’t see it in the box score, but I think he was in there during that time, and a couple guys hit some big shots. ‘Drew hit a couple shots during that period. We slowly just began to regain that lead and stretch it out a little. I thought ‘Drew did a really good job for us tonight. Five assists, one turnover. I thought he did a good job leading this group.”

(How encouraging is it that your two starting bigs scored in double-figures despite foul trouble?) “Very encouraging. I do think with this team, there are a number of guys that can play where we don’t drop off a whole lot. We talk about depth, I like to talk about quality depth. You could have 40 players on your team, and if two of them are good and the rest aren’t, that’s not quality depth. It doesn’t matter. I think we have quality depth with this team that’s going to help us.”

(What are the plusses and minuses of starting four freshmen?) “Dejounte, Baby Boy, is just a very good basketball player. So that’s a plus. Whenever you have a really good player out there, that’s a plus. Noah Dickerson, as I’ve said, is probably our best low-post scorer and just plays a little older than his age. When you have the guy that’s going to give you the best chance to score inside in there, that’s going to help you. Marquese is our best athlete, and he’s very, very versatile. Here’s our most versatile big guy. And then Matisse Thybulle I think really complements that group, because he’s the one guy who plays off of them but the constant is his defense. He didn’t score much at all, but he had three steals. He’s just there. And he really complements those guys.”

(Shot 58% tonight – is this that kind of team?) “It hasn’t shown that. We shot the ball well, but again, we had a lot of points off turnovers, too. I hope we can continue to shoot it like we did tonight.”

(Dejounte Murray had 16 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists – is that the kind of player you expect him to be?) “He’s been very, very consistent with it from Day 1. In all of our practices combined, he’s our top rebounder, along with Marquese Chriss, as a guard. He just does it. He rebounded in high school. He rebounds with this group. He rebounded tonight. He just does it. And tonight he hit some outside shots, but he can also pass the ball, he can get to the rim. He’s a pretty versatile guard.”

(On the downside of starting four freshmen) “It’s a downside today. But later it won’t be. When they gain experience, the thing is, they’re going to be gaining valuable experience. They got it tonight, at the beginning of the preseason, and it’s going to do nothing but speed up their learning curve, because they’re going to be getting valuable minutes. We have to find a way to play at a high level in spite of our young mistakes right now. We’ve got to find a way to do it.”