Game Talk

The Arizona Wildcats returned to the friendly confines of McKale Center, then road the enthusiasm of the home crowd and hot shooting of Salim Stoudamire to a 85-75 victory over Marquette.<BR> After the game, coaches and player from both teams commented on the crowd and game.

Lute Olson

Opening comments
"It was a very hardfought competitive game. I thought both teams played hard. I don't think either team left anything on the floor. In the end it was our ability to hit shots. In the first half it seemed like they just drained everything, then in the second half we held them to just 30.6 percent shooting. A lot of their second half shots were hitting on the front of the rim. I thought we really did a good job of pressuring the shots. Any time the shot is hitting on the front rim it's usually an indication that the legs are gone a little bit. Again, I think from a conditioning standpoint that our guys still looked fresh at the end.
"Chris Rodgers did a great job defensively in the second half on (Travis) Diener when Salim got in foul trouble. Four fouls on Salim and two of them were just poor judgment on his part. The fourth one he tried to drive the baseline and there is just no way.
"He's an unbelievable shooter when his confidence is up. I think his confidence got there in the second half against Texas. You could just see it, he was popping the wrist. I'm not sure any of those threes even touched the rim tonight.
"For Rodgers to go with four assists and just one turnover was great.
"Hassan had a great game I thought. He shot the ball well. We did a much better of getting to their shooters in the second half. First half, we allowed too many good looks and when we did they knocked them down.

"Channing had a really solid game for us with the 13 boards and he was a factor in terms of challenging shots.

"It's just good to be back home after traveling all over the country for the last week and a half."

Is lack of depth overrated?
"It is unless you get into foul trouble or if somebody goes down with an ankle or something. Yesterday in practice Hassan took a knee to his thigh and he was hobbling around this morning at the shoot around, but it loosened up enough so he could jump a little bit. A couple of those shot blocks, I think his head was over the rim. It's like firing him out of cannon."

Do you always have the confidence that you'll go on a run?
"We feel that way, especially at home with the crowd the way they are. We extended out on them and I think that disrupted their rhythm. The problem is we just don't have the depth to do that for too long because if we do our legs will go if we do too much in the full court."

Talk about the role of Chris Rodgers.
"Chris comes off the bench and he's as important to us as anyone. The fact that we can put him in at the one, two or three spots he's a really valuable guy for us off the bench. He's like Jason Terry. That's good for us because we could always put JT at any of those spots. He's coming in and he's ready to go. And defensively he's sticky. He did not give anybody any room."

Player Quotes:

Hassan Adams

What was it like coming back to McKale after playing three games on the road?
"Man, it was great to be back home after being on the road for two weeks. The crowd was great and they got us back in the game."

How much did your emotional boost help the second half comeback?
"We needed that. At home the team feeds off me and we needed that. My team feeds off me and I love this game and I'm going to play as hard as can, so the emotions come with it."

What was the difference when you guys made the second half run?
"We wanted it. We picked it up on the defensive end. In the first half I don't think we were playing defense, but in the second half we started locking up and we just wanted it. We weren't going to lose in our house. McKale is our house and we protected it."

Andre Iguodala

What was the difference in your first half play and the second half?
"We picked up the intensity. I'll have to admit I didn't play very well in the first half, so I told myself if we were going to win I had to pick it up in the second half."

Was it the defense that made the difference?
"I think we attacked the glass a little harder. The second half we got the ball up quicker and got some easy buckets."

What was the defensive breakdown that allowed Marquette to get so many open threes in the first half?
"We just weren't communicating as well. I think they did a great job of getting open and getting open looks. If that happens again we'll have to communicate better."

What was it like coming back to McKale?
"It was weird. I haven't been home in awhile and once I got here I realized what a great place this is to play. When we got down and then made that run, I'll have to admit it's the loudest I've heard McKale since I've been here and it was great. The fans were on their feet and they supported us all the way to the win."

What's it like to beat two top-ranked teams, Texas and Marquette, back to back?
"I think we can play with everybody in the country, but we have to be consistent. We have to get out and go after it. With us beating two great teams like that, it shows just how consistent we can be when we play at the top of our game."

Chris Rodgers

What is it like coming back into McKale in front of the home crowd?
"It was great. It's always nice to have the home court advantage and the crowd was great tonight. They were loud and excited and it really helped us out down the stretch."

What part did Hassan's emotion play in this game?
"It helped, but we just wanted to defend our home court. We don't want to let a team come in here and get a win."

How did you guys dig yourself such a big hole, being down 15 at one time?
"I think we just came out a little sluggish and a little slow. Once we picked up our defense in the second half, they had trouble running their offense."

Salim Stoudemire

Were you surprised that this team gave you a scare?
"We know we can't go out and blow every team out. Different teams have different strategies."

You were really on a roll. Did the fourth foul take a lot of enthusiasm out of you?
"My teammates took up the slack, but I did not want to sit. I was hot."

What did coach Olson say when you picked up the forth foul?
"He said ‘pull up. Don't go to the hole.' He hates it when I go to the hole. He knows the guys are going to take the charge."

What's it like when you're stroking it like that?
"It feels good!"

Do you just shoot it better at McKale?
"Actually, I like it better on the road better because I like a hostile crowd. But it's cool here because you have the fans to support you."

What made Travis Diener so hard to guard?
"He uses a lot of hesitations and he's quick, so you have to be on him."

What is the best team you've faced so far this season?
"Obviously, it's Florida. They're the only team to beat us."

Marquette Head Coach Tom Crean

Opening statement.
"I thought we played a great basketball team, one of the best I've seen in the five years I've beem a (head) coach. The best thing I can say is we had a chance to win the game. They played that way and there is not a doubt in my mind as a coach is that we can play with great basketball teams like this and compete and have an opportunity to win. Now we just have learn how to win those games. But you are not going to win games on the road or at home when you're giving up open shots like we did.
"I think we followed our game plan superbly other than the fact that we gave up too many open shots. They got some transition points but not what I think they would usually get, so I thought we were really focused there. The rebounding was close and we made shots, but the open jump shots that they made and us not getting to the foul line but 10 times is a recipe for losing any type of game.

"We just came in and played Arizona on their home floor in what was an incredible atmosphere, an incredible group of fans, an incredible coach and a team that could be winning it all in San Antonio on that Monday night in April. We have to find some positives and take that home and get ready to play Monday night."

What was the mindset of your team coming into this game?
"Our team thought they could win. They prepared all week to win. We just fell a little bit short. Unfortunately the final score is not indicative of how great a game it was and when you look at it we just didn't get to the foul line enough and we gave up too many open shots."

Did Arizona do anything differently when they went on that 19-4 run?
"It was game of runs. They played hard, but we expected they would. They're playing at home and they're as well coached as any team anywhere. Please write that. (Lute Olson) doesn't need that from me, but I've always respected him a great deal and we've been friends. I've spent the week studying his team and there just aren't any weaknesses out there. The depth thing is completely overrated. They are talented in every area and they play unbelievably hard. I'm excited that we're in a position to play games like this."

"When you're playing a team like Arizona, you've got to get three or four of them in foul trouble. But they're too good for that and they're going to have a great year."

What was your impression of the Arizona crowd?
"I thought the fans were great. They got a lot of coaches behind the benches. That stood out to me, but I mean that in good way. When we got off the bus, I got off with my kid to the right and there were four elderly people and they welcomed us to Tucson. That's not happening at Cincinnati and that's not happening at Wisconsin believe me. So I have great respect for (Arizona's) fans. I've never seen a game here, this is my first time. They've got it all the bases covered here, but when you've got a legendary coach like that with an unbelievable staff, you're going to have it that way."

Travis Diener What's like playing Arizona on their home court?
"We lost the game. We expected to win. We came down here with the thought of winning. We didn't come down here to stay close or get a lead and blow it. We came down here to win. We know we can play with any team in the country and we just need to find ways to win these games."

When you guys were up by 15 it looked like you could get the win. What happened?
"They got a lot open looks and a lot of easy lay ups in transition. They got the crowd behind them and we just didn't execute on offense. But they're one of the best ball teams in the nation, so I give a lot of credit to them. They made the plays when they had to and we didn't."

How does playing a road game like this against a top team help you?
"It's not the result what we wanted, but we'll go to places like Cincinnati and Louisville so it'll help us. But we have to learn how to win games like this, not just come close."

How tough was it to guard Salim Stoudamire?
"That's the threat they have. They have six guys that are very good, so you can't leave anyone alone. We knew Salim was a great shooter and we knew coming home his shot would come back. He's a great shooter and a great player. They have so many threats on offense, their top six players are as good as anybody."

Talk about this on the Cats' Lair MESSAGE BOARD


Wildcat Authority Top Stories