Game Talk: Arizona 81, USC 72

USC dominated the first half. The Trojans won the early battle of the boards (21-16) and held a 44-40 lead at the intermission. Jason Gardner's eight rebounds (10 total) in the second half and a strong defensive effort turned the tables on the Trojans. It was a tough game but Lute Olson and the Wildcats are 12-1 and happy to come away with a victory.

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Lute Olson
We wore (USC) down a little bit. Farmer got tried and he works so hard, it's understandable. I think our depth really effected them. Defensively, we did a much better job in the second half. It was our freshmen defensively that turned it around, and we started to hit some shots.

On the play of Hassan Adams and Andre Iguodala
Hassan did a good job, but one of the other keys was Andre's defense in the second half. The one bucket Farmer got in the second half was when I was resting Andre. (Adams and Iguodala) both did a great job. Those two guys make such a huge difference to us because we have some options now that we didn't have last year. I had no idea Hassan had 21 points and he actually missed a couple he's normally going to make. Usually that would have been a dunk on the breakaway, but he turned his ankle a little bit prior to that play. And on another one he had a lay in that he didn't make. 

On the team's rebounding
They were killing us on the boards in the first half. They had 12 first half points on second shots. In the first half they had 10 points on fast breaks and in the second half none. We had great rebounding balance and in the second half Jason Gardner had eight defensive rebounds. We have a hard time convincing our guards that (rebounding) starts with the first play of the game.

On the play of Gardner
Jason is such a competitor that when it gets down the stretch he's going to go get (the rebounds), but we need to have him and the other guards rebounding from the get go. With Jason it's not a matter of having to score. There are a lot of ways that he helps us and I thought he picked his defense up in the second half a lot. He wasn't knocking his shot down and when that happens he helps us defensively and on the boards.

On the Wildcats continued slow starts
I told our guys I don't know what the problem is with the start but we just have not gotten it done at the start of games. Tonight we had good shots, we just couldn't make shots. You just can't start out 9-0 and that's happened too often. But the guys hung in there and never lost their poise. It was a good win, a real good win.

Rick Anderson
Everything was bouncing their way in the first half. It was kind of an upsetting first half, but we came back strong in the second half.

Andre Iguodala
We just try to get a feel for the game. When I come in I just want to bring some energy and play hard defense.

What role does Coach Olson expect you and Hassan to play?
Coach Olson has told us, our job is to rebound, to get up and down the court, fill the lanes (on the break) and just crash the boards hard. When we win the rebounding there is a good chance we'll win the game.

On guarding Desmon Farmer
In the first half (Farmer) had too many open shots and we were too lazy on him, giving him open looks. We needed to get into him and make him put the ball on the ground and make him create instead of giving him open looks.

Hassan Adams
I just shoot with confidence and try to make it.

On his intensity

(Andre and I) just try to come in play hard. At some place in the game you have to show how tough you are and meet the competition. That's what we were doing. We just met the challenge.

Salim Stoudamire

On spraining his ankle
I turned the other (right) ankle, but it's just something I have to play through and be a man.

On the play of Adams and Iguodala
They came off the bench and gave us a spark defensively and offensively. Just their energy and intensity and enthusiasm gets everyone else going.

On how he feels about his shooting
I'm just having some trouble knowing when to shoot it and when to pass it. But I never feel good about my shot. I'm my worst critic.

Luke Walton
Right now I'm just trying to get my health back and get this team better and better so we have a shot at winning a national title come March.

On it being such a close game
That's basketball. It's a lot more exciting when the crowd is into it and it's a back and forth game.

How does he try to help the team when hisshot is not falling?
My shot wasn't falling (tonight), so I wasn't looking to force shots. We have so many talented guys on the team, I just figured I'd give them the ball since their shot was falling better than mine.

On a win Saturday over the Bruins and a sweep of the Los Angeles school
That would be huge. Being my senior year, you like to do things like that, so I'm going to make sure this team is ready to go by Saturday and not thinking about other things.

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