Cal head coach Cuonzo Martin talks Dontae Coleman health, defending Washington's Markelle Fultz after win over Huskies

BERKELEY -- Cal head coach Cuonzo Martin breaks down the Bears' 10-point win over Washington.

BERKELEY -- California head coach Cuonzo Martin talks about the defensive grind of a 69-59 win over Marquelle Fultz and Washington on Thursday.

Opening statement: "I thought both teams played had. I thought, in the first half, we talked about, with the way Washington plays defense -- a lot of switching, sometimes the guard on our big guys, different looks, fronting the post, denying the wings -- you have to be able to make one-on-one plays. For some of our guys, it was out-of-character. Try to work on it in practice, put them in position to get to the rim, to make a play at the rim. I thought we settled in, the second half. Once you're able to see it -- because you can watch it on film, but once you're able to see their length, their athleticism, and how they defend, they kind of make it chaotic and force you to make plays. They don't let you run a lot of set plays, a lot of stuff you like to do. They don't allow you to do that, even outside of their zone, and I thought our guys did a good job in the second half of really settling in, especially the last, well, I shouldn't say that. It was back and forth, back and forth. I guess we did a decent job." 4:13, Cal went on a 10-2 run: "What we did, we took one of the bigs out. We went with Ivan, because there was enough time. I think he only had two fouls, so we felt like, at that point, we could go with him. Didn't want to do it if he had three, maybe four fouls. But, since he had two, we felt like we could roll with him. If he got a foul, we'd be OK. Then, we just kind of went with four perimeter guys, and now, you kind of open it up for Ivan to be able to play, so now their bigs, one of those bigs had to come off and guard, or they come with another guard, and we felt like we had a great advantage."

Defensive job on Markelle Fultz: "He's a talented guy. We recruited him. Great kid. You know, he's a kid you root for, if you know him. Likable guy. But, we just felt like, we talked about it -- he averages 22, 23 points a game, and we said, 'Let's do everything in our power to hold him to 10 under his average. 10 under, that's the focus. Now, we didn't come out after every time out and [say] 'He has this many points, he has his,' and that wasn't the focus in our guys' mind. We talked to our guards about, 'Let's try to do this,' and I thought, between Dontae [Coleman]Sam [Singer]Charlie [Moore] early, and even Stephen Domingo came in late and did a great job, blanketing him. That's what it comes down to. But, again, our bigs had to corral and do their jobs, as well, because it's easier said than done. One guy is not standing in front of him, because he's 6-5, he has a good frame, attacks the rim, he goes both ways with the ball. Even though he scores, he's also a good passer, he's a good basketball player. He makes the right plays. I just thought we had enough pressure on him to challenge all his shots, and not give him easy looks, because one thing we didn't want him to do is get comfortable with wide-open shots. Make every shot a tough shot, box him out, don't let him get the ball back and pass it."

How is Coleman after his fall with 4:13 to go: "I think he's fine. He's walking around right now. He has ice on his back. That's all I know right now."

On Domingo's free throws after Coleman went down: "I figured they would pick him. I figured they would pick him. But, again, he's struggled, but he's done the right things on the floor, so it's not as if he's struggled and doesn't know his assignments, not doing what he's supposed to do. He's a very intelligent young man. He's just struggled with his shot. The strange thing about it, he makes them in practice. He makes them when he works on his game. He spends a lot of time working on his game, watching film. You just want to see him be successful, so for him to step up and knock those free throws down is great for his confidence, but I also thought he did a great job in defending folks, even [David] Crisp, when he made a couple of shots. I was happy to see that because we need his size and his length. That position, with that size, we can do multiple things, so if he's able to play consistently, it really helps us out."

Five minutes where Cal did not score in the second half: "Was Ivan on the floor those whole five minutes?"

He was: "Well, he probably went off (laughs). No, I know early in the second half, I think we were up, almost tried to go up 8, thy cut it to four, they tied it up, they took the lead. I just thought we were a step slow, and maybe in the second half, I didn't think we had the level of energy. Not to say that's the reason why, but I just think the energy wasn't there. They got their heads up. They make plays. They're a very talented team, and the one thing we continue to stress to our guys, to really try to make them understand, they're a very talented team. Their record might not say it, but they have talent. They can make plays. They can score the ball. They can shoot the ball. We just can't let this be the night they get over the hump. We did enough to win the basketball game."

Ivan Rabb played 15 minutes and had four shots in the first half, was that due to Washington or is it something you aren't doing, offensively: "I think it was more how they defended, because guys do a great job of trying to get Ivan the ball. I think they were fronting him, and what happens, sometimes, the guy that's making a pass, and obviously I see this from the bench, the guy's making a pass, Ivan might think he's open, and there's a guy behind him. That's why King (Kingsley Okoroh) and Kam (Kameron Rooks) were open up top, quite a bit, so their thing was, let King and Kam beat you. They get the ball up top, deny the wings so they can't pass across. They've got to make plays. That's why King drove it. And, we work on that in practice, with King driving to shoot the ball, because sometimes, that's what presents itself. They weren't letting Ivan make plays like that. They were switching a lot of things. They were making him catch it off the blocks. He'd get too high, they'd front him. He'd get low, they'd front him. That's part of it. I think, in Ivan's case, it's just really settling in, and you see, in games, in the second half, his numbers go up because here's a guy who's getting double teamed probably every time he touches the ball, so now, if he doesn't see the double, it's understanding when to get the ball. OK, the double's not coming, so sometimes he gets it and holds it, and it's one-on-one. That's part of it, because he sees the double so much. Once he settles in and kind of figures out how they're defending him, and he makes plays, if you don't double him, it's going to be a tough night for you." the second half on Sunday, and also tonight, Jabari Bird hit a couple threes, and was 4-for-4 in the second half, how do you get him going earlier: "I just think the shots have got to go. He's got his shots, they've got to go. I think, with him, once they go, then he makes the next one and he makes plays, because he has the shots. I think if he's not getting looks, that's one thing. But, if he has the shots, he's got to make plays. Again, they're not allowing Jabari to shoot just wide-open shots. A couple of those threes he took were tough shots, contested. He knocked them down. They're not going to just let him catch and shoot. They understand who he is, but he's got to keep moving, keep moving, keep moving. We've got to find ways, I think, more than anything with Jabari, find ways to get him at the free throw line to get easy baskets, because everything with him is a three-point shot. We've got to find ways to get him to the free throw line."

On freshman Charlie Moore's jumper off a pick-and-roll with Okoroh, do you want to do that more: "Yes, because it's there, especially with Charlie and Grant [Mullins], because they can shoot the three-ball. When they come off those ball screens, those bigs stay up. Now, it's just a matter of making plays and reading the defense. Again, we've got to get King rolling. King has to roll to the rim, and make those plays, and he has to have confidence in who he is as a basketball player, to be ready, catch the ball and make plays." Top Stories