Jabari Bird on beating Utah: They Didn't Punk Us

LAS VEGAS -- Jabari Bird speaks candidly about the difference between Cal's 30-point loss to, and then three-point win over, Utah.

LAS VEGAS -- Jabari Bird  spoke plainly about the biggest difference in California's 78-75 win over Utah, and the Bears' 30-point loss a week ago. Also, comments from head coach Cuonzo Martin and freshman point guard Charlie Moore.

Full transcript:

Q. Coach Martin, good game. An opening statement and then we'll go to questions.

COACH CUONZO: Thank you. Tough game. Both teams compete, both teams play hard. I felt like we did a lot of good things defensively. When you look at the stat sheet, still shot 51% from the field. They do a great job getting to the rim. And we knew as talented as they are, we knew it would come down in some way, shape, or form with Bonam or Kuzma to make the plays or get somebody else to make a play. We did just enough to win the ballgame, so I'm happy for our guys.

http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1761572-cal-advances-to-pa... Q. Jabari, that second to last play where you were trapped against the sideline by Bealer for five, six, seven seconds, were you expecting him to foul you? Were you surprised when he didn't?

JABARI BIRD: Yeah, I was expecting him to foul, so when he didn't, I just tried to make a play going toward the rim. Obviously I got the and one. But I was definitely expecting once I got the ball back to half court, I was expecting him to foul me, and he didn't.

Q. Jabari, obviously a week ago they beat you by 30. What was the biggest difference for you guys today?

JABARI BIRD: They didn't punk us. Up at their place, they really got into us. They brought the game to us, and we didn't respond. And today, we remembered that game. It was only a week ago, and we came prepared for battle and it showed.

Q. Jabari, how impressed were you about Charlie? He's only a freshman, and comes up in huge moments like this where there's a lot of pressure?

JABARI BIRD: He's a freshman age-wise, but his game is a lot more mature than that. I've always said that about Charlie, even when he first came in the summer. He made big plays down the stretch, getting to the rim, hitting his three ball. So I'm really proud of him right now.

Q. Cuonzo, obviously this tournament is big for your NCAA Tournament hopes. Do you guys feel like you've done enough at this point or do you still need that win against Oregon tomorrow?

COACH CUONZO: Well, if you ask me, I think we've done enough when you're talking about a league that has three top, maybe five or six teams in the country. No other league, I don't think in America can say that. They're very talented teams. You have 21 wins in the Pac-12. But for us, it's not so much -- of course the goal is to be an NCAA Tournament team, and I think we're that. But for us, it's coming to win the Pac-12 Tournament and then in the process become an NCAA Tournament team. That's the focus for us. Because if you have a whole season to do work, you can't say it comes down to this game. For us, at least for me, it doesn't come down to tomorrow. My job is to coach the game tomorrow, and then whatever happens after that happens. But I'm not consumed with all the other stuff.

Q. Can you talk about Kingsley's game tonight?

COACH CUONZO: I thought he did a tremendous job defensively. Unfortunately, when they went small, some of those times we had to take him out because we didn't think our zone was strong enough. We felt like we were better in man. So when we were zone, we had to take him out because of switching purposes. But when they had their traditional bigs, I thought he did a great job protecting the rim.

Q. Charlie, was this the best you've felt since February 11th when you went down against Arizona?

CHARLIE MOORE: I would say so, just me attacking, I felt good. My thigh wasn't hurting at all. My body felt great. I felt rested, so I think you could say that.

http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1761249-inside-the-locker-... Q. Cuonzo, last night Ivan told me that he needed to be calm but aggressive, and he was a little excitable at the beginning of the game yesterday. How do you think he scored on that account today as far as being calm and purposeful and aggressive?

COACH CUONZO: Well, I thought he was better today, but he wasn't Ivan Rabb. He was in the ballgame, but he's not the Ivan Rabb that I'm accustomed to seeing. He went 6-for-6 in free throws, and that's great. But he has a lot more in his tank, and I think it will show up tomorrow.

Q. Jabari, you had a fairly sizeable lead, double digits near the end of the game and then they came storming back on you. How much nervous time was that? Of course it became a one-possession game there at the end?

JABARI BIRD: It wasn't any nerves. We just had to close the ballgame out. We had to calm down as a group. That's really it. Utah's a tough team. Once you get up on them, they're always going to fight back, and we knew that. We held our composure and closed the game out, and that's all you can ask for.

Q. Cuonzo, it was 73-71 and you guys had a possession, ended up with Charlie taking a pretty long contested three with less than a minute to go. What were you looking for on that possession?

COACH CUONZO: I was looking to get the ball to Ivan. Charlie understands that. We talked about that. Trying to get the ball to Ivan. Obviously, work some clock when you get the ball to Ivan. But it didn't present itself like that. And their back side defense was kind of corralling on Ivan, so Charlie took the shot.

Q. For all three of you, what are your thoughts now on facing Oregon tomorrow and kind of the keys for you guys to be able to move on from that one?

CHARLIE MOORE: Same game plan coming in tonight. Play hard, play with energy, and play together. And I think if we do that, I think we can beat any team. So that's our game plan.

JABARI BIRD: Yeah, basically same thing Charlie said, execute the game plan, whatever that is for tomorrow. And get ready for a dog fight because Oregon's a talented team.

COACH CUONZO: We lost a tough one at home to them. We didn't play as well at their place. Lost a tough one at our place. I think it took a lot out of us as a team because we felt like we had the game. For us, we know the game plan. We understand the task at hand and what we have to do. We're playing against a team in our league, and we watch film, we'll game plan, and we'll be ready.


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