USC Post-Game Quotes

There was a decidedly disappointed air Thursday night after Stanford failed in areas that have been their strengths this season. The Cardinal could not close third place in the Pac-10 and a season sweep of USC, while also playing poorly in a third straight road game. Much of the talk afterward from Trent Johnson, Brook Lopez, Fred Washington and Lawrence Hill surrounded defense and rebounding.

Head coach Trent Johnson

Opening statement:

"I thought in the second half, we went backwards.  We didn't rebound the ball when we got stops at crucial times, whether it was off free throws or from the halfcourt off missed shots.  That was in the second half.  In the first half, we didn't get out to shooters, Nick [Young] and [Gabriel] Pruitt, at crucial times.  And our offensive execution wasn't very good.  We got in a hurry, set screens for another at times that were important, threw the ball away at times.  If we don't play well on the road, we're not going to be successful."

On his disappointment in losing this game:

"The same after every loss.  The same.  Losing is losing, whether it's the start of the season, the end of the season or the middle."

On arriving 45 minutes before gametime:

"That's just an excuse."

On Fred Washington's foul down by three:

"What happened is I put Taj [Finger] in and I told Taj, if they score and went up five, then foul [Taj] Gibson.  Fred thought I was hollering at Taj to foul.  So again, those things happen.  Just miscommunication, and like I told Fred, don't worry about it."

"I was worried about Taj fouling Gibson right away and I said 'Taj, no no no.'  Fred going the other way thought I was telling Taj to foul.  But that stuff happens, and we put ourselves behind the eight ball the way we played early on."

On what stood out as the biggest problem:

"Well, without looking at videotape, like I said earlier, the biggest problem going into a game like this against a good basketball team is when you don't get stops at crucial times, whether it's in the first half or it's in the second half, it hurts you.  I can distinctly remember we were down five, we were down six, and they go free throw, rebound in the second half.  They get offensive rebounds and that hurts you.  And that's one of the things we do well.  We outrebounded them 43 to whatever, but the bottom line, if you don't come up with the ball at crucial times, that hurts you in close games.  And then in the first half, defensively, we didn't get out early enough, so we had some breakdowns."

On his team's defensive rebounding:

"43 to 26.  But again, when we needed to come up with a crucial rebound at key times, we didn't get it done.  So stats can be very deceiving in that regard."

Freshman forward/center Brook Lopez

On clawing back:

"We never exactly felt like we were in it.  Our intensity wasn't there.  On the defensive end, we weren't the aggressors like we were when they came up [to Maples Pavilion]."

On the lack of key rebounds:

"There's definitely a pattern there.  Those long rebounds killed us off the free throws.  But I don't think it really mattered, because I don't think we played that great of a game."

On whether arriving late affected the preparation:

"Not really. We tried to just get through all our warm-ups."

On whether he was told at halftime to take outside shots in the second half:

"Not really.  It was just there.  I felt they were there because they were crashing down on the post, crashing down on whoever attacked.  I felt they were open."

On UCLA:

"It's just a big game.  Like I said, the whole second half of this Pac-10 season, you have to win every game for position for the [NCAA] Tournament, for the Pac-10 Tournament.  We're in sole possession of fourth place now, so we'll hope USC loses to Cal."

On whether UCLA becomes more important after this loss:

"Yeah it does.  We've got UCLA.  We've got Arizona.  We've got Arizona State, who beat USC, so we've got a lot of tough games left."

Senior forward/guard Fred Washington

On the final stretch:

"It sucks.  I mean it always sucks to lose.  But I thought one of the positives was the twins played well out of the double team.  I don't know how many turnovers they had, they might have had two.  But one went through Robin[Lopez]'s hands, and one I thought Brook got pushed.  I thought they handled the double team really well.  And they haven't been doing that a lot lately — well they've been doing that a lot, but they weren't as good at the beginning of the season.  Like I thought Brook was amazing.  I don't think he made one bad play in the double team.  That's one positive you can take out of it."

On the first half:

On one-on-one D, I felt we – that's everybody – didn't D up like we could.  We were playing the drive too hard, and they'd step back for open shots, or we'd fall asleep, get hit with a screen and not fight through.

On defending Gabriel Pruitt well:

"Yeah, but that was just a stretch.  We need all five for the whole game if we're going to win.  It seemed like every time someone messed up or someone didn't do what they were supposed to do, they got a bucket out of it."

On USC's free throw rebounds:

"Yeah, we got pushed under.  Coach has always talked about it.  That hurt us at the beginning of the year.  We can't get pushed under off free throws – we're bigger and stronger than everybody else.  We can't just let the twins get the rebound; the guys on the outside have to work for it, too.  We can't just watch the ball sail across.  We just have to get the ball, obviously.  It's not that hard.  Just get the rebound."

On the importance was turnovers:

"Turnovers hurt, but I just thought they hit their shots on us.  They were hitting, and our defense just wasn't good enough.  We're usually a pretty good defensive team.  Defense should be game to game to game to game."

On whether the defense was solid, but USC just made tough shots:

"I honestly can't say because I don't know where everybody was, but I just know they were hitting a lot of shots.  They hit some on me, and I know I could have played better, and they hit some on all the guys.  If your man scores, your man scores.  You can't be like 'I played okay.'  Your man scored, so step it up."

"We'll bounce back."

Sophomore forward Lawrence Hill

On the deciding factor:

"Defense and rebounding, things that we have been successful with so far this year.  The fact that we didn't do it and it was still a close game shows we haven't gotten over the hump yet of what we did last road trip."

On whether he would have been satisfied had Stanford pulled out the win in the final minutes:

"No.  Pulling away like that we would have been happy, but the fact that we lost, whether it was a blowout or a close game, and the way that we played, we wouldn't have been happy."

On performing better away from Maples Pavilion:

"Can't say.  Guys just come out and play us harder at [their] home, and we just have to get back into the mentality of being the aggressor."

On whether they are aggressor on the road:

"I feel like we are, but recently we haven't been.  And it starts with defense and rebounds.  Offense is going to happen.  We've played bad offensively and still won games, but when we do what we did today, we never win."

On whether he knew Stanford's record:

"17-9. 9-6 in the Pac-10.  Fourth now.  We played with a team, we knew we could play well like last time.  That makes Saturday… yeah we came back against UCLA, but how far back have we gone since then?  What do we need to do to get back on track?  We're going to ask ourselves during practice tomorrow."

On missing sophomore Anthony Goods:

"Yeah, definitely.  But injuries happen.  We can't predict them, and we have to play through them.  But our team mentality needs to stay the same."

On concern at the moment Fred Washington appeared to hurt his knee:

"No, I knew he was going to get up.  We'll just have to see how he feels tomorrow.  It could feel fine now compared to tomorrow, when the adrenaline settles down."

On what they miss about Goods:

"Probably his defense.  He's been scoring a lot but he's a great on-the-ball defender, and his actions are what speak for him.  He goes out there and plays hard."

On whether Goods could have helped against USC:

"He definitely could have.  But there's no way to say whether our team mentality still wouldn't have been down.  We can't think about what we can do with him when he's out for sure, so we'll wait until he gets back."


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