Daniel's Quick Takes™ - Arizona

After viewing the Cardinal's most important, and most exciting, win of the season, a 56-52 slugfest with the Arizona Wildcats, The Bootleg's Daniel Novinson, men's hoops color commentator for radio station KZSU 90.1, hit the post-game presser to see what insights might be gained from Coach Trent Johnson, Brook Lopez, Taj Finger, and Fred Washington, along with Arizona Coach Kevin O'Neill.

Two-point lead. Five seconds left. Fred Washington steps to the line for his biggest free throw of the season.

Make It, make the next and Stanford beats Arizona, its biggest win of the season.

Miss, and the Wildcats have one last chance to tie – or pull the upset outright.

Oh, and Washington missed all six free throws his last game.

But tonight, Washington calmly sank the first, gave a huge high-five to Mitch Johnson, and calmly sank the second.

It was sweet redemption for Washington, and a sweet 56-52 victory for Stanford.

"After I made them, I was going to tell my dad ‘happy birthday,'" Washington said. "And I did."

 

Trent Johnson:

I thought we were real sluggish in our execution at times. Seventeen turnovers is indicative. But we found a way, found a way to win. The exciting thing for me is that we have so far to go. This winning ugly is getting old for me.

 

Our offense is built around going inside-out, inside-out, inside-out. Brook's talented, skilled, special. We like to get the ball to him. It's just how we do.

 

On Taj:

Taj, that's what he does. He's consistent as ever and does a good job.

On what he said after Stanford's two missed front ends of the one-and-ones:

We gotta get a stop. What you gotta understand, they're not trying to miss, as long as they take good shots and are shooting with confidence, I'm happy.

 

Trent, as he often does after big wins, quickly stopped talking and said something to the effect of enough about me, talk to the players. I mention that I think he's a really good guy?

 

Brook Lopez:

(Note: Reporters briefly talked with him at Oregon, but this is the first time he was brought out to the hometown press all season. Maybe he's starting to emerge from the doghouse.)

 

On whether it was difficult staying focused on the bench in the first half:

It definitely was. I just tried to stay in the game emotionally, point things out to my teammates, and just get ready.

 

On Jordan Hill:

He's a very methodical player. He tries to block everything and goes right at you. He picked up fouls on his aggression. Everyone tells me go attack the basket so that's what I'm going to do.

Thank goodness. Now can we have your freshman season back?

 

On his blocks:

Our guards did a good job, when they got past them, they had to lob them way up there.

Flies in the face of Hill's upcoming comments on penetration against our guards, which is more in-line with how I saw the game. I think Wise against Johnson was a huge speed mismatch and O'Neil kept going back to it successfully.

 

On his reaction to his third foul:

I've been working on composure. I think last year, I would have yelled a little more than today. I'm just trying to keep my head in the game and not let that stuff affect me.

 

On whether he's in game shape:

It goes up and down. You just got to keep going.

 

Lawrence Hill:

On the difference in the game:

I think our defense was better, we held them to 52, 26 each half. They're a high-caliber team, so holding them like that, that was the goal.

 

On whether the defense could have done anything better:

Especially for myself, we have to work a lot better on penetration. It's so much easier for our posts if we can stop the penetration. Chase hit a three on me because of it.

 

After the Oregon loss we had a big turnaround. We started to pound each at practice. We knew were not where we wanted to be.

                                  

Fred Washington:

On the free throws:

"After I made them, I was going to tell my dad ‘happy birthday,'" Washington said. "And I did."

 

On the Oregon free throws:

At Oregon the first four were long, so I adjusted. Then the last two were short.

 

On whether it was the best game of the season:

Team-wise, I'd say it was up there because we were up and playing good, but they made a run and we held on. Some teams would have folded on that run, but we didn't. We got the stops.

 

On snapping a six-game losing streak to Arizona:

I've beat them, so I'm just happy for everyone else. I told the team before the game, there's only four people here that have beaten Arizona and that's going to change tonight.

 

 

Kevin O'Neill:

We obviously had our chances in the second half, and obviously didn't play worth a darn in the first. We had open shots, we had opportunities. But we've had two games in a row like this, where we had our chances to win games like this and we didn't do it.

 

On Bayless' jumper with nine seconds left:

I thought he was going to keep driving and hit a layup or kick it to Chase for the three. But I don't mind, it was a good shot.

 

On Brook:

Brook obviously is a good player and is going to be a good player at any level. We did a terrible job to start the game defensively, but we did a much better job in the second half. They're going to play for money for a long time with their size and athleticism.

 

We gave up a key three to Lawrence Hill late in the game. Credit Lawrence, he knocked it down, but that was the story late: we just didn't execute like we needed to.

 


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