Inside the Locker Room: UCLA

How is Stanford's head coach bouncing back from their biggest game of the season? Why did UCLA start so slowly, and what allowed them to adjust in the second half? Also, Brook Lopez, Mitch Johnson, and Lawrence Hill react after the overtime loss. Plus, hear from UCLA's Darren Collison, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Was Lawrence Hill's block clean?

Trent Johnson

Opening Statement:

We lost in overtime to the Pac-10 champions. This was a good basketball team. They made plays down stretch. They made good plays, beautiful plays defensively.

On Stanford's emotions:

We're not an emotional team. We've been on an even keel all week long. Whatever happened tonight, we have a very good USC team Saturday. We had to play tonight, but now USC is the most important game.

On the NCAA tournament:

This has no effect on the Tournament. Our focus now is the next game, next team.

On UCLA grabbing most of the rebounds late in the game:

I give them credit for bringing it.

On Collison late in the game:

He's a good player. No comment on the officiating.

On the game:

We played well. As soon as we can, we've got to get this thing behind us and get ready for Saturday. What we have to do is have a quick turnaround.

On whether coming up short against UCLA worried him:

I'm worried about the next team, next game.

I ask whether he thought it was one of Stanford's best games of the season:

No. We didn't finish. We didn't win.

On whether it was one of his toughest losses as a coach:

That's irrelevant. It's all about players. They played well for 42 minutes and came up short. It's not about me. I feel for them. They were in a position to win. They could have won game.

On who stood out for Stanford:

Robin Lopez had a very good game.


Ben Howland

Opening statement:

I'm so excited, so elated for team. I'm very proud of them and really happy for the entire program to be able to get this one. We came out in first half anxious offensively. No doubt this was a very good team that we beat tonight.

I said it before and I'll say again: anyone that says Stanford doesn't have a chance to get to the Final Four is kidding themselves.

I was there praying on the bench when [Westbrook] knocked down that one free throw.

Darren had a tremendous second half offensively and in overtime. That tip that was put in... So many big plays down the stretch there.

I wanted to press – I thought the pressure would make them cough up the ball. Fortunately we got in there quick. We had huge foul shots at the end of regulation from Russell and Darren. This game was reminiscent of being down 12 at Cal - we fought back and won that in overtime.

I'm just really grateful that our team has now won three championships in a row in the Pac-10. This is best Pac-10 Conference there's ever been in over 25 years. Everyone would agree with that. Top to bottom, there's nine really good teams. I'm really grateful to get this win.

On whether the slow start was a result of tentative play:

No. We were too juiced up. We took a lot of bad shots. Stanford had something to do with it. They have great defense. It was disappointing the way we started game, but we bounced back and fought back hard. We played our starters a lot of minutes. I think Stanford had a nine-point lead when there were five minutes to go. I'm so proud...

On trailing by 14:

This is just a testament to team, coming back in the second half after being down that far. We'd like to avoid that in the future.

On Collison's improvement in the second half:

We placed more ball screens for him. We had that great pass to Luc for the two-handed dunk. One thing we tried to do a lot on the Lopez twins was set screens and try to hedge. Get Darren in there quick and make quick decisions. Kevin did good job of attacking in the inside.

On Hill's block of Collison:

Yeah, I thought he got fouled. This was a hard and physical game that was played. They were fouling us at the end.

On Collison and Westbrook down the stretch:

Russell started attacking the rim more. Rebounding off the missed foul shot by Josh was a big play. These guys worked very hard. This season, there was lots of adversity. To go through injuries, and other things we suffered through and still come out as Pac-10 champions is really great now.

On whether the Pac-10 title's important:

Oh, very. We're outright champions. This is really special because this is Lorenzo's last time to play in Pauley Pavilion. I'm really excited for him to get his just due from the crowd on Saturday afternoon.


"That "shot" was a complete block. I was very fortunate to get a foul on that last call. I heard it was a make-up, but we'll take it. We were really fortunate to get that call at the end." - Darren Collison

Stanford players:

Brook Lopez

I think they played real well and had an excellent game.

[Brook was only in there for 30 seconds, and gave monotone, monosyllabic answers. His frustration was obvious.]

Mitch Johnson

I don't think I feel the pressure got to us or we played not to lose, or that any one thing happened. They got a lot of loose balls, rebounds, got to the free throw line. They made plays. Two or three things, if we were to look back and do it over again, but there was no one glaring mistake.

On officiating:

I'm not commenting [Smiles.] Everyone saw the play and can have their opinions on whether it was body, wrist, straight up, or all ball.

The most honest answer we got.

On the play in overtime:

In overtime, they got a couple good looks, a couple more board chances, got a couple stops. They just made a couple more plays. Collison played great, the whole team did. There were just a couple plays, and they got them.

On bouncing back from a tough loss to face USC:

We'll do what we do all the time. We've been on the other end a lot. This team has a quick turnaround. We play at 11 a.m. and they've been playing great basketball. Now we just have to get the momentum going. The Pac-10 tournament will be down here next week.

On whether he was shocked by the outcome:

I don't think there was a state of disbelief or a sense of disbelief. It wasn't like one thing happened where we were just like, "Oh my god, that was the turning point." They made a couple of plays. We had opportunities, if we'd hit a couple shots...

On defending Collison:

Collison hit a lot of big shots. There were a couple of defensive breakdowns on my end. I wanted go over the screen and not let him shoot. There were a couple of times when he split us on the ball in the lane. He made plays. He's a good player, one of the top-touted in all the country. So we expect that from guys like that at the end of the day.

On UCLA down the stretch:

Collison was great at the end. Love made big shots. Westbrook hit those free throws. One was almost to the ceiling, but he hit it.

On the loss:

It was a tough loss because of what was at stake. We can still beat SC on Saturday, but to have the opportunity to have a Pac-10 championship is huge, and to come into Pauley and win the game is huge. I think for the most part, people say we played a pretty good game. To lose at the end, the guys are emotional. The guys are obviously disappointed, but at same time we have to be ready for SC. It's almost turning time already.

On whether Stanford broke down in overtime:

Like I said, the first two possessions in overtime, Brook and Robin got the ball in the post and almost got the O board. We're 24-4, and that's been our bread and butter.

Lawrence Hill

I ask whether it was one of Stanford's best games this season:

Yeah, definitely. We were methodical: just played hard and executed real well. We had lot of turnovers and loose balls and allowed lot of second shots, but if we did that earlier in year we would have lost by 20. It didn't turn out the way we wanted, but I still think we're fine.

I asked how UCLA was able to pick up its scoring after halftime:

I think we didn't play to our game plan on defense. There were a lot of inside weakside help misses; we let Collison split us.


UCLA players:

Westbrook, on the first free throw:

I just tried to put as much arc on it to get it to go in. The second one was a lot easier than the first.

Collison, on Hill's block:

That "shot" was a complete block. I was very fortunate to get a foul on that last call. I heard it was a make-up, but we'll take it. We were really fortunate to get that call at the end. These guys didn't show any quitting. I'm proud of my guys. This team never, never shows any quit.

Love, on discouraging Brook:

I had a lot of help from my teammates doing the double team. [Brook] went right in trying to draw fouls, but we did a great job containing him. But he's a great player. Yeah he probably got a little discouraged. That's what we tried to do.

Collison, on trailing:

We've been here before. It's not the first time we've been down. We didn't play well in first half. In the second half we tried to cut it down. But these guys show no quit.

Love, on winning the Pac-10:

It means a lot to me. These other guys have two or three from before, but for me it feels great. But Saturday is Senior Day, so really we have to pay tribute to Lorenzo.

Mbah a Moute, on offensive rebounds:

We just tried to make a point to go hard on the glass. We weren't pushing the ball hard on transition, so we could really get in there and get some rebounds.

Collison, on Howland's halftime talk:

He wanted us to cut it down as much as possible. I'm just so proud of my teammates. We could have given up. We showed signs of a championship team. We didn't want to share this Pac-10 title. We knew what was at stake and did a good job taking it.


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