Q: How was Lazeric Jones today?
A: You know, I talked to the trainer. I haven't seen Zeek yet, but he didn't have any swelling last night. So my expectation is, not knowing, we're 25 minutes away from practice, that he should be able to go through the walk through that we're going to do.
Q: What about Josh Smith then?
A: Josh, same thing. The trainer hadn't seen him yet, but Josh and he had spoken and sounded like Josh was OK, at least in Josh's estimation. If anything changes with those guys, if they aren't able to do the walk through, I will alert Ryan Finney, so that he can reach out to you guys and let you know.
Q: Why did Terrence Ross give you guys such a hard time last time?
A: Because he's arguably the best player in our league. He's a complete player. [At this point, someone else was talking in the background of the conference call and the rest was garbled].
Q: Can you talk a little about the differences between the two teams since you played in Seattle?
A: We were 5-4 at that time, and they were 7-2, so they went 8-2 and we went 5-5, so that was a big game for us. I watched the game again today, and we were up ten with less than six minutes to go, and got whistled for fouls on three occasions in the next couple of minutes that they scored six points on rather quickly. I'm just watching one of the plays right here. It's hard to watch when you know we were right there, with a ten point lead and with the ball, even. But they've had a great year and really done a nice job. And Ross, Tony Wroten have been terrific. Wroten is the freshman of the year in our conference undoubtedly, and does a great job for them. Ross is like I said arguably the best player in our conference. So, those two guys, and then their other guys. Wilcox has done a really nice job for them all year, Abdul Gaddy has been a steady influence for them. They've done a good job. Darnell Gant, the fifth year senior out of Crenshaw High School has really done a nice job for them. So they've got a bunch of guys that have really played well and Lorenzo's done a really great job for their team.
Q: Ben, at this point can you really see much of a difference whether you guys finish fifth or sixth?
A: Well yeah, it makes a difference, no question. It makes a difference in the Pac-12 tournament. But for us it's more about playing the best team in our league right now, who's in first place, and going out and giving our all. And playing our very best.
Q: But what would be the difference? You said it'd make a difference.
A: Just the path that you take between being the fifth seed and sixth seed to get to advance in the tournament.
Q: Ben, of all the teams you guys have lost close games to, this is one of the few you get a second crack at. How much motivation is there to get some revenge?
A: We were disappointed we lost that game, both right after the game and…but it's not revenge, as much as they're very good. Our kids obviously respect them. And we want to go out and really play well tomorrow.
Q: How important do you think it will be to get a win going into the Pac-12 Tournament?
A: I think it'd be very good for us, and important. Especially against a team that's in first place, that has already won a share of the league championship.
Howland's Friday Teleconference
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