VIDEO: Howland after James Madison

Ben Howland talks about the improved play against James Madison, the matchup that Georgetown will present on Monday, and Jordan Adams' foul shooting...

Ben Howland talks after James Madison:


BH: that was a fantastic first half. Our guys did a great job of being mentally prepared to go defensively. Larry, the Wears, everybody did a great job of getting ready today for a walkthrough. And things to do to prepare for this team. It was great focus. We played very well at both ends. Shot extremely well. I think we had 19 assists. 23 baskets in the first half. Now that's a beautiful stat. To have such a high ratio of the scores to assists.

I think Kyle did a great job. Cleaning up every rebound that was missed. He had 9 boards in the first half. That was excellent for us. Obviously our wings, Norman and Jordan have shot extremely well. I think Josh Smith gave us great minutes off the bench. I thought that Larry Drew's assist to turnover ratio was great. Tony had a good game. First double figure game. And I thought the Wears did a great job. They set the tone for us from the very first game. A great overall team effort. We're pleased to get the win.

James Madison is a better team than what they looked like in that first half. Part of it was they were playing their first game. It's on the road. We're coming off a game that we could have easily lost. And I thought it really helped us in terms of being "mentally right" for this game tonight. Questions?

Q: was this the kind of performance you were expecting tonight?

BH: a lot is predicated on the other team. For example, Irvine, a team that was very patient on offense. We're not going to be able to pressure people out of their offense. So if they're going to come down and hold the ball and really be patient, then it's harder to get up. Tonight, they [James Madison] were shooting the ball and not being super patient. And playing right into what we wanted.

Q: how much of a chip on your shoulder did you have after the game on Tuesday?

BH: I think our team knew that we were very fortunate, very lucky to come out of the game Tuesday with a win. No question. So obviously, you could see the level of mental preparation and intensity that went into this game and understanding that anyone can beat us on a given night. And this team can beat anyone on a given night. I really believe that. And knowing that we fear no one and respect everyone is the way to play the game.

Q: you held them to 34% in the first half. Defensively can you tell us what you did?

BH: we did a lot of switching. [audio difficulties] We prepared for a different lineup… I don't know what happened to #11 [Andrey Semenov]. I assume it was a disciplinary thing because he was second on the team, third on the team in shot attempts. I don't know what happened tonight. They started small. I thought our defense was really good for 20 minutes. Super intense.

Q: you talked about the opportunity that we're now going to face the best in the country.

BH: I'm going to have the players get some good rest here tomorrow. We practice Saturday morning. Fly out Saturday afternoon. The only downside is we're going to miss the game. And I would've loved to have been there. But we're rooting for our Bruins here on Saturday.

Q: does this give you more confidence or sense of relief knowing that you can play this way?

BH: Georgetown runs the Princeton offense. They execute with precision. They have one of the best players in the country in Otto Porter who's fantastic. They're always difficult for anybody to play. It's a unique system. They have really good players, and they really execute their stuff. It's a huge challenge for us on Monday night 8PM east coast time.

Q: how are you feeling about the appeals hearing?

BH: I was hopeful. I'm hopeful. That's all I can say. Praying and hopeful.

Q: they didn't run as many high screens as Irvine did the other night. What adjustments did you make?

BH: we were plugging versus hedging.

Q: can you talk about what an accomplishment is for Jordan Adams, first UCLA freshman ever to have 20 points in his first 3 games?

BH: I didn't know that. I'm more excited about his shooting free throws… [audio difficulties]. I don't think he missed one yet. Oh he did? First game he was 5 for 6. He set the record in Oak Hill last year shooting 70-some in a row. Right now he's at 24 in a row. But who's counting? He's good.

Norman Powell, I'm really excited for. Last year, he was a line drive shooter. Took a whole year… now he has a really nice arc on his shot. It's changed his shot. Pleased with him too.

Yeah, Jordan, that's a special feat to be the first guy to ever do that. He's really playing well for us.

Thank you.

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