Howland after Oregon State

Ben Howland talks about the win over Oregon State, what the ten game winning streak means, and how it felt to see Jamaal Wilkes get his jersey retired...

Ben Howland after Oregon State:


TRANSCRIPT

BH: okay, that was a great important win obviously. To win our home games. I thought they came out with a great start. Those Beavers. They kind of woke us up. I don't think our guys understood that they were coming at us like they did. [audio difficulties] Our defense in the first half was particularly good. 31%. In the second half, it was a much higher percentage. That first half was the key for us. To get that 10 point, 11 point lead at halftime was critical.

I thought Shabazz [Muhammad] really shot the ball well today. Someone asked about him and his confidence. I think it was you the other day. And so he answered your question today. He was very confident. And he's going to show up, ready to play. And I was happy for him.

I thought that Larry [Drew II] did a great job on [Ahmad] Starks. Starks only had 5 points tonight. And our hedges were really good to help our point guard get over the top of them. So I was really pleased with that. Questions?

Q: what's been the biggest thing about Travis [Wear] the last 6 or 7 games? He's really exploded and really done it consistently ever since Missouri. What's been the thing, before and after, for him?

BH: I think that he is a really good player. We're executing better in the half court. He had a really nice transition bucket today. He had a nice follow in the first half. He's just a really good player. So nobody on our team, our family is surprised at all by how he's playing. It's no mystery at all. He's playing with a lot of confidence. What's really an advantage for him is that he is a 4 matched up with a 5 man trying to guard him. And there's no 5 man that can get out there and guard him out there on the perimeter. He's too good a shooter and too skilled. So he's got great matchup issues every night he plays.

Q: Ben, as you guys move forward, with Oregon coming up, what has to improve with your overall play?

BH: our rebounding. We beat them by 2 on the boards today. We had too many turnovers. 13. But we're playing pretty good right now. We've won 10 in a row. We've got to sustain the intensity. I thought that early in the second half, we had a 17 point lead. 20 point lead. We get to where we relax and take our foot off the pedal a little bit. We have to learn to be able to power through that and not let teams come back on us. That's happened in the last 3 home games. So hopefully we get a little better at that.

Q: anything you guys heard in the locker room during the jersey retirement? What does that mean to the guys? Do they understand the history of what that means to the program?

BH: yeah, it's really special. And for me, in particular, I was disappointed that I didn't get to be out there. Jamaal [Wilkes] was one of my heroes growing up. I was a little kid in Santa Barbara, California and the big star at the local high school the senior year after moving from Ventura is Keith Wilkes. And then when he went on to UCLA, I watched all their games. What a great player. The guy was an unbelievable athlete. Player. Smart, skilled. 4 NBA championships. He was part of a team that went 60-0 during his first 2 years of eligibility here. First-team All-American. Academic All-American. He's such a classy guy. I didn't even really know Jamaal. But what a class act. I heard it was really nice and really well done. I was happy to hear that. His sons and daughter were here. To be able to help celebrate that. Now he's had his jersey retired in the last month, both with the Lakers and with UCLA. That's pretty special. It doesn't get much better than that.

Q: you tell me the matchup advantages you have offensively underneath. A lot of people are concerned that those would become matchup disadvantages defensively. It doesn't seem to work out that way.

BH: I think our doubles in the post, which is something we did a lot in the past, and we're getting better is really helping us. We're doubling in the post, and I think as we continue to get better at that, it'll help us more and more. Because it keeps you out of foul trouble. We do have matchup issues when we play 1-on-1 in the post. And other teams that have big size with big thick guys like [Joe] Burton was today. We didn't initially go into the game planning on doubling. We doubled #44 [Devon Collier] but he got going a little bit. This helps us stay out of foul trouble.

I'd like to say one more thing. Norman Powell had a pretty severe headache before the game and didn't warm up with the team. [audio difficulties] with the 30 mark and the 10 mark. He came back in and was able to play. I thought he did a terrific job, especially considering that he had a pretty substantial headache. And you could tell he was sensitive to the lights. He really toughed one up and took one for the team. I was really happy about that.

Q: as you shot 50% from beyond the arc, they shot 30%. Was that a big factor in this game for you, statistically speaking?

BH: yeah, in fact, we didn't take that many. We took 12. So we were 6 for 12. Shabazz really shot it well from there. He did a nice job today. So it was good. It was good to knock down those 3's. We'll see more zone on Saturday when we play Oregon. They play some zone and press.

Q: this is the best start you had in the PAC-12, with the team, since the first season with UCLA. How much can you build on that momentum especially with 2 huge games coming up in Arizona and Oregon?

BH: we're not even thinking about Arizona. That's like an eternity. All we're concerned with is trying to beat the University of Oregon. What I told our team today, getting ready to play the Beavers, is the 3 teams that just beat them at home are a combined 43-5. So all those teams coming up on our schedule are difficult. We're a much better team than we were my first year. So hopefully…it's about the next game. It's one game at a time.

Q: are you concerned about Larry getting 30 minutes and then having a quick turnaround for Oregon?

BH: no, I'm not worried about Larry. He's been playing a lot of minutes all year long. He's a really strong, good athlete. Again, I thought Kyle [Anderson] played terrific tonight. I think he actually had more than 9 boards. We're going to double-check that. We don't think he got awarded all his rebounds. But I think he had another double-double tonight. So we're going to double-check that with the film and make that official. But yeah, with a quick turnaround, this is the third week in a row now where we're playing… and this actually helps us, about playing a 6 o'clock game, in terms of that, a couple of extra hours is big. So I'm happy about that. Oregon runs a ton of different looks and sets. And they're very very good. [E.J.] Singler is just an unbelievable player. I love Singler. [Tony] Woods is playing great. They've got a lot of pieces. Their guard play is really playing well. [Dominic] Artis and [Johnathan] Loyd. So we have our hands full. But it's nice to get this first one under our belts.

Q: Ben, Jordan [Adams] had an uncharacteristically off night for him. Do you attribute that to anything?

BH: no. I just think that… This might actually be a good thing because he'll be extra focused and come back. And he'll have a very good game on Saturday. I'm confident of that. He was terrific in Boulder [Colorado].

Q: do you talk about a winning streak to your team at all? Winning games like this?

BH: no.

Q: why?

BH: they know what it is. We're on to the next game. We don't even care about that streak. It's about trying to win that next game that presents itself. Just like we're not talking about a losing streak. I don't worry about that at all. That's for you guys to worry and bring up and ask questions about. I don't need to do that.

Q: what about your 5-0 start? Your first year, the next 15 games didn't go quite that well. Will you bring that up as motivation?

BH: not at all. That team was not… actually, it was a miracle we started 5-0 that year, to be honest. I'm not surprised with our team, the way we started off here. We've had, I think, the first 5 were at home. Our guys have improved or getting better. Again, 10 years ago… first of all, Kyle and Shabazz were 8 or 9 years old. First grade, second grade, third grade. So it's not relevant to them at all. It means zilch.


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