Ben Howland talks after Washington:
BH: it was a huge win for us. Over a veteran team. I thought Washington would be very tough to be. They've been very good on the road in the conference thus far. They have veteran guys. A number of their players have redshirted and are older. [Aziz] N'Diaye did a great job. Had 18 boards. We found a way to win, shooting poorly from the field. Shooting only 33%. I thought that was just through perseverance. We had a whole week to think about losing at home to ‘SC. I thought our guys had good practices. And we found a way to win. Through hard work. We had a 6 point lead and didn't handle the shot clock very well and still found a way to win. There was a huge play there where Larry [Drew II] took a quick shot in transition, under 2 minutes, then stole a ball and Shabazz [Muhammad] got that dunk. That was a huge play for us. And obviously, Larry's shot. I couldn't be happier for somebody. He's our lone senior. He wanted it. It was a good look. Wide open shot. Knocked it down. Couldn't be happier for a player.
Q: yeah, Ben? Did you ever consider a time out in those final seconds?
BH: no. Sometimes at the end, I like to let it go. So they don't get set. We're at home. The game's tied. And he did a great job, though, waiting until the final second to shoot the ball. Worst case scenario, we're going to overtime. They got a great look. Obviously a layup out of… sideline on replay. Probably should've hammered them but it was a game that both teams struggled to score. We both had time to prepare for each other. And I thought they did a great job of banging through screens. And just fighting through screens physically, and they're a very physical team.
Q: how much of a concern is a third straight shooting effort below 40%? Is that a matter of generating better looks on offense?
BH: yeah and part of it was they played very good defense. We had some good looks. I mean, Jordan Adams, for example, is going to come out of his slump. He had a wide open shot to start the second half. You can't get a better look than that for him. The difference in the game in the stat sheet was it was 19 turnovers to 10. I thought our pressure… even when we were struggling, it seemed like we were stuck at 25 forever. How long were we on 25 in the first half? Seemed like it was a long stanza.
Q: just a quick follow-up on the other one. Do you ever recall leaving an arena… the last time you left an arena with a time out in your pocket?
BH: *smile* *chuckle* I think it was a full one. Can't remember.
Q: Coach, can you talk about… following up on your comment on how happy you are for Larry. Is it about the road that he's traveled to get here…
BH: yeah, he's worked so hard. I thought Larry… like today, in the walkthrough, we're going live, he and Norman [Powell] both came from a midterm they had to take. So we started our shootaround at 12. They didn't get here until 12:30. He was exhausted going so hard in the walkthrough. I thought he had a great week in practice. I just love how his improvement as a player, especially on the defensive end. I thought his ball pressure was really good early in this game. And I'm just happy for him. He's a senior. He's gone through a lot. And it's nice for him to make that big shot. His teammates were so excited for him. And [audio difficulties]
Q: Ben, if you had called a timeout, would you have called that play?
BH: you know what? We probably would have done a high pick-and-roll for Larry. He had just scored that 3 point play. It was a big play where he went in and got fouled. Which was a similar deal. That play right there was just all on his own. He was waiting. Took the last shot. I'm excited for him. Excited for the team. This was obviously a huge win. We were stuck on 16 wins. We needed this, and we're ready now for a tough battle against Washington State on Saturday night. And I'm glad Saturday night. This is the first conference game that we played this year where we're playing Thursday-Saturday but we're not playing an early afternoon game. So believe me, those 7 hours I'm thankful for in terms of rest and preparation.
Q: you talked about Larry needing to shoot more with the way he's been playing. How much will a shot like that do for his confidence if he's shooting more?
BH: yeah, I think he'll feel good about it. And he should. He's been shooting the ball well in practice. And he's playing a lot of minutes. We ask him to do a lot. I thought Shabazz… considering he didn't practice on Monday or Tuesday, did a really good job. One thing I'm so excited about Shabazz, I could see it in the second half, I think his defense is improving so much. I think he's becoming just a more intense player on the ball. He had to grab a huge defensive rebound late in the game. I'm excited that he's improving on that end of the floor.
Q: Ben, when your teams have done well, they've done well in February. It seems like the good teams have great Februarys. It's important for a lot of reason. How does that work for your guys?
BH: yeah, no question. Februarys… we have, I think, 2 games in March this year. I think it's 3, I can't remember. We finish up with the Washingtons in March. But, yeah, Februarys… it's coming down to the wire here now. And this is a big win for us against a very tough hardnosed team that's good. Washington's going to be a problem for everybody that they play. And Lorenzo [Romar, head coach] does a terrific job.
Q: obviously, you're happy with the win. But are you concerned that in another game, you were outrebounded by double digits?
BH: we played against the best rebounding team in the league. They lead the league in offensive rebounding. I thought that Dave Wear, for example, did a good job in the second half in particular in rebounding tonight. And that was a tough one. We got a stop. Dave had it on his fingertip and somehow it ends up in Abdul Gaddy's hands for that 3 he made. But thank goodness we found a way and I'm happy for our team.
VIDEO: Howland after Washington
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