VIDEO: Howland after Washington State

Ben Howland talks about the improved shooting against Washington State on Saturday night and the improvement on defense as well...

Ben Howland after Washington State:


BH: that was obviously an important win for us. A finish to a good weekend. I thought that they came out and those first five 3's… I think they made their first five shots, what that correct? They had five 3's or maybe 5 out of 6. But after [Brock] Motum got fouled on a play, I think we held them to without a basket for a long period of time in the first half. I don't know how long it was. You guys can probably keep it… They had 2 shot clock violations. They were purposely trying to be patient and work to make us play defense for long periods of time. I can't remember 2 shot clock violations defensively in a game this year. I was really pleased with our defense in the first half. They shot 34%. And we did a great job sharing the ball tonight. 22 assists in the 31 baskets that we made. Was really good for us.

We found out last night after practice that Travis [Wear] has Strep throat that he got from his dad. Just so you know, he played under the weather. I don't know how it affected his wind and hopefully he'll be better.

I thought Kyle [Anderson] helped with his passes tonight. Kyle had a very good floor game all-around for us and it was really important. But I'm just glad we got the win and now we're headed into obviously another huge weekend coming up.


Q: you felt you got the better shot selection that you were looking for tonight?

BH: well, I thought that tonight, I was really proud… the team has really grown in terms of being smart offensively when you're playing against a team that's so patient and they make you play defense for long periods of time. And we talked on the phone yesterday about them zoning. I know you guys brought it up. And I was like, "I hope they zone." I thought it helped us. We [made] some open shots early in the game. Wide open. We got great looks against their zone and it really got us off to a good start and gave us some extra confidence with some good looks. We just couldn't get stops early. I'm surprised that someone hasn't noted that they made their first five shots. They had five 3 pointers. Their first five baskets were all 3's. I was really worried, "can we ever get stops?" We started to get better and dig in.

Q: 3 of their first 4.

BH: 3 of the first 4? Yeah. And the thing is, they were all pretty good looks. They were driving, penetrating and kicking out on the baseline. Got a wide open shot on the out-of-bounds play. We did a great job, I thought, we did a fantastic job on [Brock] Motum as a team in the first half. He was 1 for 6. I don't know how many points. 4? In the second half, we held [Royce] Woolridge down. He does great work.

Q: Coach, can you talk a little bit about Shabazz's consistency as a scorer? Because he's been in double digits 20 out of 21 games.

BH: yeah. He made a big 3 when we were struggling there late in the game. Put us back to 13. It's nice that he's healthy again. He missed 2 days of practice, I guess that was this week. He's feeling a lot better now after the flu at the ‘SC game and not really completely getting over it where he kind of got run down. So I'm happy about that. But he's been very consistent. And it was good to see him get 4 defensive boards tonight.

Q: you guys had 4, almost 5, guys in double figures. Is that as smooth and balanced as you've seen the offense run in a long time?

BH: yeah, I like when we have that kind of balance. It's always good when a team has 4 or 5 guys or 6 guys in double figures. It's always fun. I just thought we were really unselfish. Really good about sharing the ball tonight. Shabazz had 2 assists in the first half. We had a 15 point lead… we had a 20 point lead there in the first half. What was the biggest lead? 20?

Q: 20.

Q: 19?

Q: 20.

BH: it's nice to have a 7 o'clock game on a Saturday night. It was good for our crowd. It was a nice crowd out there today. Very supportive so I was very excited about that.

Q: how much of a concern is it that you guys still got outrebounded even though there weren't that many defensive rebounds available [audio difficulties]?

BH: you know, they hurt us, I thought, in the second half. In particular, the offensive glass, they got 10. I think we started to wear down a little bit. Because if you went and looked at the clock tonight and you tracked their possessions, I thought they had the ball 23+ minutes tonight. And that's part of the strategy. It's to wear you down. Make you play "D" for long periods of time. And our blockouts got shaky there midway through the second half. But other than that, I thought it was pretty good. And we got 62% from the field. We made 5 offensive rebounds and [audio difficulties]. That's a very high percentage and good.

Q: Jordan [Adams] had kind of been in a bit of a mini-slump. Did it help to have a consistent Jordan Adams out there to be able to score?

BH: what I'm looking for is consistency and effort. And that's all a coach can ask for. And his effort's been great. And I thought his teammates hit him on some open shots. I was excited for Jordan because his dad was out here, with his sister. All the way from Georgia to see a couple games of his games. It's the second time this year being able to make it out. [audio difficulties] So that's exciting. Just happy for him. He's a great kid. Done a wonderful job all year.

Q: Coach, [audio difficulties] made the first 2-point field goal with just about 4 minutes left in that first half. What were you guys going defensively there? Was that kind of just their strategy?

BH: it was great that we had a little more time to prepare for this. Our guys did a great job. We had 3 walkthroughs. 2 yesterday. 1 in practice yesterday, 1 at the hotel last night and 1 again here this afternoon. Our guys are getting better defensively. We're getting better as a team. So it was great. I was excited again. To play such good defense over a long stretch of period there in the first half when we were really difficult to score on.

Q: what does this week… you said this weekend, the Washington-Washington State games. What does this kind of bounce do for you heading into the stretch you're going into now?

BH: it's great because we're 8-3. We're right there now. It's one game at a time. Obviously, it was a huge win the other night. To win at the buzzer. It took a lot of energy and emotion out of us. And to be able to bounce back the right way… To come back today, I was really proud of our team. We're getting better. This team's improving. We've obviously got a huge week ahead with Cal which beat Oregon last week. Stanford which won at Arizona State today which we know from a personal standpoint is a real hard thing to do. Both of those teams are playing very good basketball and are going to be very tough games, starting with the Cal game.

Q: Ben, Kyle Anderson has been in kind of a shooting slump. Tonight, he made 6 of 7 shots. Did you see any difference in his shot selection?

BH: I thought Norman [Powell] gave him a great pass on one. Part of it was we got some great looks of open shots. By really being unselfish and making the extra pass. And when we play like that, then we're a really good offensive team.

Q: Coach, you mentioned that stretch in the first half when they didn't have a 2-point bucket, for you, as someone who prides himself on teaching defense as a coach, how excited were you to see that kind of progression?

BH: thrilled. I can't say enough about the effort that they made at the defensive end. Being in the stance… and it's hard to play defense for long stretches of time like that. And so I'm really proud how these guys are improving in that respect. And getting better and better. And so, that's a key for us. the bottom line is it still comes down to defending. Night in and night out, your defense, even if you're not shooting well, gives you a chance to win. And when we're on all cylinders on offense, combined with the defense, we're pretty good.

Thank you.

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