Howland, Players after Loss

Ben Howland and the players talk about what happened in the blowout loss to Minnesota, and Howland addresses the talk about his job status...

UCLA PRESS CONFERENCE

 

COACH HOWLAND:  I thought that obviously we struggled against the zone in the first half.  I looked up and saw the field goals attempted, we were at one point I think like 2 14 or something like that.

 

We had some open looks early.  We couple wide open shots that we didn't knock down.  And it kind of snowballed to where we continued to miss some pretty good looks early in the game.

 

And then give them credit.  Minnesota, a battle tested team out of the Big 10, they're very, very physical and tough.  We ended up out boarding them tonight, ironically, by six.  But I'm not going to let this diminish, tonight's loss, as much as it hurts, as sad as we are, diminish what a great season these kids provided.  And to be 25 wins, PAC 12 champions of the regular season, lose Jordan and find a way to continue to fight back the way they did in our last two games, I'm just really proud of them and really proud of the spirit of this team and the young kids that we have that represent UCLA.

 

Q.  Can you just talk about your college career coming to an end in this sort of fashion.  Probably not the what you envisioned it ending.

Larry Drew II:  Yeah, it's definitely not how I had envisioned it at all ending.  But like coach said, it was a terrific run for us.  Caught a couple tough breaks near the end losing Jordan and everything.  But like he said also, just proud of the way that we kept fighting, kept competing.  I'm just glad to be here and just glad to have been given the opportunity to don the UCLA jersey and colors.

 

Q.  David, talk about your emotions in those last few minutes.  I know you guys struggled a lot in the second half especially.

David Wear:  Yeah it was really disheartening to be down that much in the last couple minutes.  I thought we prepared really well for this game, I thought mentally we were ready for a battle.  We were ready for a war.  It was just unfortunate we didn't really shoot the ball too well.  I felt we played tough and we rebounded well, but they just made more shots than we did.

 

Q.  David, were you guys hampered by the foul trouble?  I know Travis had four and Tony had four there.  How hard was that to kind of have to play conserves detective?

DAVID WEAR:  It was definitely tough just because we're already have a short bench as it is.  And then to have foul trouble with those two guys, our bigs, it was definitely tough.

 

Because again, we were ready for a physical game inside and we came out and they called a couple quick fouls and it was just tough trying to adjust to that over the course of the game.  And really trying to just trying to not play so physical, I guess, inside.  And keep picking up cheap fouls.

 

Q.  David, talk about kind of the effect that this loss has on the program, far reaching affects that it may have?

DAVID WEAR:  Honestly, I thought we had great season.  The group of guys that we played with we were a family, we battled through a lot of adversity throughout the course of the whole season.  And I'm really proud of just the way we came back.  We won the PAC 12 regular season championship, and a huge win up at Washington, which was big for us.  And then we battled all the way through the PAC 12 tournament and then of course it was extremely tough losing a player like Jordan to this team.

 

So I'm really proud of this team and I feel honored to have been able to play with these guys and have the year that we did.

 

Q.  Describe your feelings in those last few minutes.

COACH HOWLAND:  Yeah it was disappointing to lose.  I thought we did a great job.  We cut it to five and I'm not sure how much time was left.  I want to say it was about 10 or 12 minutes.  Right around the 10 minute mark.

 

And then Hollins, and I should have mentioned him in my opening statement, played great.  Their point guard was unbelievable tonight.  Just how effective he was.  Shooting the ball and pulling up and he made two big threes in a row to put it back to 11.  That kind of    and we were obviously short handed.  You could see that our guys wore down physically a little bit.  But as I look out there I've already stated I'm really proud of these group of kids and really indebted to them for the great season that they provided and so coach able, just really, really good young men.

 

Q.  Let's talk about something that went well tonight.  Obviously the rebounding factor for Minnesota was something huge coming into the game and you guys did a really nice job of keeping them off the board, especially the offensive boards for the most part.  Talk about what you did maybe this week to really focus on that.

COACH HOWLAND:  You know, in terms of the board play, we didn't get enough defensive rebounds because they shot 50 percent from the field.  The first half in particular was tough for us.  I think we were up at halftime on the boards, if I'm not mistaken.  We had too many turnovers.  At half time we had nine turnovers and only three assists.

 

And we really struggled just attacking the zone and knocking down some open looks when we had a chance.  And it's a different setting when you're playing in the NCAA tournament and it's one and done if you lose or whatever it is, it's sudden death.

 

I thought that early we were a little tight and I thought that probably affected our guys a little bit just thinking back to how the game unfolded from the beginning.

 

Q.  Are there any indications that you coached your last game here?

COACH HOWLAND:  No.  No comment.  No, I can't answer it.

 

Q.  No, did you hear the fans behind you giving you a standing ovation, it seemed like they were cheering for you.

COACH HOWLAND:  I didn't.  I never hear anything during the games.  When I come to a game, I'm so focused on the game, I don't notice what people    after hundreds and hundreds of times of coaching, if you're hearing the fans, then it's a rarity.

 

Q.  So there was no feeling you were in your heart that this might have been in the back of your mind?

COACH HOWLAND:  I'm just really proud of the season that these kids provided, the UCLA fans.  I think that going back into Pauley this year and bringing home the championship in the regular season, it's really, really disappointing to think about losing Jordan in the last play of the game against Arizona.  That's just the breaks.  That's just an unfortunate thing.

 

And had it happened two months earlier, it really would have been a problem.  And I said throughout the season, the one thing that could stop us would have been losing a key guy.  And that's what ended up happening to us down the stretch.  I thought we played great against Arizona, when was that?  A week ago today.  Right?  And so it's just unfortunate, but overall, really proud of our team and proud of our kids and excited about the future for them.

 

I think that our guys improved a lot, and I look at Larry.  Larry didn't have one of his better games today, but on the season as a whole, his improvement from the beginning of the year to throughout the season was just tremendous.  That's what you want to coach.  You want your team to improve, to compete, you want your players to improve individually and as a team.  I thought our guys did that.

 

Q.  You talked about how tough, how physically tired they appeared.  Was it a mental thing too because of the Jordan Adams thing and the early foul trouble and controversy about your job status, was there a mental, was it mental for them as well tonight?

COACH HOWLAND:  I thought our guys were good mentally.  You lose one of your    Jordan is arguably our most effective all around player at both ends of the floor.  No question that affected us.  I mean it affected us in the seeding, we should have been in Salt Lake instead of here if he stays healthy.

 

And I'm really excited about how the three teams in the PAC 12 won yesterday and I think our league gets pretty much a bum rap when you look at it overall in terms of the quality of the teams this year.  I think that both Cal and Oregon and Arizona are all having a chance to go to the Sweet 16.

 

So our guys won that league with all those players and all those teams in it and really excited about what they provided.  The kind of year they had. 

UCLA Locker Room Quotes

 

UCLA G Kyle Anderson

On the game: I think today the effort was there. It was tough to say [why we lost], but they were just better than us out there. It is sad to go down like this. We are not saying that we didn't have Jordan [Adams] and that is why we lost, but it is hard to take such a tough break at the end of the season and bounce back from it. You have to give credit to them.

 

On if the hype of being the underdog affected them: No, whatever goes on outside of our team we can't control. We just wanted to play our game out there and that is what we did.

 

On what he is most proud of looking back on the season: I am proud that we won 25 games. We got better everyday as a team and that is something that is really underrated that I noticed about this group. I am really proud of them.

 

UCLA F Shabazz Muhammad

On thoughts about game: It was off to a real tough start for us. It is hard to play in the NCAA tournament. I think we had a lot of jitters coming out but all in all, I think they deserved to win. They played better basketball than us.

 

On not fully prepared without Jordan Adams: I thought we were prepared. They came out and jumped on us early and they played really well. Like I said, they deserved to win.

 

On if hearing how Coach Ben Howland may not be here anymore: It doesn't affect the team. It is something that is not our business and it is something we have to go by so we are just going to see what happens.

 

UCLA F Travis Wear

On feelings on second half: When you pull close to five and they extend back to 11, that just sucks. 

 

On thoughts about UCLA offense verse Minnesota defense: They played the zone pretty much the whole entire game. We knew they were going to show zone but we didn't know they would be playing it the whole game. So I think that our execution on offense wasn't great tonight at all. It obviously could've been better since we didn't shoot the ball at all. That was an issue tonight.

 

 


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