It was a good test for us. This was a difficult game for me because Coach Monson is such a good friend. Playing good friends that you respect so much is not easy. It is the only game I don’t root for him. I will be his biggest fan the rest of the year. I have known him for a long time, when he was at Gonzaga and I was at Southwest Missouri State and we would play in Alaska at the Top of the World Classic, so it has been a long friendship. He just does a really good job. I knew they were going to be well-coached, and with their five seniors, that was a huge concern. Probably the biggest concern was (Mike) Caffey having no points at the half.
On takeaways from the game:
I thought we learned some lessons, and I thought that was the poorest we have come out of a half. We needed this. We needed to see what happens when someone punches you to start the second half, and I thought it took us awhile to respond. We kept fighting. It was our worst shooting night of the year. You have to give them a lot of credit. We didn’t shoot the ball well from the field, we didn’t shoot that well from three, we didn’t shoot the ball from the free throw line, and yet this is a young team in a game like this that only had five turnovers and they had 19 so that is the difference in 14 possessions. That is a positive where you can have a bad shooting night and your defense be solid and you not turn the ball over. It would have been different if we shot what we shot tonight and we are sitting here with 19 or 20 turnovers, then that would have been a brutal night. But it wasn’t because of poor passing or anything else; we just didn’t shoot the ball well. Those things will happen. It is the other things I hope our guys learned. The ability to not turn the ball over, working to get good shots, getting loose balls, hitting the backboard, and I thought the difference in this game was the turnover ratio.
On Norman Powell:
I thought he was really good. I liked the matchup with him and (Tyler) Lamb. I thought he did a good job defensively and on offense obviously. He made shots. He was the one guy out there making shots. That is what you need to have out of your senior in a game like this, and he provided that. It has been a tough stretch. It has been maybe a 10-day stretch where we have had four games. Even though they were at home, a four-game stretch in 10 days is not easy, and this was the last one, with a resort trip lingering in the morning. So we knew this was going to be a hard one, and I knew this was the best team we were playing, so I thought Norman did a great job. He had to log a lot of minutes tonight. Norman played a lot, Kevon (Looney) played a lot, Bryce (Alford) was on the floor a lot. Our starters outside of Tony (Parker) were all above 33-34 minutes. We have to get a lot of rest with brutal travel coming up, so we have to get some rest in the next 48 hours before we start this tournament.
On Kevon Looney's rebounding:
It was a night where he missed some easy ones, as a lot of them did tonight, and yet they kept him off the free throw line, so you have to give them credit for that. He is so hard to match up on the backboard, and another double-double for him. Our freshman playing arguably our toughest competition, and he had three assists and no turnovers, so that is what you look for. What looked like an off night was still a really good night with the double-double and some really big rebounds, and he had two huge blocks – one late in the second half so I thought he did some really good things.
We went to zone more than man. They haven’t seen a lot of zone in their games yet, and I think it showed, and we haven’t, and I think it showed. I think both teams in the second half really slowed to almost a crawl, and we have to work on that. We have to work on zone offense. We haven’t seen it that much in our first three games. We just haven’t had to go against a zone for the most part, so we have to work on that. I thought we got stagnant, and I felt they got a little stagnant. It was just two teams that were trying to figure out how to go about zone offense.