VIDEO: Alford after USC

Jan. 14 -- Head coach Steve Alford talks about the third straight win and getting over the losing streak...

Opening statement:
One thing that we haven’t been able to do is go on the road and come away victorious. We’ve been talking about it. When we got back from Utah and Colorado, we really challenged our guys with a nine-day, three-win mission. That’s not easy when you’ve lost five in a row. These guys have really played hard, and they’ve stuck together. Even when our offense is struggling on the road, we’ve really seen our defense improve. I thought our defense was outstanding tonight. We hold the best offensive rebound team in the league to four offensive rebounds, and beat them by 20. That was the difference. Our offense has been coming along. We got a little bit bumpy with our offense at home, but we come on the road and have a very efficient offense tonight. We get a couple of days off, eight days before we have to play again, and we’ll come up with mission number two.

On confidence:
Obviously, you’re going to start thinking about it as a player. Whether it’s shooting, losing, not guarding or not handling the ball well. You’re going to get down a little bit in regards to who you’re playing if you’re not having success. We’ve tried as coaches just to tell them, ‘Hey guys, keep fighting.’ We’re the only team in the country to have 26 days in between home games, which is not the guys’ fault. They just had to keep fighting and believing in one another, and they’ve done that. We’re getting better. We still have a lot of growth. Tom Welsh, we’ve been seeing him coming. He had a much better game tonight. G.G. [Goloman] is playing very consistently. Noah [Allen] knows what his role is coming off the bench. He’s doing it well. We have a lot of guys doing good things. It comes at a good time. We need a break, but I’d also like to keep playing because we’re playing well. We know we have a long season still ahead of us, but I like the position we are in.

On turning around momentum:
We finally got to play some home games, and we’ve been really good at home. We’ve been 25-3 over the last two years, only losing to nationally-ranked top-10 Gonzaga this year. Home sometimes can make you better. We got to be home in familiar surroundings. Our student section has been incredible for our games against Cal and Stanford, which really helped us. I think winning in double overtime and having to play 50 minutes helped. The way we had to win it really boosted us going into the Cal game. We finally went to the road with a little bit of our swagger back. I thought we continued that tonight.

On the big change after halftime:
I think we had a really good start to the second half, which is a credit to the players. We forced them into a timeout. At the media timeout, I think we stretched it to a 12-plus point lead. When you get a double-digit lead with 16 to play on the road, you’re going to take that. I thought the start of the second-half was crucial.

On the significance of beating USC:
Well, it’s a league game. Obviously it’s a rival, but we were either going to leave this gym tonight tied or with a two-game lead. We’re leaving here with a two-game lead. I’m very proud of Norman. Norman is the first player since Toby Bailey to go 4-0 at USC. Norman here is our senior that went 4-0 in this building. That’s a tribute to him. That’s a good accomplishment.

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