VIDEO: Alford after Oregon

Feb. 14 -- The head coach talks about the improved defense in the second half of the win over the Ducks...

Opening statement:
That’s a huge win. I give a lot of credit to Oregon, that without a true post player they did a good job of forcing you to play all over the court. They can make threes. I thought our guys made good adjustments at halftime. In the second half, I thought that we really defended well, holding them to 34 percent shooting and just 23 points. In the second half, we really did a good job on the backboard. We did a good job rebounding after those first 10 minutes. For the last 30 minutes, we did a good job on the backboard and that was key for us.

On limiting Oregon's 3-point looks:
I thought we were over-helping. That is a good thing. Earlier in the season, we did not do as much helping. They got some second shots. So at halftime, that is what we talked about. It’s kind of like special teams, but in basketball, with OBs [out-of-bounds plays], free throw situations, easy looks that way. We just didn’t want to over help. We thought that we could defend the drive with minimal help. Norman is hard to guard. We got them in foul trouble. We did a really good job, where we get them by almost 20 points in the paint. It was a good job of getting them in foul trouble.

On closing teams out:
I hope we are growing and maturing. I’ve felt that for the last two and a half or three weeks, maybe even longer than that. There was a speed bump because of Tony’s absence for two games when we didn’t have Tony [Parker]. That is hard to deal with. When you look at him, the last seven of nine games, if I’m right, we have had Tony and we have played really well in those games. He makes such a difference for us. He had a presence to him. I hope there is a maturity level that is happening with this team. They know each other better. We are taking better shots. Against Oregon State, we shot around 45 percent and today, around 50. We are making free throws. Hopefully, we are maturing a little bit.

On UCLA's guards:
It’s been really good. I wish I would have gotten Noah [Allen] in the second half more. But we had Norman, Bryce and Isaac and we played it out with them. I think Noah has been doing a lot of good things. It wasn’t anything that he didn’t do. I liked our rhythm. We pretty much had a six to seven point lead that whole half. I think five points is about as close as they got. We just ran with it that way. We are seeing guys like Isaac and Bryce and Norman learning how to play 35 to 36 or 37 minutes. Bryce was at 40 and I think Isaac was at 40, so I didn’t get them much of a break. We knew we would be done by 2 o’clock. We have all day tomorrow as a day off before this final road trip. We won’t resume until 1 on Monday, so we get almost 48 hours off here, so we just rolled with it. I think the guys are managing their minutes much better now.

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