Exerpts from Howland's Presser

Ben Howland held his weekly press conference Monday -- right after he had learned that UCLA had been ranked #1 in the country. He talked about the ranking, Long Beach State and the improved play of Lorenzo Mata...

On UCLA earning a No. 1 national ranking

 

"We're number one in the AP, two in the coaches.  Any time you're ranked number one in the country, it's special.  I'd rather it be in the end of April.  But that being said, it's a special honor that the media and your fellow coaches rank you so high."

 

On lessons learned from the tournament in Hawaii

 

"I learned we have to work a lot on our foul shooting. It's hard to play three successful games in a row.  That was a grueling trip we played, and it turned out well for us."

 

On playing against Long Beach State Tuesday night

 

"Long Beach led the country in scoring last year, and they lost to Air Force by one.  Seven of their top nine players are seniors. They've got a real veteran group of guys.  They shoot the ball well with range.  They're an athletic, pressing team.  They play both man and zone, but primarily a lot of zone.  If you lack any respect for your opponent, you definitely can get beat.  And we are very capable of being beat by anybody on our schedule, notably Long Beach State."

 

On Lorenzo Mata

 

"He's improved but he will get a lot better offensively once he gets more practice.  He played against BYU [in the season opener] but had about three practices before the BYU game and two after it.  He doesn't have a lot of practice time.  He had an operation last summer that put him out.  He's playing pretty well right now.  If he had made his foul shots against Georgia Tech, he would have had back-to-back double-doubles."


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