Quotes - UCLA

SEATTLE - Lorenzo Romar, Ben Howland, Justin Holiday, Venoy Overton, and C.J. Wilcox all had things to say after Washington's 70-63 win over UCLA Thursday night at Alaska Airlines Arena. Romar was effusive in his praise of Wilcox, who led the Huskies with a career-high 24 points.

Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar:
Opening Statement:
"We didn't shoot the ball very well, same as last game. But tonight in the second half, we maintained our defensive focus, and our overall focus and intensity. We were able to win a game despite not putting the ball in the basket the way we know that we can. UCLA is a really good defensive team. That's one of the reasons they are much better because they are playing defense the way they have in the past. That's why they've improved, that's why they are on their winning streak. But our guys dug in and played with so much heart. Justin Holiday was 1-8, but you look on the other side, Tyler Honeycutt's 0-6. And Justin Holiday gets 6 rebounds and five assists. He still had an impact on that game, in terms of winning. Matthew Bryan-Amaning wasn't able to convert a lot of times, but he pulls down 13 rebounds. And he was in there battling big Josh Smith, which is never an easy thing at all. Venoy Overton was his old self, and he really, really did a good job of helping us win this game. Scott Suggs coming back, really gave us some experience and stability and some smarts out there. I thought he helped us as well. What's really exciting for me is that it was a true team effort. There were a lot of other stars in this game that didn't show up statistically. They really complimented C.J.'s effort."

On C.J. Wilcox: "I've been a part of a team that won a National Championship, and I've never seen a freshman do what he did tonight in the second half. Unless it's one of those heralded freshman that are a one-and-done guy, you rarely see a freshman put a team on his back like he did tonight. That's one of the greatest performances in the history of the program. I haven't looked at the media guide, but how many players have scored 24 points in a half in a meaningful game? I don't think it would be a lot."

On when he looks to find plays for Wilcox:
"Usually when he hits one, my antennas go up. Our guys understand that when he hits one or two, we need to find him. He has an unbelievable knack for finding the open area at times. If he's healthy all year, this type of performance would have happened earlier, because we've seen it too many times."

On UW's defense:
"In the first half, I thought it was exactly like it was on Sunday, except for that we took a little better care of the basketball. But the second half was completely different from Sunday. We maintained our focus defensively. Our defensive intensity was there. I thought tonight we pretty much played 40 minutes of defense. And we needed every bit of those 40 minutes to beat that team."

On making Wilcox run a line Wednesday for passing up a shot in practice:
"It only happens to the good shooters."

On Wilcox's 'and-one' with 2:38 left in the game:
"That was when talent just took over."

On Venoy Overton:
"Tonight Venoy was the VO we all know. He was dialed in. He was alert. It was pretty impressive."

On this win being the biggest one of the year:
"We had to overcome a lot. If we would have made a shot at the end, it would have been similar to Texas A&M. But the biggest wins to me were the first two in Pac-10 play against the LA schools. But tonight it was crucial."

On UCLA:
"They play physical, and they guard. They don't give you an inch. And if we're playing the right way, hopefully we're the same way. Hopefully when you have two teams at each other in that way, close games is what you come up with."

On Josh Smith:
"It's like a van going downhill with the emergency brake off. You'd have a better chance at stopping it than him. I don't know how many guys around are like Josh. For starters, he catches everything. If something touches his fingernail, it's his. And then he does a great job of moving you without running over you. If he has the slightest angle, he abuses the angle and finds a way to go in there. It's hard to box him out. One of the things we tried to do is pick up the floor a little bit to make it a little tougher to get it down to him. Because once it gets down there…"

On the seniors:
"I think this senior class has won a lot of ball games. If we're fortunate enough to go to the NCAA Tournament, that would be three consecutive years, and I think there's only two other teams that have done that at this school. The way their careers will end? Who knows. But I think it's safe to say that those guys have been a part of a lot of special success here."

On Isaiah Thomas and any concerns over his play: "Isaiah is the last guy I'm concerned about. He'll be fine. He'll bounce back. He didn't have a good shooting game. He didn't have as good a game as he'd like. Isaiah Thomas is going to be fine. I go back to the Texas A&M game…maybe the entire media session was about Isaiah, what was wrong with him. Nothing. He'll be fine."
UCLA Coach Ben Howland:
General Comments:
"It was a disappointing loss.  We had a great opportunity to come on the road and win in a tough environment.  Our defense played was really good tonight with the exception of [CJ] Wilcox.  If I'm not mistaken Wilcox had 24 points in the second half.  We had a one point lead going into the half and we missed a shot then he came down and got them going.  With a player like him your job is to make him bounce the ball. You play close enough so he cannot bring the ball up to shoot.  He hit some big shots.  I thought Malcolm [Lee] played great defense against Isaiah today.  I liked our heart, our character, and the way we played tonight.  I think Washington is a very good team that could really do some damage in the NCAA tournament."

On Joshua Smith:
"I thought that Josh had a great stat line tonight with 16 rebounds.  I thought Josh had a great post move near the end of the game.  I thought Josh played one of his best games.  I was really proud of him for playing so well."

Not putting Malcolm Lee on CJ Wilcox:
"That was another problem for us. Malcolm kept cramping up and that was a big turning point.  Losing Malcolm for those minutes was a real problem for us."

Composure problems dealing with the environment:
"Some of it, but it is March now.  We have been in some tough environments and this is one of the toughest in our conference.  Not having any timeouts really hurt our ability to regain our composure."
Justin Holiday:
On C.J. Wilcox's scoring in the second half:
"Oh it was real big for us.  I think the main key for us winning this game was how we defended, though.  It was good that we had C.J. step up and get us points because that was our problem, but it all started on the defensive end.  If we didn't defend we would have lost this game, similar to what happened against Washington State.  This game was different in that we got stops both halves and C.J. stepped up for us.  C.J. stepping up was big, and we won the game because of it."

  On how UCLA was different the second time playing them:
"They seemed a little more patient.  They went inside way more than they did last time.  They tried to use Josh [Smith] a lot more and used Reeves [Nelson] a lot more inside, but then Jerime [Anderson] stepped up on the outside and knocked down shots.  I thought they're guard play was a little better this time around. We weren't scoring well, but they still played pretty good defense. UCLA's good when they are able to do that. So, this time around theyplayed better defense and they had guys step up."

  On guarding Tyler Honeycutt:
"I was making sure that I was staying in the vicinity when he had the ball.  I didn't get lost this time, except for once when he got that backdoor and the foul.  Last time I got lost a couple times on the screens and stuff so I made sure that I stayed near and understood what was going to happen and tried to be there every time he got the ball and put pressure on him—make him have to make a tough shot and I think most of his shots were tough."

On shutting UCLA down the stretch:
"I think it has a little to do with both [grit and determination] and also I think they were getting tired. I think Coach Howland took all of their timeouts early, quick, so they had no timeouts to call down the stretch. When CJ's scoring down the other end and we're coming down and getting stops on them having Venoy and Isaiah pressuring the ball, giving them a hard time bringing it up; they're a team that likes to run sets and Venoy pressuring them, it slows their time up in running sets and if they can't get the set they have to go to something else because the shot-clock is running down. I think Venoy was valuable in that in pressuring the ball and giving them a hard time bringing the ball up."

On where the team sees itself after this game:
"I still think we feel the same way as we did after we lost because we're nowhere right now. We have to continue winning. This win is good for us to have because we need it, but it didn't do much for us. We have to keep winning. That's what happened last year, we kept winning. We can't get satisfied with this win. We have to still be hungry and as a team we are. We going to go out each game and if the shots aren't falling I think the defense is going to be there and that's the key for us."
Venoy Overton:
On what caused the inspired defensive effort:
"Probably just watching ESPN a lot, just not knowing if we're in the tournament or not.  It's our last year, and you don't want to go out not in the tournament or playing in some other kind of tournament, so after that Washington State game everybody talked and we went back to our last year mode—stop talking about it and go out there and do it.  That's basically how set the tone by just playing defense."

On being able to redefine his senior season with the way he finishes it:
"Definitely. It's a big game Saturday; it's more than just a ceremony, Senior night. It's a big game against USC and they're a tough opponent, a great defensive team. We still have games left so we know after Saturday we still have work to do so if we keep winning that'll make a perfect senior season."
C.J. Wilcox:
On the start to the second half:
"Yeah it's good to see your shot go down.  The confidence factor-coaches have been harping to keep shooting.  Luckily they have fallen."

On feelings coming into this game:
"We just felt like our backs were against the wall.  We had to come out here, and get it rolling because we can't lose.  We want to win out, and that's what we're trying to do."

On poor shot selection:
"Yeah it's been something that's happened lately.  We've taken a lot of contested threes and coaches have been saying to take good ones.  Unless we're open we try to keep the ball moving and get an open shot."

On the difference in UCLA:
"I didn't get to play in that game but they're playing better now.  They're one of the best teams in the Pac-10 so we had to come in focused and play well."

On how much he sensed that he needed to knock down shots or else the team wasn't going to win:
"When coach started calling plays for me I knew that I had the hot-hand so I knew that they were going to start going to me, so I knew I had to knock down shots."

On UCLA laying off of him too much:
"Early in the game coach was getting on me saying ‘you have to take advantage of the open shots.' I was 0-2 but coaches kept harping on me to make open shots and luckily they started falling."

On being made to run because he didn't take a shot in practice:
"That was actually yesterday. I had an open shot, but, since we'd been taking a lot of contested threes, in practice I was trying to keep the ball moving and it was pretty wide open. Eventually I ended up shooting it but I kind of hesitated at first so coach put me on the line and I had to run for that."

On being surprised by being punished for not shooting:
"No, not really. Not with Coach Romar."

On toeing the line of knowing what's a good shot and what's not a good shot:
"It's always been in the back of my head. I've never really had to learn it. I just kind of know what's a good shot. Sometimes I take bad ones in the heat of the moment but normally I know what a god shot is."


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