Player and Coach Quotes - USC

LOS ANGELES - Lorenzo Romar, Darnell Gant, Terrence Ross and Kevin O'Neill spoke after Washington's 80-58 win at the Galen Center Thursday night, as UW captured at least a share of the Pac-12 regular-season championship.

Lorenzo Romar:
Opening Statement - "Our guys did what we needed to do. We needed to come out with focus and 'advance', so to speak. I'm happy that we were able to get that done. I thought our guys had good focus on the defensive end early, and I thought that set the tone for everything else for the rest of the game."

On the subdued post-game atmosphere - "No doubt. That's what we've talked about - that this is half of the piece of the whole pie."

On the rebounding - "It was 30-10 in the first half. It was good. You could see multiple guys that went to the glass and got boards for us, so that was good. It was a good job for us."

On being curious to see how his team would react early - "Monday told me enough…Monday, I felt like we handled it the way we did tonight. Our guys, it was if they could see the light at the end of the tunnel a little bit. I didn't approach it thinking I have no idea how we're going to come out, and that has been the case sometimes. But I felt we came out pretty focused."

On if that shows growth on the team - "Quite a bit. But, we've had some success on the road, and some recent success - so that helps with your confidence and your focus."

On the players righting the ship when USC got the game to nine - "We weren't getting stops. We had nine turnovers in the first half; we were more sloppy offensively then. We only turned it over three times in the second half. But Byron Wesley did a great job of getting the ball in the paint and scoring on us, and it was during that stretch when they cut into the lead."

On killing them in rebounding - "Our guys did a good job. Our guys attacked on both ends of the glass. That's something we've talked about; that's one of the things we try to do in the absence of knocking down shots on a consistent basis."

On Ross' full arsenal - "He's a tough cover when he's playing like that. He was very versatile tonight."

On being happy as co-Pac-12 champs - "Yeah. Again, we're co-champions. Five games ago we looked at this journey that we were going to have to not slip up in any of these games. We didn't say four games; we said five. We have one more before we start over. Then it's the Pac-12 Tournament."

On if he knew anything about the WSU-UCLA game - "I heard."

On Darnell Gant's game - "He did a nice job; 14 (point) and 9 (rebounds) in 21 minutes. He knocked shots down. Down the stretch he's been a great, great leader for us."

On the SI story on UCLA - "It's always tough when something like that comes out on any program. But we're in a situation where we're trying to keep everything going in our program, much less worrying about somebody else's."

On if he thinks there could be long-term issues at UCLA - "No. I won't mention any names - you'll probably figure it out, but when I was 11 years old something broke out about UCLA and I couldn't believe it. Eleven year-old kid and I was like, 'Why would they do something like that?'. But they survived. I'm sure they will do what's necessary and get things back on the right track. They responded on the court pretty good to that article."

On if he thinks any of that will play a part in Saturday's game - "The only part I see it playing is if they come out and win by 30 like they did against Wazzu; I hope it doesn't play that part. But obviously they must have been really ready to go. We'll see."

On using the zone - "The zone has been kind of like a substitute teacher for us; kind of a fill-in. Holding the fort until we can get things going a different way - just a change of pace for us. It was something we decided as a staff that we were going to do in the summer - play more zone and get better at the zone because of our length and the size of our guards."
Darnell Gant:
On the game - "It feels good, but I'm not satisfied. For one, the outcome of the game - that takes down the feeling of it. But at the same time we know that Saturday is really the one. We didn't want to look past them, but Saturday is really the one where we've got to really get it done."

On sharing a title - "You don't want to share it. I don't like sharing. Most of my teammates, they all want to win it outright. And it feels better, and it sounds better - to me."

On winning it all at UCLA - "Like I've said before, storybook ending. That's going to be crazy. But we have to be ready for it, and whatever comes at us on Saturday we have to be ready for it."

On both teams having something at stake - "They are not only playing for pride and trying to get a better seed in the (Pac-12) Tournament maybe, but they are playing because they've gotten a lot of negative light in the media nationally. This game is nationally-televised, so they want to come out and show that they are good guys and they are not what the media has been portraying them to be over the years. They want to show that they are different. They are not only playing for pride, they are playing for that. But at the same time we're playing for a championship."

On if the younger players understand that - "I'm going to do my best to let them know that. Last night I tried to let 'em know what's at stake today. We couldn't look past these guys. It wasn't going to be handed to us; we came out with a good focus. Tomorrow, I'm going to do the same thing, talk to my guys, and be ready for Saturday."

On being surprised that there was little celebration - "No. I wasn't surprised. Even when we went on a run early and Terrence (Ross) got that dunk, I wasn't fired up at all. I was just thinking we have a lot more basketball to play and we have another game after this. This is not the time to celebrate. If we do what we have to do on Saturday, then I promised everybody that you're going to feel a feeling that you've never felt before. But we've got to get there."

On this being a business trip - "It was. Me and (Abdul) Gaddy kept stressing the fact that this is a business trip. We wanted to make sure our guys were in line, make sure no cool jackets, nothing is going to be handed to us. It wasn't ours; we had to take it. And in order to take it, we had to come out with an unbelievable focus, unbelievable energy, and we just had to be ready."

On if that showed up in the rebound stats - "Yes. But that's a part of it. That's a part of Husky Basketball. We always want to win the war of rebounding, and we kind of killed them today. It's not going to be as easy against UCLA, but we want to have that same effect; we want to to try to bully them. That's the only way to really beat them."

On bullying USC - "We tried to. We had to come out and be ready and be focused and come out and rebound. That was the tough thing."

On being back in the starting lineup - "I'm just taking it as it is. I just need to step up my game; this is my last few games, so I need to go all out."

On preferring to start - "It really doesn't matter. I was having fun coming off the bench and bringing energy. Now that I'm in the starting lineup I feel like I have to do the same thing. My role doesn't change. I try to get in there, but whatever coach Romar…he's the coach, and he's the head coach for a reason. Whatever he has lined up, that's what we go with."
Terrence Ross:
On his shoulder - "It's good…just a little sore."

On the muted reaction after the game - "It's because we know we can win the whole league. We just have to be ready to play Saturday. It's a good feeling, but we know winning the title by ourselves is best. So we just have to go out there and focus. Sharing for a consolation is cool, but to have your name there as champions of the league is big, especially when we weren't predicted to win. To prove a lot of people wrong, it's huge."

On UCLA and focusing - "We were going to have to focus either way it goes. Now we know they are playing better basketball than the last time we saw them. We just have to go out there and be ready and give it our all."

On jumping on USC early - "It was big. You never want to start the other way around; get down or even lose. We knew that the only way Saturday would be a big game tonight is if we won tonight, so we had to make sure we didn't overlook anything, jump on 'em early and make sure we did what we needed to do."

On getting out in the lanes, getting steals and running - "We always try and do that, but it was even more in our favor tonight. We were in the passing lanes like we always are helped a little more; our principles gave us that little extra boost that we needed."

On crushing USC on the boards - "We didn't do anything different; they just don't send too many guys to the boards - maybe just one or two, maybe. We had the group rebounds to make sure we killed them on the boards with our scout, but we really didn't do anything different."

On using his full arsenal tonight - "I don't know if it was the full arsenal. I just did what I can do to help the team win. I just had to take it from myself to really help the team out tonight."

On staying within the offense - "I tried to do that last time too, but I wasn't making any shots. And then I got into foul trouble and everything spiraled out of control. I'm not going to let the last game affect the way I play tonight or Saturday; just be myself and play my game and it'll come to me."

On playing well in LA - "Just like any other city - they both have basketball gyms, two buckets, ten feet…same thing."

On only having one foul in the game - "I don't know. Just played smarter defense."

On picking up cheap fouls lately - "Yeah, I think I'm just trying to do too much. I don't know what it is. I need to watch some film and just know what the other player does and what I need to do to not foul."

On figuring things out when USC trimmed the lead to nine - "I was telling the dudes that we're down by nine and we can't blow this lead…we just had to go back to what we were doing in the first half, stay focused and get stops. The offensive part of it would take care of itself."

On getting too comfortable - "I think that's what happened when we went down. We knew we couldn't get comfortable, because any team can come back. We have too much on the line to let a little mental lapse hurt us that much."

On it feeling like each game is a playoff game - "It's a big challenge for us, and everybody on the team wants to step up to the challenge. You just have to stay focused. We know what's at stake and what we can accomplish. Right now we just have to execute."

On if he thought this was possible when they were 5-5 on the year - "Oh yeah, I definitely thought this was possible. I thought we could win league as long as we just started winning every game out and not have any mental mistakes. I knew we were going to do great things when we matured and went through the season and figured out what works for us. I just thought it was a matter of time."

On dominating when people expect you to dominate - "When you come out focused and ready to go, it's easier…it's not a lot easier, but it can be a lot easier than what it could be. If we act like we're going to win this game or come out with the wrong mindset, that's when things can backfire on you. That's the thing that the seniors are saying - make sure we have our heads on right and go out and handle our business."

On when the last game was when the team didn't have the right mindset - "Oregon."
USC Head Coach Kevin O'Neill:
On UW - "They have too much for us. They are better than we are top to bottom. If I was in the NCAA Tournament, I wouldn't want to play them. They've gotten better and they keep improving."

On rebounding differential - "We miss so many shots that people get a lot of defensive rebounds. And tonight, they're bigger, and stronger than us. We don't have the capability to out rebound people this year."


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