Coach/Player Quotes - UT-Arlington

SEATTLE - Here are quotes from Lorenzo Romar, Tony Wroten, Darnell Gant, Abdul Gaddy and Terrence Ross after Washington's 82-72 win over UT-Arlington in the first round of the 75th National Invitation Tournament Tuesday at Alaska Airlines Arena. Now the No. 1 seed Huskies will host No. 4 seed Northwestern on Friday at 7 pm.

Lorenzo Romar:
Opening Statement
"We knew that Texas-Arlington was going to be a scrappy team and we saw that live and up close as they got 13 offensive rebounds in the first half. That was the difference. The score was tied at half and they earned it by crashing the boards the way they did. They had 12 points off second chance baskets and we had zero. That and our inability to keep them out of the lane were the differences. We did a fine job offensively, we took care of the basketball, but in the second half we tightened the screws a little bit more. We were able to get stops. I thought the zone helped us. And overall we were able to get the victory."  

On being ready to play tonight
"I don't think we weren't ready to go. I thought we were ready to play but I thought we were able to turn it up. We talked about it, but I don't think we really understood how scrappy they were. Once we got that feeling, that hit, I think we adjusted."  

On halftime
"I thought it was unacceptable in the first half, our overall lack of physicality all the way down to the buzzer.  

On being relieved to get out of that game with a win
In this tournament we all talked about how Sunday we were anticipating maybe being in the NCAA tournament and the guys were disappointed. But I think we've recovered from that. Some teams in the past have never recovered mentally from that.  If they (UTA) could play the game a week later they probably could have won it, but we got through it. We talked to our team about how in this tournament every game gets a lot more fun."  

On Tony Wroten "I think as a testament to Tony, I think when someone can come out and not take as many shots but having such an impact in the game, for instance he had a big steal in there, had eight assists, so when you can still make your mark without scoring, that's a good player."   

On going to the zone
"Aziz was in foul trouble; they were getting into the lane a lot in the first half. So we wanted to try and disrupt their rhythm a little bit and see if we could do a better job of keeping them in front of us and try to see if they could beat us from outside. I thought our guys did a good job in the zone."  

On Terrence Ross's apparent injury
"I think it was a little bit of a hip flexor issue that limited his mobility down the stretch. That's why he didn't play as much down the stretch. We'll look at it tomorrow after a good night's sleep."  

On going to the zone
"Aziz was in foul trouble. They were getting into the lane a lot in the first half so we were trying to disrupt their momentum a little bit. See if we could do a better job of keeping them in front of us and trying to get us to stay on the outside."   

On Aziz with four fouls and putting Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the game
"We told Austin at halftime he was going to play a physical game and Austin loves physical games, he loves contact. He only had one rebound but he had a nice basket assisted by Tony. What you probably didn't notice was he kept Jordan Reves away from the rim and bodied him up. He kept him out of the lane and forced him to have a tougher shot."  

On Tony's ability to make the steal
"He's kind of developed this knack like in the movies…the game gets close and everybody is concerned…he looks at the clock and then he looks at the ball and then he goes for it. He's developed that knack."  

On the rebounding issue
"They were breaking us down off the dribble and we were rotating…then they had guys loose on the boards because of the rotations. But we work on that during practice that even in rotation situations, you rotate to box out too, not just to stop the ball and cover the open man. But we just didn't do as good a job as we needed to.   

How the game compares to UCLA and OSU
"No, it's different. There were different mistakes that we made against Oregon State and UCLA. And some of that is Arlington; they practice too. They won their league too, and they've done some of that to teams all year. We just needed to do a better job in the second half, and the zone in the second half helped a lot."   

Were you trying to get a fire lit?
"No, not at all. Just fighting for our team. Just making sure we were fighting on the sideline. Darnell and I always have great discussions during the game."   

On the tie at halftime
"Two reasons: 13 offensive rebounds which were converted into 12 points, and our inability to keep them out of the lane, so they were getting to the foul line. They shot 15 free throws in the first half, and that was the difference. They were only shooting 11 percent from the three-point line."  

Were you concerned about keeping them in the game?
"Yeah. They had won 16 consecutive games at one point during the year, and finished their conference 15-1. They've experienced winning on the road. If you keep them around too long, you're at the mercy of a dropkick shot into the rim at the buzzer. You never know what that can happen. But our guys didn't do that. That one spurt where we were strong on the defensive end and created some turnovers - that was the difference in the second half."  
Tony Wroten:
On taking fewer shots this game
I was just getting my teammates the ball. Doing whatever it takes to get the win. Today, it was getting assists and doing the little things.  

On picking his spots with the steals
"I used to try and do it all the time with quick hands, but coach has been telling me to pick my spots and know when to do it. He was coming down the court and I was visualizing in my head ripping 'em. And Darnell kept saying to pluck 'em right now, so I got the steal."  

On his growth as a player
"Just being more mature about things. There's going to be games where things don't go your way and you're not getting the calls and shots aren't going down…so just try to do what I can to keep the team in it. That's where I've gotten more mature."  

On specific parts of his game that he's improved on
"I'm not perfect, so I work on everything…but being a floor leader and being more vocal is one of the biggest things I've worked on."
Darnell Gant:
On Aziz's fourth foul and the energy in the game with the referees making tough calls
"We had that mentality the whole game. I thought the refs were being unfair; they weren't calling fair calls. I feel like our team did a good job of bouncing back from little things like that and it's a testament to our season to be able to bounce back from that situation because we didn't break down in that situation and we kept playing hard. We never got frustrated because Coach has been telling us all week they are a scrappy team. They weren't just going to just give it away. It was desperation time, so they weren't going to roll over."   

On the last 48 hours
"I feel like our guys have embraced the fact that we are in the NIT now, and we all have the mindset to go as far as we can and try to win it. Whatever happened in the NCAA tournament is in the past now and we can't change it. We can't do anything about it. We can't get in. So we have to make the most of it now."   

What do you need to do to change the 13 offensive rebounds?
"Just being more physical and boxing out. They did a good job of crashing the boards and we did a poor job of boxing out. That was the main thing. Coach keeps telling us that. I feel like we'll be ready for the next game when it comes to rebounding and boxing out. We won't get out rebounded like that again."   

On rebounding and lack of defense
"They were breaking us off the dribble and we were coming over rotating, and they had guys loose on the boards because we were rotating. It's something we work on, but we didn't do as good of a job as we needed to."   

On Friday's game
"I feel like I said earlier, we're trying to embrace the fact we are in the NIT now. Like coach keeps saying, the further you go the more fun it is. I've extended my senior season. I'm not going home yet. I'm happy to continue to play. And I know my guys are too."   

On playing Northwestern, a team who has beaten Michigan State
"I feel like the fact that knowing every game is a potential to be your last and you could go home, that mindset is going to help us to play hard, especially against Northwestern. They're a good team. I feel like we're going to be ready. We're going to bounce back from this game."   

On Romar in the locker room
"He was stressing us to be more physical, you know, telling us to box out, rotation situations. We really needed to box out. That's where we were deficient, and to keep them off the line. In the second half we did that. They only had three offensive rebounds in the second half."   

How did he express that?
"He was crazy. He was animated. He usually is. I wish you guys could see it. It's too bad. It's kind of funny."
Abdul Gaddy:
On lack of motivation lingering because they didn't make the NCAA's
"Our coach had told us there's two types of teams in this tournament; there's the teams that are really happy to make the NIT because they weren't sure they were going to make the NIT, and then there's teams that are down because they didn't make the NCAA Tournament. And that's pretty much what he told us. Texas-Arlington, this was their NCAA Tournament and we saw that in the first half. They played well and they are a better team than we thought. But we came out on top."  

On Romar at halftime
"Coach was real hot with us. We didn't play physical enough. We were lucky that we saved ourselves because we shot the ball well, but we just didn't play physical. They were killing us on the boards; something that was a trademark for us, we weren't doing it. It messed him up, because that's not us. But in the second half we played much better."  

On Northwestern
"They are a real good team. They beat Michigan State before; I watched that game. They are a tough team, definitely a team you have to be up for and be ready to play. This is a really good game for us, especially because they are so disciplined and everything."  

On using the zone to their advantage
"It just helps because it helps take time off the clock, but the fact that we're so long and so big…I don't think we played zone in the past because we had smaller guards. We have bigger guards now and we're much longer. It helps us pack it in the paint and make teams shoot outside shots so we can rebound from there."  

On the atmosphere
"It felt like a regular home game, really. It felt like a non-conference home game."  

On what needs to change with mindset
"We just need to come out ready from the start. Especially against a team like Northwestern, a slow start will put us behind, and that won't help us."  

On how he would rate the team's performance
"Probably 6 or 7, just because we didn't play well in the first half. We played much better in the second half. If we play much better from the jump, we'll do well."  

On how long it took for the team to start to feel the crowd
"The second half. That's when I felt it. We just had to get going because we were still trying to get over the fact that we were playing in the NIT. We didn't come out ready to play, but we picked it up in the second half and played much better. We just have to come out ready, no matter what."  

On the slow start
"Pretty much getting over the fact that we still have to play hard, even though it's not the NCAA Tournament. Coach has done a good job of getting us ready for that. NIT is not a bad tournament; it's the next teams that should have been in the NCAA Tournament. They just didn't make it. We just have to keep playing hard, and if we know we're better than teams we have to make sure we come out and we're ready to play."  

On the fact that there's four Pac-12 teams in the NIT
"I don't know if it helps, but it's a good look for us. There's three other teams we've played in the tournament, and it could be a Pac-12 Tournament in the championship; it's possible."  

On his jump shot
"I'm just being more aggressive, looking for my shot more."  

On UW's scout against UTA
"We just had to be more physical. They were a scrappy team."
Terrence Ross:
On his hip injury being like C.J.'s hip
"Nah, nothing close to C.J.'s."  

On when it started hurting
"I think it happened in the first half; I didn't really notice it until I sat down. I'm about to go and ice it."  

On getting up for the game
"I think we all came out with the right mindset. We still have a lot to play for. We know what's at stake. We have to get up for opportunities like this. We just have to go out and play."  

On taking over the game
"It's a lot easier when we're playing teams from another conference. It's a lot easier to get an easier shot that another team might scout us who plays us a lot more…but I also think it was how many plays we ran. We really wore 'em down. We ran a lot. They were applying pressure, but we were just breaking easy and just running our stuff, so I thought we just wore 'em down. It was easier to take over."  

On coach Romar at halftime
"He was upset. We had to make some adjustments, but we came back getting rebounds, so it helped in the long run."  

On having a sense of relief after the game
"It was relief. We knew they weren't going to go away. We had to stay focused, get multiple stops and then we would take the lead."  

On if it felt like 31 versus 31 at times
"I didn't really think about it like that. I knew we had the same number and he was their best player, but I was just really trying to slow him down and stop him."  

On UW having a lot of success against their trap
"We knew they were going to press and we were ready for it. We worked on it all week, so it was something we adjusted to."  

On it being easier to adjust because they've seen it with OSU
"Definitely. You talk about how they are like Oregon State with the 1-3-1 (trap), and we know how to break it, so there was no hesitating from us."  


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