VIDEO: Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar Post-Game - USC

Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar spoke to the media Sunday after the Huskies pulled off their greatest comeback, a 22-pointer en route to a stirring 87-85 win over USC at Alaska Airlines Arena.

Opening statement “I can’t say anything without first praising USC. That team is good. In my opinion they’re the most difficult team to guard that we’ve played up to this point. They just have someone at every position that can make a basket. I feel bad for Julian Jacobs. I think he’s one of the more underrated guards in America. We watched him on film and watched what he was doing. He controls their team, runs their team, and it was a big blow for them for him to have to go out. Our guys stepped up and we tried to take advantage of it as best we could and I thought we did a good job with that. I’m just so proud of our team. So proud of these guys to show the character, courage, and resiliency that they showed today.”

 

On if he felt that he needed to help spark the team in the second half “I won’t say we weren’t right like we didn’t care. I don’t know if it was the emotion from the double overtime game the other night, but we were just flat. We were a step slow defensively. USC is good, and they will exploit you if you’re a step slow. But we were a step slow on the defensive end. Offensively, the shots, they didn’t look like they were going in. It wasn’t like we were shooting air balls, but it wasn’t that good touch. Thank goodness in the second half we were able to go with a smaller group that played with a lot of energy that generated some offense for us and got us going. I was trying to get us going because we were flat. Sometimes when you’re flat you don’t realize you are until you watch yourself. If you every watch yourself on film, right away you go ‘wow, I wasn’t very fast at all.’”

 

On how Julian Jacobs going out changed the game “It allowed us to be more aggressive with our pressure. He’s good enough to where if you really get up and pressure him he’s going to go by you. And he’s a good enough guard that if you step up he’s going to dish it off to someone else. He’s very good, very good.”

 

On watching Dejounte Murray take over in the second half “It was great to see that. The way we were playing, pressing, and trapping those turnovers it was up and down. That right there is bliss for him. It was just going out there hooping. There aren’t too many better at it than him.”

 

On if he’s ever been a part of consecutive high-intensity games like this “Yes, but not this nature. There have been games where the stakes are higher; where this is a heavyweight title fight it seemed like. One blow, another blow, another blow, and it’s so much emotion down the stretch, but the game was close the entire time. It hadn’t been where you’re down like we were down against UCLA, comeback, double overtime. Then you’re down 21 in the second half with not a whole lot of time left and you come back. I’ve never been a part of that before.”

 

On 23 second chance points in the second half “Again, the nature of the second half, how the game was so spread out and us penetrating and playing very loose, there were a lot of openings for guys to go out and get the ball. But, if it had been the same situation in the first half I don’t know if we would have gotten those rebounds. Down the stretch we came alive and we started to play Husky basketball in terms of that frenetic pace and that effort. The rebounds were a byproduct of that.”

 

On forcing turnovers “We love that. UCLA had 25 turnovers. And then 21, I wouldn’t have predicted that by either team, especially USC because they play with two ball handling guards in there quite a bit. Even in the first half when (Julian) Jacobs played they had 11 turnovers. It just means we’re active. And when we’re active on the defensive end we’re going to give ourselves a fighting chance.”

 

On if he’s surprised by his team’s resilience “I wouldn’t say I’m surprised as much very pleased to see us do it. You look at a group that’s capable of doing something like that but you’re just not sure when it’s going to click in. Games like this for a young team early, as you’re still developing because I believe we’ll keep getting better as a team, if you can somehow sneak one in, sneak another in, move the chains until you get better and improve, these wins are valuable. These wins are going to be so valuable for us not only in the win-loss column, but in terms of our own psyche and our own belief within ourselves. We come back in double overtime and beat UCLA, but now we can always say fellas we were down 21 with 15 minutes to go. Hopefully we’re not in that position, but now there aren’t a whole lot of situations where we can’t say we still have a chance.”

 

On what allows this team to be resilient “I think it’s the character of our team. Anybody that would listen, I’ve been saying it from day one. This is a different group. This is a special group. This is a caring group; they care about one another. Every one of these guys wants to play in the NBA, but there’s no one that’s putting their personal agenda ahead of our team. Everyone is out there trying to make the other one better. Like I said it’s a special group. You don’t get groups like this all he time. We still have 16 games left in the PAC-12, but it’s going to be fun to coach these guys and watch these guys grow.”

 

On these players having fun “Day one we said that ‘if we will sell out to playing the way we want to play we will get in condition. If we will guard the way we want to guard, if we share the ball, you will have as much fun as you’ve ever had playing basketball.’ When our guys are doing it you can tell that they have that fun. Remember they’ve all been hanging out since the summer quite a bit with each other. And they’ve been playing basketball with each other. We go to China, we go to the Bahamas, we’re hanging out, so they all know one another. They kid each other all the time. When that game starts they’re all for one and pull for one another. When things go well they’re just an excitable group.”


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