Quotes - Arizona State

Here are quotes from Lorenzo Romar, Justin Dentmon, Isaiah Thomas, Jon Brockman, Darnell Gant, Justin Holiday and James Harden, as the Washington Huskies defeated the No. 14 Arizona State Sun Devils 74-61 Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Ariz.

Lorenzo Romar:
General Comments: "Great gut check win for our guys. At halftime we talked to our guys about what a great team ASU was and how they would come back fighting. James Harden had five points at halftime, and we knew that he would come back and try to put his team on his shoulders. Our guys did a great job, even though ASU cut the lead down. After a flurry of turnovers, we still maintained our composure after that and settled down.

On Justin Dentmon: Justin Dentmon is playing like a senior should, on the road. He just did a tremendous job.

On the contributions of Darnell Gant and Justin Holiday: No one will make too much mention of the job Darnell Gant and Justin Holiday did in that game. Justin Holiday gets 10 rebounds, gets deflections. Darnell Gant did a very good job early in the game of guarding James Harden. Those two guys - it's what makes you proud of a team. Justin and Isaiah combined for 55 points, but if those guys don't contribute from behind the scenes, we don't win the game."

On putting Gant on James Harden to start - "Just someone with some size. He's so strong and so powerful, we thought we might try that. We talk so much about defensively, how that quick 4-man, he can help you so much. We couldn't have done that the last two years. He's versatile enough to guard three or four positions and do a decent job. What eased my mind was when we played Oklahoma State and they started four guards and Darnell had to guard one and did a fine job. If nothing else, he could offer up a second-pitch. If he couldn't, we knew Justin Holiday and him would probably guard him the majority of the game. But we wanted to give Darnell the first shot at him."

On trying to stop Harden: "He started to heat up and started taking over the game. I thought down the stretch we went zone, and that prevented him from going wild. He had 10 points in a short period of time and he would have gone on to score 20 or 25 points and we may not have come out with a victory because we were having trouble stopping him. He's a heckuva player."

On the difference in defense from this game to Thursday's game against Arizona: "I'd say slightly different. If we would have defended the way we did the other night, we would have gotten swept on the road. It's just that simple."

On using four guards in the lineup: "Three ballhandlers that can go in and create against their zone, we thought that was something we could go to. Also, they don't go with a big lineup, and we thought we could get away with doing that."

At what the young guys can take from getting this split on the road: "They have to look at what perseverance will do for you, I think they see that and learn a valuable lesson that way. Especially when the seniors are the ones leading the charge."

On envisioning being tied for first - "I'm not going to sit here and say, 'There's no way we can be in first place at this point'. You assess your team, you meet with your staff before the season starts and look at what you have and you try to put a team out there that you feel can be successful. And when we put our team out there, when we looked at it, we thought if things came together we could be at the top somewhere."

On the results so far and being more confident - "I think we can be competitive with anyone in this league, there's no doubt about that. We have some different challenges; we have some tough road games. We still have four of the next six on the road. But we're going into the second half of the conference."

On Justin Dentmon hitting the big shots - "Him and Isaiah, they provide us with something we haven't had the last couple of years. When we can't get anything going, they can just make a play. And that's what he's done. Teams have cut leads down against us, but who hits a big three? Justin. Who penetrates in the middle when we need a big basket? Justin. He's just having a phenomenal, phenomenal senior year."

On toughness - "We showed some toughness just in holding on for the victory, but we still missed out on some loose ball opportunities. We could have been even tougher."
Justin Dentmon:
On having a hot hand: "When you're open, just shoot it. Since I had the hot hand, they were looking for me. My teammates did a good job of finding me and I did a good job of knocking them down."

On being on a roll of late - "Just hard work. My team helps me do that and my confidence is high."

On shooting well from outside as a team - "When you see a weakness, you work at it and you get better. We work at shooting and free throws every day."

On being responsible for providing offense as a senior - "I felt that I needed to really attack the basket early because I knew the middle of the zone would be open. I knew there would be some holes to get my shot off. We emphasized getting the ball to the post and then kicking it back out."

On coming back from the Arizona game and confidence - "Our team confidence is above average. Coming back from that Arizona game was outstanding; it shows just how far we've come as a group. If we keep playing that way it'll take us a long way."

On him and Thomas combining for 55 - "What was suprising was that we were knocking down our free throws again and getting stops and playing better defense than we did against Arizona. That was the real shocker."

On being up 19 with 15 minutes left - "I was telling myself that I hoped we wouldn't get satisfied with the lead. I was hoping we continued to get stops and hopefully seal the deal. We knocked our free throws down and then we were really able to seal the deal."

On what it feels like when he's making shots - "It feels good. It feels like every shot I shoot is going down, like an uncontested layup. When teams leave me open it feels like they are disrespecting me at the time, but I'm just going to do my best to concentrate on the shot and knock it down."

On Harden - "He was our main focus. All we had to do was keep him from driving and make him shoot contested jumpers. I think our team was more comfortable with that. We tried to make it uncomfortable for him in the first half, and I think we did that. We knew he was going to attack more in the second half, so we just wanted to maintain. And that's what we did. Once he got the ball, all eyes were on him. It was the team defense. That was the key for us putting a stop on him attacking the basket as much as he does."

On using four guards in the lineup - "It feels good. Like they say, we'll take quickness over height any day. Our quickness enables us to get deflections and hassle them more on defense. We were able to switch on more on-balls and screens."
Jon Brockman:
On the road split: "You come out and you don't play your best basketball on Thursday...to be able to bounce back on the road is a tough thing to do. Our guys showed a lot of maturity. JD put us on his back tonight. He led the team."

On the focus of the game - "Defense. Getting stops. We played terrible defense on Thursday and we knew we had to come out and get back to the way we were playing at the beginning of the year."

On toughness - "Just toughness and defense and getting loose balls and making hustle plays...just being a blue-collar basketball team that works a lot harder than our opponent. And that was a big focus for us tonight."

On ASU's Jeff Pendergraph - "He's a beast. They got him the ball really well down low and he's a tough guy. He attacked the offensive glass very well. He's a load. He played very well."

On Pendergraph and things getting chippy - "He's just a competitor. Talking to him on the free throw line, he wasn't mad at anybody. He's just a competitor and it got heated and that was it."
Isaiah Thomas:
On skirmish with Pendergraph - "He was talking a little mess. I wasn't backing down, though. I don't know what he said. It was the heat of the battle."

On shutting Harden down - "We just helped. We helped Darnell. Harden is an All-American. It was team defense. Darnell, Holiday and the rest did an exceptional job. We played team defense and we knew where he was at all times."

On how big the win was - "It was big. We had to bounce back. It was like the Cal game; not the ending. We had the game, we just didn't come out and play hard. We had to bounce back, and we did."

On combining with Dentmon for 55 points - "I just told Justin that we had to be aggressive from the jump. I thought the last game we weren't aggressive and we got to get to that foul line. That's what sparks everything. We did a good job of that. We got JD going in the first half, and he ended it for us."

On Dentmon's game - "It was remarkable. He's a senior, he's a captain. He led us that first half and led us to victory in the second half. He did a great job of playing within the game too. He didn't force anything."
Darnell Gant:
On finding out about guarding Harden - "Coach (Romar) pulled me and Justin Holiday aside yesterday right before shootaround that we would be guarding James. I couldn't sleep last night, I kept thinking about it for a while. He's a good player, one of the best players in the Pac-10. I just had to get my mind right and get ready to guard him. I've known him since we were in the sixth grade. I've known him for a long time and I know what he can do and what he's capable of."

On talking to him during the game - "I didn't really want to say anything to him, because I didn't want to take me out of my focus. I've been focused since 12 o'clock yesterday. I've been ready to do what I had to do. I know exactly what he's capable of and what he's done in the past, so I had to be ready."

On guarding him - "I just did what the coaches asked. They told me to deny, and if he got the ball to back off of him a little bit. If he gave the ball back up to pressure up and don't let him get it back. That was the main objective. I wanted this. This is his last year. Since we got to the Pac-10 together, we've talked. When I got to play, I wanted to guard him."
Justin Holiday:
On finding out about guarding Harden - "I think me and him both use our length, and I think that's what the coaches saw. Looking back at when they played Washington State, using (DeAngelo) Casto and his length and width to guard James helped, so I think that's why he used Darnell and myself."

On being nervous getting that assignment - "I was fine. Defense is what I do. Every game I come ready. I don't get nervous. I'm just ready to play."

On Arizona and what was different tonight - "I think we were tougher as a team. We came together and played tougher physically."
James Harden:
On Darnell Gant - "We went to the same middle school together. He's one of my good friends back home. They did a good job as a team defense, but it was more on Arizona State and what we did. It was a matter of knocking down shots."

On Washington - "They just played great defense."

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