Quotes - Mississippi State

PORTLAND, Ore. - Here are quotes from Lorenzo Romar, Jon Brockman, Justin Dentmon, Quincy Pondexter and Venoy Overton after the Washington Huskies defeated Mississippi State 71-58 in the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, held Thursday at the Rose Garden.

Lorenzo Romar:
Opening Statement - We knew going in the media made a lot of mention of them being a 13 seed - was it fair, was it not? Our concern wasn't if it was fair or not, because when you get into the NCAA tournament you're competing against 64 of the best teams in the country. However, that is a very, very good 13 seed team. Very good 13 seed. And I give our guys a lot of credit today for being a team. If we were not a team today that game would have been a lot more difficult. What I mean by 'a team', defensively today I felt like it was maybe one of our better performances, in that there were potential mismatches around the floor, but it never got that way because it was as if everyone was tied to a rope together. And everyone was helping everyone. Everyone on this team today sold out and gave themselves for the cause of the team. Offensively no one cared who got the shots. We just played basketball. If you can get in a position where you're a team like that, you have a hard time not reaching your potential, whatever that potential is. Today I thought we played to our potential, because we were a team in every sense of the word. And it required that effort to do what we did against a very good Mississippi State team.

On still getting offense despite Dentmon and Thomas going 4-20 - Kind of what's been happening with our team the second half of the year. There was a stretch early in the year where our guards were really shooting the ball very well. And they were really carrying us at the time. Since then, they haven't been as consistent, but Jon Brockman and Quincy Pondexter and others have really stepped up and helped us out. It was no different today. I thought Elston Turner came off the bench in the first half and did a tremendous job in helping us sustain what we had early on.

On Quincy and the changes in him - I think sometimes we, in this age of one and done, two and out, lottery, we expect everyone to prove how good they are based on what they get done as a freshman. And there are outstanding freshmen around the country. There are those that play one year and go to the NBA. But everyone is not like that. And unfortunately I think we write the young men off too early because they're not this one-and-done guy early. What Quincy Pondexter, to me, has done is simply matured. And there was a time when that was the normal progression. You play as a freshman, you help your team, you get better as a sophomore, and then when you become an upper-classman you really do some damage if you're that type of talent and you have that type of ability. I think Quincy put in a lot of hard work. This thing just didn't happen. He worked his tail off. He's been consistently working. He's a junior now; he's older, he's matured a lot. He's found his way. Today was not an aberration. Quincy has been playing like this for a month now, he's been playing really good basketball. And today they didn't have great size and strength guarding him and I thought he took advantage of the situation. But the difference in Quincy Pondexter is just like a normal maturation process; that if you have the ability and talent it can happen for you.

On Justin and Isaiah not hitting and it being a concern - There's going to come a time - it be Saturday - when we need to be clicking on all cylinders. Because of our ability to defend here in the last stretch, we've been able to overcome poor shooting nights by some of our players. And tonight was no different. If we don't guard, then maybe it gives us more problems, but because we're able to do a decent job defending, we're able to get by, and other guys have been able to step up. We talked to our team on the first day about how important defense is. And as great as Michael Jordan was when he played for the Bulls, there was times when he was getting double-teamed and triple-teamed and the manager was guarding him, and he didn't score in certain stretches, nor did the Bulls. But because they were so good defensively, they would get deflections and steals. Michael would get a dunk, and the next thing you know they're back on again. But the defense would sustain them in down times. And I think that's happened with our team. But as I said, there's going to come a day when we're going to need production from everyone.

On Purdue - They will not hand us the game, that's for sure. They're the type of team that you're going to have to take, put your arms around it and take it. It's going to be a tug and you're got to take it from them. They will not beat themselves. They're as fundamentally sound as any team we've played all year. They're very physical. They're strong. They're tough. They don't take bad shots. They just pass the fundamental test in all aspects. That's the type of opponent we're about to face on Saturday.
Jon Brockman:
On the fall in the first half - I might have a bruise or something tomorrow, but the floor is pretty soft so I was able to bounce up a little bit.

On the TV panning to his Mom and her reaction to the fall - First of all, she's worried the entire game. She can't really watch it. It was actually the same as that play that happened in practice in preseason. It was kind of a high rebound, out in the middle, and I just went up, got undercut a little bit and went down right on my arm. I think I was surprised - at first I was thinking to myself all right, something has to be hurt from that, I bounced off the floor. Then once I realized I was all right, I got back up and ran down the court.

On Jarvis Varnado and his frustration - We attacked him early and made sure we were there. We weren't going anywhere. We doubled him at first and I think that kind of shied him away a little bit.

On testing Varnado physically early - Just our deal today was we wanted to go right at him. He's an unbelievable shot-blocker. If you give him any room, like we did a couple of times, he's going to throw it all the way back to half court. So just try to close in that gap and for the most part that's what I try and do every play.

On their body language and frustration - When we're d-ing up like we d-ed up today, anyone's going to be frustrated. It's going to be a long night. We're not going anywhere. Venoy especially, did a great job of coming in and giving us that energy that he always does.

On Elston picking up the slack - It was huge. For this team, we have a pretty good understanding that it's going to be people's nights different games. Tonight it was Quincy's night to put the ball in the hole. The thing they did great is that there's other ways to help the team. We don't need 10 leading scorers. Maybe their shots weren't falling and we were keying on pounding the ball down low, but they kept their heads in the game and kept pushing.

On the halftime speech - We just needed to tighten up some loose ends. For the most part we were playing pretty good defense. We were attacking our scout, attacking our game plan. We needed to make sure we kept rebounding and kept doing what we were doing.

On coming out strong in the second half - "We wanted to go right at him, see if we could get him up in the air and get a couple of fouls on him. He's such a game-changer; he does so much to impact a game, so it's a lot easier for us if he's sitting on the bench."

On getting the first game out of the way - It feels great just knowing we came in and we were focused more than anything. We were ready for the game today and came out and most everyone contributed in a positive way. The first one is always kind of a monkey off your back. And it's good to get that done and over wth and you can start really concentrating and getting ready to get a little deeper in the tournament.

On having to watch the last part of the first half from the bench with foul trouble - You know, it was frustrating at first and as I was sitting there, like, 'Man, I've got a pretty sweet seat to watch our team go to work'. They came in and our bench was able to come in and not just maintain what we had started, but they were able to increase it and get on a run. So I was just really proud of our guys the way they came out and we got in a little foul trouble and that didn't factor in at all. It didn't faze us. We were able to just keep pushing. And that's the adversity you've got to be able to handle when you're playing in a tournament like this.

On the crowd being behind them - I think it showed. We have a couple Pac-10 fans in Oregon. And just a lot of supporters that made the trip down. I was shocked. I was very surprised by the number of purple shirts that I saw in the arena. I expected there to be quite a bit. But that was just tremendous. We were joking around on the bench that it really did feel like a home atmosphere. The crowd was behind us. And it was just - they made it a lot more enjoyable being there supporting our team.
Justin Dentmon:
On taking advantage early - We wanted to come out and throw the first punch. Coming out and being aggressive, playing Husky basketball like we always do. Just don't shy away. We'll be fine.

On him and Thomas struggling and Turner coming in to pick up the slack - It was crazy tonight. Me and Isaiah weren't really clicking. But Elston can shoot it real well, so he came up and knocked some big things down. And Quincy and Jon - without them doing the big things, we wouldn't have gotten it done. But we did the little things. We guarded. I took Stewart out of the game, one of their main scorers. Isaiah took their point guard out of the game. So we did some things other than score.

On Brockman guarding Varnado - Jon is an experienced post player. He's been getting to the line a lot, so I knew Jon would do a lot of contact on him. Hit him, be physical on him because he's skinnier than Jon.

On having Varnado out of the game - It was a big difference, but you have to look at their athletes on their bench. I don't think they just have one shot-blocker, they have a lot of shot-blockers on their team. It made us more patient on offense, looking more inside and adjust on defense

On hearing about MSU's talk on UW being soft pregame - I didn't hear none of it. Venoy, he hears all the little stuff they say. I think that motivates him.

On the pick against Overton - I saw both of them. I think the guy (Bost) got frustrated and didn't like him all up in him. I think any guard is going to get frustrated when guards are hassling them and you think you're getting fouled and the ref isn't calling it.

On Quincy Pondexter - He's just been waiting for his time to shine. I think he's a team player. He sees me and Isaiah get it going, so he lets us get it going. When we aren't clicking, that's when he steps in and says it's my time to do my job. I think that's what he did tonight. He did that a lot this season. He just picks and chooses his spots.

On the team staying mentally strong - Me and Isaiah struggled, but you have other guys that can pick us up. And that makes our team. If we don't have those guys, we don't have a good team this year. We have another struggling season like last year. That's what we've overcome.

On taking turns scoring - Whatever the defense gives us, we're going to take advantage of it. Tonight we knew they had a lot of guards and Quincy could take advantage of it. And we knew Jon could draw contact with the big guy. Once they got hot we kept feeding them and feeding them.

On the crowd - I heard 'em. It felt like we were back at home. It wasn't louder, but it was up there.

On this game, as compared to the last time he was in the Tournament - Big difference. You aren't playing as a freshman anymore. You are playing as a senior. Any game could be your last, so you have to go out there and give it your all.

On when UW broke MSU's back - I think they broke after that run in the first four minutes of the second half. We really started clicking. Jon started getting easy buckets, Quincy started getting a lot of easy buckets and Elston got it going. I think when they called that timeout, that's when they started to put their head down, started to blame each other.

On Purdue - I've seen them. They are physical like us, but more patient like a Washington State last year and UCLA. We just have to be focused in and dialed in on their defense. If we give another effort like we gave tonight, we'll be fine.
Quincy Pondexter:
On going into the game and liking the matchup - I think everyone has a mismatch on our team. Going into this game, we just wanted to get the win. I didn't care about the points.

On different scorers each night - I think we've had three different guys lead us in scoring for stretches of time and three really good Pac-10 Player of the Year candidates. I don't think anyone really cares about who is in the spotlight. As long as the team shines, we're all happy.

On working out after games - As the season goes on, I'm still working out as hard as I can. I carry on what I do in the summer, but not as grueling. That's what keeps me pushing throughout the season.

On what has helped - Developing consistency with my shot, working on a lot of weaknesses, like using my left hand or coming off pick and rolls. A variety of moves I should make and plan on making in the future. (UW Trainer) Trevor Wade, I owe everything to. He's been working out with me this last year and a half, two years. He opened the gym any time I want - 2 or 3 a.m. - I would call him sometimes. I may not be feeling good but I want to go and relieve some stress and go to the gym and he's always there."

On what MSU did or didn't do that surprised him - They didn't hit as many threes as I thought they would, but we did a great job of contesting them like we did against Oklahoma State. Their shots just didn't fall.

On MSU talking before the game - They started jawing real early. After the first five minutes I think they really quieted down. It's just one of those things; you come from a different side of the US and you don't know how they grow up and how physical it is. You have these perceptions that people play with. I think after that first five minutes they knew we were for real and that we are a very physical team.

On him and Brockman taking it to MSU down low - They start four guards, and I think our strength was our physical caliber of basketball. And Jon and me really wanted to attack 'em.

On having this kind of day and having it be a dream come true - It didn't come as quick as I hoped it would. I don't want it to end any time soon. We're going to keep this thing rolling and hopefully continue to win.

On Purdue - Another talented team. I watch their games on TV. Chris Kramer is a tremendous player. (Robbie) Hummel is another tremendous player, and E'Twaun Moore. It's going to be one of those teams that we see on TV a lot and have been waiting to play. It's going to be a battle

On how much time he'll get to enjoy this win - Zero. Zero, zero, zero. I'm not going to enjoy any of it until the season is over.

On having the kind of big-stage game he's been looking to have - I just think my offseason workouts are really paying off right now. I have really developed a really good work ethic and it's just paying off. And just staying persistent and stying with the team concept, it's helping me pursue good games.

On noticing that others weren't having good games offensively - I didn't really notice. I was just playing basketball. I knew Jon was out. I knew he's one of our great scorers on our team. And I just wanted to pick it up for our team in a time of need.
Venoy Overton:
On their perimeter defense against MSU's 3-point shooters - We had - No. 3 had a very good push, and I didn't want them guys to set up and get comfortable at all. My job is just to pressure up, come off the bench and bring energy.

On frustration from MSU - I know I'm doing my job if a person is talking to me. I heard their coach tell one of their guys to stay back so he could weave back and forth through the screens, and I took that as respect. Before the game there was some talk, saying we're from Washington and we're soft, so we took offense to it and came out strong. After the game it's all respect. It's just competitiveness."

On the screen - I didn't see it at all. I thought I was about to get the steal right then because I had him weaving, but then he put on a hard move and nobody called the screen. But I'm alright. I got hit so hard, I didn't remember the next three plays after that.

On talking a little bit after the screen - I wasn't even talking before that. But after that hit, you know, I think he woke me up a little bit (laughter). I just felt I didn't want to let that get in the way. I wanted to show how much a warrior I was and bounce back up, just kind of like Jon did. So this is a warrior team.

On Dave Libbey officiating - It's always good to play under an official that you've played under before. He knows your style and tendencies, so that kind of helped out a little bit.

On the lob dunk at the end of the game - Knowing Isaiah, he's a score-first guard and I thought for sure he was going to shoot. I was kind of surprised when he threw it. That's why I didn't dunk it very hard. Everybody left me and I just back-doored it and called his name and he threw it.

On the game being called tight - I was just talking about it the other day; when Duke was playing Maryland and the refs were just letting them play. That's the kind of game I want to play. I think the refs did a pretty good job of kind of letting us play and then trying to keep control of the game.

On fans throwing more dubs up today - I've had a lot of fans have been hitting me up on Facebook, telling them they support me. I love the fans.

On Varnardo having foul trouble - That was huge. There was one play where I saw Quincy pump-fake twice and I saw him copy Quincy's moves and then jump. He's for real. When you think of shot-blockers, you think they jump at everything, but he's a great player.

On MSU's size and length and how that factored into UW's preparation - You know, I feel like playing against a taller player, the advantage goes to the smaller guy, that you can get up in them. And there's not too many guys that's a good size that can handle the ball that well. I felt like with the defense I played I could really cause some havoc out there.


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