Notes and Quotes - Washington

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Here are Washington's notes and quotes from their 80-78 thrilling victory over the Marquette Golden Eagles Thursday night at the HP Pavilion of San Jose in the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

UW players Quincy Pondexter, Isaiah Thomas and Elston Turner:
Q. Quincy, how often are clear-outs called for you guys or at all in college and what was said in the huddle before that last play?

QUINCY PONDEXTER: Clear-outs has been called a lot of times down the stretch in games a lot of times for myself and sometimes Isaiah, to attack the basket, that last shot was nothing of a call. We read the situation. We had a second chance, and the time was running down and the ball went in.

Q. Could you talk about your trip to the basket? Looks like you got bumped twice, still got up and under and were able to make the basket.

QUINCY PONDEXTER: There was a little bit of bumps there and they hadn't been calling things like that all game, especially down the stretch. I knew they weren't going to call it. I've been in situations like that before, and I just had to make the quickest move possible and try and get the ball up on the rim.

Q. Quincy, can you just talk in general about your play in the second half during the come-back? It seemed like you were grabbing every offensive rebound insight out there?

QUINCY PONDEXTER: I played horrible in the first half, and my teammates stepped up and played great basketball. Isaiah knocked down shots in the second half. Elston played phenomenal in that second half. As a senior you don't want that to be your last game. You don't want to end on a sour note, and I had to step up for our team to win.

Q. It looked like you had words with Butler on their team, and there was a double technical. Can you talk about how intense it was in the second half?

QUINCY PONDEXTER: It was very intense. No one wants to go home. It could be your last game of the season. It was more of a finding a way to get under his skin a little bit, and he played great, still. The technical was some my fault. I was walkin' back and got pushed a little bit and got a technical called, double technical.

Q. Isaiah, what's the biggest difference between this team now than the team that was struggling to win on the road and maybe couldn't have pulled off a come-back like this say a month ago or three weeks ago?

ISAIAH THOMAS: We're just sophomore mature. I say it all the time, I've always told my teammates to keep faith and anything can happen and do the things we can't control, and players found their rolls and they love doing what they do. A guy like Venoy, he loves playing defense. You've got to excel at something you do great at, you keep doing great at, and I'm in my teammates ears all through the game. We're never out of it, play defense and we can come out of it with wins like this.

Q. Quincy, I know obviously it's huge to move on, but just to win here so close to your hometown and have so many people you know here, what was that like to win it like that?

QUINCY PONDEXTER: Not only is it close to my home This is the NCAA Tournament. There is no other feeling like this. It's a moment I'll cherish forever. It really helps that my family was here to support me and watch, as well as all of our fans. A lot of our fans had a chance to come all the way out here, and we love all the support that they've given us.

Q. For any of the guys, some of the Murray State players this morning said they didn't look at their game as an upset, and I just wondered for you guys, did you feel like this was an upset, or did you go in thinking you were going to take it over?

ELSTON TURNER: Our team didn't feel like it was an upset. We knew we were capable of going into the tournament. We won 7 in a row, and 12 out of the last 14, and I think a lot of people doubted us and we took that to heart during practice. We had a meeting last night talking about we got to bring it and it's all 14 of us that have to play together in order to get the win. We just feel like we finally are clicking on all cylinders and playing the right way.

Q. For any of you, how concerned did you get when you got down by 15 and what do you think turned it around?

QUINCY PONDEXTER: Our defensive intensity kicked up in that little stretch. Things weren't going our way, we weren't playing great basketball and we just found a way to win. Everyone stepped up. Elston made some huge shots. Venoy was terrorizing the ball defensively. Isaiah locked up with who was their best player tonight, and it was a real gut check.

We came out and knew our backs were against the wall with that little bit of time left, down 15, and we came out with a win.

Q. Elston, can you talk about that first three-pointer you hit in the second half? It seemed like you came out and shot that confidently. Is that something you knew you were going to get that opportunity or talk me through the second half?

ELSTON TURNER: I was just trying to find openings to get us going a little bit. Like Quincy said, we weren't playing the best at that moment and we needed something to jump start us and, you know. I feel like if I could do something to help the team we could start getting going a little bit and that carries -- the energy of the offense carries the defense and that's pretty much what happened tonight.

Q. Quincy, what sparked your game in the second half and the first half, what changed in you? How much do you like having the ball at the top of the key 5 seconds to go, last shot.

QUINCY PONDEXTER: The fear of it being my last collegiate game ever. I think that's what propelled me to play well my second half. I know my teammates didn't want to go home. I definitely didn't want to go home, and I had to step up. I didn't want to let these guys down and we want to advance and prove a lot of people wrong.

Having my hands on the ball the last five seconds is something you dream of as a kid. It's one of those story book shots. Things weren't going well a lot of the game. I wasn't playing that well and our team scrapped back and I had a big shot. I'm glad my teammates played that well to get me into the position to make that shot. I'm just so happy right now I don't know what to say.

Q. Quincy, or anybody who had a good view that last shot, the Hayward's heave from half-court, it looked close most of the way. Could you describe how it looked to you and how long that 1.2 seconds seemed?

QUINCY PONDEXTER: Man, it seemed like it was an eternity because he had a chance to put it on the ground and get a good look at it. It wasn't rushed at all, and I thought it was going to be another reverse senior moment, and he hits the big shot. I'm glad that ball didn't go in. It looked like it was in. He's a terrific player, and I'm sorry it had to end like that.

Q. Quincy you mentioned how your defense turned it around and with you guys being known as a high-power offensive seem is it especially rewarding to have defense be the key factor in the game?

QUINCY PONDEXTER: Defense has always been a key factor for our team. That's the number one rule in Husky basketball, to defend. People think because we score so well we're not a defensive team, and we take pride in our defense. And for us to play the way we did when our backs were against the wall it proved that this is a good defensive team, too.

Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar:
Q. Coach, Quincy said that clear-out kind of evolved, I was wondering what was called in the huddle, was that what was called and how it came about?

COACH ROMAR: First time we went to that was several weeks ago at Stanford on the road, and Quincy, we put I am up at the top like that and he helped win the game for us that way. He made several big plays, scored, assisted, down the stretch he was really good at it and several times since then we have gone to that and it was called.

Well, the way it was this time, with 18 seconds I thought about calling a time-out and then again at 12 I thought about calling a time-out, but then he had the basketball in his hand and we were very familiar with how to play at the top, how to rotate, how to space when he's up there, and I decided not to call a time-out, let your senior have a chance to win it, and no need to call a time-out because we were in position to run with -- maybe we would have run anyway.

Q. How often do you see that play in college basketball and how many players are there that can pull it off like Quincy with the game on the line?

COACH ROMAR: Depends on who it is, sometimes a player can have the ball at the top and everyone else loads up in the paint and you can't get in there, but with Quincy with the ball there is already one tall we are guy out there with him, and Elston Turner is in the game, Isaiah Thomas is in the game and those guys can knock the shot down.

So you didn't want to leave them so in this certain circumstance I totally felt comfortable with him with the basketball thinking that he would make the right decision. He's also good if someone were to run at him to pass the ball off for a shot.

Q. Coach, what happened to Isaiah's glove? Didn't seem to affect him at all today, the hand?

COACH ROMAR: No, Isaiah has been -- his hand has been bothering him for about a month now. It wasn't made public. Just now there is a lot of questions about it. He's been playing like that for a month. It's a big deal in terms of it is a nagging injury, but in terms of affecting his play it hasn't affected him a whole lot. Sometimes he just gets frustrated with it and he throws it out of the way. But he's been able to play, again, he wore the glove most of the game, did pretty good tonight.

Q. Marquette is a team it had come up that played so many close games and survived so many close games. How proud of you are your guys -- of your guys are you for coming down that particular stretch.

COACH ROMAR: Couldn't be prouder. Marquette is battle tested in these situations. We continued to talk to our team about how good they were down the stretch because they were so tough and their ability to shoot the three always allows them to have a chance to win the game, and it's hard to put them away. We showed our team film against Villanova this year.

They were down 7 with 12 or 13 minutes to go, and they came back and won the game, and for us to do it with defense, it forced turnovers, bad shots, and kinda got us going and we began to play with confidence. So to finish that way and, again, to beat a team that has done so well in those type of games, I think it speaks volumes about our team but also where our team is now as opposed to six, seven weeks ago.
Additional Quotes:
Quincy Pondexter:
On overcoming his rough start: "I'm still a young guy. Even though I'm a senior, to play in the NCAA Tournament…I still had a little rust, it seemed like. I had to knock that off and really play beyond my age. I was playing well defensively and rebounding, the ball just wasn't going in. Once the ball started going in, that would make the game look a whole lot better."

On being on a roll: "We are a hot team right now. I know Marquette was a hot team going into this week. Many people had them beating us, but we had a little bit of a chip on our shoulders. We've been playing as good of basketball as anybody in the country right now. Our guys really stepped up and played a good game."

On the UW fans turning HP Pavilion into a home court - "It was amazing. A lot of people, even if they aren't necessarily Husky fans, they are Pac-10 fans or west coast fans. They were really rooting for us and you could feel that energy in the game at the end. It really helped us, it really did."

On taking the last shot - "It's something that's happened a lot this year. At the end of game we'll run a flat to clear out. Being a senior you have to step up. You want that. You want to relish the moments like that, to hit a big shot. Our teammates really had faith in me and that's how we had it. I was the first option, and if they would have collapsed, Isaiah would have been the next option. And he would have hit the shot. It's something our team has been working on. It was a lucky shot."

On deciding where to drive - "The floor was a little more overloaded on the right. And I really usually like going right. When I saw that and I saw Isaiah to my left, I said this is me and Zeke's turn. I had to take the ball aggressively to the basket, got a couple of bumps to feel the contact and try to get as close as possible to make the shot."

On getting his shoulder past the defender - "I don't know how I do it. A lot of people don't know how I do it. I don't know how to score. I think it's just luck, that's what it's come down to."

On getting Isaiah in the corner for a shot - "I wanted him there. I wanted him to be in that position to where, if they collapsed on me, he was going to knock down the shot."

On being surprised they didn't collapse on him at the end - "I think how our team was playing at the moment, with Elston being on the floor as a real deep threat, and with Isaiah in the other corner, they could leave any guys. And it was spur of the moment. It wasn't like it was set…time was running out."

On his family being there and coming from Fresno - "My entire family was there. They were probably yelling at me for playing horribly."

On if he thought a time out might be called to set up a play - "No. Coach…we sensed each other on that one. We both knew what was going to happen. We knew what play we were running."

On driving down the lane - "When I stopped, it was either going to be where Isaiah's man was going to help, or I was going to shoot the ball. I kind of faked toward Isaiah just a tiny bit and his man stayed with him, so I had the ability to knock down the shot."

On struggling in the first half - "I never miss free throws. It was uncharacteristic first half for me. I'm glad I bounced back and our team won this game."

On the talk in the locker room at half - "Just play basketball. There wasn't much to be said. People weren't on me or in my face. They were telling me I was going to be fine. Things like that happen. Sometimes the ball doesn't go in. Just go out and play the second half and get us the win."

On looking back at the recruiting class he came in with - "Spencer Hawes was here. My recruiting class was amazing, and this is one of those moments where you wish they were all here. If Spencer was on this team…Adrian (Oliver) and Phil (Nelson)…but at the same time they made their decisions. I'm loving being a Husky more and more every day."

On MU's shooting - "It's unreal in person. They all shoot the ball really well, each and every last one of them. It's really tough to guard them, because from the perimeter they are really dangerous. And they are really great at attacking the rim."

On Lazar Hayward - "He's tremendous. He does everything; shoot outside, he can take you outside. He really willed that team to a lot of wins this season. I'm really sorry he had to go out that way because he's a really close friend of mine. But that's basketball. I'd rather have the win than him."

On Spencer Hawes and Jon Brockman being there - "They gave me a couple of looks, like go ahead and take over kind of winks. And at the end of the game they were both happy. They were like little kids."

Isaiah Thomas:
On summing up the season - "I love this season, just because it's been so up and down. My team has never given up. It shows the maturity and heart we've got that we didn't give up. You've seen it today. We were down 15 and we didn't give in. We said we were going to come back and win this game. And we did that."

On counting his 75-foot half-time basket - "That should have counted. They should have counted it anyway, just because I made it. That was crazy."

On him maturing - "Things slowed down for me. I understand this college game so good now…I'm slowing down and being more mature and just being a leader out there. I'm doing whatever it takes to win ball games…you see I didn't even care about scoring in the second half because I was so focused on stopping one of their good players and just getting my teammates the ball. Elston (Turner) made big shots, a lot of guys made some big shots."

On no time out at the end - "That's how (Romar) is. He's been a ball player. He's been in situations like this, and sometimes you have to let us do what we do. And he did a great job of that, and Quincy came up big."

On the last shot - "In that situation, I always have the ball in my hands. But like I said, whatever I can do for this team…if it's to clear it out and let Quincy go, then do it. And he did a great job."

On where he was on the last play - "I was on the left side, waiting for him to kick it. My guy bluffed and denied, so he made the right play."

Former UW forward Jon Brockman:
On no time out at the end - "At first (I was surprised). But then I thought about and it's the senior's time to shine. That's what Quincy has been waiting four years for and he's been working all season. I don't think they wanted the ball in anyone else's hands besides him.

On Marquette's shooting - "They were red-hot. At halftime I think it was 66 percent. It was guys hitting big shots, and that's what the tournament's all about. When the money's on the line and you are in the spotlight, guys are hitting big shots."

On being in the stands instead of playing - "It was awful, but it was fun at the same time. I've never seen a tournament game from this perspective. I never went to a tournament game before I went to U-Dub. It's an experience."

On being back for Saturday's game - "I'll be back. It's the one good thing that's going to come from my injury is that I'll be able to come back on Saturday to watch."

On missing UW basketball - "Definitely. You miss this tournament atmosphere. If anyone told you they didn't miss it, being in the tournament, they'd be lying. It's a great sporting event. At the same time, I'm real happy where I'm at and I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world."

Former UW Center Spencer Hawes:
On the game - "I thought it was great. The poise they showed being down as many as they were, to come back…they had a bunch of different guys step up. Quincy, after the way he struggled the first half coming back…he even struggled shooting free throws…he came back, corrected that, put it behind him and made it count when it mattered. It's kudos to all those guys, they really stepped up. Everyone's name was called. They played well, and for Quincy to come back and make that play when it mattered, that was big for him and it was great to see."

On what's tougher, holding Brockman back on the bench in Sacramento, or here watching UW? - "That's tough to say. We were talking, we never get this nervous when we're playing games. It's much harder watching over here and not being to do anything about it.
Washington Notes:
--Washington is now 16-15 in its 14 NCAA Tournament appearances all-time. The Huskies are 6-4 in NCAA Tournament games under Lorenzo Romar.

--Washington's best 3-point percentage heading into tonight's 9-14 (.643) game was 8-14 against Portland on Dec. 19, 2009.

--The Huskies drained a season-best nine three-point field goals. UW made eight twice this year - at Arizona and at Arizona State. The best three-point percentage against the Huskies before Thursday night was .600 at USC (6-10).

--Isaiah Thomas now has 1106 career points, all in just two seasons - the most ever for a Washington player in their first two seasons.

--Quincy Pondexter played in his 134th career game at Washington, setting a new school record for most appearances as a Husky.

--Quincy Pondexter moved into sole possession of fourth-place on the UW career scoring chart with 1761 points in his four seasons as a Husky.


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