Quotes - Washington

SAN JOSE, Calif. - As you would expect, there was a lot to talk about after Washington's 82-68 second-round win over New Mexico. Here's what the Huskies had to say about their win over the Lobos, as well as their third trip to the Sweet 16 under Lorenzo Romar.

Washington players Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Quincy Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas

Q. Did you guys run 'em out of the gym in the first half?

QUINCY PONDEXTER: We did a great job of forcing our tempo on them. We knew they were a transition team going into this game, and we wanted to show that we have another level of fast break and defensive intensity. That's what really wore them down and helped us get the win.

Q. Did you see them gasping in the first half?

QUINCY PONDEXTER: Yeah, you could see their heads go down a little bit, start to see them get tired and beat up, and it came from great team, help defense. We did a great job of helping each other out, closing out on shooters and containing Darington Hobson.

Q. Matthew, I happened to glance over with about seven minutes left and I saw you playing air drums to the pep band, at the scorer's table, and then you checked in got a block shot and then a big dunk. How much fun were you having in the second half?

MATTHEW BRYAN-AMANING: This time of year every moment in the game is fun for me playing at such a high level and being able to be out there and relaxed at game time is just real fun.

Q. Quincy, the Pac-10 was knocked a little bit because teams had been in and people said you were fortunate by beating Cal to get in, now Cal won and you've won two games, does this say something about the conference?

QUINCY PONDEXTER: I think a lot of people had bad judgments about our conference and the nonconference season, but once we got to Pac-10, a lot of players that were young and they started to play tough basketball, it was tough, not a pushover league and we had to battle every game.

For us to be in the position that we are in now is a testament to how well this team came together and fought through adversity, got some wins.

Q. Quincy, I know when the team was struggling you thought it was better than it was, say, in mid-January. Did you see the team being this good and now moving on to the Sweet 16? Are you curious to see how good this team might really be?

QUINCY PONDEXTER: I'm really curious to see how the season ends up. Hopefully, we continue to do well and play Husky basketball. Once I kept saying in January, you know what? Don't panic, it was for a reason. We still had a lot of time to come together and make a push like we are right now. That's something that stuck with us, our backs against the wall mentality to help us keep fighting through these games.

Q. Quincy, can you talk about how gratifying this is for you as a four-year senior and sticking through everything just to be in this position and the fact that other people might have left the program aren't experiencing something like this?

QUINCY PONDEXTER: It's truly a senior's dream. It's a blessing to be in this position I am right now. This season sums up my four years altogether, it was up's and down's, and we force-out through adversity as a team. It's really a blessing to be in this position right now.

I wish those other guys sometimes were here with me but they chose their own routes, and I'm proud of each and every one of them. But I'm glad I'm in the position I am right now.

Q. Isaiah, the object was basically to get the ball and get it to the other end as fast as possible?

ISAIAH THOMAS: You could say that. First off, it started on the defensive end. We got stops and that's what made it so easy and look so easy for our push. Venoy and others did a great job of getting the rebound and get it on to the outlet. We knew they only had seven players, and so we pushed the tempo so they would get tired.

Q. You talked about your help defense and a lot of guys love playing offense. What do you guys enjoy most about playing defense, because that was such a big part of the day. What's your favorite part?

QUINCY PONDEXTER: It leads to our offense. Once we really realized that once we force our defensive pressure on these teams and it really helps them get really tired guardin' us, they can't get back as fast. It starts with our defensive pressure. You know? Once we did that it turned around the whole season.

Q. Any other guys?

ISAIAH THOMAS: No.
UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar:
Q. Lorenzo, this victory, is this a victory -- of course it's a victory for Washington. Does it reflect on the Pac-10, or is it strictly about Washington?

COACH ROMAR: I think both, you know? We've been talking about this for a while. The Pac-10 was a victim of much criticism all year, and I think a couple of out of conference losses early is something that was placed on people's minds and then we were labeled as a bad conference or a down conference, because of some losses early and in not having a full complement of players on each team.

Guys were ineligible or hurt and the league is young, league lost 21 pros in the last couple of years and it took a while for this league to get better. We played in this league, and we didn't go undefeated and we're going to the Sweet 16. The team that finished 9th and 10th is capable of beating and did beat the top teams in our league. So the league was stronger than people gave it credit for but once those non-conference games happened, those losses happened, people made a decision and a judgment and decided let's not even pay attention to that conference anymore. Fortunately we're still playin' and we hope that Cal will still be playing as well.

Q. Coach, I thought early on New Mexico looked like it was running it's offense pretty well and gettin' some open looks. After the first couple shots they knocked down then they were missing a lot of open shots. Did you guys make an adjustment or it was a matter of the guys being able to loosen back -- tighten back or however you want to phrase it after they couldn't hit?

COACH ROMAR: Gary, wow, he's a bull with that basketball, and he's got great quickness and we had not played against him before, we watched him on film and in person the other night but until you're in front of him you don't understand how quick and strong he is.

He hurt us single-handedly. All the shots they were getting were directed by him, early. We noticed that he was controlling everything and we adjusted the way we were defending the ball screen. At halftime we looked at the score sheet and they were shooting 39% and he had 15 points, but the rest of the team didn't have a whole lot so we felt like if he continued to score and he was making 2 pointers and we were applying pressure and we tweaked what we were doing on the ball screen then we kept him off the three-point line.

Those guys can get goin' from the 3 and really, really hurt you, and they weren't able to do that as much and we took our lumps by him scoring 25. But we picked our poison at that point.

Q. I'm curious in some of the game film you watched I know Coach Steve Alford linked you guys to their troubles with San Diego State throughout the season 2 of their 4 losses coming into today. How much of the San Diego State game did you watch?

COACH ROMAR: We watched it for sure, and watchin' it the thing to me was that San Diego State is pretty good. That's what first hit me. They play a good brand of basketball. We were aware of that but what you're aware of doesn't matter once you step on the floor you have to be able to execute.

I thought our guys did a good job of executing defensively and we committed 5 turnovers in forty minutes and that's with us pushing the ball the entire game, and I thought our guys did a good job and I thought our quickness had something to do with that.

Q. Lorenzo you went almost a calendar year without winning a game on the road and --

COACH ROMAR: Was it that long?

Q. Pretty close.

COACH ROMAR: Goodness gracious.

Q. I think now it's maybe 8 in a row that you've won either neutral sites or road games. How do you explain that turn-around?

COACH ROMAR: I think it reflects a little bit on our league. We have one senior on this team and I look at New Mexico's roster, they have a young team. Steve Alford and his staff did an amazing job with that team then only having 10 players available and they play 7, an amazing job and seemed like they matured a lot faster than we did. I think we grew up. I think we grew up sometime at the beginning of February. In spite of still -- in spite of still losing, we were growing up during that process, and it finally kicked in. We started winning. Sometimes -- you know, I believe that when you grow up and you're more of a veteran team you can win on the road in most cases.

Q. Lorenzo, same question that I asked Quincy, that was a 30-win team y'all just beat. Even when you knew your team was under achieving did you see their up side as being this high?

COACH ROMAR: Always, always! We talked to our team about this early. We can go one of two ways, we can be mediocre, or we can be a special team. We talked about those things. But, again, it took a while for us to come to the realization that if we bought in and know one cared who got the credit we could get some things accomplished.

Q. You probably heard Kansas lost. Coaches continually harp on the fact that you get out there you have to play the game. Is this something you can persuade the team, hey, anything can happen?

COACH ROMAR: I think that's why we had the confidence to get this done. It's March Madness. You come out and need to be only concerned with what you can do.

As John Wooden, says if you play to your best you are successful! Win or lose. That's all we can concentrate on. With the parity the way it is today in the college game, anyone can beat anyone and we have been witnesses of that. In the last couple of days here with March Madness.

Q. I asked you guys about the defensive stuff. How do you get kids to buy into that? You know, when you're recruiting them out of high school a lot of it is they love to shoot. How do you get them to play defense?

COACH ROMAR: It's interesting, most, not all, but most kids like to play up and down. They like to go uptempo, and what I found out is kids want to go uptempo. So they can shoot whenever they want to shoot. That's why they want to do it. When they understand what you have to do to be an up-tempo team then it's like, wow, I don't know if I want to buy into all this.

It requires defense. If you want to play up-tempo you have to be able to force turnovers, contest shots, rotate what you get beat. You've got to be able to run and be in condition. You take the defense away and we're not an up-tempo team. We're just a team that gets the ball up the floor and shooting contested shots over hand, but you've got to be able to defend and that's the message that we want to get across to the guys, you really want to run? Are you sure? Then we've got to get down and guard.

I think this year our guys plan to figure it out and we became a much better defensive team which has led to us being able to continue to play right now.

Q. Kind of among some of the satisfactions of your job, how much fun is it to be able to send a player like Clarence Trent or Brendan Sherrer into an NCAA Tournament game?

COACH ROMAR: It's awesome. There are guys ahead of Brendan, but he works hard in practice every day, and in spite of not getting as many minutes as he would like he gets an opportunity on the big stage to come in and play.

Brendan was another matter he was in the dog pack cheering us on when we were in the NCAA Tournament, and now he gets out there and kinda had a sweet move when he got the ball down there. It's tremendous. You can just see the joy on their faces, they get an opportunity, too.

Q. How would you compare this team to your other NCAA Tournament teams?

COACH ROMAR: I would say with the exception of the 2005 team this is probably as quick of a team as we've had since that team. I think this team has moved more in the direction of some of the other -- the Sweet 16 teams in the past where there were multiple guys that could make baskets, early on, Quincy Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas, if those guys had off nights we weren't able to score that much.

Now we have Matthew Bryan-Amaning stepping in. Elston Turner has been playing out of his mind in the Tournament. Venoy scores in his own way and he puts points on the board. It's been a little different that way, but I think we're pretty close to those other teams.
Additional Quotes:
Roscoe Pondexter, father of Quincy Pondexter:
On the game "That was indescribable how they dominated as a unit. I'm so happy right now for the city of Seattle."

On what he saw out there on the floor: "I saw a unit moving. I saw some tenacious defense. We struck them from the start, because you can't simulate the kind of defense Romar has them playing in practice."

On if he's happy right now: Yes." (laughs)

Venoy Overton:
On the win: "It feels good to be able to move to the next city. When we come, that's what the goal is - to win two games in one city and get to the next one.

On what went well - "We just executed the scout real well. We didn't let Hobson get in the flow. We tried to get into him, make him struggle. We didn't let too many guys on their team get off. We let Gary get off a little bit, but other than that nobody really killed us."

On this being big for the Pac-10 - "It's very big for the Pac-10. We're 3-0 in the Pac-10."

On the next game - "We're going to play hard. We don't know who we've got yet. Either West Virginia or Missouri - two tough teams. We're going to be the underdog again and we've got to be ready to play."

On seeing West Virginia play - "All year. You see Bob Huggins, great coach. You know they have a star in (Da'Sean) Butler. They've got a lot of great players. We're going to have our hands full."

On playing fast from the start - "We're a team that likes to run. We feel that a lot of teams don't want to run with us. They were a great team, well coached, and we just made more shots tonight.

On capitalizing on their made baskets - "It's just something that happened. Early on they would get a couple of open layups, but once we adjusted it was our game the whole time. We seen early that their transition d wasn't too well, so we took advantage of that."

On Darington Hobson and his wrist - "A good player wouldn't blame it on his wrist. He's a competitor and we just got the best of him tonight."

On putting Justin Holiday on Hobson - "Somebody long around his height could bother him a little bit. We knew he wasn't a great shooter, but he's a great passer and playmaker and we wanted to take that away from him."

On their body language - "We just didn't let them feel comfortable. We didn't let them get any runs. We didn't let them get their shooters off. McDonald and Martinez, we didn't let them get any good feels. Our big men played great so they didn't get that many offensive rebounds. So basically we just took everything away from them."

On only five turnovers in the game - "It was just our kind of game. They wanted to run with us, and that's how we play. We turn the ball over when we're not sure what we're doing. But in transition, that's how we want to play. We took care of the ball and that's why the score was the way it was."

On it being sweeter because of the adversity - "Definitely. Usually when you look at a team that's starts out in the Pac-10 3-5, it's not good. But it's just shows that when it counts, we get it done."

On those that thought UW would be down nationally - "We just keep proving them wrong. I know the first round they said we weren't going to get it done and then they changed their minds and said we were evenly matched. Everybody got something to say, and the questions will be answered on the court."

On what the press will say now - "We'll still be underdogs. If we got to play West Virginia, West Virginia's too tough. If we got to play Missouri, they are too tough. We'll just let them be the critics and we'll be the players."

On wanting to fly under the radar - "Everybody loves attention, but it's all about wins. We want to get attention by winning games."

Justin Holiday:
On getting messages after the game - "I haven't gotten 'em yet because you all got to me before I could get to 'em."

On more and more media coming in to the locker rooms after wins - "No, but since you said it - yeah!" (laughs)

On if he was told before the game they would control things that way - "I would have said it was possible, depending on how we were going to play. It's going to come down to how we take care of business. We go into games not worrying about what they are going to do, but what we're going to do. And if we come out like we did today and take care of the game like we did - control everything and play defense - it's going to be a pretty good outcome for us."

On controlling the game - "That's what you want to do. From the get-go, not from the start because they were getting open shots and penetrating…but once you started figuring out how to take care of everything…we had to get a feel first…after that, everything was gravy."

On Darington Hobson - "He's a very good player, actually. And like any other great player, great story, he started coming at me in the second half. And my teammates helped me tremendously in stopping him. He's left-handed, but he does well going both ways. He's also able to pull up, like you saw in the first half. He's going to be a pretty good player."

On sensing their frustration - "Of course. As a basketball player, you can sense it all. You can tell by how guys go off screens or how they run their plays. You can just see everything."

On chippiness in the beginning - "I guess you can say a little bit. This is a big stage, but I think our team is just ready for it. We're maturing. I think it would be a little different if it was like last year, when it was our first time being here. It's a big game, but it just makes us more comfortable."

On Matthew Bryan-Amaning's game - "He did what we needed to do. We forced it inside, and when we force it inside and when we have guards like we do on the outside, it's kind of hard to stop a team like that."

Matthew Bryan-Amaning:
On having a big game - "Thank you. They did a good job. They played to their strength and we just tried to play to ours. We have a lot deeper bench and tried to push the ball as much as we can, try and get the Lobos tired, and it started to happen late in the first half and early in the second half. That's when we started to break away."

On seeing anything in their scout that led him to think he would have a good day - "Nothing specific. I watched a bit of the first half of their game against Montana, and their big guy was able to go to work. Coach told me to be ultra-aggressive, especially when they are playing me one-on-one. They showed they were going to do that early in the game, so once that happened I just tried to stay positive and stay aggressive. And I was able to hit a high percentage of shots."

On if he was told before the game they would control things that way - "I would have said that a lot of things would have to happen the right way for us to do that. We know that if we play defense, rebound and get stops, anything can happen."

On playing better today than against Marquette - "That's what we try to do. Before we go out and play, we have 'Husky Basketball' - the three or four things we try and do every game. We know that if we execute the scout, we have an opportunity to play with anybody."

On what 'Husky Basketball' was today - "It's always defense, trying to keep teams around 40 percent defensively, share the ball and rebound - try and out-rebound teams."

On getting up and down the court that well - "That's just something we do with our personnel. We got a lot of athletic guys; we've got the small point guards that love to push the ball; we have the long, athletic wings that love to run the floor, and our big guys like to run too. We just try to get out on the floor and run. We know it's a marathon out there, and with our depth we feel like we can keep running and keep running and hopefully teams will get tired."

On how many teams have tried to run with UW - "A lot of teams try to slow us down, but teams in our league like Oregon and Cal have athletic guys that try and run. We play so many different players that we feel like we can wear them down with our depth."

On New Mexico struggling in transition defense - "Our guards are always looking to run the ball. The bigs are always running down the middle and the guards are always running the lanes. Isaiah, Gaddy and Venoy always look up the court for openings and buckets."

Isaiah Thomas:
On the team coming together - "Everybody knows their roles, and people are excelling at everything they do good at, and we're loving playing with each other and having fun."

On running New Mexico off the court - "Get defensive stops, get it and go…we knew their rotation was seven players, and we knew we wanted to get them tired. Coach always says that their legs are going to get tired and shots are going to come up short and things like that."

On the key to making so many 3-pointers - "Shoot it with confidence, no matter if you're missing them or making them. You shoot it with confidence and try and knock 'em down."

On UW's 21 assists - "We were taking what the defense gave us and being aggressive."

On pushing the ball in transition - "We got some stops and were able to do that. When we get stops, that's what we want to do. It works in our favor."

On players-only meeting during the season - "The tone was, let's get it together. Let's get it rolling right now. We can't wait no longer. We have to keep faith in everything we're doing and don't give up. Whatever happens, happens, but we have to do everything we can control, which is playing hard, playing together and playing unselfishly."

On losing the next two games after that meeting - "We all listened to each other. Once we lose, we lose as a team and we win as a team. We're always going to be together. We take everything personal. We lost some games, but we won some games too."

On how good is this team right now - "We're good. That's Husky Basketball. When we can defend and stop teams, the offense runs so easy for us we feel like we can score on anybody. And it all starts on the defensive end, so if you see we're having a good game on the defensive end, that's a good thing."

On putting the Cinderella tag on them - "You can call it what you want. Like I've told you before, once the tournament starts, the seeds go out the window. You guys will call it an upset, but we don't really feel like it was."

On it being an upset getting to this point - "Maybe. It might have been."

On his hand being cut - "Yeah. They are trying to take my left hand off."

On wanting to fly under the radar - "We need some type of attention, but we're going to play our game and make sure we get attention."

On knowing anything about West Virginia or Missouri - "West Virginia is in the Big East (pause). I really don't know that much. They are two good teams."

On continually getting better as the season goes on - "It all starts on the defensive end. When we play great defense it makes our offense look so easy because we can get out and run. We're playing together and having fun - that's the main thing. We're having fun out there."

On MBA - "I told you guys before - we're going to only go as far as our big dudes take us. And he's been stepping up and doing a really good job."

Quincy Pondexter:
On his career at UW - "There have been a lot of bad moments, and a lot of good moments. But at the end of the day they only make you stronger. The things I've gone through, it's only made me a better person for my career down the road if I continue to play basketball or whatever I do. It's made me a better person and man on and off the court."

On the feeling he'll take with him to Syracuse - "It's the same thing; one game at a time. Continue to play Husky Basketball, continue to do the little things that got us here. If we continue to do those things, we'll be able to open up some more eyes and continue to impress people."

On looking around at what's going on with the tournament - "It's the NCAA Tournament, so you have no choice but to be consumed by it. I'm a person that watches Sports Center before I go to bed. And it hasn't been easy to do that lately, because they talk about your team and other games. You get excited. We're going to have to continue to play one game at a time, but we also see that carrot at the end of the road."

On if it's soaked in that UW is in the Sweet 16 - "I haven't had a chance to really reflect yet. I haven't had a chance to get my phone yet. I think once I get home tonight, rest and think about the position that we're in - think about that we still have basketball games left - I think it's really going to sink in yet. But it hasn't yet."

On the low point of the season - "I would say the lowest point was when we lost to USC at their place. Everyone didn't play that great. We were playing awful as a team. From then on, we said no more. We didn't want to go out like that. We were getting laughed at nationally. We knew we were a lot better team than that, and we had to go out and prove it to people."

On the players-only meeting after that - "That's when everyone came together. And from then on, sky's the limit."

On how many times they've been able to do to teams what they did to the Lobos - "That was pretty good tonight. We really haven't had a chance to reflect and think about how many games where we've done that, but that's what we try and do every game. Once we catch a team slipping or something, we try to score as fast as possible."

Head Coach Lorenzo Romar:
On the feeling after the win - "It's special. To see our guys come back from the position that we were in earlier in January, to now be playing in the Sweet 16 - it's pretty special. And I'm happy for these guys that they are able to come and experience something like this. They hear of our guys that played here before - Brandon Roy, Nate Robinson, Will Conroy - on and on and on…they got to do this, so now they get to do it. I'm happy for them."

On everyone knowing their role right now - "It took a while for that to evolve. Early on we had all sorts of problems trying to figure out the right combinations out on the floor. But eventually certain players stepped up and once that happened everyone was able to settle in and determine how they could best impact this team doing well."

On the pace of the game - "First day of practice, that's our emphasis. It doesn't matter who we're playing. If we have our druthers, we're going to try and play good defense, force turnovers, force contested shots, quick shots…so we can get out and run. So regardless of what the opponent is playing like, we like to get out and run."

On being surprised by the margin of victory - "I was surprised. I've got a lot of respect for coach Alford and his staff. They've won 30 games, and they've only lost one game since January 10th. You come in here expecting a war. I just credit our guys. We were very focused and got after it and didn't let up."

On the turnaround to get out to Syracuse - "It would be a problem if the game was tomorrow, but we've got a few days. They get the mandatory NCAA day off."

On the feeling after the loss at USC - "I'm not jumping on our own bandwagon, but we lost at the buzzer at UCLA. And prior to that, every conference game we played was a blowout - a double-digit loss. Now we play UCLA and lose at the buzzer, and although we lost, I felt like we made some progress. Some things came together. It's followed up by the loss to USC and we didn't play very good at all, but I think there was some carryover in how we lost at UCLA. So we got back playing at home, and the next time we went back on the road, we got our first road victory. We saw some progress, so that's how I felt."


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