Here is everything Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said after his team’s 94-88 victory over Long Beach State on Tuesday night at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
(Opening) “Long Beach State was picked to win the big west and they’ve had a very, very difficult schedule on the road, and they have definitely taken their lumps but we talked to our team about them feeling like back here they’ve played us very tough in the past. It seems like whenever we’ve played Long Beach State, the games are close. We played them the last couple times, we were down double digits and had to come back and win the game, so we knew that they would come out here and play well, and I thought they did a good job. There were some victories here for us tonight. We shot 34 percent in the first half. Our shots weren’t going. I believe between Markelle Fultz, Matisse Thybulle and Dominic Green, it was something lie 4-for-21 or 22 in the first half. It just wasn’t falling, but yet in the first half we were guarding, we were guarding pretty good, we forced 15 turnovers. We limited their offensive rebound play, and that allowed us to stay in the game at that point. We talk to our team about, the shots aren’t always going to go in. Second half, we did start making shots and I think we forgot about playing defense at that point. Our identity shifted all of a sudden to where we had an offensive mindset and we weren’t guarding as well as we should have. So, still a work in progress, but I think, again, we’re making steady, steady improvement.”
(On being encouraged by six-point halftime lead given shooting struggles) “It’s something we talk about all the time: the ball’s not going to go in the basket sometimes, and when that happens, you have to be able to guard. If not, you’re going to get blown out. So for us to be in that position at halftime, that’s one of the early season victories – even though it was halftime – for our team, because that’s what we’re going to face the rest of the year when the ball’s not going in the hoop.”
(On explanation for why they were so cold in first half but so hot in second) “The guy that can give you that explanation, or the woman, can make a whole lot of money. I thought we were getting great shots, the ball just wasn’t going in the hole. Even early in the second half, we were getting shots around the rim, and they didn’t have a lot of shot-blockers, but yet we couldn’t get the ball to go down. But then, Matisse hit one, and give Markelle Fultz a lot of credit because if you’re struggling and every shot you’re taking is still being contested, it’s hard to break out of that sometimes, but Markelle does such a good job of getting guys wide open looks, that’s what we end up getting. David Crisp got wide-open looks. Matisse Thybulle got wide-open looks. Dominic Green had a couple, and there we went.”
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(Did team seem discouraged by missing shots?) “Not at all. In fact, that’s something we kept trying to encourage them, saying the ball is eventually going to go in the basket. It will. We just have to keep guarding.”
(On Noah Dickerson’s play in the first half) “Noah was huge. He played his best game of this young season, 17 points in the first half. He was active. I don’t think he missed a shot for a long time. He was just very active out there. He did a really good job. He gave us a great post presence.”
(On establishing a No. 2 scorer) “I think it is very important and Matisse Thybulle has kind of been that guy. David Crisp at times has been that guy. He was certainly that guy tonight. Noah Dickerson was that guy. We had close to four guys in double figures and five within striking distance. So if you have three, normally, you have your three guys that you can count on them for certain points every night, that usually is a good foundation for your scoring.”
(More on that) “I thought we were able to turn to two guys tonight, three guys, other than Markelle. certainly Matisse and David Crisp I thought took over in terms of making shots, and Matisse is our second-leading scorer, so he’s been pretty reliable. The ball is just not going to go in the basket every night for you. Those are the facts. It just doesn’t happen every night, so I don’t think there’s been a game yet where guys haven’t done a decent job of scoring, including tonight. It just happened in the second half.”
(What did you learn about Markelle Fultz tonight despite his struggles early?) “I learned that he is really a good player, because when you go 9-for-18 with six assists and two turnovers and you struggled, that’s when you’re starting to be good. He wasn’t as spectacular. I’ll agree with that. Maybe he wasn’t as spectacular. But I wouldn’t say he struggled. I just thought that, again, Markelle Fultz is not going be Superman every night, but he’s probably going to be pretty good.”
(More on Dickerson -- it looks like he’s not getting hit in the face as much) “Yeah, he got hit a couple times, but not as much. Noah when you see him, when he’s out there aggressive, going to the basket, you can just see it in his eyes when he’s coming ready to play. He was coming ready to play. Early on, he got established and was posting up hard, you could see it. He makes us so much of a better team, offensively, when he’s playing like that, because it’s really hard to extend your defense if he’s doing that down there.”
(On Sam Timmins -- he has his moments, but also looks like a freshman at times) “Yeah, and that is a fact, he is a freshman. He’s learning. He’s just working through some things. I’m really excited that we have Sam Timmins. He’s going to be a really good player for us.”
(On Chantel Osahor’s triple-double in the women’s game -- the first triple-double in UW basketball history) “That’s awesome. If you had to predict, and you pick three or four athletes from the men’s and women’s side, she would definitely be one that it would be a consensus that she might get one, and she did. That’s awesome.”