Here is most of what Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said after his team’s 96-93 win over UCLA in double-overtime on Friday night.
(Opening) “If you’re a fan, I would imagine you really would have enjoyed that basketball game. If you’re a coach, move on to the next one. It was a gut-check win for us, obviously. We’ve had teams that were more experienced teams, that were NCAA tournament teams that have been in that situation and we fight hard and the game goes into overtime, and they hit a shot like Alford hit, and mentally guys weren’t able to recover. Tonight, we recovered twice in overtime. It speaks a lot for Andrew’s leadership out there and these guys playing older than their age tonight. There were so many heroes in this game. I was just very, very happy to see us win it as a team, stay in it mentally, and now we have to move on to the next one.”
(What went through your head when Bryce Alford made the second 3-pointer?) “We were supposed to switch on that one, and we didn’t. That’s what I was thinking.”
(Did you want to foul on either of those?) “First time, there were probably eight seconds when he went to take the shot. We feel that’s a little too early. It gets down to about six, that’s when we would do it. The second time, it was the switch, we didn’t switch to even foul to do that. The third time, we executed it the way we wanted to execute it, which was foul.”
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(Did you think they might call a flagrant foul on Dejounte Murray on the last foul of Alford?) “If they would have called it, I probably would have been ejected at that point. My first ejection.”
(On the officiating) “It’s conference. And just like we have dress rehearsal, we want to be on point every game, it’s conference, you’ve got to turn it up, and I’m sure the officials talk about the same thing – ‘it’s conference play, we want to make sure we call this the way we had talked about before the season.’ And it obviously was called a little tighter. But again, it’s difficult for those officials with the way that they’re being mandated to call this. It’s difficult for them. It’s not an easy job.”
(You also won the game against Texas with a lot of fouls, take anything from that?) “I don’t think so. I think there were very few of what we would call silly fouls that we had. Fouls we were getting called on, a lot of them, we were trying to make the right play. I thought Texas, we had more fouls where it was a lack of concentration. We weren’t moving our feet. But if they’re going to call it for both teams, that’s how the game is played and no one has an advantage, then so be it.”
(Did you think they called it fair?) “You as a coach, you’re thinking of all the ones that you think maybe could have gone the other way, and you’ve got to remember there’s another coach over there, their coaching staff has got a handful of them too that are thinking the same thing. that’s kind of how it goes. That’s why we talked to our team after the Santa Barbara game about taking care of business early, because if you don’t, you’re at the mercy of the ball bouncing off your foot, tipping the ball in your own basket, an official’s call – you’re at the mercy of that. So you can’t snivel about those type of things.”
(On what this win tells him about his team) “It’s great. Our resiliency and courage is at a high level. But what we learned, I think, we can go back and point to this when we practice tomorrow – look what happens when we focus. I thought we had great focus defensively in the first half, and quite a bit in the second half. We got in foul trouble, but that team’s hard to guard. I thought our team did a good job. They were shooting 30 percent in the first half.”
(What worked better against the zone in the second half?) “I just thought we did what we’ve been talking about. Dejounte was sensational against the zone. He was either penetrating and scoring, or he was passing, and then Andrew was hitting shots, and David Crisp hit a few shots. Matisse Thybulle hit some big shots. That usually helps against any defense, if you can make shots, and we made more shots, but they were the right kind – early on, we took a few 3s that we just talked about the last few days, we don’t want to take. But after that, I thought our guys settled down pretty good, and I thought we took pretty good shots.”
(On Andrew Andrews’ mentality toward the end) “I’m the captain of this team and I am experienced, I’ve been through this before, this is how you do it. I thought he went out and showed us. Even in the second overtime, he hits the big shot, then he gets the steal. He really led in the great way.”
(How did you try to manage having only one post player available after everyone fouled out?) “Well, our length is always good. Matisse Thybulle went in there and was at a height disadvantage but yet because of his length, he was able to get rebounds down the stretch. He was able to deflect passes. We were smaller, but we were quicker when those guys were in there, so we were able to get in there and help each other out a lot.”
(On Matisse Thybulle starting to play really well) “Well, hopefully this again, I’m always telling you guys, if you’ve been around me before I repeat myself in these situations, but it’s very interesting that Malik Dime is really starting to play right now, but he’s a junior-college transfer, and it usually takes those guys until around conference to start playing. And freshmen, around conference is when they start doing it. So we’ll see. We’ll see if this is something where it’s that time where guys really start to pick it up and improve their play.”