Here is what Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar had to say after UW’s 95-83 victory over Colorado at Hec Edmundson Pavilion on Wednesday.
(Opening) “We had talked to our team about putting it all together, not being in foul trouble, defending and also being able to make shots. The first half, I thought we did that. The second half, I thought we had some inconsistent defensive possessions. A couple times we maybe (didn’t) take the best shot that we could have taken. But all in all, I thought our guys stepped up to the challenge and met it and did a nice job.”
(Was that the best first half you’ve played this season?) “It could be. In conference, for sure. In conference, I thought we were clicking on both ends.”
(Is this the best defense you’ve played in a game this season?) “Over a half … it gets lost in the fact that we had such a bad second half against Arizona, but I thought we did a decent job on defense in the Arizona game and also the Arizona State game in both first halves, but in the second half we didn’t do as good of a job. I think all in all, from start to finish, that would be our best defensive performance since conference has started.”
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(On blocking a school-record 15 shots) “Well, our floor position was as good as it’s been in a while. Our guys just did a good job of knowing where they were supposed to be. If we’re going to be fronting like we do, we have to have backside help, and it was there all night.”
(On making sure Andrew Andrews has the ball at the end of games) “Yeah. He had the ball in his hand and they had to foul, and he’s pretty good at that. So not only that, they made their run and cut it back down to 13, I believe, and Andrew hit two big shots again to allow us to distance ourselves. He’s proven it this year, game in and game out, that he’s clutch, so you’d like to have the ball in the guys hands that proves it game in and game out.”
(On conversation with Marquese Chriss about not fouling so much) “Well, he just kind of put it on himself to not foul on a regular basis. He made it a point – I said, OK, let’s talk about your fouls, how you get them. What do you plan on doing to avoid fouls? He said for one, stay down. Don’t jump, don’t leave my feet until the ball has left. That was one. And don’t reach in. So, that helped.”
(On how different the team is when Chriss can stay on the floor) “He makes a big difference with our team. We’re very fortunate to have the record that we have with him being in as much foul trouble that he’s been in. But if he can stay in the game, and the way Malik Dime is playing, and Noah Dickerson, with those guys rotating in there, they really help our ballclub.”
(On whether their athleticism overwhelmed Colorado) “I don’t know if it overwhelmed them, but it covered a lot of mistakes, I’ll say that, on the defensive end. And offensively, it allowed us to get great shots. Sometimes they’re there, but we were able to throw over the top and make plays. That’s when athleticism kind of kicks in.”
(On the gameplan against Colorado’s Josh Scott) “I just think we were trying to prevent him from catching the basketball, then we always had backside help. But it was the same scheme in the second half and he went for 15 in the second half. He’s just a good basketball player. It’s hard to keep him down for 40 minutes.”
(Seemed like Andrews had a quiet 33 points) “That’s when you know somebody’s really playing well, when you start to say it was quiet. And it was, but 16 of them came at the foul line. I believe he scored eight points in the first half, but when the game was on the line, that’s when he kind of got most of his points.”
(On progress since the beginning of the season) “Well, first, I would say this … I would say this is our most efficient game. We did what we were supposed to do in terms of execution on both ends of the floor. The progress has been phenomenal to me, from when we first started. In our first game in China against Texas, we won the game, but we were all over the place. We were flying around, and it was really bad in our closed-door scrimmage that we had, but that’s what all that is for, to prepare you to get better, and our guys have continued to believe, and there’s a lot of trust, a lot of trust both ways. We really trust these guys, and I think they believe in everything that we’re doing, and they put forth every effort to try to do it, and consequently, I think we’ve made a lot of progress. Big strides.”
(Did the crowd feel like old times?) “It was a lot closer. We’re still trying to get there to where – I know what this place sounds like, I’ve got it right here, what it sounds like when it’s packed and they’re loud. The Dawg Pack was there early, supporting us. You’ve got to love that. Once you see that, you say, OK, things may work out OK.”
(On areas where they can improve) “We can still get better defensively. We can still do that. And then a little bit of a pattern – we go up 10 at Washington State with just a couple minutes to go, and the game goes into overtime. We’re up 10 against Arizona State and that game is almost into overtime if they hit a couple of shots. Now we have to get to the point, if we’re able to get a lead, to be able to sustain it and increase the lead as opposed to giving it up. That’s another part of progress that we have to be able to do. But defensively, we still make errors that we shouldn’t make.”
(On what goes wrong during those runs) “Shot selection is very important but we tell teams, whenever a team comes back, it’s because you’re not guarding. If you’re not getting stops, that allows them to come back. The offensive end will take care of itself, but we’ve got to get stops when we get those leads. We showed our team on film, when we were up 10 against Washington State, four times they went right to the basket without being touched, and when they got touched, it was an and-one. That can’t happen. And then tonight when they started to come back, the same thing happened. We’ve got to get better at that.”