Here’s what Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said after his team pulled out an 86-84 victory over UCLA on Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion.
(Opening) “Want to talk about the good or the bad? I’ll say the good – we won. Leave it at that. No. Heck of a job, after they had all the momentum, of still staying the course. Donaven (Dorsey) came in and hit a big shot for us. We hit free throws down the stretch. Bryce got going, as we know he can. Got going late. They roared back, but regardless of what happened, we got another road victory. You get a road victory, I don’t care how you get it. It’s very, very valuable.”
(On Andrew Andrews being clutch again) “There was about 6:49 (when he put him back in the game), something like that, and the thing I thought about – we needed to wait until three or four minutes (were left) to put him in, because at the end of the game, he’s so good knocking shots down, and free throws down. But I felt like if we didn’t put him back in, we’d get to a point where we wouldn’t be able to come back. So we gambled, he did not foul, and sure enough, down the stretch, he makes the big plays. He came up with that loose ball again, down the stretch.”
(Is he the most clutch player you’ve had?) “Oh, we’ve had some guys – Isaiah Thomas was certainly clutch. B-Roy. Nate Robinson. But he’s right up there with anyone in terms of making clutch plays at the end of games.”
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(With him at the line with 3.4 seconds left, is that the best you can hope for?) “You feel like you’re in business if he’s going to the line that way. All I could think about when they threw the ball ahead and Isaac Hamilton was at the 3-point line and got it off was, we lost a game here when we got a coast to coast layup, they come right back and score at the buzzer. I think it was 2010. Then a couple years ago, Larry Drew hits a shot at the buzzer, and I’m saying, not again, it can’t be the third time. Ball hit the rim and bounced off, and here we are, on to the next one.”
(On the plan for the final possession) “We’re going to give him space. The score is tied, the worst that can happen is we go into overtime. He’s come through so much in the clutch. Let’s not risk throwing the ball a different place and losing it. Let’s give it to our captain, the guy leading the league in scoring. Let’s give it to him and let him make the play, and he made the right one. Again.”
(On winning so many close games with a team this young) “I’d say it’s a special experience as a coaching staff to have a group that’s like this, that’s young. They don’t know any better. In their mind, they just feel they’re supposed to win.”
(On what happened during UCLA’s comeback) “Oh, again, their plan in the second half was to just go at us off the dribble, and they beat us a few times. We continued to talk about, the majority of their guards like to go right, and yet they continued to go right on us. They just knocked off piece by piece of the lead, and there they were. We had a couple turnovers and didn’t make shots. Foul trouble. We got out of continuity a little bit. There it was.”
(On playing again with so many guys in foul trouble) “We changed what we were running. Our guys were executing pretty good tonight, and then we just had to try to spread the floor because we had a small group in there. and that’s what we did. We tried to control it that way. Dominic (Green) and Donaven Dorsey are guys that have good length as wings, so they’re not bigs, but at the same time they’re tall enough in our defensive scheme to still be OK. At the end, Alford was doing so well off the ball screen, we decided to put Dejounte on their big guy, so that when he set the screen, Dejounte would be on him on the switch, and Dominic was on him initially. … That ended up working out for us and I thought it helped us preserve it at the end.”
(On important contributions from Dominic Green and Dorsey) “Those guys were ready. Donaven missed his first one, but that’s all he needed to get loose. That second one, he had all the confidence in the world that he was going to knock that down. We found him and he put it in.”
(Can this team be as special as 2010-2011?) “We’ve got a lot of season left. I’m not ready to say that yet. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
(On how difficult it is to sweep UCLA) “That’s not easy at all. The way those guys score, that’s not easy at all. This is a special, special win for us. We’ve had some of these. We’ve had several of these. So this is a big one.”
(On the significance of winning at Pauley) “For myself and the coaches. These guys, to them, they don’t remember the last time UCLA won the national championship, so it’s a little different. But any time you’re on the road – and this is a storied program – but at the same time, our guys see it as, we got another road victory.”