Here is everything Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said after Washington’s 104-88 victory over Cal State Fullerton. Markelle Fultz led UW with 35 points and six assists.
(Opening) “A couple guys put on a show tonight and for the first eight minutes, Tre’ Coggins for Fullerton put on a shooting display, 17 points I believe in the first eight minutes. We felt that even though he was knocking those shots down, if they were contested, if we could contest those shots, eventually we were hopeful they wouldn’t go in, and our guys did a great job for the remaining 32 minutes guarding him to where he only had six points, but man, he was really good, and that got them going offensively. And then no secret, Markelle Fultz was terrific tonight in all areas. Just took the game over a lot of times. But he has the ability to make everyone else just look a little better, and he was doing that at a high level tonight. Fullerton, I’m going to follow their games and see what happens. They have some offensive firepower on that team, no doubt.”
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(How much closer was this to the way you want to play?) “Progress was made. Progress was definitely made. Our level of physicality went up, our defensive intensity went up, we didn’t allow them to get much in transition. Our guys boxed out, did a better job collectively going to the backboards We still have a ways to go, but we did see progress, and we have to continue to make progress before we start conference (play).”
(Is there anything Markelle Fultz can’t do?) “Not much. What helps Markelle is his length. You can forget about his length. He’s 6-4 and has a 6-foot-10 wingspan that allows him to shoot over people. And then he’s very, very athletic. He has a high basketball IQ. It’s almost like he’s computer-generated or something. And on top of that, he’s a great teammate and he’s extremely coachable. So he has the whole package.”
(On Coggins slowing down in the second half) “I thought his shots were contested. I don’t think he took very many shots in the second half that weren’t highly contested. I think Matisse Thybulle did a phenomenal job guarding him. That’s one of the things we were looking for, guys to step up. We’ve always had a couple of guys on the perimeter that can go out there and just shut guys down. We have a guy in the paint that was just very good at just shutting guys down, and as far as us creating a defensive identity, we need defensive performances like Matisse had in the final 32 minutes to guard someone like that.”
(On Fullerton making up the deficit despite Coggins not scoring) “Sometimes a guy can get so hot the others are not, and the second half, they started to run their offense a little more, they started to reverse the ball a little more, More guys touched it and they were a little more efficient running their offensive stuff. I would guess their coaches would say they did a better job of executing in the second half, but I believe in spite of that they shot a lower percentage in the second half than they did the first half. So they’re a good offensive team. Sooner or later they were going to score something. But down the stretch, I thought we did a good job of getting stops when they made the game close.”
(How is Markelle’s ability to get into the paint different than Dejounte Murray) “Boy, they’re similar. They both get in there. I don’t know. They’re very similar in that regard. Markelle may dish it maybe a couple times more, but Dejounte, same thing. I watched him the other night playing for the Spurs. He still gets in the lane. No human can keep him out of the lane.”
(Ever had a freshman start a season like this?) “Jon Brockman was all-tournament when he was a freshman, but he wasn’t doing this. I haven’t seen it. Isaiah Thomas may have been the closest, but not in the first couple of games. Tony Wroten was spectacular, but in terms of what Markelle Fultz has done, I think he’s averaging six assists and about 32.5 points – no one’s done that. I don’t think a player has done that, not just a freshman.”
(On committing so many fouls) “If we’re playing true Husky basketball, we are going to foul. It just can’t be an astronomical number. But we’re aggressive. We’re going to foul. The old Arkansas teams that Nolan Richardson coached, they fouled. You’re going to have a number of fouls, especially the way they’re calling the game now. We’re going to foul, but we want to maintain our aggressiveness.”
(Is 27 an astronomical number?) “That’s too much, yeah. But when we’re playing like we’re playing with the energy and level of physicality, we’ll live with it. It’s too much, but if that’s going to be the result of us really getting after it, as we go, that’s part of the progress we have to make. Get that knocked down a little bit.”
(On Malik Dime showing improvement) “He actually hasn’t really done what he had been doing before. He had bruised his knee a little bit about a month ago, and he had to sit out for a few days. It slowed him a little bit, but he was playing at a high, high level. Along with that, he’s averaging 5.5 blocks per game, so he’s doing a nice job for us, and he is an improved player.”
(On cutting down on turnovers in the second half) “Yeah, we talked about, we had 11 a the half and they had scored I want to say 19 points at halftime off the turnovers, so we did talk about that. Sam was just caught in between. Sam had five of them, and that’s not typical for Sam. He was just kind of caught when he got the ball. A couple times he tried to pass – he’s such a good passer – without looking, and the guy had cut. Another time there was a hand there. Just things like that. He’s a capable passer, but you take those away, Markelle, he’s going to turn the ball over a little bit because of how active he is. We didn’t turn it over as much with the rest of the guys.”