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March 21, 2015

Robert Brown

Jerod Haase

Denzell Watts


UCLA - 92
UAB - 75

COACH HAASE: In terms of the game itself, it was -- it's hard to really talk about the Xs and Os because, when you're in a locker room that we were just in, you have a good group of guys that have invested so much. But I also told them, when you invest that much, you're going to get the highs we had the last couple weeks with an amazing run and the lows we have right now. I actually think that's the way we're supposed to live life, and it's supposed to hurt when you invest so much into it. In terms of the game itself, our inability to guard was the difference in the game. It's not rocket science out there. We knew that the rebounding part of it was going to be a huge factor in the game, and we got beat up on the boards. There were a lot of help situations regarding the ball and ball screen situations, and we were not able to solve it. We tried man. We tried zone. We tried man. We tried zone. We tried some different wrinkles. But at the end of the day, we were not able to guard. I felt like offensively we did enough to be able to compete, but on the defensive end we did not do have an answer.

Q. This is for Robert. You guys made 12 3s. Usually, 76 points is enough to win a ball game. Talk about how difficult -- or just answer, if you would, how difficult it was to deal with (Tony) Parker and (Kevon) Looney on the inside when you know (Bryce) Alford's on the inside.
ROBERT BROWN: They're a really balanced team. They do have the inside-outside. Parker was a big body that we had trouble rebounding with, and it had a lot to do with our guards not coming down being able to help the bigs out boxing out, they would go over to block shots and we were just late rotating a lot of the time.

Q. For both players, can you just -- Coach mentioned the highs and the lows. You get the big win on Thursday, and you come out today shooting well in that first half. At what point did you just kind of feel UCLA's starting to pull away?
ROBERT BROWN: I don't know if you could say we felt them start to pull away. We just tried to continue to grind and chip away. They were able to just make more plays than we were.

DENZELL WATTS: Along with what Robert said, there was never a point where we felt like they were pulling away. We were just going to keep fighting, keep fighting. For some reason, we just couldn't get it done on the defensive end, and we couldn't rebound.

Q. For both players, can you guys put into words -- I know it's fresh right now -- how far this team has progressed this year and how bright is the future?
ROBERT BROWN: I feel like we've made leaps and bounds. I think we're a lot higher than what I anticipated we would be this year. I think it has a lot to do with Coach and the way he's prepared our schedules and the way he does in practice. I know we're looking forward to next year, but right now we're not really, I guess, happy. We're trying not to dwell on this right now.

DENZELL WATTS: Coach Haase has stayed on us all year. We finished nonconference 4-9, and just to come back the way we did and make a run, conference tournament, and also make a little run in the NCAA Tournament, we came a long way. It's a good feeling, but we came up short.

Q. In the first half when Tosin (Mehinti) and, I think, Tyler (Madison) were in foul trouble on the bench, how much did that hurt trying to get those boards?
ROBERT BROWN: Tremendously. Tyler came out last game with nine offensive rebounds, and Tosin used part of our defense to counter it. Not to have them in the game hurt us tremendously with the rebounding, just defensive presence overall.

DENZELL WATTS: It hurt us tremendously. Anytime anybody on our team gets in foul trouble and they can't contribute because of fouls, it's going to hurt us. With Tyler coming off the big rebounding game and Tosin is always a monster on the boards. It hurt us pretty bad.

Q. Tony Parker, was it the ball movement or the penetration or just his size down there that was hurting you guys the most?
COACH HAASE: Did you ask about their ability to get the ball inside? There was a combination of things, a variety of things. There were some deep post-ups where we didn't get around, and they were able to feed it directly to them. There were a number of times, I think probably three times in the first half, where he was involved in a ball screen situation, and we didn't get weak-side help rotating over fast enough. There were multiple offensive rebounds we got and one broken play. I think it was eight or nine in the first half. All of those were baskets right around the rim and positions where our length was not going to be able to bother him because, if he's within two feet, he's going to be awfully effective.

Q. You said you weren't able to defend them. How much of that had to do with the balance that they were able to have today?
COACH HAASE: Certainly, that's something we had talked about all year about our team, but they have -- with their starting five, they do have great balance with five guys that can score in a variety of ways. In the first game, Hamilton really hurt us in a lot of ways, but they have five guys that are all unique that all can, again, hurt you. So it does put your help situations in some awkward position. If you help completely, they're able to make the one more, and they have skilled guys, and they were playing very unselfish. They had a lot of guys that made plays. We haven't seen a team shoot that kind of percentage against us certainly since nonconference season -- since conference season started. I think it can be attributed to the balance in their scoring.

Q. Jerod, can you look ahead a bit and talk about the foundation you laid and the future? Or is it all a little bit too raw right now?
COACH HAASE: Well, it's certainly too raw. I think there's -- I'm very proud of what my staff has built and very proud of the players who are here right now. We are the youngest team in the tournament. We're the third youngest team in the country. That was by choice and by design. When we decided to build this group, we decided that we were not going to just take junior college and transfer-type kids. We were going to try to build it with a core of freshmen and supplement transfer, supplement junior college when it was appropriate. With that, we ended up with the youngest team in this tournament. I do believe we've built a foundation that is extremely strong. I believe we built a foundation of kids that are talented and also high character kids. After this experience, and even before this experience, I believe we have a foundation of a group of guys that's extremely hungry to do more.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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