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March 8, 2018

Andy Enfield

Jordan McLaughlin

Chimezie Metu

Las Vegas, Nevada

USC - 61, Oregon State - 48

ANDY ENFIELD: Our team played very hard. They played excellent defense to hold a team with as talented an offense as Oregon State to 48 points. It's a credit to our guys and these two young men next to me. Both played great games.

Q. Coach, you also had a really strong second half. Was that the focal point heading into this week for practice, especially after their last game against UCLA?

Q. Were you focused on having a stronger second half versus what you had against UCLA heading into this week into the tournament?
ANDY ENFIELD: Yeah, we've won five out of six games in the last ten minutes. The UCLA game we did not defend. We were leading the league in defense points per game up until the UCLA game and also second in steals, and we just didn't get it done.

So our point of emphasis now is we have to get back to our defense. We're 17-0, and we've held teams to 70 points or under. I'll repeat that. We're 17-0, and we hold teams to 70 points or under. And we're not as good when teams score a lot of points.

So we really played team defense today. Very proud of our players. They challenged every shot. Rebounded the ball, and we made enough shots to win.

Q. Specifically to your defense against Oregon State, that's their lowest output of the season. You mentioned that team defense. What did you see that you were able to do against them specifically here tonight?
ANDY ENFIELD: There was nothing specific. We all have strengths and weaknesses as teams and individual players. We just try to take their individual strengths away and play as hard as we could and challenge every shot.

Q. Chimezie, this has been an unusual season with some of the challenges you all have faced on and off the court. How do you say you've grown as both a player and a person over the course of the year?
CHIMEZIE METU: I just think being able to face adversity and still come out every day to practice and every day to games and just stay focused on what we have to do as a team. I don't think -- not just myself, but everybody else on the team as well, I think we all handled that very well.

Q. Chimezie, you hit a couple sky hooks today. Magic Johnson was in the house. So did you do that specifically because he was in the house, or just having fun?
CHIMEZIE METU: No (laughing).

Q. Jordan and Chimezie, it looked like you guys were having fun out there in the second half. It looked like you had your own version of Lob City when you were going back and forth. How was that, and what did you see from the Oregon State defense that allowed you guys to be so free?
JORDAN MCLAUGHLIN: We were just having fun. That's what we talked about in the locker room. Go out there, play hard, play defense, have fun and play it like it's our last game. So we were just going out there and having fun.

CHIMEZIE METU: Yeah, like he said, we're just going out there and having fun. It's that time of the year. It's March. Any game could be your last game. So we're just going out there and playing hard. I was running, he was fronting me. Sometimes I wouldn't get it and other guys would get open, so we were just out there trying to create something for ourselves.

Q. A lot of internet bracketology things have you guys on the bubble. What are your thoughts on that? Do you want to make a case for yourselves as an NCAA Tournament team even if you don't win this tournament?
ANDY ENFIELD: We're focused on tomorrow night's game at 8:30 versus Utah or Oregon. And they're both quality opponents. We came in second in the Pac-12 this year. Our RPI is in the low 30s, and that's enough said.

Q. What specifically with the defense changed so much this game than the second half of the UCLA game? Were you moving more in the zone? What was the biggest difference?
ANDY ENFIELD: The UCLA game we let their leading scorers beat us, and then we let their best players make plays for their teammates, and then they shot the ball well.

So you have to give them credit. They played extremely well offensively the last ten minutes of the game to take the lead and beat us.

However, as I said, we won five out of six, and the team defense has been there every night. UCLA's the only team to score over 70 points on us in the last six games. If you look at it throughout the year, we're giving up 68 points in the league. It's probably lower now because Oregon State scored 48. And also second in steals.

So I think our team is right there. However, we understand it's a fine line, and tomorrow night's game, we have to defend at a very high level to give us a chance.

Q. What's Derryck's status for tomorrow's game?
ANDY ENFIELD: Derryck's been sick, sick all week. Unfortunately he was not able to go today. We're hoping he can get some strength and be there for us tomorrow off the bench.

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