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March 13, 2019

Andy Enfield

Derryck Thornton

Bennie Boatwright

Las Vegas, Nevada

USC - 78, Arizona - 65

ANDY ENFIELD: It was a nice win for our team. Guys played very hard. Shared the basketball and played excellent defense, especially in the second half.

Proud of your players. Arizona had a season a lot like ours, up and down, some injuries, and we lost it on the championship game last year, and they've been terrific. So we're fortunate to win. Beat a very good team. Very good program.

So now we'll move on and hopefully bring it tomorrow.

Q. What were you doing better today that you weren't doing during that four-game losing streak?
ANDY ENFIELD: We've lost a lot of close games, four to be exact, in the last minute, some in the last possession. We've had three or four game-winning shots that went in and out for us. We missed some free throws. We couldn't get defensive stops.

So our record in Pac-12 this year is not what we wanted it to be. But at the end of the day, you have to play 40 minutes of basketball, and you have to play through the last possession. Our players understand that. And I thought defensively we picked it up and we were able to challenge most of their shots and rebound the basketball.

Q. For the players, what went into the activity that you guys had on defense? You seemed really -- challenging everything, getting in lanes and putting your hands on everything.
DERRYCK THORNTON: I think it's you have to win it, you have to survive. And excited to go to the next game. I feel like our team really understands that and trying to play as hard as we can so we can survive and make it as far as we can go.

BENNIE BOATWRIGHT: For myself, we're seniors, and we wanted to make sure the guys came out and played as hard as they can. This is our last go-around, and we want to go as far as we can. They made shots, but we kept playing hard throughout the game.

Q. As a former Findlay Prep grad, what does it mean to come back into town where you're have big-time performances before and have another big performance on a stage like this?
DERRYCK THORNTON: I'm trying -- it's fun to be back home. But the mission, we're trying to obtain a mission to win the Pac-12 and keep on advancing.

Q. Derryck, you were forcing some steals and stripping the ball at the top of the key. What was working with you on those sequences?
DERRYCK THORNTON: Just listening to the coaches and trying to play as hard as I can. I try to come out, whenever I'm on court. Today I tried to focus on playing as hard as I can and just forcing the issue and try to help our team win any way I can. Today it was defense.

Q. Bennie, last year you guys lost to Arizona in the Pac-12 Tournament Championship. Was that bulletin board material for you and the team before the game, or was it just a survive-and-advance mentality?
BENNIE BOATWRIGHT: Definitely. We lost to them last year. They're a great program. Of course we wanted to try to come out and try to beat them this year. And the coaching staff did a great job of preparing us for the game, because Sean Miller and their coaching staff is a great coaching staff as well. And fortunately we got the win.

Q. What did you think of the spark that Derryck provided for you guys when he came in off the bench?
ANDY ENFIELD: He was terrific. He gave us a lot of energy. As was indicated. Had three steals, started out the game 5-for-5 from the field and played a great floor game.

So I thought both our point guards, Elijah Weaver and Derryck, gave us great lifts. We played together at some times, some minutes tonight. But we need our lead ball handlers to play like they did this evening -- or today. And I think if we can do that tomorrow, we'll have a chance.

Q. How do you feel about the matchup tomorrow going up against the top seed, Washington?
ANDY ENFIELD: Washington, they're an excellent basketball team. They have a lot of veterans. I think they have six seniors, and they have the Player of the Year in Jaylen Nowell. They're obviously talented. But we're a pretty good 3-point shooting team. I think we were first or second, also led the league in the assists and least amount of turnovers.

If we play to your strengths tomorrow, we should make it a game tomorrow. We have to defend them. They're extremely athletic and have players that can hurt you. They had a terrific regular season, and we're looking forward to having a great basketball game tomorrow.

Q. Trying to win four games in four days, obviously you want to put everything into every game. Do you conserve a little bit, or how do you approach that to take this long route to the championship?
ANDY ENFIELD: We haven't even thought about four games. It's the first I've heard that. We're focused on one game at a time. You can't get to four without one and two and three. Tomorrow is our second game. We can't conserve anything; we're not that good.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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