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November 26, 2019

Mick Cronin

Cody Riley

Jaime Jaquez Jr.

Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

UCLA - 74, Chaminade - 48

THE MODERATOR: We'll start with an opening statement from coach.

MICK CRONIN: Once we stopped turning the ball over we were able to score some baskets. We shot 55 percent from the field. So we still got a lot of growing to do as a team. Obviously, you see the fact that Jaime started the second half and played the entire second half. It is my first year obviously at UCLA. I think I'm six or seven games in, and we're just trying to build our culture of competitiveness. So these guys are, these two guys are really trying to embrace it and physically compete, which is what we're going to have to do to get where we trying to go as individuals and as a team.

But, obviously, we really struggled in the first half. Please don't ask me questions about the turnaround. Where I'm from, my dad's here he, had four jobs and never had a day off. If I wanted to spend time with him I had to go to work with him. That's why I'm a coach because he was a coach. So I don't believe in that stuff. The turnaround had, before you ask, the turnaround had nothing to do with our first half. Chaminade's defense and our, our need to continue to grow up and play with some offensive toughness and take care of the ball, that was the problem.

THE MODERATOR: Take questions for the players.

Q. Jaime gave you some nice energy and efficiency in defense and toughness in the second half that --
MICK CRONIN: Yeah, that would be an understatement. He did in the first half. He's not afraid to cross the line and tell his teammates, we need to man up and play like grownups. I'm trying to build a program, so like I told the guys, it's tryout time. Everybody's in an audition, the way I see it. And he plays with a lot of heart. Obviously, Jaime will tell you, he's young, he's got some things he's got to work on his perimeter defense because he's a taller perimeter guy playing against smaller guys at times. But right now, I'm just looking for competitive fight and fire. And then as time goes, we got to get better at executing, but his competitiveness was a big, big factor today.

THE MODERATOR: Any questions for the players?

Q. For both of the players: Coach is talking about building a culture. What are the kinds of things that you two are trying to do with your teammates to get to the point where Coach wants you to be?
CODY RILEY: Just coming out and playing hard, competing for 40 minutes straight. Not for one half, not for 20 minutes, not for 30 minutes, but competing for a full 40 minutes straight.

JAIME JAQUEZ JR: To add on to that, just toughness, being tough. 40 minutes out of the game. Not just one half or the second half, but the entire game, the entire 40 minutes.

Q. Jaime, what did you feel like you wanted to bring in that second half to the team that you were able to do?
JAIME JAQUEZ JR: Toughness and competitive fire. Just go out, get rebounds, get stops. And stops, we got a whole bunch of stops and that's why we won the game.

Q. Cody, you played against Michigan State last year, so you know what they're kind of all about. What do you kind of foresee as the challenge of facing them again tomorrow?
CODY RILEY: We know that we're going to have to get back in transition. We know that we're going to have to be able to sustain 40 minutes of playing hard in transition. We know they run, so we're going to have to be prepared for that.

THE MODERATOR: We'll let you guys get back to your team. Open it up for questions for coach.

Q. You held them to 23.3 percent shooting. How much of that do you think was your defense and how much of that was maybe just them missing some shots?
MICK CRONIN: Well, look, in fairness to Chaminade, they have had some, they have a lot of turnover at their program. I've been watching this tournament, and they have had some teams that were more offensively there than this team. They have no low post guy. So although I don't look at what they shot, I'm looking at the shots we gave up, the defensive rotations we missed. So I don't know if our defensive performance was as good. There were some times where they just, our size was, it just is what it is. Our size bothered them, to be honest with you. Man, not to say we didn't do some good things. I thought David gave us a big lift. Tyger's got a long way to go as a defender, as a freshman, as most freshmen do. He's got some challenges with his feet and maintaining his focus. So I was really happy with David. Not his shooting either, just being solid on the defensive end. That's what we need.

Q. You say you're holding auditions, how far would a performance like this from Jaime and David go toward --
MICK CRONIN: Huge. But we're all day-to-day. Can you sustain it, like Cody talked about. Got to play for the name, you got to play for the front of the jersey. That's what they do in real programs. That's why for us, regardless of tomorrow, what happens tomorrow, I wanted to get a chance to, when Michigan State loss to Virginia Tech, I was, we need to beat Chaminade because we need to play Michigan State. Because I talk a lot about them to our team since I've got the job, because I don't want to talk -- you know, I don't like talking too much about Cincinnati and throwing it in our guys' face, because for the last couple years how we won those games.

So, and I told Dan in my interview that if I could do half of what Tom Izzo's done at Michigan State, that that's my goal at UCLA. To run a program, run it the right way, win the right way, graduate players, everything, they're about the team. Guys still make the NBA. They got guys all over the NBA. And their guys win in the NBA because they're taught winning in college. And I really did tell Dan that in the interview. There's a way to run an elite program to make your university proud, not just to win games. It's the way Coach Izzo has run his program for 25 years. So the problem is he's 25 years in and I'm six games in or seven games in, as far as building what we're all about.

But the only way to find out is you play teams like that. You play teams like that, see where, so your guys see what they're all about. They don't quit on plays, their physicality is second to none, their commitment to the name on the front of the jersey is second to none.

Q. I believe you had back-to-back-to-back turnovers early in the second half --
MICK CRONIN: That's impressive, isn't it?

Q. At that point it was 15 for the game --
MICK CRONIN: Sometimes you got to laugh or you'll cry.

Q. At that point it was 15 for the game in 22 minutes and I think you finished with only three more the rest of the game. So how did your guys kind of gain the composure at that point going forward?
MICK CRONIN: Take the guys out that turn the ball over. Put guys in that don't. They pay me a lot of money for that. You guys, we got anything else? Do you have Michigan State questions while I'm here? I know that Eric is sitting out here so I don't want to leave the Chaminade guys out there too long. You got one more?

Q. (No microphone.)
MICK CRONIN: Yeah, I don't talk about -- it's Michigan State. I elaborate on everything that they're about, which is what I want us to become and we will become. It's one way or the other. One way or the other, we will become that. The question is how soon. And the question is with who, with whom. Obviously, Jaime gives you a young guy that you can build with, the way he displayed his heart and toughness today. And by the way, he didn't make a jump shot, so, which is what I explained to the players, he did not make a jump shot. So we got to learn that jump shooting is not competing. Jaime understands that. So hence he didn't come out of the game. Thanks, guys.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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