March 11, 2021
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Postgame Press Conference
USC - 91, Utah - 85
THE MODERATOR: We'll start with an opening statement from coach and then take questions.
ANDY ENFIELD: A very challenging game. Both teams played very well. Give Utah credit. They have been playing very good basketball late in the season here and it took everything we had to pull out this win. Our guys showed a lot of heart tonight to go double overtime and we're happy that we're moving on.
Q. What did Evan show you after halftime after having the foul trouble in the first half?
ANDY ENFIELD: Well, he was well rested, so he had a lot of energy, and then he had to go two extra periods in overtime. So Evan played an all around game, he was just spectacular on offense, he was under control, he shot it when he needed to, he passed it when they doubled him, and then he made his free throws. I think he was 11-14. He also made a couple of jump shots. I think you saw the whole offensive repertoire. I just thought he played an unbelievable game in the second half and the two overtimes.
Q. What did the rest of the team show you in the first half when he had to sit, being able to go into, I think on a 15-2 run?
ANDY ENFIELD: Well, Chevez Goodwin came in and gave us a ton of energy and I thought he gave us just a ton of energy, just like he did against UCLA, and he's really playing well off the bench. And Isaiah Mobley played very well when Evan was out.
So we were really happy with our front line and then our guards, with all the three-point shooting, and some of the different guards that we had to -- some of the different defensive schemes we had to go over without Evan in there, I thought our guys did a great job.
Q. I know you talked before about the importance of free throws, especially this time of year. Obviously Ethan missed two big ones at the end of that one period, but you guys seemed to hit quite a few down the stretch. What did that show you, just in terms of confidence in what you guys have at the stripe?
ANDY ENFIELD: Well, you have to step up in close games. If they intentionally foul you and you have a one-point lead or a two- or three-point lead, like we had a two-point lead and Ethan missed both. You just have to make shots. That's why Evan was really good tonight, 11-14. Isaiah was 5-6. Drew stepped up and made 6-8. Tahj made two, so I think our players shot the ball well from the foul line. You won't make every one because it's just not possible, but I thought our players did a good job, other than Ethan missing those two, that certainly hurt us to send it into the second overtime.
Q. Was there any conversation with Evan at halftime or even entering the night to kind of unlock that aggressiveness that he showed?
ANDY ENFIELD: No. He was well rested. Because he had two fouls, we sat him, we played well without him, and then he came in and did what he always has done. He's aggressive. You might not think he's aggressive sometimes because of his facial expressions, but he was very aggressive tonight. He played a great game against UCLA and Stanford last week, and so I thought, as I said, he showed his full repertoire of offensive moves tonight, and he's such an unselfish player. He understands that he has to pass it when other people are open and they're double-teaming him, and I thought he took the opportunity to score the ball himself tonight when it was there and also passed the ball. He only had one turnover, and previously when we played Utah in a few games that we lost, when he has four or five turnovers, we struggle. So I thought he did just a terrific job with the basketball in his hands tonight.
Q. How does the physical toll from this game impact the way you manage things tomorrow?
ANDY ENFIELD: Well, our guys are going to play big minutes tomorrow, so they better be ready.
Q. Plummer's shot at the end of the first overtime looked like it could really swing momentum one team's way. What did you tell your guys going into the second period after this shot?
ANDY ENFIELD: He hit a terrific shot. We contested it. Two people were on him and that was just a great shot by him. He's hard to stop. He can shoot it with range and he gets his shot off quickly, so give him credit, that was a big time shot he made. We still had the last chance to win it. Tahj missed that layup. I thought it was going to go in. But we felt we had the game in the regulation and at the end of the first overtime, so our players were very calm and focused, and sometimes it can be deflating if you think you won the game or had a great chance to win it, and we had that happen twice to us, so our players did just an outstanding job of staying tough, staying focused, and playing winning basketball in that second overtime.
Q. Isaiah White back from the back injury that took him out against UCLA. How is he doing physically? Is he a hundred percent or just kind of playing through it at this point?
ANDY ENFIELD: Well, you can either sit out with some minor injuries or can you play. We're in the PAC-12 tournament going to Indianapolis next week, so he wants to be out there. He's probably not a hundred percent, but I thought he played a great game. He fouled out, but he hit 14 points, six attempts from the field, he had five rebounds, he missed that layup or we would have had 16, but I thought his defense his intensity really helped us tonight.
Q. What were your emotions as the game went on? Did you ever have some highs and lows of your own?
ANDY ENFIELD: I was actually very calm most of the game after the first five minutes when Evan got his second foul on that charge. I thought it was a tough call on him. But after that I was very calm. I felt like in a close game we just tried to keep our guys calm because they had to play hard and focus, but I didn't want to be too animated with our guys tonight because I knew there was a lot of pressure, and, but they really just took it upon themselves to defend at a high level.
Q. I realize you don't know who you're going to play yet, but if it's Colorado, they have done a pretty good job of making things difficult for Evan in the matchups this year. What have they done against him, and then if it's them, what do you have to do to counteract that tomorrow?
ANDY ENFIELD: Well, just like Utah, Colorado is a really good three-point shooting team and they have the best play-making guard in the league in McKinney Wright and they have great three-point shooting and they have physical bigs. So we have to come ready. We have to defend them, and then we have to make some shots. The game at home we, it was a two-point game with seven minutes left and I think we scored four points in the last seven minutes. Then on the road it was a close game and then all of a sudden they made about six or seven straight threes on us. So we got to take the three away, if we're playing them. I mean, Cal's playing very good basketball so I'm not expecting anything. We're just going to watch the game like you are tonight.
But I think Cal and Colorado both present challenges because they can score the ball and they have really good players.
Q. Can you talk about playing in front of the fans and the family members of the players for the first time this year and how special that was?
ANDY ENFIELD: Yeah, it was great for some fans, family, and friends to come. I think we're limited to a very few tickets. But it is always nice to have familiar faces. This is a very big arena and when there are only about two or three hundred people in here it looks even bigger. But once the game starts, I think, we're used to playing in empty arenas this year and so it really doesn't affect the players on the court, but it sure is nice to see some smiling faces in the stands.
Q. How did you feel about the defensive effort on Allen and Plummer?
ANDY ENFIELD: We played really hard tonight. Plummer was 6-15 and Allen was 6-17, so that's 12-32. So we held them to low percentages. Timmy Allen's a three time all league player or two time all league player. You're not going to shut him out. Plummer, with the exception of that last three, we held him in check most of the night. So I would say we played really good defense on both of those guys to hold them to 12-32 from the field.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports