March 10, 2022
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Postgame Press Conference
USC - 65, Washington - 61
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome USC.
ANDY ENFIELD: I know it's late, but we didn't want anybody to leave the arena. So we kept it very interesting, until the final buzzer.
Our guys played great defense the second half. Held them to 30 percent for the game. That was the key because obviously our turnovers didn't help us.
Q. (Off microphone)?
ANDY ENFIELD: The first half we made some defensive mistakes. We decided to trap the ball screens in the second half, put more pressure, make him give the ball up. Then he wore down a little bit. We said if he scores 20-some points it has to be low efficiency. He ended up 9 for 25, so our guys did a terrific job in the second half.
Q. What were you thinking and saying on the sideline as the turnovers kept mounting there?
ANDY ENFIELD: We need to do a better job ball faking and be cleaner. Our veterans had a lot of turnovers. It's uncharacteristic to have that many. At the end of the game, we were making ways up. We couldn't hold the ball. Three times the ball went right through our hands. We couldn't catch with two hands. We stepped out of bounds twice. We got trapped and panicked and just threw the ball to nobody -- the other team, I should say.
So it's not like our freshmen were doing that. It was our upperclassmen. And if they want to win more games in this tournament and the NCAA, we have to do a better job.
Q. It seemed like Ethan had a really calming effect in the first half on the offense. Any reason why he only played three minutes in the second half as the turnovers kept coming?
ANDY ENFIELD: He had two turnovers in the second half. So he was part of that. But Ethan played outstanding basketball in the first half.
We wanted size and length on our defensive end, and I thought our length really hurt them with their big wings, especially when we were switching so much. And when Brown drove the line it's nice to have someone 6'8", 6'9" with hands up instead of six-foot. Ethan is a big part of the game helped us win a lot of games. He did play a really good first half.
Q. Isaiah, I know Andy talked a lot about the best players need to step up at this time of year. Seemed like you and Drew got off to a bit of a slow start. Was it something they were doing or what was the cause of that?
ISAIAH MOBLEY: It was just feel. They went zone. So it was, like, not like you just drive and get a bucket or like simple. And then they were mixing up their defenses. They did a good job. But, no, down the stretch big players gotta make big plays. And if we want to make a run we have to clean stuff up like turnovers.
Q. We always talk about how rough it is in the Pac-12 all season. But I saw a mental toughness from the players tonight when things weren't going well for them. But they still managed to make the (indiscernible) by Mobley and a couple steals. Talk about the mental toughness of your team.
ANDY ENFIELD: Our players have been in a lot of big games. We're experienced, experienced age-wise with college seasons under our belt. And also they played in a lot of big games the last two or three years, and even Boogie before he came here.
We're 10-1 in five points or less this year. It's a sign of toughness. It's a sign of mental toughness, a sign of great defense when it matters. And then we have to execute on offense. And some games we've had to score the last possession or two to win games, and like tonight we had to get two stops and then make two free throws.
So our players are really comfortable in any game situations. And I try not to get too high or too low because we try to just dig it out, grind it out and see what we have to do to win the game. And they've done that all season.
Q. About 18 minutes to go in the game, the second half you call a timeout. It seemed to stop that Washington run and changed things for you guys. What did you say to your team in that timeout?
ANDY ENFIELD: I don't know. I think we all raised our voice a little bit. I have no idea what I said.
Q. You addressed it a little bit earlier with Terrell Brown, 21 points in the first half, two in the second half. You said instead of having -- going to the rim and having a 6-foot guy there, there were bigger guys. Was that a halftime adjustment you made or was that just better execution, part of the plan all along?
ANDY ENFIELD: We have a bigger and smaller lineup. We can play with their big wings, put guys at Drew, 6'8", Max 6'9", Reece is 6'9", Kobe is big. Ethan provides a toughness, and Boogie has the speed.
So I thought Boogie's defense was really good in the second half. We can play Isaiah. We start Isaiah and Chavez together. Josh Warren came in, and he blocked some shots.
So we have a lot of combination. It's usually a feel during the game, how it's going and who we need in the game.
But our big lineup, especially with the big wings, it affects other team's guards because usually they don't have the size that we have on the wings.
Q. Isaiah, two big defensive stops down the stretch. Walk us through those sequences, please.
ISAIAH MOBLEY: Mental toughness down the stretch, just like we said earlier, big-time players have to step up. I think a lot of times people think it's offensively making those March Madness stops.
But people always say defense wins championships, and we're a team that believes in that. Down the stretch, I knew I had to step up and guard. It was big time, money on the line, and we got stops. So happy for the team.
ANDY ENFIELD: He was impressive to be able to protect the rim like he did with a big block and go out and guard Matthews at the 3-point line, stay with him, his drive, because he's a big guy guarding smaller players. Isaiah is one of the best defensive players we've ever had here.
Q. Typically, you're really good with your out-of-bounds plays, and you had to burn your last two timeouts at the end of the game. What were they doing that was causing problems?
ANDY ENFIELD: It wasn't what they were doing, it was what we were doing. The ball went through Drew's hands, right in the middle, wide open. We had two guys open a previous possession, and we didn't throw him the ball. Max got trapped in the corner and panicked. We had two timeouts left, and he could have easily called a timeout, and he just threw the ball to the wrong team.
And then Drew, when he got the offensive foul, had two guys -- Reece was standing at the other side of half court wide open, and he was trying to draw a foul, I guess, and put his shoulder, and he had the ball for four or five seconds. I've never seen that before.
So sometimes the coach -- that's why I say players win games. Okay. And they won the game tonight. But there's certain things they can learn from this. These are veteran players.
So we love them. But they make mistakes sometimes, and tonight you saw that. But if they want to advance any further, we have to do a better job at taking care of the basketball.
Q. At one point, fair amount of the time in the game, Nate Roberts got a sports foul, next play fifth foul would you say that's a turning point in the game?
ANDY ENFIELD: Nate is really good player whole Washington team is much better than the beginning of the season much improved I give coach and staff ton of credit very good basketball now, a lot of wins, winning record started out slowly, COVID, a lot of issues. Nate Roberts is part of that because he's improved dramatically as a basketball player just throughout this season. So credit to Nate and those guys. They kept working and getting better.
Q. Boogie with the turnovers you guys are up to 38 in the last two games. How do you turn that around, especially when you have such little time to kind of get back and you guys play tomorrow?
BOOGIE ELLIS: Just taking our time with the ball, playing off two feet. There's a lot of times we're turning over the balls because we're jumping in the air not jump stops. Just doing the little things like that, playing off two and just playing at our pace and not getting sped up by the defense.
Q. You guys showed when you played Washington the first time how well this offense can be run. What has to happen to the crispness of the offense especially last two games with the turnovers?
ANDY ENFIELD: Washington played more man tonight. They started in zone. We're a pretty good zone team because Isaiah is great in the middle of it and Boogie and other guys. They acted like they were in zone, but they went into a switching man-to-man most of the second half and quite a few possessions in the first half.
As Boogie said, when you get sped up and you don't ball fake, you don't play off two feet, we had a lot of issues tonight, or chances tonight to make great -- the right pass and they had a lot of deflections. They lead the league in steals for a reason. They gamble a lot. They get their hands on a lot of basketballs. And when you play that, like Boogie said, you have to come to a jump stop, ball fake and make the right play.
For the most part we did a great job. We averaged 11-point-something turnovers a game. It's not like the last two games has been an outlier as far as the season goes. But like UCLA, we had 15 to their 1. That's 14 extra possessions and we were down two with a minute in that game on the road.
Tonight we had 23 to their eight. That's 15 extra possessions. So we'll look at the film tomorrow. It's a little late right now but our players know what they have to do. If they want to win they have to play the right way.
Q. Boogie, when Terrell Brown has such a good first half, Coach said your defense improved greatly in the second half. Just how much motivation is that when you see one of the opposing players go off like that, to up your game a little bit? What did you do differently?
BOOGIE ELLIS: Just taking it personal, as a team. Nobody wants guys to come out here and score a lot on us. So I talked to the guys at halftime. We told each other, if we could shut him down in the second half, that we would win the game. So we did that.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports