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March 11, 2010

Jim Boylen

Luka Drca


UNLV – 73
Utah - 61

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Utah head coach Boylen and student-athletes. We'll start by taking an opening comment about the game from coach Boylen.
COACH BOYLEN: Well, I thought UNLV played a very good game. I thought they got balance, more balance, than in our first two games. Their points were spread out a little bit more. I thought that made a difference. I thought they got a lot from a lot of guys.
Our team, we went through droughts offensively. We've had that happen this year too often. Have to recover from 10-, 12-point deficits, fight our way back. Been doing that for 31 games. Some nights we win, some nights we don't. Tonight we just didn't have enough to keep the run going.
36 free throws, our game goal was 30, to drive that ball and get to the rim, we've beaten these guys the last three times because we've driven the ball and attacked the basket. I thought we did that tonight.
I felt in the second half there was a stretch where we had three wide-open threes in a row about the 15-, 16-minute mark of the second half, was a one-point game. I thought they were great looks. They didn't go. The game kind of changed from there.
But we have to get better offensively. Tonight at times we were poor.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Coach just talked a lot about offensively you weren't good enough tonight. How much better do you think UNLV was defensively than the maybe first few times you played them?
LUKA DRCA: Their pressure was really good. We knew that they will come out ready to play us. I mean, the first seven or eight minutes of the game were the key. They came out strong. We struggled a little bit at the beginning. We battled back.
But, as the coach said, we put ourselves in a hole earlier. We dig ourselves at the moments, but we did not have enough offensive power to come back again.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for coach Boylen.

Q. The run that you put together at the end of the first half, can you talk about what contributed to that.
COACH BOYLEN: I thought we ran the ball. I thought we ran the ball pretty well all night. I thought we pushed tempo at times during that stretch. I thought we pushed the tempo. But first we got stops. You know, you get stops, and then everybody talks about shrinking a lead with scoring. Obviously that's important, but you got to get the stops first. I thought we were really dominant defensively in that stretch.
Hines made a three, Henderson made a three. We made some shots. You've seen us play. When we can make shots, our defense kind of keeps us in there. When we make shots, we get back in the game.
Too often this year, it's been the defense keeps us in it, but we get in the hole because we're poor offensively. It happened tonight, so...

Q. You said several times being poor offensively. Moving forward, what's the solution?
COACH BOYLEN: Well, I think a couple things: the development of our younger players is very important. We have to be able to throw the ball inside. Our one kind of post threat is Jay Watkins. We need to get a couple more. At times Jason Washburn has been good inside, but not consistent enough. David Foster has to get an offensive end of the floor, needs to develop that. He's working on it. He's trying. We need to trust him more in there.
That will take some time.
I want to be a team that throws the ball inside. We need more options inside. Then the biggest thing for those who have seen us play is not enough payoff guys, guys that can make shots. Last year we had guys that could stick shots. Shaun Green, Lawrence Borha, Tyler Kepkay. We need another payoff guy in the lineup, maybe two more. That's going to be our challenge. We've got some guys coming that are payoff guys, guys that can make shots. That's important to our development, so...

Q. You told me before the year you were looking at this as a development year. How are you going to look back on this season?
COACH BOYLEN: Well, I think that's to me the inconsistency in this group of guys. I'm going to do my best to analyze that. I've analyzed it as we've gone. I think your perspective is a little clearer maybe when it's over.
But inconsistent lineups, newness, and injury have hurt our development of this team. We have developed a core group of guys. Henderson is a good basketball player. David Foster is a good basketball player. Glover is a developing player. Washburn is a developing player. Chris Hines has made strides here the last three weeks. Those guys are all young, young guys. So Jay Watkins, through injury, death in the family, missed games, missed practices, has developed into a guy we can rely on to score the ball.
There's some pieces there. But we've got to get better. We've got to get stronger.
I thought my team played very hard throughout the year. We were at the top of the league defensively most of the year, number one three-point defense, blocked shots. But we're a weak team. We have to get physically stronger. We need the summer, spring, summer and fall to do that. We've got to get stronger as a group of men.
I want to say something real quick about my seniors. Luka Drca, Kim Tillie, terrific students. 3.3 both of them. Both going to graduate. Gave them everything we had. Kim was hurt tonight. His ankle was bad. He wanted to play. We played him. They've been two great Utes. They've won a lot of great games here the last three years, so I'm proud of them.

Q. From seeing UNLV three times this year, what areas have you seen them improve?
COACH BOYLEN: Well, Marshall has improved. I know that's probably kind of a dumb statement because you can see by his box score he had a terrific game. His poise, his ability to play the game, his understanding of their offense. I thought early in the year, he was kind of feeling his way, deferring to the other players. I think he's made a big stride in his confidence, his ability to play with that group of guys.
Then, you know, Willis is a terrific scorer. But I think he's learning that, you know, I got to share and move it, I got to trust these other guys if we're really going to be great. That's what great players do: they start trusting and make other people better. I think Willis is starting to get that.
They have a nice basketball team, good basketball team.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, coach.
COACH BOYLEN: Thank you. Appreciate it. Thanks for being here.

End of FastScripts

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