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November 24, 2010

Ben Howland

Lazeric Jones

Reeves Nelson


UCLA – 70

THE MODERATOR: We're going to start with questions for the players, please.

Q. Can you talk about trying to contain their speed, their guards and their dribble penetration, especially in the first half?
LAZERIC JONES: I tried, I guess. Didn't do a great job at it. It wasn't my best effort at all. I guess we have to go back in and practice and correct some things, hopefully come back and try to bounce back and get a win tomorrow.

Q. How did Maalik and Corey compare to some of the other guards you guys have played speed-wise and stuff?
LAZERIC JONES: They were the way they were supposed to be. They were really good guards, some of the two best guards in the country. We learned a lot of things, I sure learned a lot of things. I have to go back and get better. This team deserves better. I'll be better.

Q. Reeves, what did you think about the physicality of the game tonight?
REEVES NELSON: I mean, I think it was pretty even on both sides. I don't think they bullied us around or anything like that. It was a physical game. I think we matched their level of being physical.

Q. Reeves, tough shooting night for you. Is it playing in the big arena? Was there tough shooting angles?
REEVES NELSON: No. I take responsibility for not shooting well. I thought I got fouled on probably three of the shots I missed. But the rest I didn't see it that way. And there's nothing you can do.

Q. What were the halftime adjustments you guys made and what allowed you to get back in the game?
REEVES NELSON: We just let them go on a 15-2 run there. We had them -- it was like a three-point game and they went on a big run. We wanted to try to cut their lead in half. Like ten minutes to go, and I thought we did a pretty good job of chipping away at that big lead they had.

Q. Did that take a lot out of you when you came back?
REEVES NELSON: Yeah. We played our hardest. I think everybody on the team can say they played as hard as they could and tried as hard as they could. At the end of the day that's all you want to be able to do.
BEN HOWLAND: I thought that as Reeves was talking about, they got off to a big lead to start the game, 8-0 run where we were sped up, made a couple of bad turnovers to start the game. They got out on us. And then we played well, come back and it was 30-27. They went on a 14-2 run fueled by some turnovers, inability to stay in front of the ball. We probably should have hedged the screens differently than we did. That's my fault. I was worried about them slipping screens and hurting us that way. But you have to give them credit. They're a very, very good team. I thought we did a good job coming back, fighting back. I think we had it to six, is that correct, in the second half? And missed some free-throws. We had an opportunity six, seven, eight, nine. We missed four free-throws in a row and got stops and had a chance to whittle the lead. I think Josh, that was the beginning of four in a row. Because we were down six, shooting one coming out of a time-out.
And then I think we got a stop, and missed two more, or maybe they scored and we missed two more again. But we made a number of mistakes at both ends of the floor.
We have a very young team. We have to learn from this. This is an outstanding Villanova team with a lot of experience that return from a number 2 seed in the tournament a year ago. They're very well coached. Obviously, Fisher is fantastic. Even with an off-shooting night, 6 for 19, he still manufactures 26 points, because he gets to the line 15 times. You can tell he really has a good feel how to shot fake, get us up in the air and draw the foul.
But we have to learn from this game. We'll watch this tape tonight as coaches, try to edit, show our team some of it before we come over here for tomorrow's walk-through and kind of move forward and get ready for VCU.

Q. Can you take any solace in the fact that you were able to hang with a top ten team, given the state of your program right now?
BEN HOWLAND: I beg your pardon?

Q. Can you take any solace you guys were able to hang with this top-ten team. You have this young group of kids coming off a bad season.
BEN HOWLAND: We thought we had a chance to win. We're going to every game with the expectation to win. So it was disappointing at halftime to be down as big as we were. Especially when we had it 30-27. We made a lot of mistakes. We missed some open shots. The first half we had three air balls. They were all open shots. Actually two of the three were. Another one was probably an off-balance leap and leaner.
But we've got to do a better job at executing and taking good shots offensively. Obviously we have to improve defensively. At the end of the day they shot 40% from the field but got to the line way too many times. Their big kid, Mouphtaou, very big factor tonight. He hurt us early in the game. And we were trying to get deflections rather than play behind him and make him score over us. And our foul trouble hurt us tonight. We ended up having 28 fouls, which is a lot of fouls.

Q. How do you account for those fouls?
BEN HOWLAND: A lot of mistakes. In other words, for example, Josh's (Smith) first two fouls, he's trying to deflect the ball. Instead of get back behind the man and make him score over him. Because he's a big guy. He's hard to score over. But those are things that come with experience. And they're a fine team. And we'll get better with experience. That's one thing you can't make up for, is we have a young team, a lot of guys, our JC point guard starts is playing in a big-time game really for the first time against a top-ten team.
So these experiences will help us. Bottom line is we have to learn from it. We have to bounce back. We're playing a very good VCU team, very well coached, a team that we're going to have to really play well in order to have success on Friday.

Q. Coach, you said you made some mistakes. What were some of the keys coming in? What were you trying to do --
BEN HOWLAND: Trying to slow them in transition. We tried to do a good job of staying in front of the ball, which was really a big problem for us all night with those two guards. Wayns really hurt us at the end of the half. The way we knew he was going to go two times in a row, that's the way he wants to go.
So our hedging -- they were able to attack our bigs when they did hedge and go right by him. We have to get better at hedging screens. Just basic fundamental things that are key to having a good defense.

Q. Only seven turnovers for them. How hard was it trying to force them into mistakes?
BEN HOWLAND: They don't turn it over a lot. That's the kind of team they have. They have it in those two kids' hands a lot of times. A lot of the time. And they do a good job of handling the basketball. They are very good at spreading you out and -- the second half we held them to 31% from the field. We did a better job defensively in the second half. They got to the line 20 times in the second half, which is a lot.

Q. What about the job that Malcolm Lee did coming become?
BEN HOWLAND: I thought Malcolm Lee did a good job considering he had one practice which was yesterday prior to the game. He did some shooting on Monday or the day we left. I can't remember what day it is right now. I guess it was Monday. And he did a good job considering. You can see he was starting to cramp a little bit there. And so I was taking him out a couple of times, because he was cramping, which is an issue he's had in the past. Probably being out a week and missing out on the conditioning aspect of that affected him I'm sure a little bit.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Thanks, Coach. Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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