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November 26, 2010

Tyler Honeycutt

Ben Howland

Malcolm Lee


VCU – 89
UCLA - 85

THE MODERATOR: Coach will make an opening statement and take questions.
BEN HOWLAND: I thought we got off again back-to-back nights of poor starts, really fueled by some quick bad shots early in the game. Anytime you spot a good team which we've done in our last two games an 8-0 start, I don't think we ever had the lead. I think we were fighting uphill the whole way. We had it with the chance to take the lead the beginning of the second half and miss two foul shots. We did a better job in the second half of rebounding the ball. Too many turnovers; 21 turnovers is going to be hard. Allowing a team to score 89 points, and they're a very good team. They shot extremely well from the three, but most of those threes were open. Most of those threes were not contested shots, but rather open shots off the penetration and kicking. They were able to break our defense down too much.
I thought that Skeen is obviously a very good player. He hurt us today. 23-9. Their three top players, Skeen, Burgess and Rodriguez all played very well. We had a chance there late in the game with a 1-point deficit with the ball, but we just couldn't get control of the ball and they ended up getting a lay-up and went up three. That was obviously a key juncture. We did a good job, showed the will of heart fighting and having a chance during the last couple of minutes to possibly win the game if we could get a loose ball.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the players first?

Q. You made that three-point, you guys are down one. Are you thinking you guys are on your way at that point?
MALCOLM LEE: Yes. I thought we were going to get the stop. But it was unfortunate, but I'm just happy that we came back. We have to stop letting teams get out on us early, two games in a row. I think we gave them 8 points straight. We have to get off to a better start.

Q. Malcolm, seems like this was a good game shooting from the outside. Is that something you're working on a lot, shooting the ball better and scoring more for the team?
MALCOLM LEE: Most definitely. Coach has been working on my stuff, getting extra shots before and after practice. Not only with my mechanics, just confidence. I think a lot of things to do with shooting is confidence and I just have confidence.

Q. I think it was you that had the turnover when you guys were down one. Can you talk about that play? What happened there?
TYLER HONEYCUTT: I tried to grab the ball and the dude was on the floor and I kind of tripped and fell. I knew we didn't have any time-outs. I tried to give it to somebody who was right there. There was a player right there between us.
BEN HOWLAND: I don't think he had control of the ball. We were talking about that play, he was tripping over someone as it was occurring, at least in my mind. I will go back and watch it. That obviously could have been a key play for us. We had a chance if we could just get possession on that one.

Q. Can you talk about getting in a hole and trying to climb out two games in a row and not being able to get those one or two points that will give you the lead?
TYLER HONEYCUTT: That's very hard. We started out low both games and being a slow first half and having to pick it up in the second really hurt us instead of coming out aggressive in the beginning and not having to play behind the whole game.

Q. What can you guys do better on defense? Seems like both these games people have been --
TYLER HONEYCUTT: This team we knew there were a lot of good three-point shooters. They got a lot of open threes towards the end of the game. One that he missed and we got the rebound and went to the free-throw line. But we have to play better defense in the post and outside.
THE MODERATOR: Anything else for the players?

Q. Malcolm, you were shooting well from three-point range. Did you want that last three-point that could have tied the game?
MALCOLM LEE: No, because I seen Reeves right there open. And Reeves has been working on his shot a lot. So I had confidence in him a lot. I easily could have shot it myself. I seen him open.

Q. You outrebounded this team by 14. Is this a game you normally would win?
MALCOLM LEE: Yeah, because usually the team that controls the ball wins. It was just unfortunate. I think what separated us from them is I think they shot a high percentage; am I right?
BEN HOWLAND: 48%. They shot 45% from the three, which is really --
MALCOLM LEE: Yeah. I don't know if they're a team that live and die by the three. The three was definitely on their side.

Q. For either of you guys, there's no doubt you guys have a lot of talented players on this team. What do you think is the main problems with the team and why you guys aren't able to get over the hump and get some big wins?
TYLER HONEYCUTT: We're still a young team. Still playing together and trying to feel each other's chemistry. Make sure we have sets right. A lot of players forget the sets, because this is our first time learning them. But I think as time goes on, we'll become a lot better.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, guys. Questions for the coach?

Q. You talked about the way your team showed heart tonight and back to Wednesday, but you never had a lead in either game. How do you balance the teaching, the positive with that negative?
BEN HOWLAND: We do have a real young team. And we knew that both these games would be very difficult no matter who we were playing. Tennessee, VCU, we started with Villanova. This is a process. We're playing without a senior on our club. As Tyler alluded to, we have a lot of growth that we have to make from our younger players.
We had a lot of turnovers in the first half. We had some freshmen throwing the ball away. Our rebounding in the first half was not great out of our front line with the exception of Reeves. We have a lot of things to improve on. Our defense was really disappointing. I thought the game started today -- we really took bad shots early. If you go back and watch this game, you would see that the first three or four shots were in the first ten seconds of the possession in half court. Off on your own. Dribbling the ball. We have to learn to come out and play good defense to start games, number one, to give us a chance.
Number two, take care of the basketball. A lot of turnovers. 21-13. That's eight more possessions they had tonight. Which is a huge difference in a close game.
We have to get it inside more. We only got to the line 12 times. They got there 28 or 26 times. So those two things, not getting to the line enough, taking care of the basketball, doing a better job defensively. I think we're going to be able to score. I think we have a team that is going to be able to put some points up on the board. But it doesn't do any good. We're putting up 85 tonight. But the other team had four more. 89 points allowed is going to be hard to win a lot of games.

Q. Coach, you've coached so many big games in this building. Especially at Pitt. And Pitt is fairly ensconced as the top five or top ten program. Any part of you sitting and thinking what would it have been if I stayed at Pitt?
BEN HOWLAND: Not really. I'm proud of what we've accomplished at UCLA. I love Pittsburgh. I always will be very appreciative to Chancellor Nordenberg and to Steve Pederson for giving me that opportunity. And when I left I really spoke out strongly that I thought it would be in the best interests of the program that they hire Jamie, which they did. And Jamie has done a terrific job, continued success and is one of the finest coaches in the country.
I'm very happy where I'm at and feel very lucky. This is a childhood dream to be coach of UCLA, coming from the West Coast and watching all those teams. I'm very excited. I think we have a good group to work with as we move forward. I really like our young group. I like the two kids we have sitting out that become eligible next year in the Wear twins. We signed a very good player in Norman Powell. I'm excited about the future.
This is a tough stretch playing the top five or top six like Villanova. VCU you could see how motivated they were to play against us. They're very good. We crushed them by one in '09 in the tournament on a neutral site. And they've got a very, very good team, a lot of veterans. Rodriguez and Skeen are really veteran guys. Burgess is a very good player. You have to give them a lot of credit. Who hurt us in the first half was Brandenberg on two of those threes. I don't know how many threes he made going into the game, but he made a couple from deep. So they had a lot of balance. They played a lot of people.
They did a good job on Rozzell. Rozzell is their leading scorer. He normally averages 18. He had 7 tonight. We probably should have doubled the post earlier than we did. Skeen really hurt us.

Q. With David and Travis and Norman coming next year, can you elaborate what they'll bring to the team and how much better you think the team can be next year?
BEN HOWLAND: I think this team we have now has to develop. I think we will. I think we have a good group of kids that are good kids. They're going to work hard. They're disappointed right now. They have two losses in a row. And our next game is in Kansas against one of the best teams in the country. Won 61 in a row or whatever it is. So we have a tough road ahead of us.
The opportunity to keep improving so that when we get to the conference we're ready to play in the PAC-10.

Q. Were you comfortable with Reeves taking that late three-pointer or do you want somebody else to take it?
BEN HOWLAND: You know what, being down in the situation, no time-outs, as I told the team after the game, I had to burn three of our time-outs in the first half just to stop the bleeding each time that we were falling down, falling behind. The big thing for me is defensively we have to be a better defensive team. We have to have better shot selection. Too many questionable shots. Part of it, as they alluded to, we have kids still don't know exactly what to do, where to go, because it's all new. We're dependent upon a lot of young new players playing major minutes.

Q. You look at Josh Smith's line, how disappointing is it for him, big guy like that to have two points, one shot, the whole game?
BEN HOWLAND: His big thing for us is he has to get better defensively. He'll be fine offensively. But he had four fouls in 13 minutes of play. He's averaging a lot of fouls per minutes played. You have to get him so he'll be able to stay out of foul trouble and do a better job on the glass as well. Josh will be fine. He's a freshman. This is all new. He's having to learn a number of things for the first time. So there's a lot more to the game than the normal high school kid probably comes in ready for.

Q. Was the reason he didn't play much in the first half was the defensive problems?
BEN HOWLAND: Josh? I thought he played --

Q. Seemed like he was on the bench.
BEN HOWLAND: I thought he played less in the second half. He was in foul trouble.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
BEN HOWLAND: Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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