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PACIFIC-10 CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT


March 12, 2011


Matthew Bryan-Amaning

Lorenzo Romar

Terrence Ross

Isaiah Thomas


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

WASHINGTON 77
ARIZONA - 75


THE MODERATOR: The University of Washington Huskies. Coach Romar, an opening statement and then questions.
COACH ROMAR: You can never be prouder of your team when they lay it all out on the floor and they play together as a group and they're just pulling for one another. They're all lost in the game, trying to put forth their best effort.
You can't be more proud when you see something like that happens. I think we're able to see from our team that happened three days in a row.
Isaiah averaged over 40 minutes a game and saved his best for last in this game here today. He did a great job of leading. And our group, our team did a great job of joining in with him, kind of following his lead.
From the seniors to the freshmen who seem like they've done this before for some reason, it was just a great effort. I'm looking forward to find and see where Arizona's going to go and play in a tournament because they're a really good basketball team, and we're going to be pulling for them as the Pac 10 goes out.

Q. I noticed coming out in the second half you pretty much didn't score until about the 7 minute mark. How were you able to maintain your composure and stay mentally in the game to be able to contribute?
ISAIAH THOMAS: With me, I feel like a lot of people have seen it before. I score in bunches, so I'm really not worried about scoring. I was just worried about making plays for my teammates. When it came down to it, when I needed to score, I did. At the end of the day it was just about making plays and seeing where I could get people open shots.
My teammates did a great job of knocking down shots and keeping confidence in themselves. Just doing the right thing. That's the main thing with me.

Q. Can you take us through that last play what you were thinking, how it developed?
ISAIAH THOMAS: I don't know (smiling). Coach was going to call a timeout. He trusted me. I told him let me just try to take it and get something, I knew --
COACH ROMAR: You didn't say all that.
ISAIAH THOMAS: I didn't say it. That was my motion though.
COACH ROMAR: Okay, I'm with you. I'm with you.
ISAIAH THOMAS: I knew I had a smaller guy on me, so I could get a shot off and I just made a little step back and God made the ball go in the hoop.

Q. Where does this victory rank with you as a coach?
COACH ROMAR: Whenever a game leads you to win a championship, it's a victory that you'll always remember. The way and the fashion that this was done makes it a victory that ranks up there pretty high. It's up there.
One of these days when I'm not coaching anymore I'll sit back in the rocking chair and reminisce about this game. Reminisce how Isaiah Thomas just totally flagged off his coach -- no. I'll remember a lot of things about this tournament, and they're all good.

Q. Can you just talk about all the hustle plays and the rebounds and diving for loose balls and things that your guys did to get the win. And the adversity that you've overcome to get to this point?
COACH ROMAR: That's one of the main things we talked about prior to this game. If we didn't win the hustle plays, if we weren't tough, we weren't going to win the game, because Arizona is a team that usually wins the hustle plays. They are a very, very tough minded team.
But our guys stepped up and did what was necessary and showed a lot of toughness and resolve in winning that game. Some things have gone on throughout the year, injuries and other things, and our guys have stayed the course and have remained together.

Q. Could you look forward a little bit? Tomorrow you get Selection Sunday, do you have any ideas or cares what happens with it? And a performance like this, the way they played these three days, what could this team do in that tournament?
COACH ROMAR: We felt from the beginning of the year if we came out and played Husky basketball and played the way we were capable of, we'd have a chance to be successful in most any game. So we'll go see. We'll see what happens. It's a good time for us to be playing together and playing right. I know that much. Where we go, what comes of the field of 68, you just wait for the call, prepare yourself and you go.

Q. Can you talk about C.J.'s shot to send it into overtime, and one of the guys -- not the big stat line -- but was real steady the whole tournament, Darnell Gant.
COACH ROMAR: Penetrated as a three-part question. What was two and three, B and C?

Q. Darnell Gant and C.J..
COACH ROMAR: C.J. has an uncanny knack of focusing and zeroing in on the rim. When that pass came to him, you could just see he picked out his spot up there, and I don't think he heard anything. I don't think he saw anything except for the orange ring up there. He's already a good shooter, but you could just see the focus in his eyes and he knocked it down.
And Darnell did so many things in three days in this tournament to help us win games. He would be Mr. Intangible. He's really an unsung hero in this tournament.

Q. Can you comment on who do you think, aside from yourself and Arizona, potentially UCLA, USC is on the bubble, can you comment on who you think from this tournament will move on to the next round in the NCAA Tournament?
COACH ROMAR: Based on being able to play those teams, I'd say they're all capable. The way SC defends, and with their front line and the quickness of their guards, you just don't face that a lot. I think if they get invited to this tournament, they definitely could advance.
UCLA's starting five is very, very, very talented. They've got a big front line. They've got some scorers in there. They come out ready to play, and they obviously could make some noise.
Arizona, I think they could play with anyone. They defend. Derrick Williams is so hard to deal with. They can shoot it, so they have a chance. I hope we get four in, because it will be fun to watch this conference.

Q. Can you talk about the ups and downs you've been through this season, and just what it means for you guys to win this type of game and get into the tournament?
MATTHEW BRYAN-AMANING: It's just been a long year, real, real long year with everything going off the court as well as injuries. And we've been able to face a lot of adversity. Especially being a man down in this tournament, I think a lot of people wrote us off and the whole team believed in themselves and believed they would be able to get it done.
Obviously, the way we played the last few days, just playing together. First game had four or five guys in double figures. Again, in the second game had about four guys in double figures. Then tonight with Isaiah having an outstanding game, and Terrence obviously, and myself and C.J. just right on the brink of double figures shows how much of a team that we've become. That we're trusting everybody.
One of our timeouts, Isaiah was just talking to us before the coaches came in, talking about I believe in you guys. Doesn't matter. I'm not trying to score like that. I'm giving the ball up. I believe in you guys and that you're going to knock down shots.
To know as a leader that he believes in the rest of us and knows what we can do. It shows how far we've come.

Q. Terrence, could you talk about what must be an amazing ten days that you've had? I think you had a combined 4:00 minutes in the last two regular season games to moving into the starting lineup, to making the all tournament team to cutting the net for the Pac-10 Tournament championship?
TERRENCE ROSS: I would say it's probably emotional. It was kind of disappointing I didn't play the first two games, but I had to shake it off, get focused. I knew I was going to start. I just had to be prepared and play and prepared to work. I guess it paid off.

Q. Isaiah, what was your reaction when you found out you were going to be the most outstanding player for the second consecutive season?
ISAIAH THOMAS: It was pretty cool. I'm just worried about winning. When you win, individual awards come, but the player of the tournament is not as important as the conference championship we just won.
It's praise to all my teammates, because without them I can't win nothing, especially a game. Some guys stepped up, and I love my teammates.

Q. How tired are you right now? Are you looking forward to getting a nap in after all those minutes? For your teammates, what was it like watching him out there, gutting it out and coming up so big at the end?
ISAIAH THOMAS: I'm really tired. I'm ready to get on the plane and go to sleep. It's great. I have so much confidence in my teammates that I'm going to do whatever it takes to win. Like Matt said, in one of the timeouts I told him, I'm tired, man. I'm not worried about scoring.
So when I get you the ball, just score. Don't pass it back to me (laughing). And they did a great job of that.
Matt was in foul trouble, but he had some big buckets. Terrence hit some crucial shots and Darnell Gant and C.J. Wilcox did a lot of things for us. I'm just proud of my teammates because we never gave up.
MATTHEW BRYAN-AMANING: I was just trying to say he's a hell of a player. He gets a lot of flack about his height, and he's dealt with it all his life. He's just shown it on another level. Just when a guy's in the zone, he's in the zone.
His assists this tournament have been ridiculous. I think he's had about what, 29, 30 assists throughout the tournament. I know that must be a record somewhere. When he's in that mode, you just kind of go out and let him play. I know that's what coach has to let him do sometimes.
He might not be happy with all his decisions, but when he's playing basketball, he's playing basketball. He just makes everyone around him better. When he does that, we have a lot of success.

Q. 45 minutes for Isaiah. Any thought go through your mind pulling him out at any point during the game?
COACH ROMAR: Not tonight, no. Yesterday we tried to do it a little while because Oregon you could just see they were going to try to wear him down, pick it up full court and try to beat on him a little bit.
We knew if we were fortunate enough to win we were going to have to come back and he was going to have to log big minutes again, so we tried it for a little bit. In these situations you call a timeout instead of substituting for him.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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