home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
Asaptext.com
ASAPtext.com
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our
e-Brochure

PACIFIC-12 CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT


March 7, 2012


Ben Howland

Lazeric Jones

David Wear


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

UCLA 55
USC 40


THE MODERATOR: Coach, an opening statement, please.
COACH HOWLAND: Well, I thought obviously the first 10, 12 minutes of the first half we were really a step slow, out of sync. The premise of their defense is to pack everybody in and make you take jump shots. We took about five jump shots right away early in the game and missed all of them. It seemed like it continued to snow ball. Then finally Zeke hit a few and we got down 7 or 8 and brought us back.
We didn't take advantage of our scoring inside until the second half, and then in the second half we came out right away and jumped on them. Obviously our defense kept us in the first half and kept us in the game. We won the game today by shooting‑‑ normally you don't win games by 15 shooting 33% from the field, but we were good enough defensively to hold them to 28%.
They've been through a long year. Lot of adversity, lot of injuries when you're talking about the Trojans. But I knew this would be a difficult game because it's SC‑UCLA, and they're playing with a lot of pride after everything they've been through. You've got to give them some credit.
I'm glad we got through this. I'm glad we got the W. Playing in Staples is a little different for our players, playing in the pro arena.
I was at a function with Kevin on Monday where he brought that up. It's a little different when you're playing in pro arenas versus anywhere else. So I'm glad we got this one done, and now we can play a tough Arizona team obviously tomorrow at 2:30.

Q. Why didn't you play Josh at all in the first half?
COACH HOWLAND: Josh was four minutes late to the bus all the way from JW Marriott with the team over to here. So we left him, and he was late four minutes. He hasn't been late one other time the whole year.
But that being said, I wasn't going to play him in the first half being late four minutes for the team bus. And it hurt us, because obviously he's our best inside scoring threat, and we had a real size advantage with him. It hasn't been something that's been a problem in terms of him ever being late to the bus, but I don't care. This is too big and too important.

Q. Even though they pack it in defensively, how come you guys didn't go more to your bigs in the first half? You still had height advantage.
COACH HOWLAND: Yeah, I thought they packed it in. When the ball goes into the post, I thought they did a really good job, meaning SC, at covering down. And I thought that our bigs, Travis and Dave have got to seal better. I don't think they sealed as well as they needed to in the first half and did a better job in the second half of doing that, keeping their body on the man when they had him playing behind them.

Q. Moving ahead and talking about the Arizona game, any time Arizona‑UCLA plays there always seems to be that high‑stakes nature in the regular season. But with this game virtually whoever loses their tournament chances are virtually gone. Can you just talk about the setting and the high stakes in this particular setting?
COACH HOWLAND: Yeah, all these games are win or die when you're in tournament action. You're correct at least on our end, I'm not sure about Arizona. I haven't even paid attention to what the chances are for them if they were to get beat tomorrow. But we're concerned with ourselves.
We know we've got to come out and play really hard and really aggressive. They're a very good team. They just beat us a week and a half ago in Tucson in a very tight game, and they'll have a great crowd. They travel well, so we know that. We're excited though about playing another day and having the opportunity to play a very good Arizona team.

Q. Zeke, Coach talked about you guys having a slow start. What can you do to avoid that happening tomorrow?
LAZERIC JONES: Well, I feel like us even playing this game to get the jitters out a little bit would help. But also just coming out and being aggressive, but also being patient. I feel like we didn't come out as aggressive. Basically it's making better decisions as far as on the offensive end. But luckily our defense pulled through at the end.

Q. Coach, Arizona suspended their starting point guard Josiah Turner for tomorrow's match‑up. How much does that change them as a team and change things?
COACH HOWLAND: Well, Josiah's a very good player, but I just heard that as we were walking over here. I don't know. I'm assuming that‑‑ I don't know who starts in his place. I guess the young man from Westchester here will start in his place.
They'll rally. I mean, they're coming off a tough loss against a rival school, Arizona State, and you know they're going to want to play well. I think they suspended Josiah back in November, and they played very well without him. So I don't know that they're going to skip much of a beat in that respect, and probably brings their guys even more unified.

Q. Not to ask what might be a stupid question, but you bus from across the street?
COACH HOWLAND: Yeah, last year we walked, and it's a whole going through a tunnel and walking through people that are out drinking and hanging out in L.A. Live. So I wanted to avoid that this year, so, yes, we did, and we'll do it tomorrow.

Q. How long did it take once you got on the bus?
COACH HOWLAND: Actually, it took a little longer because you had to go all the way around the block to get here. But we're coming right through where we want to come through.
Last year, I remember, we lost in the first round last year walking over and coming some underground way. I just thought it was better.

Q. Not superstitious though? It's not a superstition?
COACH HOWLAND: No.

Q. You won the game. That's the most important thing. But can you survive in this tournament with another performance like you had today?
DAVID WEAR: I don't believe so. It was a tough game for us. It was an up and down game with no really flow to it. But going forward I'm glad we got this one out of the way. I think it was a different atmosphere playing at Staples. It took us a little while to get going and get clicking a little bit. But we realize we've got to play better against Arizona moving forward in this tournament.

Q. Zeke, are you surprised that the big men only got 25 total shot attempts is that something you thought you were going to try to force it down on them a little more?
LAZERIC JONES: Definitely not. I mean, it's tough getting into the post sometimes when they're sagging off you. We didn't make that many jump shots, so it definitely disrupted us. But coach called some good plays in the second half, and I was able to get our bigs the ball. Then I felt our bigs were being more aggressive on the board, so they did a good job of getting second shot attempts.

Q. David, I was wondering about the match‑up with Arizona, particularly inside. You seem to have some success with and without Josh against them. What are your thoughts about tomorrow?
DAVID WEAR: I think we have a size advantage over their bigs inside. It's been a battle both games we played them this year. They essentially start two three‑guards in Perry and Hill, and their four and their five. So there are really match‑up issues on both ends of the court.
Obviously they're a little quicker, but we have a size advantage, and that helps us on the offensive glass and rebounding and things like that.
But it's always a battle when we play those guys, and I'm just looking forward to it.

Q. I know you guys said you have to be patient to kind of overcome that slow start. But was there a momentary sense of panic almost like we better pick it up? How did you overcome that and stay calm, I guess?
LAZERIC JONES: No, I mean, I didn't think that we were starting to panic. Obviously you get a little rattled sometimes when things aren't going your way. But I felt like we calmed down eventually. We started to take better shots and move the ball around better. But I mean, it happens. Basketball is a game of runs. They had theirs and luckily we had ours in the second half.

Q. Coach, why and how are you guys so much better right now than you were say several weeks ago?
COACH HOWLAND: I think that we've improved as the season has progressed. I think we've won now, I don't know, three of our last four or four of our last five. We've been right there in many of the game that's we lost too.
I think today starting out the way we did, I was proud. I don't think there was any sense of panic in our guys. I think that they showed a good resolve and toughness that we're going to get this going. Finally we did. That's what you have to have. It's never easy.
I think we're a better team defensively, and I think that we're executing better offensively. We had a great week last week, and hopefully we can get back to playing how we were on Thursday and Saturday last week when we played at the Sports Arena.

Q. Have you ever been a part of a first half like that before? It was hard to watch at times?
DAVID WEAR: Yeah, I mean, it was a really tough first half for us. I think we only had like nine points with six or seven minutes left in the half. So that was really tough. It was definitely an ugly game with no real flow to it. But I'm just glad we got the win, and that's all I really care about moving forward against Arizona. I'm sure that we're not going to come out and play that way.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297