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March 23, 2013

Allen Crabbe

Mike Montgomery

Richard Solomon


Syracuse – 66
California - 60

THE MODERATOR:  We are joined now by California head coach Mike Montgomery and student‑athletes Allen Crabbe, junior guard, and Richard Solomon, junior forward.
COACH MONTGOMERY:  Well, it's unfortunate, obviously, when you lose your last game.  You'd have liked to have played your best basketball, you'd like to have really gone out and forced the other team to have to make plays.  I don't think we played our best basketball.
A lot of that credit has to go to Syracuse.  That zone hurt us, there's no question.  We had a difficult time solving the zone.  They did a great job of getting to Crabbe, for example, and locating him in the thing and had us pretty well spread out.
We had moments where we were able to attack the middle, where we thought we could attack, i.e., Richard's 22 and Thurman's 9 in 18 minutes.
I thought we started the game very, very tentative.  I don't really know what we expected of the zone or what we expected of Syracuse, but we didn't have the same confidence level that we had against UNLV, maybe the fact we played them was something.
But we were really tentative to start the game.  And it really wasn't until we came off the bench and we had two or three of those kids get on the floor after loose ball and kind of get after it a little bit that we started to feel a little bit better about the game.
And then obviously at the end we actually had some chances there, had we made free throws ‑‑ 12 for 19 from the line, that's probably too many misses.  They shoot 41 foul shots, that's a lot to overcome.
First half we gave up 10 offensive boards.  I think that was probably a telling factor.  We actually did a decent job defensively, but weren't able to rebound the ball.
Credit to Syracuse.  Credit to Jim Boeheim.  That zone is effective.  It's good, it's tough.  I'm sure everybody in the Big East will tell you the same thing.  It's something you've got to play with for 40 minutes.  They're not changing.  They have a lot of confidence in it and we didn't come out and attack it very intelligently.  And obviously if you go 4‑21 from three against the zone you're probably going to have some problems.

Q.  Can you describe what made the Syracuse zone so difficult for you to get the kind of shots that you normally would like to get?
ALLEN CRABBE:  I mean, they keyed in on me.  I mean, the shots that I thought I would probably get weren't there.  And they took things away from me.
And you've just got to give credit to them.  And they're long and athletic, so tried to shoot over them a couple of times.  They were there, contested it.  I was in the air passing the ball, deferring for my shots.
You've got to give them credit, they play really well in the zone.

Q.  The frustration level for you guys when they were going to the foul line, especially in that second half, it seemed like every time they kept going to the foul line, the frustration level built for you guys?
ALLEN CRABBE:  We felt like we had some clean plays on the ball.  We can't control what the refs call.  So I feel like they let some calls go.  And that's that.  You can't do nothing about it now because the game is over with.

Q.  The way they took away the outside shot seemed like you guys were going to have to do some work inside and you really did that.  Once you got that going did you feel you had a chance to pull it out?
RICHARD SOLOMON:  Yeah, my teammates were giving me the ball so I could be effective and was finishing plays.  There were stretches we got it going a little bit.  But it's a 40‑minute game and we've got to play like that the whole game, not just stretches.

Q.  Allen, this is probably not the time to ask the question, have you thought at all about returning to your senior season, and apologize for the timing of it, but I'd like to get you on the record saying anything you might feel about that.
ALLEN CRABBE:  No, I don't have any comment for that right now.  It would be pretty selfish of me to talk about my future after we just lost the game.  I'm pretty frustrated about the loss, I'm not thinking about the future right now.  Like I said, I don't have any comment for that.

Q.  You obviously got the scouting report on the zone, you knew what you were going to be facing.  What is the difference between hitting the scouting report and actually having to go on the court and face it?
RICHARD SOLOMON:  Well, it's going to be difficult playing against something you never played against before, because scout team can't run it the way they run it.  They're long and athletic.
But you've got to give credit to Syracuse and the zone.  It frustrated us a little bit.
ALLEN CRABBE:  He touched on it, they played the zone for 40 minutes.  We don't really play teams who are in the zone for 40 minutes.  If we play a team that plays zone, they play for a few minutes and then go back to man, but not all 40 minutes.
Like Richard said, they kind of frustrated us.  We played in stretches, not the whole 40.

Q.  Given the way that the Syracuse did play the zone did you figure that you'd get most of your points from inside out instead of the outside in, if you look at Solomon and Thurman what they were able to do?
COACH MONTGOMERY:  Yeah, we knew that's where they were vulnerable.  One of the problems that you have is you have one day of prep.  And I would say that our attention span on Friday was probably not as good as it needed to be.  There was a lot of excitement, hangover from the win.
So you're trying to ‑‑ trying to get them in a 90‑minute with some video and 90‑minute time on the court to understand what that zone is going to look like and it's difficult.
One of the things ‑‑ we were able to take advantage of it, obviously, to the degree that Richard had 22, Thurman had 9 in 18 minutes and even David had 4.  But it required the post guys to catch, face and make decisions.
So you knew where the vulnerability of the zone was.  You knew what you thought you could get.  But it also meant that you had people that were not used to making those plays having to make those plays.  We knew that was going to be an issue.  We don't have back‑to‑basket post guys, per se.
So by trying to throw it to David and Richard and at the high post, they were having to catch, face, make a decision there.  And we had some really nice shots off.  We had some where we actually got the ball exactly where we wanted it, we got it blocked.  And their size came in and took those away from us.  That's discouraging.
We had 17 turnovers.  And some of those came from just not being experienced in how to ball fake, how to move a zone, how to move hands, how to hit the high post, how to catch and face with footwork.  You're not going to get that done in one day.
And as Allen said, we don't face many teams that play zone the whole way.  And if we do, it's not the same kind of zone that was.  It was difficult.
We felt like that was where the vulnerabilities were, I don't think we were consistently able to take advantage of it like we needed to.  Had we been able to do that, maybe we would have been able to come outside for some perimeter shots.
As it was, they weren't leaving Allen.  Whatever zone it was, they knew where Crabbe was at all times.  And he's the one guy that, percentage‑wise, can shoot the ball.
Ty, I thought as a freshman, had a pretty gutsy performance, coming in, not being afraid to shoot.  But still, that's not his strong point.
And so we tried Ricky in there a little more than we had played him, because he's been a pretty good shooter, but he hadn't practiced at all.
The zone accomplished what it wanted to.  I was fearful that was going to happen.  I knew where the strengths of the zone and what the weaknesses were, I wasn't sure we had the personnel in 90 minutes or a day to get done what we needed to get done.

Q.  In the first half there were very few fouls called.  In the second half they're in the one in one by the four‑minute timeout.  Did they change in what they wanted to do taking it to the basket?  And could you talk about the impact of them getting to the free throw line?
COACH MONTGOMERY:  We played more man in the second half.  There's probably some calls that seemed like kind of got, in their mindset, that we were going to foul every time, you know.  So one leads to the next, leads to the next.  We fouled them a lot.
The difference being they were going to the basket and we weren't.  They beat us at point of attack.  We did not do a very good job with our defensive rotation.  They play above the rim a lot.
We should have rotated.  We should have taken some charges, should have V'd back on the backside.  We've not been a team that's been very good at taking charge.  We don't have a lot of guys that are willing to give up their bodies.  And as a result of that we're trying to get up and block shots.  The problem is they jump higher than we do on the run, so we're on their arms.
But, yeah, it's ‑‑ obviously in their minds it's probably a little bit discouraging.  We needed to do a better job of defending, it's pure and simple.

Q.  He didn't play a perfect game but Solomon gave you a nice effort.  Can you talk about his development and what he gave you tonight?
COACH MONTGOMERY:  I think he took advantage of what was available.  I don't know that that particular thing had much to do with his development.  I think it had to do with the fact that we were able to get the ball down, he was fairly aggressive inside.  He's got to continue to do that for us.  He's long.  He plays above the rim, 14 rebounds is the area that I think that he should be looking at mostly.
So we had to attack there.  It was an opportunity for the bigs to have big games.  That's really where we had to attack.  Had we been cleaner at getting the ball in the middle and dropping it down the post we would have had more people score points.  And Richie would have had a bigger night.
But Richard was one guy that seemed to be able to make plays.  We didn't have a lot of people that were playing above their ability.  We didn't have a whole bunch of people that rose to the occasion that this was a big game and I'm going to play better than I have.  You're not going to win games like that, unless you have some people be able to do that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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