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November 25, 2013

Justin Cobbs

David Kravish

Mike Montgomery


California – 85
Arkansas – 77

THE MODERATOR:  Coach, any opening comments?
COACH MONTGOMERY:  I'm obviously pleased coming into this thing you look at the field and your first thought process is, gosh, can we win one?  Now we've got that one, we feel pretty good.
We started off the game and I thought we were nervous, frankly.  We worked pretty hard on handling pressure and we kind of got away from what we worked on all week.  Fortunately it didn't hurt us too much.  They were probably nervous too, but we hung in there and got some great contributions off the bench, because Richard Solomon got in foul trouble early and had to get him out.
Ricky Kreklow, of course who played for Mike Anderson at Missouri, came in and really played well, then he got two fouls.  Had some freshmen kids come off the bench and contribute.  So once we settled down, and frankly, Arkansas as well, once we both settled down, we got kind of in more of the flow of what we anticipated the game being.
They're quick.  They've got a lot of guy that's can really shoot the ball.  I thought going back and forth zone‑man some helped us.  When they got a rhythm in zone, we kind of went man and tried to change the rhythm a little bit.  Then we came back to zone.
But, boy, they can shoot it.  Bell, Qualls, they can shoot the ball.  As soon as their big guy Portis gets a little experience and stronger inside, they've got some guys that can play.  But we've got a fairly veteran club.  Obviously, Justin as a senior now has the ability to run the club and do what we need him to do demanding some of these young guys.
Kravish had a great game.  Kind of his type of game where based on the way they were playing with quickness and getting out after it left David some lanes to the basket, and as a result, he was able to have a really nice game.
So we're pleased.  We think Arkansas is a really good team.  Mike Anderson is a terrific coach, and I'm sure they're going to have a great year.  So now we get a chance to play in the semis.  Maybe it will be the same style again certainly we've prepared for that, or maybe it will be that zone which is the last loss in the NCAA.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll open up questions for Justin or David.

Q.  Justin, at the end of the first half you had your shot blocked and I guess you thought it was goaltending.  Also, it looked like you were arguing with the refs there for a second and there was an incident in the second half, whether it was a jump ball and things got a little chippy.  Do you think you bring a fiery type of attitude to this team?
JUSTIN COBBS:  That's not really my intention to bring fire to the team.  But just like anybody else, I'm a competitor.  I love this game, and I'm just going out there trying to win.  I just thought it was a foul.  He blocked the shot, made a great play on the ball so give credit to him.  I was just asking the ref if it was a foul or not.  We exchanged words and we talked at halftime and everything was fine, so that's water under the bridge.
But the loose ball, that's like I said, everybody's being competitive.  He had the ball, I dove on the floor, got the ball, and he's just a basketball player, so nothing more than that.

Q.  Justin, talk about Arkansas's pressure on defense.  It seems like in the first half you were a little rattled, but you settled down in the second half to control the game?
JUSTIN COBBS:  Yeah, it was something we haven't seen all year.  They did a great job of running and jumping and making quick passes.  So, yeah, it's a little early on they made a few passes.  Being loose with the ball, whereas a point guard I talked to Coach and talked to the guys and just settled down and made better plays.  I'm happy we put up the win.

Q.  David, could you talk about stepping up and rebounding today especially with Richard's foul trouble and what you had to do in there?
DAVID KRAVISH:  Yeah, Richard and I take it upon ourselves to really try to control the glass and bring it.  When he goes out of the game, I feel like I really have to step it up.  So when he was in foul trouble, I had to step up my game and keep playing physical, keep playing hard and grabbing every rebound, so that's what I did.

Q.  Justin, you had a leap pass to Solomon, a one‑handed leap dunk.  Did that energize your team and give your team energy?
JUSTIN COBBS:  That's what Richard loves to do.  Richard loves dunking and it gets him going.  So myself as a point guard, I know that's big for him.  It gets his energy going.  And he starts grabbing every rebound.  I know it started turning things around.  The bench got going, and the crowd got going.  So I think it did get a little energy.

Q.  Coach, if your opponent turns out to be Syracuse tomorrow, can you talk about planning that 2‑3 zone in the tournament last year and what you guys might try to do this time against them?
COACH MONTGOMERY:  Anything other than what we did last year would be a starting point.  Last year's zone that Syracuse played, because I played them more than once, I thought it was the best zone that I've ever seen them play.  They had tremendous length on the perimeter and obviously the game plan, they know what they want to do.  We're going to have to attack it a little more intelligently.  We'll have to be more aggressive it seems.  Our perimeter guys will have to be more confident with the ball trying to drive the seams.  There are openings in it.  We have to capitalize on those.
But you have to be patient.  You can't get frustrated.  You can't turn it over for run outs.  We did that a little bit.  We have not played against much zone this year, so, frankly, we didn't prepare as if we were going to play Syracuse specifically.  We thought that would be‑‑ so we worked against pressure.  So we're not going to have a long time to prepare for it.  That's where Syracuse has an advantage.  They don't have to prepare anything.  They just play the zone.  It's a very good zone and it's obviously proven to be very successful over the years.  There are weaknesses.  We know where they are.  We've just got to exploit those.

Q.  Justin, in the first half you called‑‑ I believe it was the first half when there was a scuffle for the jump call and you called timeout.  When do you know to make those quick decisions to call timeout there?
JUSTIN COBBS:  It's just a basketball play.  They had the ball, and I wasn't sure what the possession was there, so I called the timeout to make sure we had the possession.  But the possession arrow was our way.
So in that case, you just let it go.  But you see a guy dive on the floor and another guy dive on the floor, call timeout and make sure you secure the ball.

Q.  Coach, you played a lot of zone in the first half.  Did that have to do with you trying to slow the game down or did it have to do with Arkansas and their lack of shooting from previous games and previous seasons?
COACH MONTGOMERY:  No, it was more tempo.  One of the things they'll do is take it out of bounds to anybody and throw it to pretty much any of the five guys and run at you.  So trying to cover back in man where maybe the center has leaped out early and the match‑up is such that he's gone and maybe a guard had to pick him up.  We just didn't feel that was in our best interest.  We felt we could recover it at spots in the zone and at least slow down the tempo a little bit.
They almost got to us when we were up 13.  They tried the last ten minutes is important to them where they think they can wear you down.  They had a little bit of a run.  Fortunately I think Kreklow made a play or maybe Justin where we got it back in double figures and it could have gotten dicey for us.  The crowd got energized a little bit.  So we wanted to control tempo by recovering the specific spots and making them take more time.  We tried to play man late when they were shooting the ball, but they blew right by us and took no time off the clock.  So we had to go back to zone to hope they at least took time off the clock before they got a shot.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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