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March 13, 2014

Steve Alford

Travis Wear


UCLA – 82
Oregon – 63

THE MODERATOR:  Coach Alford, an opening statement, please.
COACH ALFORD:  Really, really pleased with our team.  We responded really well tonight coming off the game that we had to end the regular season and taking a couple days off to clear our minds and kind of get well mentally and physically.  That was really big.
So really proud of our effort.  I thought we really defended.  This is the way this team is capable of defending.  When we defend at this level, I think we're a much, much more difficult out, and we beat a really good basketball team tonight and a really well‑coached basketball team.  So to get this kind of win, I'm very pleased with the effort our guys gave.

Q.  Coach, can you talk about the first few minutes of the second half?  What was different in that portion versus the whole first half that really let you guys get out ahead?
COACH ALFORD:  We just got off to a good run.  We had a 16‑4 run.  There weren't really a lot of runs in the first half.  Just two good teams.  It wasn't like it was adjustments or anything.  It was just our guys came out, they were focused, and we got on a run.  We started exploiting some things at the offensive end, and our guys tried to make a few adjustments at halftime handling the pressure, and we just started flashing a big and went to a little bit different with our triangle.  Jordan made a couple baskets.  Trav got a lay‑up; he passed the ball well.  We just made a lot of shots coming out of the break, and we were able to get D stops.
So once we had that 16‑4 run and got it up over 10, 12 points, our guys did a good job of building on it.  But we've been pretty good most of the year coming out of halftimes, and today was no exception.  They were really good.

Q.  I guess just following up on that, could you talk about how you were able to get such quality good shots I know you mentioned it in a couple things already.
COACH ALFORD:  Yeah, we talked about we thought we started to gain well, and the pressure got us in a little bit of a hurry.  We started quick shooting a little bit.  We had nine turnovers at the half, and that's a lot for us.  That's a credit to Oregon's defense.  Nine turnovers for us is a lot.  We only had five in the second half, so we got back to normal.  That was a normal half for us.  We'd been averaging ten all year.  That allows our offense to get the shots we need.
I thought we did a good job of screening, moving the ball, not turning it over and getting good, high quality shots.  When this team does that, we have so many guys that can make shots.  I think that's indicative of kind of the balance that we've had, not just tonight, but all year long.  When we can do those things offensively, we click.  But I thought the big key all night was the way we guarded.
We took a charge.  We deflected passes.  We were long.  We were active.  We kept a team that really is probably as good a dribble‑drive team we've played all year to ten free throw attempts, 7 for 10.  So if you would have told me that at the beginning of the game, I'd take that before we started playing.  I thought that was a tremendous key to be able to defend and keep them off the line.

Q.  A few of your players said in the locker room that you took them aside and said, let's have fun and showed them highlights of them having fun.  What have you seen from them the past few weeks that showed you they weren't having fun?  What is the difference?
COACH ALFORD:  Well, I don't think it was that they were having fun.  I think it's you read your team.  That is part of coaching, you try to get a good read on them.  As a staff, we're pretty close to them.  We started building this trust and relationship on the 1st of April.  So we've been doing it about 11 months with them.  We try to build that trust up, and I think we know our guys pretty well.  We haven't been with them three and four years, but we know them pretty well.  This season can get long.  You start the season two weeks early.
So we've been practicing since the 1st of October.  It's a new system.  It was a new coaching staff, so these guys have been going at it since June, since we got hired and got them into individual workouts.  They've been eager with the new staff to try to figure things out.  We've appreciated all that effort.  All of a sudden we've clinched the 2‑seed.  We go on that last weekend trip, and our seed is not going to get any better.  It's really about trying to enhance your resume for the NCAA Tournament.  Nobody's talking about you from a national standpoint.  There were a lot of things going against us.
I thought we played really well against Washington.  We didn't play very well.  I give credit to Washington State.  I thought they played a very good game.  We're playing at 8:00 Saturday night.  The whole league is over but us.  We want to take two days off and loosen things up.
We were 100 practices in.  Not in 23 years of coaching have I ever hit a hundred practices.  But when you start two weeks early it's about another 12 practices.  So we wanted to loosen things up.  Let them know how happy we were with them.  We had a great regular season, and now this is what we've really been priming for was to get to March and get to these postseason tournaments, and they played really well today.  It's one game.  You've got to win three to win a tournament here, and you've got to win six to win the next one.  It only gets harder, but I want them to enjoy this journey.  It's not worth it if you can't enjoy it.  I thought we've just gotten back to relaxing and enjoying the process.

Q.  Travis, in that same vein from a player's perspective, the first half was kind of a toss‑up and the second half was more along the lines of a blowout.  How did you perceive it?  How did it happen?
TRAVIS WEAR:  We came out in the first half and each team was throwing blows at each other.  Oregon came in real hot.  I think we made some adjustments at halftime to relieve some of their pressure, and defensively we just came out and shut them down in the beginning of the second half.  I think that really triggered our offensive scoring.

Q.  Travis, what were you doing differently in the second half that you weren't doing in the first half?
TRAVIS WEAR:  As an individual?

Q.  Yeah.
TRAVIS WEAR:  I flashed the high post a little bit more to relieve some of the pressure that the guards were getting.  But other than that, pretty much the same thing I was doing in the first half.

Q.  Coach, can you summarize tomorrow's options and what you're looking for?
COACH ALFORD:  We've got to wait for this game.  We'll go out and we'll watch this game and see who we've got to play.  I think it's an 8:00, 8:30 start.  So we've got to get as much rest as we can.  We've played Stanford twice and Arizona State once.  So here in the next couple hours we'll find out who we're playing.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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