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March 13, 2019

Dana Altman

Ehab Amin

Paul White

Las Vegas, Nevada

Oregon - 84, Washington State - 51

DANA ALTMAN: I thought the guys played really hard. We flew around on defense. I thought the first half the defense was good. They did miss some open threes, which really helped us out. For the most part I thought our activity was really good.

And then the second half, we really did a great job on the boards. We outrebounded them 15 in the second half, we were actually down at half and really hit the boards the second half.

So really had a lot of help off the bench. E gave us a lot of good minutes. Miles gave us a lot of good minutes. So really happy those guys came in and really gave us a big, big lift.

Q. That's kind of the ideal way to start this thing. Second half you can manage the minutes as you want and take some of the pressure off?
DANA ALTMAN: It does help when you don't have to play your guys 35 minutes. So hopefully we've got all the nerves solved and we still had enough energy. I don't think we got anybody too many minutes. And hopefully that will help us tomorrow night.

Q. Is the key to all the turnovers you guys forced in the first half? I think they had 16 turnovers in the first half.
PAUL WHITE: I think we did a good job of rotating, communicating with one another. I think that's been a key factor to the success of our defense so far. Also I think we did a good job of communicating of where their key players were -- Franks, CJ. We didn't want them to get any open looks, any easy looks.

So I think us starting with the starting five and then just kind of spilling over into people coming off the bench, I think we all just did a good job of focusing and locking in.

Q. In regards to Franks, he took maybe four or five shots in the first half, didn't hardly -- he didn't score hardly any. What was the plan against him?
PAUL WHITE: A player like that, you can't allow them to breathe. You have to be underneath them at any time. I think Franks, a lot of the time he gets lost in transition, so I think we did a good job of maintaining that. And also in half court, just knowing where he was, giving less help off of him.

He's a great player, you know, First Pac-12 Team member, and he's played very well throughout this season. But with that kind of -- with those kind of accolades come that kind of attention. So we just gave a lot of attention to him and just making sure whatever he did it was going to be difficult.

Q. Five straight games, held opponents below 33 percent, kind of continuing that. That first half I think it was 16 turnovers. Talk about the activity there to kind of turn them over, over and over?
EHAB AMIN: Yeah, I think Coach Altman has been emphasizing communication and defense and rebounding, like how we travel on the road, so that was the key for us, just talking and communicating and trying to help each other out if somebody misses out just by playing extra hard through the possessions.

Q. Did you see this defense coming weeks ago at this level that you're playing?
DANA ALTMAN: We struggled. We've had some really good halves. We weren't able to really put 40 minutes together. Our second halves have let us down a number of times, our defensive intensity on the other end when -- when we weren't getting on them quite so hard.

But these guys have done a great job of putting pressure on each other to talk more in the second half. And I think that's where we've really benefited, is our second half defense. And the guys are being real active down there. There's a lot more communication. They're a lot more connected, covering up mistakes for each other.

I thought we had the potential to be a good defensive team because Kenny is a really good shot blocker, E anticipates really well, and Payton is jamming in there pretty good. Paul has good basketball savvy.

So I thought we had a good chance. Miles has good length. Lou has got good length. Will is long for a guard. So with our length, I always thought we'd be a good defensive team. But we hadn't shown that in a number of times until this last two or three weeks. Our guys have made a big leap. We're so much more connected. Our communication is so much better. It's a big, big difference where we were just three or four weeks ago.

Q. You had a big game first time against Utah, your memories on that and the scouting program, and, Dana, your thoughts on seeing what you'll see from Utah tomorrow.
EHAB AMIN: You know, they're in the conference, so obviously (indiscernible) underdog. They're a really good team. Really good shooting team. They have a lot of shooters that can get hot. A couple of players can get 20-plus points. Just going to get together and execute our game plan.

DANA ALTMAN: Well, they'll be a difficult challenge for us. Offensively they're a very gifted team. Shooting a lot of threes, which will really stretch us out. And they'll be a little fresher than us. Playing these late games is always a concern, because it's already 11 o'clock and we have to get back and get to sleep. It will be a big, big challenge for us. They score so easily, it will really challenge our defense.

And that's what we've been living on here the last few weeks, and our big improvement has been on the defense. So it's going to put tremendous pressure on us tomorrow night.

Q. Tonight's victory, 33 points over Washington State, is a tournament record for the Pac-12. For the players, specifically, how are you going to take that momentum, take control of the team to make sure the guys keep that going as you play Utah tomorrow?
PAUL WHITE: I think one thing we've done a good job of doing is taking one game at a time, locking in on the team in front of us. That is a great accomplishment, but it is only one win.

Going forward, we've got to focus on Utah. We don't end up getting a tournament bid or anything just from beating Washington State by 33. So I think right now just about kind of leaving this game behind us, taking the good with the good and going forward and applying it to Utah.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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