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
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 10, 2011

Allen Crabbe

Harper Kamp

Mike Montgomery


USC – 70

THE MODERATOR: An opening statement from Coach Montgomery.
COACH MONTGOMERY: Well, USC played well. They deserved to win. They played better than we did. They were very well-prepared, so no issue there. We didn't play, I don't think, like we're capable of. I think our inability to score the ball early really got to us. I think it hurt our confidence.
I don't think that we -- at that point -- we seemed to lose a little bit of steam because we couldn't get the ball to where we wanted to. We turned it over too many times which led to some of their points. Not a ton, but some.
We weren't up to the task today. We knew we had a tough job. We knew that SC was playing very well. We knew they were coming off some big wins in Los Angeles. Just a lot of stuff. We knew we were going to have to play well, and we didn't play well enough to win. So give credit to SC. They beat us, and they deserve to move forward.

Q. It seemed like you were on the wrong end of some bad match-ups most of the game, both in the back court and with quickness, and then the front line and the size. Was that an accurate way of looking at the game?
COACH MONTGOMERY: Yeah, sometimes you bite the dog, sometimes the dog bites you. They're big at the post, I felt like early on that we probably could have been up 10, 12, 14 points. We got the ball exactly where we wanted to get it. We couldn't score. I think that probably weighed on us a little bit.
I mean, if you look at it from the standpoint of the question you asked, they were bigger at the post, and quicker on the perimeter. So we had to make them pay from some standpoint there. We tried to post our guards up a little to take advantage. Didn't get much from that. There were some tough match-ups. SC was a tough match up for us each time we played. We did a job on Vucevic. I knew that Harper would handle that. We tried to get him help. I think at time that's caused some other problems for us.
But we really had trouble keeping their quick guards in front of us. Especially in the second half, once they started to get to the basket, they were dropping for scores or kicking for threes.
So SC shot it pretty well, 8 for 17 from three. Smith and Jones, the two guys that one hurt us here, one hurt us at our place, and they both hurt us tonight.

Q. It looked like in the post that USC bigs kind of frustrated your bigs with Solomon down low. Can you talk a little bit about how the momentum shifted down low from the first half until the second half?
COACH MONTGOMERY: Well, we've talked all along, one of the strength that's we've had all year long has been our low postgame because we have two people that can score. We don't go to one, and then they could match up with their best post guy and we'd be done. We've had the ability to go to both low post guys and hurt people. Usually one of the post guys is weak.
SC is one of those teams that that's not the case. Their post guys are considerably bigger, and they are pretty physical. So we early on I thought we got the ball low. We weren't able to get it in. As the game went forward, we weren't even able to get the ball down very much.
Markhuri had four shots which was unusual for us. We got it around in front. We weren't able to penetrate to create any action, so we were stuck a little bit. We were having a hard time offensively.
We tried -- we played decent defense for a fair portion of the game, but there was way too much pressure on our defense to have to win. We needed help offensively. Jorge didn't have a very good game. He was frustrated and of course Jorge got three in the first half, and Harper and Markhuri both had two in the first half, and I think Richard did as well.
So I thought that hurt us a little bit in the first half, just got us a little tentative. But their big guys did a good job, no question.

Q. Harper, can you expand on SC's defense inside?
HARPER KAMP: Yeah, both their bigs are pretty tough, and obviously they're a little taller and pretty long. Early on I got a few touches down low, and Nikola played. He was pretty disciplined enough. He didn't fall for a few of my pump fakes early on. I was trying to draw some contact. I never really got a chance to adjust. So to his credit, he was able to stop me early.
They just did a good job of digging down and things like that when I caught it. Trying to just keep you -- keep me from being comfortable down there.

Q. Coach, can you assess Jorge's struggles tonight and how that affected the offense?
COACH MONTGOMERY: Well, Jorge's such an integral part of what we do. I think sometimes he's his own worst enemy in that when he feels like he's not playing very well or he makes mistakes he gets down on himself. Unfortunately, he's a guy that we need in there for a whole lot of reasons whether it be defensively or toughness or loose balls or whatever.
So we can ill afford -- you know, we're playing basically six guys, so we don't have -- we really don't have the luxury of having key people have not good games. It puts us in real jeopardy unless somebody just breaks out and goes off, which we've had. We've had three guys get 30 in three different games. But we didn't have that tonight.
But I think their defense took us out. I think it hurt us mentally to where we lost a little bit of our fire. I think then it hurt our defense. We weren't able be to stay this front of people. We weren't V-ing back. I think we got discouraged. But that's the game of basketball.
Their objective was to take our key people out, make us work. Make people that aren't key people have to score. We try to do it every game. We do the same thing. Problem is we took Vucevic out, we knew they'd go hard to him. We thought we did a good job there.
But again, Jones and Smith, the two guys that hurt us in the regular season really ended up being a thorn in our side. And Stepheson's a monster, and Allen had him on a V-back, just not strong enough to keep him from boarding the ball. He's a strong guy.

Q. Seemed like you guys were trying to create a little bit more shots in the second half. You got the lead down, cut into SC's lead down to 10. What was the motivating factor that got you guys back into a rhythm from the first half down that leads to the second half?
ALEX STEPHESON: Well, I guess it was since we were down, we were just right to do whatever we can on the offensive end. So every time we got the ball we were just trying to be aggressive, see if we could get into some seams and kick it off to open players.
But they just kept capitalizing. Every time we made a run, it seems like they had something for it. So couldn't really get into the groove of the game.
HARPER KAMP: Yeah, I think we just kind of adjusted to their defense a little bit, and we were able to go to a few things once we realized what we wanted wasn't really working and we weren't getting the shots that we needed. So Allen was able to penetrate a little bit and get some shots.
They just tightened up their defense again, and it got back into us.

Q. Was it an easy decision to start in the man today? Secondly, do you have a sense that you'll play in the NIT? Have you heard from them?
COACH MONTGOMERY: Well, no, it wasn't an easy decision. The two games that we've played where I thought we played particularly well, UCLA at home and Stanford at home. Granted they were home games. We came out in man. And the guys sort of accepted that challenge. I thought, well, let's start in that and see if we need to make an adjustment.
I felt a little bit uncomfortable sitting back in the zone and having them bomb away. I suppose if they would have missed everything. So it was a little bit of a gambler either way.
Again, starting the game I don't think our defense was the issue. They didn't have any points for a long time. I thought the issue was offensively we weren't able to take advantage of the things that we had.
So when we went to the zone it seemed like we were a little bit flat. Their guys had confidence again with the shots from an inside-outside. What hurt us was penetration. Usually a zone is designed to keep them from penetrating, but we weren't able to do that in the zone either.
So once they got penetration and sucked us into the paint, they were kicking to the three-point shooters and they shot it very well.
We haven't heard from anybody. I would expect that we'd be a very strong candidate. I think that I was encouraged that the talking heads who know nothing, are at least starting to talk about four teams from the Pac 10. They were starting to talk about SC, talking about Cal, talking about Washington State that whoever did better -- I was encouraged that the league had started to gain a little bit of prestige in the last couple days.
So we wanted to be one of those teams. But I think SC now is in that category that they'd deserve a real solid look, particularly if they're able to beat Arizona tomorrow.
But I wouldn't count Washington State out of the thing. And I think Washington might need to be a little careful here. So I would think it would be a very strong NIT team. What I did tell the guys in the locker room and I believe this, we had one hell of a year given the circumstances that we've dealt with. These guys have battled through a lot.
They've grown tremendously as a group and as a team. And I want them to start now thinking in terms of where we want to be next year. And if the NIT comes along, we want to jump on that and use it as a spring board.

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