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March 15, 2013

Dana Altman

Johnathan Loyd

E.J. Singler


Oregon – 64
Utah – 45

THE MODERATOR:  Coach, an opening statement, please.
COACH ALTMAN:  I thought we played really hard the first half defensively.  We didn't want to give up easy baskets.  They had a couple of good looks that they missed.  In fairness to them, that's their third game, and they'd been shooting it so well.
But I thought overall we didn't give up a lot of really good looks.  Our pressure created some turnovers and got us some easy baskets.  So very pleased with our first half defensive effort.  I thought our ball movement was pretty good in the first half.
Second half, with the exception of a five‑minute segment there, I thought our defensive pressure was very good.  We had a couple of bad turnovers that led to some easy baskets, and they got some offensive rebounds that second half.  In fact, they got 13 in the second half, because they didn't have any at the half.  So we didn't do nearly as good on the boards the second half as we did in the first half.  We were up eight at halftime, and only finished the game up six.  So for the most part, I thought our guys played really hard.  We weren't real sharp at times, but it was a good second game.
E.J. really did some good things.  Johnny really steadied us at the point and got some contributions off the bench.  I thought Waverly Austin played well.  Carlos really had a nice game tonight.  So a lot of contributions from a lot of people.

Q.  E.J., you've been through a lot in your career, and you've been open throughout the season about wanting to get to the NCAA Tournament and wanting to win a Pac‑12 title.  Talk about what it's going to mean tomorrow night to have that chance and kind of cap your career with a big win?
E.J. SINGLER:  Yeah, it's a big one for us tomorrow, but it's all about the team.  We know that when we play as a team, when we show passion, have fun, it just showed how good we can be.  That's going to take the same thing tomorrow.  We've got to show a lot of passion, play together, have fun, and good things will happen for us.  If we do that, I feel really good about our chances.

Q.  I'm curious, when you're playing a team that's had a couple of upset wins in a row, is it more important to jump on them early and not let them believe that they can hang around just from an emotional point of view in?
JONATHAN LOYD:  Yeah, we tried to set the tone from the start with our defense, not give them any easy buckets because that will get their energy going on the defensive end for them.  So Coach Altman made sure to tell us don't give them any easy buckets and take away all the easy buckets, really.

Q.  Maybe a couple of the players‑‑ it's been a couple months since you played UCLA.  Does that game have any impact on tomorrow night?  Or how do you look at this versus the first one?
COACH ALTMAN:  I don't think so.  I think we're both really different teams.  We were playing very well in the end and our defense wasn't quite as good as it is now.  But I'm sure their offense has really improved.  Their freshmen have come along and done a tremendous job of bringing that team along.
We know we're going to have our hands full tomorrow night.  We knew Arizona or UCLA, we played them in mid-January and were able to get two big wins.  But after that, D.A. went down, and Johnny had to take over.  We struggled a little bit offensively for a while.
But I think Johnny has really picked things up and really taken charge of our team.  Now that D.A.'s back, he's having a little hard time adjusting.  He was out eight weeks.  It's one thing for a senior or a junior to be out eight weeks.  It's another thing for a freshman.  He was playing really well when he had the foot problem, and he just hasn't been able to regain that.
But he got a couple shots in the second half.  That will help him.  He's got to keep working it, and it will come.  It's harder for a freshman to bounce back after being out eight weeks than it is for a senior or junior who has a much better feel.  So I think in fairness to D.A., we've got to give him some time here to keep getting his feet under him.  Then in the last two games, Johnny has really steadied us and really done a tremendous job.

Q.  Who is the one single guy on UCLA that most concerns you that you have to stop to win?  And also, the fact that they lost one of their top scorers that's out with a broken foot.  How does that impact tomorrow's game?
COACH ALTMAN:  I'm not sure who broke his foot?
THE MODERATOR:  Jordan Adams in the last play of the game.
COACH ALTMAN:  On, no. I'm sorry to hear that.  They're balanced.  I don't think you can say, "We're going to stop this one guy."  The Wear twins can both score.  Shabazz can really score.  Drew, from the first time we played him, he's improved his scoring, and he's much more aggressive at the point position.
So I don't think we can really change the way we play.  We might have one guy who is no help, you're just staying on your guy.  But I think with a balanced scoring team like they have, we'll just play straight up and hopefully slow them down.

Q.  You mentioned Utah looked real tired playing three games in three nights.  How do you get your team to make sure that they're as fresh as possible?  You rotated quite a few players tonight.
COACH ALTMAN:  Yeah, we played nine guys quite a bit.  E.J. had the most minutes, but his toughness and he's played a lot of minutes all year.  He'll bounce back.  So everybody else was under 30, which I hope will help us.  Playing these late games, like I said last night, it doesn't matter.  Our guys are used to staying up.  Johnny doesn't go to bed anyway.  So it doesn't bother us.  We'll just sleep in in the morning and we'll be ready to go.
You know, if you can't get an adrenaline rush and get excited about playing the conference championship and playing UCLA, then you don't have a heartbeat.  So our guys will be fine.  They'll be excited about playing and they'll get their rest, make sure they drink plenty of fluid, and they'll be ready to go.  That's not going to be a concern.  That's a bad excuse.

Q.  E.J., just the standpoint of your last game, what would it mean to bring home the trophy not only from an automatic berth standpoint but also validate the season and cap off a career for you?
E.J. SINGLER:  I mean, it would mean a lot.  We were fighting until the end to get the regular season championship.  That was one of our goals.  But we just fell short.  Now our new look was that was the old season, this is the new season.  This is the postseason.  So getting the championship would really feel good, and it would cap off a good career.
But if we do that, we've still got more games in the NCAA Tournament, and we feel like if we do that, we can go deep and hopefully make some noise in the NCAA Tournament.  We've just got to keep on playing the way we're playing as a team and good things will happen for us.

Q.  They got back within 8.  Were you sensing you guys weren't doing something, or was that just kind of their last shot?  And I think you had four or five points in a row.  Were you trying to go to the boards a little more?
E.J. SINGLER:  Well, I think we had some bad turnovers in the second half.  We just weren't taking care of the ball like we should have.  But I felt totally confident in our guys.  I wanted to make a point on the boards, so I felt like I could get in position and get some offensive boards.
But down the stretch, I thought our guys really were tough and fought, and we just got the job done.  Really happy about our guys tonight.

Q.  What did you show Johnny that made him smile?
COACH ALTMAN:  He was 8 for 8 from the free‑throw line, and we were 15 of 19.  Our last weekend, we went 9 for 22 with two front ends against Colorado and 13 for 24 against Utah with two front ends, which didn't allow us to stay in the game.  Last night we shot 75% from the line.  Tonight we shot 79.
In any tournament situation, any ballgame, you've got to shoot free throws.  We've had a couple of games where free throws have really let us down, and haven't allowed us to win games or stay in games.  And I thought we did a nice job finishing and hitting free throws tonight.  Johnny will laugh at anything.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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