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March7Oregon State - 03 07 122 (2)

March7Oregon State - 03 07 122 (2)

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Published by: christianc5060 on Mar 08, 2012
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Oregon State – 69Washington State – 64 An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Coach, an openingstatement, please?COACH ROBINSON: First and foremost, just happy to be able to come back tomorrow, and Icouldn't be any prouder of this group. For about allbut about eight minutes the game plan was followedalmost to the letter, and to be able to weather thatstorm, and I don't know what it ended up being, butit felt like it was a 30-6 run, and then grinding theseguys back out and winning the game the way wedid. It's a win that we wouldn't have been able to doearlier in the season, let alone in the past.It all came down to real team work ondefense. And to be able to play that kind of gamewith Jared Cunningham not having one of hisgreatest games, that bodes well for us later on inthe tournament.So with that, I'll open it up for questions.
Q. Coach, score is tied 60-60 with threeminutes. Can you talk about your defense atthat point until the end of the game?
COACH ROBINSON: Well, we startedswitching from zone to man, and then they broughtin -- when Motum was out, we wanted to go zone.When Motum was in, we wanted to go man. So wewanted to hold Motum to under his average againstus which seems like it's 30 points, so it looks like wedid that. But it was really just team defense. Wewere able to put some good pressure on the ball,have good weak side help, and limit them to oneshot as opposed to making a miss and letting themget an offensive rebound.
Q. Can you talk about your team notfalling apart after they made their run?
COACH ROBINSON: Yeah, yeah. That'sa sign of maturity. Again, we couldn't do this earlier in the season because we weren't mature enough.We're starting a freshman, two sophomores and two juniors, and one of the juniors didn't play hisfreshman year. So that's a young team.But to see them be able to sort of man it upat the end of a game that was rugged against somereally good players and a team that had beaten ustwice was, it was outstanding. It should be aconfidence builder for these guys. These guysshould feel like they can beat anybody at any time,no matter what.
Q. Did you believe that the team wouldbe able to rally back and come forward?
COACH ROBINSON: You know, the onething when you're turning a culture around likewe've had to do, the one thing you're very confidentabout is coming from behind. We've spent a lot of time doing that with these guys the first couple of years plus the first three years I was here. So oncethey made their run and got a little bit of a lead, wedidn't think it was that big deal. I don't know whatthe lead ended up being, if it was a 6 or an 8-pointlead.But we knew if we stuck to our game plan,we'd be able to chip away at it.
Q. Ahmad, with the environment outthere and not much of a crowd, it was quiet, alot of the players seemed to have trouble gettinggoing. You came out on fire and then cooledoff. Can you take us through the start of thegame for you? And what are some of the thingsthat contributed to you slowing down later?
 AHMAD STARKS: Coach always talksabout us coming to a fast start, and that helps us besuccessful. So it was on me today to kind of get itgoing. I was there to make some shots which gotus an early lead.But not much of a crowd, that shouldn'tmatter. It's the Pac-12 tournament. It's high stakes
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March 7, 2012 
right now. We're going after something right now,so that should be the incentive to get going, and myteammates picked it up as well after I started.
Q. Could you please talk aboutCunningham? You said he struggled a little bit.Can you talk a little about that, please?
COACH ROBINSON: I can. Here it says 1for 8, 0 for 4, and he scores three points and he'saveraging whatever he's averaging. I mean, if youtold me before the game started that that would behis line and we'd still win, I would wonder what youhad to drink before we got started.But again, Jared does a lot of things for usother than scoring. He was a nuisance on D. Jaredwas guarding Reggie Moore. Reggie Moore was 3for 16 today. So what he didn't do on offense, hepicked up on defense, and that was really important.But again, for us to win a game with Jaredhaving only a so-so offensive day shows the growthin the rest of the team, and it also shows the growthin Jared in trusting his teammates, which I thoughthe did a very good job of today.
Q. Craig, I think Eric had a key blockthere at the end where Brock had kind of a cleanlook at the lay-up and a double-double. Whatdid he mean for you today?
COACH ROBINSON: You're talking aboutthe block that wasn't a foul on a three-pointer at acritical point of the game, right?No, Eric wanted the challenge of guardingMotum, and we wanted to put somebody longer onhim, and he did a terrific job. Guarding a guy likethat is hard to do. As I said, he's been averaging 25or 26 against us in the first two games to hold him to18 was pretty good. Three of those were at the endthere where the game was in hand.But Eric has shown a lot of growth andmaturity as well. He has a wonderful knack of beingable to stay in front of his man at 6'10". Not toomany 6'10" guys you can put on a guard as well asa center. He plays above the rim along with Devon,and it helps us from a defensive standpoint havingguys back there who are threats to block shots.Then finally he's just a rebounding machine. If youlook at his rebounds per minutes played, it's got tobe one of the tops in the country.
Q. Going after your game plan today,how do you think you match up withWashington tomorrow?
COACH ROBINSON: I'd like to think wematch up well against them; but once again, that isa team that's had our number twice this year, so Ican't say that fully. But I think this year our athleticism is much better. So I think we can givethem a better run from an athleticism standpoint.We just have to be as good at staying with our game plan as we were today.They've got a fantastic team. Arguablythree pros, maybe even four pros on that team, sowe're going to have to really execute our defensiveplan as much as our offensive plan.
Q. If the players could talk about thechallenge of playing Washington, and what doyou have to do different this time than the firsttwo games?
DEVON COLLIER: We've just got to comeout strong like we did for today's game and just playtogether and keep playing on defense, and ouoffense will come. We had each teammate help ondefense, either it was a block or a steal or arebound, and we just executed. I feel for tomorrow's game, if we come out strong like we didtoday, that will put us in a good situation.
Q. Is Burton, was he banged up there alittle bit at the end? I know he came back in, buthe seemed to be playing.
COACH ROBINSON: I saw him. He saidhe twisted his ankle. I didn't see it happen, but Iknow the play when it happened. I wasn't going totake him out, and he wasn't going to come out. Theref said, because they stopped it for the injury, hehad to come out. Then he told me he was okay.But Joe's been banged up all season long,and it's been -- he hasn't complained not one bit thisseason. You guys all can imagine when you're280-plus and as athletic as he is, there is a lot of wear and tear that your body takes all season long.
Q. There was that play right beforewhere he had stripped the ball from behind andthen saved it from out of bounds or somethinglike that. Is that the athleticism that he showsday-in and day-out?
COACH ROBINSON: Day-in and day-out.I've actually been trying to get him to stop strafingthe people for the ball like that, because it seemslike it's an easy way to get a foul, but he's so goodat it -- and he doesn't listen to what I say -- that hegets one every now and then.That was a big play for us. I think thebiggest play though was when Roberto Nelsondrove in there and it looked like he was going toshoot and somehow squeezed it between two guys
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