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Published by Ryan Divish

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Published by: Ryan Divish on Mar 09, 2012
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  Arizona – 66UCLA – 58 An Interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Coach, someopening remarks, please.COACH HOWLAND: Well, obviously, thefirst half we really started off poorly, turning the ballover. I think we had ten turnovers at halftime, butwe had about eight turnovers in the first tenminutes, I think, in the first half.Really didn't handle their pressure well.Their pressure defensively really bothered us. Westruggled to score. We struggled to even makepasses in our sets. So we ended up going tomotion, and that helped us get back where I thinkwe actually took a lead at 22-21 before they wenton a little run at the end of the half to take thesix-point lead.I was really proud of our two senior guardsthe way they led us back after falling down behindby 9 or 10 in that first half, and getting us the lead.We started to handle their pressure better from thatpoint forward.Obviously, all night long we had problemsmatching up with Hill and Perry and they continuedto hurt us with penetration, second shots. Theygot to the line. I mean, those two kid his 41 points,24 rebounds, and they were 24 for 27 from theline, so give them credit. Those two in particular played great for them, and were a big problem for us all night long matching up defensively becauseof their quickness.We had the ball with the game tied. Wehad other opportunities where we didn't takeadvantage of it. We kicked it out of bounds onetime. They’re just a bunch of plays that obviouslywe'd like to have back.But give Arizona credit. They're a goodteam, and they played well today, especially their two inside players.
Q. Coach, you guys tied it up at 51 andthey went on a 7-0 run. Did you guys just runout of gas a little bit there? What happened?
COACH HOWLAND: We had the ball.We kicked it out of bounds with the ball, game tied.They came down and they were scoring a lot at thefoul line. Then we came down and got fouled andmissed the front end of one and one at 53-51.They came down and scored. Then we camedown and didn't take a good shot, and that led toanother basket by them.I don't know what was the closest we gotafter they went on that 7-0 run. But we had the1-point lead at 46-45, and, again, give them credit.They're a very good team. We had our opportunities to win this game today, and did notseize the moment. You've got to make those freethrows in those tight situations. You've got to takebetter care of the ball.But our first half kind of dug a hole for us.We were fighting uphill from that point forward.
Q. In light of UCLA's success, 20 of thelast 23 years in the NCAA Tournament, do youfeel like this program has anything to gain byaccepting an invitation to a lesser post-seasontournament?
COACH HOWLAND: If we have theopportunity to play in postseason in the NIT, wewould accept. It's something that I want for our players. I think that the experience for our younger kids as well as our seniors having a chance to tryto win their 20th game of the season would be agood benefit for our program.So, yeah, no question. We would not snubour nose at the opportunity to play in the NIT. Thatbeing said, the NIT's format is different than it wasyears ago where now every conference champion
March 8, 2012 
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 that doesn't win their conference tournament that'snot invited to the NCAA Tournament is anautomatic bid to the NIT.So I don't really even know the numbers or what our chances are to get in and get invited tothe NIT.
Q. Take us through that timeout rightbefore UCLA went on that run to take the leadin the second half. What did you say to your players to energy them a little bit?
COACH HOWLAND: I don't think it wasanything I said. I think our seniors in particular dida great job. I thought Jerime was a key factor inthat run where we were down 6 or 7. All of asudden we took the lead and he played very wellduring that run that we had right there and did areal nice job leading our team and made some bigplays.
Q. The Pac-12 nationally this year hashad not the highest of reputations. But youmentioned in your opening comments apossession here, possession there. Can youtalk about the overall competitiveness of theleague and just the fine line of finishing in firstplace?
COACH HOWLAND: This league has a lotof parity. You saw that today with Oregon Statebeating Washington, our conference champion inthe regular season. There is not a huge variationbetween our teams. So it comes down to how youplayed in the last five minutes and producing downthe close games that every team experiencesduring the conference.
Q. This is two games in a row that youguys struggled early in the game. Was it jitters? What can you attribute that to?
JERIME ANDERSON: I just think thatpersonally that we just didn't get as good of shotsand we didn't really handle it, like Coach said,didn't handle their pressure very well. There aretwo different styles of play from last game to thisgame. USC backed off of us and we still struggled.I just think that we didn't execute very wellin the first half, and that's what led to us notmaking shots and not getting a good start.
Q. Given the success they're having inisolation, did you consider going to the zone or anything?
COACH HOWLAND: Yeah, you know, Ithought about it. But they've really attacked thezone well. I think our 2-3 zone in particular. It'snot something that we're committed to playing alot. Yeah, I was disappointed. I thought that theygot the benefit of jumping in. At one point we started fouling. It was28-12, and I'll go back and review the tape, but it'snot the officials' fault that we lost this game. Wetake responsibility. We didn't play well enough atthe end of the day. We didn't get to the line.We've got to get our big guys to the line.You look at our bigs, between the three of them that played the most minutes, we got to theline six times and we were 3 for 6 from the foulline. That's just not enough.
Q. Zeke and Jerime, look back uponthe season and reflect. There were a lot of ups,lot of downs, losing Reeves at one point. Canyou just kind of sum up your emotions andyour thoughts about the season?
LAZERIC JONES: Well, it was up anddown. I mean, I feel like a lot of teams go throughup-and-downs during the season.But the fact that our players really cameout, regardless of what was going off the court,came out every game, I feel like they gave their all.We had our tough times, but this team as afamily, we really stuck together, and I appreciateeveryone for that.
Q. You are the last one to celebrate arecruiting class at UCLA. Can you sum up your four years at UCLA so far? We don't knowabout a postseason still to come, but your experience these four years at UCLA?
JERIME ANDERSON: Yeah, I think thatme personally as a man and a basketball player I've grown tremendously. I've learned a lot fromCoach Howland here, and I've developed arelationship with him that I'm sure that I'll keep therest of my life. And I have all the respect for him inthe world.I really feel that I came here with a bigclass and a lot of hype. Me personally just thinkingabout it, I don't really think we lived up to it thatgreatly.But it's just part of life. You have to takethings as it comes, and there's going to be ups anddowns and adversity. I think that every time thatmyself and my team experience adversity, I thinkwe responded pretty well to that, and like Zekesays, just stay together. That's our mantra as our 

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