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UCLA[3]

UCLA[3]

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Published by: Ryan Divish on Mar 09, 2012
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March 8, 2012

Arizona – 66 UCLA – 58 An Interview with:

time. They’re just a bunch of plays that obviously we'd like to have back. But give Arizona credit. They're a good team, and they played well today, especially their two inside players. Q. Coach, you guys tied it up at 51 and they went on a 7-0 run. Did you guys just run out 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 the foul line. Then we came down and got fouled and missed the front end of one and one at 53-51. They came down and scored. Then we came down and didn't take a good shot, and that led to another basket by them. I don't know what was the closest we got after they went on that 7-0 run. But we had the 1-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 not seize the moment. You've got to make those free throws in those tight situations. You've got to take better 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 the last 23 years in the NCAA Tournament, do you feel like this program has anything to gain by accepting an invitation to a lesser post-season tournament? COACH HOWLAND: If we have the opportunity to play in postseason in the NIT, we would 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 try to win their 20th game of the season would be a good benefit for our program. So, yeah, no question. We would not snub our nose at the opportunity to play in the NIT. That being said, the NIT's format is different than it was years ago where now every conference champion

COACH HOWLAND JERIME ANDERSON LAZERIC JONES
THE MODERATOR: Coach, some opening remarks, please. COACH HOWLAND: Well, obviously, the first half we really started off poorly, turning the ball over. I think we had ten turnovers at halftime, but we had about eight turnovers in the first ten minutes, I think, in the first half. Really didn't handle their pressure well. Their pressure defensively really bothered us. We struggled to score. We struggled to even make passes in our sets. So we ended up going to motion, and that helped us get back where I think we actually took a lead at 22-21 before they went on a little run at the end of the half to take the six-point lead. I was really proud of our two senior guards the way they led us back after falling down behind by 9 or 10 in that first half, and getting us the lead. We started to handle their pressure better from that point forward. Obviously, all night long we had problems matching up with Hill and Perry and they continued to hurt us with penetration, second shots. They got to the line. I mean, those two kid his 41 points, 24 rebounds, and they were 24 for 27 from the line, 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 because of their quickness. We had the ball with the game tied. We had other opportunities where we didn't take advantage of it. We kicked it out of bounds one

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that doesn't win their conference tournament that's not invited to the NCAA Tournament is an automatic bid to the NIT. So I don't really even know the numbers or what our chances are to get in and get invited to the NIT. Q. Take us through that timeout right before UCLA went on that run to take the lead in the second half. What did you say to your players to energy them a little bit? COACH HOWLAND: I don't think it was anything I said. I think our seniors in particular did a great job. I thought Jerime was a key factor in that run where we were down 6 or 7. All of a sudden we took the lead and he played very well during that run that we had right there and did a real nice job leading our team and made some big plays. Q. The Pac-12 nationally this year has had not the highest of reputations. But you mentioned in your opening comments a possession here, possession there. Can you talk about the overall competitiveness of the league and just the fine line of finishing in first place? COACH HOWLAND: This league has a lot of parity. You saw that today with Oregon State beating Washington, our conference champion in the regular season. There is not a huge variation between our teams. So it comes down to how you played in the last five minutes and producing down the close games that every team experiences during the conference. Q. This is two games in a row that you guys struggled early in the game. Was it jitters? What can you attribute that to? JERIME ANDERSON: I just think that personally that we just didn't get as good of shots and we didn't really handle it, like Coach said, didn't handle their pressure very well. There are two different styles of play from last game to this game. USC backed off of us and we still struggled. I just think that we didn't execute very well in the first half, and that's what led to us not making shots and not getting a good start. Q. Given the success they're having in isolation, did you consider going to the zone or anything? COACH HOWLAND: Yeah, you know, I thought about it. But they've really attacked the

zone well. I think our 2-3 zone in particular. It's not something that we're committed to playing a lot. Yeah, I was disappointed. I thought that they got the benefit of jumping in. At one point we started fouling. It was 28-12, and I'll go back and review the tape, but it's not the officials' fault that we lost this game. We take responsibility. We didn't play well enough at the 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 the line six times and we were 3 for 6 from the foul line. That's just not enough. Q. Zeke and Jerime, look back upon the season and reflect. There were a lot of ups, lot of downs, losing Reeves at one point. Can you just kind of sum up your emotions and your thoughts about the season? LAZERIC JONES: Well, it was up and down. I mean, I feel like a lot of teams go through up-and-downs during the season. But the fact that our players really came out, 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 a family, we really stuck together, and I appreciate everyone for that. Q. You are the last one to celebrate a recruiting class at UCLA. Can you sum up your four years at UCLA so far? We don't know about a postseason still to come, but your experience these four years at UCLA? JERIME ANDERSON: Yeah, I think that me personally as a man and a basketball player I've grown tremendously. I've learned a lot from Coach Howland here, and I've developed a relationship with him that I'm sure that I'll keep the rest of my life. And I have all the respect for him in the world. I really feel that I came here with a big class and a lot of hype. Me personally just thinking about it, I don't really think we lived up to it that greatly. But it's just part of life. You have to take things as it comes, and there's going to be ups and downs and adversity. I think that every time that myself and my team experience adversity, I think we responded pretty well to that, and like Zeke says, just stay together. That's our mantra as our

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team. I think we really did that, and I think that's sums up my four years. Q. Josh Smith today only played nine minutes and had the foul issues. Talk about what he was doing to get himself in trouble? COACH HOWLAND: Yeah, it was hard for us because he fouls out in 9 minutes of play. I was subbing for him the second part of a foul shot attempt with 12 to go. We were down 6. We put him in. He got fouled. I was worried about the game getting stretched away from us at that point. That's why I gambled on him pulling four. That's what we've done before. But the second foul shot he missed, so we didn't get a chance to sub in for him. We were subbing for him with Stover. Then they went down, and he picked up his fifth foul on that possession. But, yeah, you know, it's been a problem for him all year to stay out of foul trouble, as it has been these last two years really. FastScripts by ASAP Sports

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