Listen to Audio (7:46)
Opening Remarks -
"It was the kind of night where we were really good defensively. In the first half the most impressive thing to me was four turnovers. We talked before the game that we had to do a better job and so I congratulated them at halftime -- and that set the tone as we turned the ball over 14 times in the second half, so maybe I shouldn't have said anything. It was ragged, and we've got to do a better job distributing the ball without taking chances, without jumping in the air and charging people. First half I thought we had good shots but just didn't make a bunch of them, and yet we went into halftime up 28. Second half I thought we were still getting good shots, but we made more of them.
"I thought Wayne got us off to a great start early, and I thought 20 was his career high so I left him in there for one extra possession and he got a wide open three and missed it - so I told him I did my job, he's just got to do his. [laughs] I think Tyler was impressive getting the ball and going to the free throw line.
"We're more gifted than South Carolina State, we're bigger and we should win, but I was pleased with our intensity ... feel good about it, it was a workman-like effort and that's what I asked for from our team ..."
Wayne has long been considered a good outside shooter, but have you seen him expand his game this season?
"We talked a great deal about that for his things to work on in the summer -- that he's got to get to the foul line more, penetrate to the mid-range and take it all the way to the basket, and doing a good job defensively. So I think he's gotten better in every phase of the game, but he's continued to be a scorer. He's not just a stand-still jump shooter, he's a scorer and we're seeing more of that now."
What did you think of Alex's performance tonight?
"He did some nice things. He's continuing to grow each and every day. We need to get more rebounds out of Deon and better defensive play out of Alex -- because Alex can be really good defensively. He can really block a lot of shots, but he's making bad decisions which ones to go after and which one to leave alone. I think throughout the course of the entire season we'll see Alex and Deon both get better and they need to do that because I don't think our best team for the course of the season and the big picture is going small with Danny. Our best team looking at the big picture is having two big guys in the lineup."
In your view, is this team getting rid of the rough edges each game?
"I think so. I didn't think we were very smooth offensively tonight. We had our defensive doing some things for us and getting us easy ones on the other end, but we're working awfully hard in the halfcourt -- and they played zone and we haven't worked on the zone offense that much. I think we're going to be a very good zone team. We've got guys that can shoot the basketball."
Listen to Audio (3:22)
Coach Williams praised your defense tonight, saying it was the first time that he's thought you set the tone defensively ...
"That's what the emphasis in practice was, me pushing up and making it hectic for the point guard to bring the ball down the court. That's what I'm trying to do to make the team better. He said our whole defense will run better if I do that."
What's the stretch going to be like, hitting the road for six straight games?
"Yeah, I'm [looking forward to it] because we have a lot of tough road games that will make us better later in the season going into tough environments like that. And, plus, UCLA moved into a No. 1 tie with us so this will give us a chance to prove we're really the No. 1 team in the country."
Listen to Audio (3:26)
You got off to a hot start, hitting some shots early ...
"It just came my way. I got some deflections in the passing lane and that sparked it for me, creating some breaks, and got me flowing."
You've looked a lot more comfortable on both ends of the floor this season than a year ago. What's been the difference?
"Experience. It's just experience -- understanding a lot more things: different plays and different situations."
Coach Williams talked in the offseason about your need to improve defensively - do you think you've shown improvement there?
"Definitely. I think I'm a lot better off the ball as well as on the ball -- off the ball being in the right position and on the ball being able to pressure my man and stay in front of him."
Listen to Audio (3:00)
How did you feel the team played tonight?
"It was a pretty good effort. We knew we had some mistakes that we shouldn't have made, but basically we tried to treat it as a glorified practice to get better for Vegas."
Do you feel this team is ready for the Vegas trip?
"I think so. We're sticking to our game plan -- get the ball inside first, Tyler is getting his touches, and hit the offensive glass. We just have some things on defense to work on, and boxing out because they had way too many offensive rebounds in the first half."