Listen to Audio (7:40)
“Last night we shot 70 percent, and tonight it was ugly as all-get-out. But I like that, too, because you’ve got to be able to win when it gets down to the tough times when you cannot shoot the ball in the hole. I told my team one time that I had a team in ’97 that we shot 29 percent on the road and won, because we held the other team to 22 percent. The toughness is what you’ve got to have.
“I [think] BYU is a big-time basketball team. For a while, we were playing football underneath our basket, and then we were playing football underneath the other basket too, because we were knocking the dickens out of them, and they were knocking the dickens out of us. It was an ugly game, but we got a couple of plays that I thought were really big.
“Needless to say, Wayne Ellington’s three was huge for us. I think that was his only three of the night. He had a lot of good looks, but couldn’t make anything. I thought Danny Green’s offensive rebound off Bobby [Frasor’s] miss gave us the ball back to run 10 or 12 more seconds out, and then we got fouled and made both free throws after that. Those two, I think, were something. Our depth – maybe this is wishful thinking – but I think our depth was important, because we kept running a lot of guys in-and-out, and at the end of the game, they missed a bunch of threes because I think their legs were a little tired.”
On the team winning without Ty Lawson:
“At halftime I told them he was not going to play. Let’s not feel sorry ourselves and say, ‘Woe is me.’ We got guys that [wear] North Carolina on their shirt, and whoever is in there, they’ve got to rise to the standard that we need. We challenged them a little bit, or maybe challenged them a lot, I don’t know, but I didn’t want us to feel sorry for ourselves.
“Needless to say, you guys saw him last night – he’s pretty doggone effective. And today, one thing we really needed was that when they were in zone, we thought there was some openings inside and we didn’t have anybody that could penetrate and get it in there. Facing the adversity of the shots not going in and facing the adversity without Tywon was important to this team.”
On Trent Plaisted:
“He was sensational on us in the second half. Our plan, and this shows how much I know, was not to help on the post. Because if you help down, he’s also a good passer and then they could throw it out for threes as well. He kicked our tails for a long time, and then we started trying to help a little bit more in there and we got a couple of turnovers at the end. They’re a very good basketball team, and we were lucky [to win.]”
Listen to Audio (3:14)
On how this team is different from last season:
“I think it is our defense. I also think we’re running a lot better offensively, pushing the ball up the floor. It’s like in the game yesterday, where you saw Ty one possession where he just took it out – I threw it directly to him – and the next thing you know, he’s shooting a lay-up on the other end.”
On hitting two big free throws down the stretch:
“I felt confident going to the line. I was happy that I was there, because I thought that I was going to make them. I’m confident in my free throw shooting.”
On the difference in Friday’s defensive performance compared to Saturday’s:
“We knew BYU was going to be tough. We watched them on film last night, and defensively, I think the thing for us was Tavernari. We looked at him and saw him from the previous night, so we knew he was a good shooter.”
Listen to Audio (2:48)
On Jonathan Tavernari:
“He shoots a lot of jump shots and he can hit it with a hand in his face, so it was a challenge for Tyler. But I think Tyler did a good job on him. It’s [just] that he’s hot. There’s not much you can do about somebody that’s hot, especially when they’re hitting jump shots with a hand in their face.”
On playing better in the second half:
“The first half was more of the ‘no’ moments, and the second half was more of the ‘yes’ moments because I started playing better. He kept telling me that I needed to give him something positive, so I was trying my best to give him something positive. [He was] saying, ‘Stay focused, keep in there, and knock down your shots when you [take] it,’ and just keeping me poised, so everything worked out well.”
Listen to Audio (1:49)
On what he did to his ankle:
“I don’t know. I turned to go back to offense, because I think we got a steal or something, and I just stepped on it wrong and heard a pop.
When he expects to be back playing:
“I don’t know yet. We’re going to get it checked out when we get back to school.”
If he tried to test it after the injury:
“Yes – I couldn’t run full speed, so I was like, ‘I’m done with it.’”
On not being able to play:
“It was tough. I always want to get out there on the floor and play, but I hurt my ankle, so I had to deal with it and cheer for my team and keep their spirits up.”