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March 23, 2013

UCLA-Minnesota NCAA Tournament Quotes

Representatives from both UCLA and Minnesota met with reporters Friday night after the Bruins upset loss to the Gophers.


UCLA PRESS CONFERENCE

COACH HOWLAND: I thought that obviously we struggled against the zone in the first half. I looked up and saw the field goals attempted, we were at one point I think like 2 14 or something like that.

We had some open looks early. We couple wide open shots that we didn't knock down. And it kind of snowballed to where we continued to miss some pretty good looks early in the game.

And then give them credit. Minnesota, a battle tested team out of the Big 10, they're very, very physical and tough. We ended up out boarding them tonight, ironically, by six. But I'm not going to let this diminish, tonight's loss, as much as it hurts, as sad as we are, diminish what a great season these kids provided. And to be 25 wins, PAC 12 champions of the regular season, lose Jordan and find a way to continue to fight back the way they did in our last two games, I'm just really proud of them and really proud of the spirit of this team and the young kids that we have that represent UCLA.

Q. Can you just talk about your college career coming to an end in this sort of fashion. Probably not the what you envisioned it ending.

LARRY DREW II: Yeah, it's definitely not how I had envisioned it at all ending. But like coach said, it was a terrific run for us. Caught a couple tough breaks near the end losing Jordan and everything. But like he said also, just proud of the way that we kept fighting, kept competing. I'm just glad to be here and just glad to have been given the opportunity to don the UCLA jersey and colors.

Q. David, talk about your emotions in those last few minutes. I know you guys struggled a lot in the second half especially.

DAVID WEAR: Yeah it was really disheartening to be down that much in the last couple minutes. I thought we prepared really well for this game, I thought mentally we were ready for a battle. We were ready for a war. It was just unfortunate we didn't really shoot the ball too well. I felt we played tough and we rebounded well, but they just made more shots than we did.

Q. David, were you guys hampered by the foul trouble? I know Travis had four and Tony had four there. How hard was that to kind of have to play conserves detective?

DAVID WEAR: It was definitely tough just because we're already have a short bench as it is. And then to have foul trouble with those two guys, our bigs, it was definitely tough.

Because again, we were ready for a physical game inside and we came out and they called a couple quick fouls and it was just tough trying to adjust to that over the course of the game. And really trying to just trying to not play so physical, I guess, inside. And keep picking up cheap fouls.

Q. David, talk about kind of the effect that this loss has on the program, far reaching affects that it may have?

DAVID WEAR: Honestly, I thought we had great season. The group of guys that we played with we were a family, we battled through a lot of adversity throughout the course of the whole season. And I'm really proud of just the way we came back. We won the PAC 12 regular season championship, and a huge win up at Washington, which was big for us. And then we battled all the way through the PAC 12 tournament and then of course it was extremely tough losing a player like Jordan to this team.

So I'm really proud of this team and I feel honored to have been able to play with these guys and have the year that we did.

Q. Describe your feelings in those last few minutes.

COACH HOWLAND: Yeah it was disappointing to lose. I thought we did a great job. We cut it to five and I'm not sure how much time was left. I want to say it was about 10 or 12 minutes. Right around the 10 minute mark.

And then Hollins, and I should have mentioned him in my opening statement, played great. Their point guard was unbelievable tonight. Just how effective he was. Shooting the ball and pulling up and he made two big threes in a row to put it back to 11. That kind of and we were obviously short handed. You could see that our guys wore down physically a little bit. But as I look out there I've already stated I'm really proud of these group of kids and really indebted to them for the great season that they provided and so coach able, just really, really good young men.

Q. Let's talk about something that went well tonight. Obviously the rebounding factor for Minnesota was something huge coming into the game and you guys did a really nice job of keeping them off the board, especially the offensive boards for the most part. Talk about what you did maybe this week to really focus on that.

COACH HOWLAND: You know, in terms of the board play, we didn't get enough defensive rebounds because they shot 50 percent from the field. The first half in particular was tough for us. I think we were up at halftime on the boards, if I'm not mistaken. We had too many turnovers. At half time we had nine turnovers and only three assists.

And we really struggled just attacking the zone and knocking down some open looks when we had a chance. And it's a different setting when you're playing in the NCAA tournament and it's one and done if you lose or whatever it is, it's sudden death.

I thought that early we were a little tight and I thought that probably affected our guys a little bit just thinking back to how the game unfolded from the beginning.

Q. Are there any indications that you coached your last game here?

COACH HOWLAND: No. No comment. No, I can't answer it.

Q. No, did you hear the fans behind you giving you a standing ovation, it seemed like they were cheering for you.

COACH HOWLAND: I didn't. I never hear anything during the games. When I come to a game, I'm so focused on the game, I don't notice what people after hundreds and hundreds of times of coaching, if you're hearing the fans, then it's a rarity.

Q. So there was no feeling you were in your heart that this might have been in the back of your mind?

COACH HOWLAND: I'm just really proud of the season that these kids provided, the UCLA fans. I think that going back into Pauley this year and bringing home the championship in the regular season, it's really, really disappointing to think about losing Jordan in the last play of the game against Arizona. That's just the breaks. That's just an unfortunate thing.

And had it happened two months earlier, it really would have been a problem. And I said throughout the season, the one thing that could stop us would have been losing a key guy. And that's what ended up happening to us down the stretch. I thought we played great against Arizona, when was that? A week ago today. Right? And so it's just unfortunate, but overall, really proud of our team and proud of our kids and excited about the future for them.

I think that our guys improved a lot, and I look at Larry. Larry didn't have one of his better games today, but on the season as a whole, his improvement from the beginning of the year to throughout the season was just tremendous. That's what you want to coach. You want your team to improve, to compete, you want your players to improve individually and as a team. I thought our guys did that.

Q. You talked about how tough, how physically tired they appeared. Was it a mental thing too because of the Jordan Adams thing and the early foul trouble and controversy about your job status, was there a mental, was it mental for them as well tonight?

COACH HOWLAND: I thought our guys were good mentally. You lose one of your Jordan is arguably our most effective all around player at both ends of the floor. No question that affected us. I mean it affected us in the seeding, we should have been in Salt Lake instead of here if he stays healthy.

And I'm really excited about how the three teams in the PAC 12 won yesterday and I think our league gets pretty much a bum rap when you look at it overall in terms of the quality of the teams this year. I think that both Cal and Oregon and Arizona are all having a chance to go to the Sweet 16.

So our guys won that league with all those players and all those teams in it and really excited about what they provided. The kind of year they had.


MINNESOTA PRESS CONFERENCE

COACH SMITH: I thought we were pretty efficient tonight in the things we did. We really were on our game making shots and that's always a dream for a lot of things when the ball goes in the basket. But I thought our defense was outstanding both Andre and Austin really got us going making shots and when we're making shots from the outside we're pretty effective.

Q. Andre, they had made that run there at the start of the second half and got it to within five and then you hit the back to back threes in a span of 31 seconds. Could you feel the momentum go back to your team at that point?

ANDRE HOLLINS: Most definitely when a team starts scoring on your defense and they start cutting the lead down you get a little more pressure on to you score. After I hit those threes, it relieved the pressure a little bit from us, and then from then on we picked up the defensive intensity. Austin and I hit shots and Joe Coleman, he played well, so we made shots tonight and that was the big difference.

Q. Austin, you guys talked yesterday that you know pretty early on when Dre is going to be in a groove. Did you sense it pretty early on tonight?

AUSTIN HOLLINS: He was hitting shots in warm ups. I'm not too worried about Andre when he comes out here. I know that he'll be ready to play whenever he steps on the court. So it was just a matter of going out there and playing and it started on defense. Our intensity was up and we were making shots tonight.

Q. Andre, you guys have talked some in the past couple weeks about finding that guy on the team that can step up when you really need him and hit the clutch shots. That was you last year at this time, did you feel like you needed to kind of take that role again tonight?

ANDRE HOLLINS: I guess so, yeah. My teammates believed in me and they know I can make the shot and tonight I hit it. I hit the shot. It was some clutch threes when we really needed them. They were trying to make a run and I'm thankful for my teammates for giving me the ball when I was open and I hit the shot.

Q. For both guys, 11 turnovers, how important was it taking care of the ball now. I know it's been an Achilles heel and did tonight feel like the team we saw early in the year when you were 15 1 or when you beat Indiana?

AUSTIN HOLLINS: Yeah, that was huge. It has been an Achilles heel for us all year and we went out there, we weren't forcing anything, we were taking the open shots when they were there and we were taking care of the ball. We were being strong with the ball. We had a few careless turnovers here and there, but for the most part I think we did a really good job of that tonight and that was one of the focuses just take good shots and take care of the ball?

ANDRE HOLLINS: We took care of the ball tonight. In crunch time in games that could be your last game, every possession matters. And tonight we took care of the ball, we defended well, we got out in transition, and we shot the ball well. I think we shot 50 percent for the entire game, and, what, 56 percent from the three. That's a big difference. Teams can't really and also we stopped their offense by pressing today. And that was a key.

Q. You guys obviously you look at the way you played earlier in the year up in the Bahamas, Andre, and where does this game stand with that game. That was a special moment for you, but being able to come on this stage and play like this, what does it feel like?

ANDRE HOLLINS: It's huge. Growing up as little kid you just dream of these moments and I'm just so thankful to have a great team like we have and a great coach and great coaching staff to be able to have this opportunity. We're still, we have more games to go. We take it one game at a time, like coach said, and we have to raise our intensity in this part of the year and I think that's what we did tonight.

Q. How much pre work have you done on Florida already? Your staff and how much have you guys scouted them already?

COACH SMITH: I'm pretty familiar with Billy Donovan, we played quite a few games against each other when I was at Kentucky. So he's a they sort of, like UCLA, they like to get the ball up and down the court. And Kenny Boynton, they have an outstanding guard there who can really motor the ball up the court much like Larry Drew can. And they have some people that can do some things.
But we really haven't done much. I haven't watched them play. Part of the game we walked over tonight I thought Northwestern State did some good things. But Vince Taylor and Saul Smith and my staff, they have, they watched the game, so we probably have got film already broken down, probably have stuff already and then I'll concentrate on Florida tomorrow at practice.

Q. You guys stuck with the zone for most of that game, was that something you game planned coming into this or was that more of an adjustment, in game adjustment?

COACH SMITH: No, we planned to zone them a lot. I thought that was but the zone was going to be a byproduct of us pressing. We knew we were going to have to extend, we wanted to extend our defense, but we didn't want to so we wanted to wear them down and not wear ourselves down.

So I thought tonight the press was pretty effective. We knew that would limit their number of because they can get out in transition, UCLA is one of the best in transition and Shabazz is great. You saw what he did tonight when he gets out in transition.

So we thought trying to slow them up with some soft pressure and then dropping back into the zone would be effective, keep us out of foul trouble and stop us from because we have had trouble guarding people one on one, everybody's taking you off the dribble, it's dribble drives and draw and dish and I thought that we would be more effective zoning.

Q. Six minutes into the game I think you had already used 11 guys. Was it just an effort to wear them down?

COACH SMITH: Yes. I thought that our bench was very effective. I can't say enough about how Elliott, Mo, I look down here, these guys, Elliott 3 3, Mo was 2 4. They had eight rebounds between them. Oto came in and gave us what we needed. That's what we expect from these guys.

And I talked to them about having, me having confidence. It's one thing for me to have confidence, but they got to have confidence in themselves. And Mo has really gotten better. He's in shape now and I thought that was a huge, huge difference maker in the game. Even when Rodney got in foul trouble, I thought that Andre Ingram but I was planning on playing a lot of people because we wanted to try to force the action, push the ball, and press.

Q. Was this the most fun you've seen your team have in the last couple weeks is?

COACH SMITH: Yeah, we're 0 3 in the last three games, we haven't played well at all in a while. We haven't played well since the Penn State game. So it was good to see our guys having fun, playing the right way, sharing the basketball, taking care of the basketball. We have had a real problem with turnovers. But tonight UCLA really didn't press us, they played pretty much half court man to man and that probably helped us.

But we'll see a different look against Florida. So we'll have to really concentrate and even at that we still turned it over too many times tonight. We would dribble off our feet, you know, not come meet the pass, it was really, really interesting to see. So turnovers that we had.




UCLA Locker Room Quotes

UCLA G Kyle Anderson

On the game: I think today the effort was there. It was tough to say [why we lost], but they were just better than us out there. It is sad to go down like this. We are not saying that we didn't have Jordan [Adams] and that is why we lost, but it is hard to take such a tough break at the end of the season and bounce back from it. You have to give credit to them.

On if the hype of being the underdog affected them: No, whatever goes on outside of our team we can't control. We just wanted to play our game out there and that is what we did.

On what he is most proud of looking back on the season: I am proud that we won 25 games. We got better everyday as a team and that is something that is really underrated that I noticed about this group. I am really proud of them.

UCLA F Shabazz Muhammad

On thoughts about game: It was off to a real tough start for us. It is hard to play in the NCAA tournament. I think we had a lot of jitters coming out but all in all, I think they deserved to win. They played better basketball than us.

On not fully prepared without Jordan Adams: I thought we were prepared. They came out and jumped on us early and they played really well. Like I said, they deserved to win.

On if hearing how Coach Ben Howland may not be here anymore: It doesn't affect the team. It is something that is not our business and it is something we have to go by so we are just going to see what happens.

UCLA F Travis Wear

On feelings on second half: When you pull close to five and they extend back to 11, that just sucks.

On thoughts about UCLA offense verse Minnesota defense: They played the zone pretty much the whole entire game. We knew they were going to show zone but we didn't know they would be playing it the whole game. So I think that our execution on offense wasn't great tonight at all. It obviously could've been better since we didn't shoot the ball at all. That was an issue tonight.


Locker Room Quotes

Minnesota F Rodney Williams

On what the team did well: We just came out here with a passion and a desire to go out here and win. A lot of people were doubting us and we know how good we are and that we didn't end the season like we wanted to. Everybody in this locker room knew what we were capable of.

On the team's depth: This is definitely the team mentality that we've showed when we've been really good. That's what coach always preaches all the time. Players play but the team is what makes everybody win. For everybody to step up like we did today, that's what we're going to need going forward.

Minnesota G Austin Hollins

On the keys of the game: I think everyone came to play. It started on defense, our intensity was up, we were forcing them into turnovers, forcing them to miss shots, and we were getting out and running in transition.

On their three-point shooting: We knocked down shots, everyone contributed and everyone was putting it in the bucket.

On the kind of basketball they're capable of playing: Yeah definitely, everyone was out there having fun knocking down shots. That's the way we were used to playing and what we had to get back to.

On moving on to the next round: We're going to focus on our next game, you know one game at a time, and now we've got Florida next so that's where our new focus is.

Minnesota G Joe Coleman

On turning their play around after the three game stretch: I guess just getting back to having fun, we had to focus in on playing hard, having fun and not letting things get to us and I think it showed tonight.

On his increase in attempts: I don't know, I guess I got a few open looks and I was able to knock down my shots. I knew after not playing too much in the first half that I was going to have to get some kind of looks and I had to be more aggressive because I sat most of the first half. So I think that's what my mentality was after the first half.


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