Ben Howland talks after Oregon:
BH: Obviously, that was a disappointing loss. I thought that we did a very good job defensively in the first half. We had a 6 point lead. They hit a big shot a cut it to 3 at halftime. They really did a good job slowing the tempo down in the second half. We didn’t handle that really well. We had some quick shots. There were 2 back-to-back turnovers. That was a key turning point as well on the press offense. And give them credit. They hurt us on the offensive glass in the first half. We did a great job in the first half… we held them to 15 of 40 from the field, but they had 10 offensive rebounds. And they scored a number of baskets on those offensive rebounds. I thought that Oregon, going in, was really really good and obviously, I was very impressed with them today. I thought they really were tough. Very scrappy. Set good screens. So you have to give them a lot of credit. I thought that [Dominic] Artis and [Arsalan] Kazemi were really key guys for them today. And obviously Tony Woods only missed 1 shot and a number of those were dump shots. So now the key for us is how we bounce back from this, going into the most difficult road trip of the season for everybody in the PAC-12 this year. Arizona and Arizona State. Questions?
Q: the defensive looks that Oregon threw at you in the second half… how much did that kind of slow down the offense a little bit? The zone and the press.
BH: we missed normal looks. Jordan Adams, for example, had 2 or 3 wide open 3’s that he’s been making all season. So we had some good looks that didn’t go down for us as well. I thought Shabazz [Muhammad] had a couple good looks that didn’t go down for him in the second half. But give them credit. Oregon came in here and beat us on our home floor. That puts them in the driver’s seat right now as the league continues next week.
Q: as much of a difficulty that Travis [Wear] can create coming outside, do you lose that a little on the inside when that matchup goes against you? When they have big guys like Woods and…
BH: well, we failed a couple of different times. Twice, we forgot to come double the ball in the post. We had a lot of breakdowns that way where we forgot a couple different times. We were supposed to be doubling the post. One time it was [Waverly] Austin, I think, scored and got fouled. Another time, it was Woods. A number of his baskets I don’t think were 1-on-1 against Travis. I thought Travis did a very good job defensively, especially on his help defense. He was really helping out on Singler. He did a really great job defending [E.J.] Singler. [Singler] only ended up with 9 points. It was the other [Oregon] guys that manned up. They’ve got good depth. And Kazemi, obviously, a late pickup. They picked him up in September on a transfer from Rice. He’s really been a great addition because he got 11 rebounds today. And they outboarded us by 9 boards. You’re talking about what has been our Achilles’s heel been for us and it’s rebounded. And again today, we got outrebounded by 9.
Q: Coach, you talked about the rebounding yesterday. How good of a rebounding team that Oregon was. What makes them so tough to keep off the glass?
BH: well, they’re physical. They’re strong. It’s my fault. We obviously haven’t done a good enough job teaching blockouts. Early in the game, and I’ll go back and watch the film when we’re done here, I remember in the first 3 minutes, they had like 5 offensive rebounds in a row. And we had 2 of our players at half court, waiting for the ball to get rebounded by somebody else. And so that’s something we’re going to really have to work at here in the coming week of practice to try to get solved. Because it’s going to be a problem for us, moving forward, until we get it figured out.
Q: is that simply just blocking out?
BH: yeah. Blocking out and going for the boards.
Q: Ben, you guys only shot 37% in the second half. Was fatigue a factor? I mean, you’re only using a 7 man bench right now.
BH: yeah, I don’t know that. That’s a better question to ask the players that. If they feel like they’re… it’s a quick turnaround game from the first game when we played at 6 o’clock. We’ve done it 2 weeks in a row. We’re at home. We missed open shots. I don’t think it’s fatigue. But I probably should’ve played Tony [Parker]. Tony gave us some great minutes off the bench. I thought Norman [Powell] did a terrific job in the game for us today overall. Really played inspired and did a great job for us.
Q: Coach, with Tony, you mentioned that he only played 3 minutes. Got 2 rebounds and the block. Is that something you felt like maybe he could’ve played more?
BH: yeah, looking at it now, in retrospect, sure.
Q: Shabazz, I think he had 10 of the last 12 points in the first half. Then he didn’t have any points in the second. Do you need him to be more consistent, especially on offense to…
BH: he missed some open shots [audio difficulties] Give them credit. I thought he did a good job tonight… Shabazz, in particular, with defensive rebounds. He got 5 of them so I was pleased with that.
Q: Ben, Shabazz didn’t start. The reason was?
BH: he was late for our practice. He was just asleep. We had that Thursday night [game]. He had class at 9AM Friday morning. He had his car towed so he had to go run his car down Friday morning from parking it in the wrong spot. And he was tired. So he was just sleeping in his car. No big deal. But because he was late, he missed the start.
Q: was that a tough decision for you? Bringing him off the bench?
BH: it is what it is.
Q: I’m sure you’ve played against players that you’ve missed in recruiting before, but going against a guy like Dominic Artis who was committed to you, what was that like just seeing what he was able to do?
BH: well, I think he’s a really good player. That’s why we wanted him. I wish we would’ve stayed with his commitment.
Q: Coach, how does that affect Shabazz, coming off the bench today, as opposed to starting?
BH: well, in the first half, it didn’t affect him at all. In the second half, he started. So I don’t think it had a big effect on him at all.
Q: any reason for the uptick in turnovers in the last few games? I know you were resting them a little bit before…
BH: well, the press today. We had a couple of them there. And you’re right. 15 turnovers is a glaring thing for us. We had a couple of unforced turnovers that were uncharacteristic. So we have to get back to emphasizing taking care of the ball. That’s big for us.
Q: Coach, were you taking more jump shots than you wanted to? That you wanted to drive to the hole?
BH: we’re a jump shooting team. We missed some wide open jump shots. [Jump shooting] is what we do. So I’m not disappointed with that at all. We have to finish a little better at the basket. We had the one shot late that Travis missed at the end with [Johnathan] Loyd on him. That was a big play. You have to give them credit. It was a 1 point game with Loyd driving to the basket, missing the layup, and they got the offensive rebound and Kazemi put it back in. I thought Dave Wear in the second half gave us a great lift off the bench, drawing 2 offensive fouls. We’ve got to do a better job drawing fouls. We had more opportunities than that. One time we had a chance to draw one on Woods coming down the lane. Instead, we reached in, going for the steal, instead of taking the charge. So I was really pleased with Dave getting a couple offensive charges today.
Q: is it especially unfortunate timing, given the fact that you guys are going on this Arizona road trip, to have your 10 game win streak end right before the road trip?
BH: any time you lose is an unfortunate time.
Q: Ben, are you concerned at all? It’s been a long time since you lost. Will the players be able to bounce back from this?
BH: hey, it’s what you have to do. How we bounce back… we’re going on what is arguably the toughest road trip of the league based on the records of the next 2 opponents on the road. So this is going to be a really good test for us and we’re going to work really hard to prepare for our game, Thursday, this coming week.