March 9, 2010
Box Score |
AP Action Photos
Head Coach Norm Roberts
It was a really hard, physical game. Our guys did a great job of battling on the glass and being physical, and then we made plays. Our guys made plays all day. We got it from different guys. That's pretty much how our team has been all year. I thought (Justin) Brownlee gave us a great lift. Sean Evans was awesome today. He did a great job on the glass and finishing plays and even though D.J. didn't have it going, he made some huge plays at the end. Paris, too, made huge, huge plays. Malik (Boothe) was as tough as anybody on the floor. He leads us in that area.
(On if he expected the game to be as physical as it was)
"I don't think anybody can expect that. UConn's teams are great and physical. I thought our guys did a great job of getting after them. And they got after us. I think Malik was exactly right; we always talk about first, second and third effort plays. And you know, they came out in the second half and kind of punched us. And then we fought back. And I thought a huge energy play was we had a breakaway dunk. D.J. lost control of the ball and Paris jumps headfirst to get the ball and call time out. Those are the plays you have to make to win championships."
(On the difference the way the team played today compared to all season)
"I think my guys I don't think there's any team that plays harder than my team. My guys play hard every day. But I also think what they're doing right now is they're playing not only hard but they're playing with their hearts. And they want to show improvement, which they have. Maybe it hasn't shown in the wins and losses. Our team has totally improved. And our program has really grown and it has a lot to do with these guys. I talk about this all the time with our guys. We're trying to teach them how to win. Like Marquette is a very good team. They had (Jerel) McNeal and those guys from last year that taught (Maurice) Acker and (Lazar) Hayward and those guys how to win. These guys we've had to teach them how to do it, because when we first got here there was nobody here to show them. And they're doing that and they're growing from it. That's what you're seeing, I think.
Junior Guard Malik Boothe
(On if winning a game like this helps remove some of the frustrations felt this year)
"I don't know if it removes the frustration. I know it was a good win today. We also can't celebrate on this win. Last year we were in the same position going against the same team in the next round, and they pretty much had their way with us. We have to have the same focus tomorrow."
(On if the second-effort plays helped in the game today)
"I think the second effort plays, second and third effort plays, those sometimes come down to winning a game. And I think we did that more than they did tonight. And we got the win."
Junior Forward Sean Evans
(On if there was a sense of urgency about this game)
"I don't think as far as that goes, that's why we played hard. Coach always tells us, Don't worry about things like that. We can only do what we can control. We can control the outcome of the game. We executed, played hard and came out to win. That's what we came in the game to do and that's what we did."
(On if there was a play in the second half that changed the game)
"Like Coach said, when Paris dove for the ball, that set the tone. We're going to play hard to the last minute. Paris could have gave up on that play, instead he dove on the ball and put his body on the line. That set a tone. I think that told UConn we're here to play."
(On how the team's mental toughness played a role in the victory)
"It's a lot about mental toughness. We played we can play in the first half with any team in the country. We play good the first half. We don't usually keep that momentum in the second half. It was big for us to come out in the second half, keep fighting, keep punching and coming out with the win. I think we did a good job today."