Nov. 30, 2008
Arizona Head Coach Russ Pennell
"I thought this game was great. NAU is a great team and a lot of teams have a very difficult match-up against them. Our running, shooting, intensity and our overall effort increased in the second half. The second half is what made us win."
"The first half was not strong, they were setting back on their heels and their hands were down low. I told them if the effort did not improve, we would have a long night. Everyone is going to get a chance to play eventually. I felt really good about Zane (Johnson) today. There was no energy, so I said let's give Zane a chance."
"We really need to improve our playing in the first half. I try to make every game day the same; the consistency makes the team feel comfortable. I am not too worried about (Jordan) Hill's free throws, he has been working on them. If he was not working on them then I would be worried, He will get there."
"Hill, Wise and Budinger make a great trio. If we were to play anyone three-on-three, I am very confident that we would win. Those three play very well together, they complement each other. I think that is what makes them so great. They bring each other up when they are not doing that well."
Junior Forward Chase Budinger
On halftime adjustments:
"We really didn't make any adjustments at halftime. The biggest difference was our intensity. We really picked up our defensive pressure. We were very sluggish in the first half, and we changed that around."
"Nic, Jordan and I have to play like that every game. We have a load of work to do out there. Nic has to lead us. J-Hill has to get points and get rebounds, and I have to get points and get rebounds."
On the tight game:
"When you have a young team, you're not going to blow teams out. It's just important to keep fighting and win it in the end."
The difference in locker room procedure from last year:
"It is a little bit different. Last year I didn't take the role of being the vocal leader, but this year I'm able to talk to the guys in the locker room at half time. I do whatever it takes to get everyone going. I'll stand up, start yelling and get into guys. Sometimes, I will sit at my locker and talk mellow, talk about what they need to do."
On hitting two three pointers in a row late in the second half:
"It was pretty big. It was the turning point in the game. It definitely got us momentum, and gave us some leeway. It gave us some nice space so we could continue on for the win."
Junior Guard Nic Wise
On being described as a "second half team":
"I don't know if I'd call us a second half team, but Coach Dunlap always says our 2-2-1 press wears teams down in the second half. In the UAB game they were hitting all those threes in the first half, and they missed a lot of them in the second half."
On the importance of early games for the young players:
"Games like there are very important for guys like (Garland) Judkins and (Kyle) Fogg. They give them confidence going forward. I thought they both played really well tonight and did some good things out there. They really showed up with their defensive pressure."
On Coach Pennell's locker room behavior:
"Coach Pennell never yells. He never cusses. He comes in and talks to us very mellow. He will point guys out, though. He will point out Jordan, Chase or I. He talks to the leaders and trickles down to the rest of the team."
"A lot of the time we're not going to win pretty. We have to grind it out and win ugly because we're not that deep or experienced. You have Chase, Jordan and me, but a lot of the times teams will gear their defenses towards the three of us, so we need the rest of the team to step up and help us win."