Looking at the tapes of the Stanford game with the exception of containing penetration, we did a great job defensively. We had hardly any defensive breakdowns. We had great communication. We had unbelievable pressure on their shooters. (Dan) Grunfeld was 10-for-12 and eight of those were contested almost to the point where he almost had to change his shot. Despite the way they shot with two minutes to go, it was a six-point game and we stole the ball and (Chris) Hernandez stripped it and threw it long for a lay-in. It could have been a four-point game at that point.
After seeing the tape, two things weren’t good. One, we didn’t put the ball in the basket. Twenty-three offensive rebounds and I think we only scored on eight of them, which you have to do a better job. If we would have just made follow-up on rebounds, we would have been over 50 percent for the game. We shot it well from three and shot well from the line. We just need to do a better job of containing penetration and then when it gets down late, we have to get the ball to the open man.
Does USC pose problems with its quickness and ability to penetrate?
?'SC is one of the most athletic teams in the league. They are one of the most experienced when you talk about (Jeff) McMillan, (Rory) O’Neil, and the guy that really killed us, (Gregg) Guenther. (Lodrick) Stewart has moved into the starting lineup, but he had to beat out a veteran to do that. They will play out of a 1-2-2 match-up and man-to-man. By this time, we should be ready to play.
Can you talk a bit about Isaiah Fox?
He just hasn’t done the job. I don’t know (what the reason is). He just hasn’t done the job. There isn’t anything we can do about it. He needs to finish plays and he needs to front low-post guys. Channing (Frye) did a great job of keeping the ball out of the post, but Isaiah did not. He needs to step up, obviously.
The situation that USC is in is a difficult one right now...
No question, it is difficult when you are playing for an interim coach, especially one that is new to the program.
Do the think the conference race will continue to shake itself out?
I think it’s gone more like we thought it would. There are a number of teams that are young. It’s going to take a while for them to jell. I said before the season started that the team that wins it is going to have four losses, maybe five. I think it’s going to go to the final weekend. I don’t think there is a gimme, certainly at home, but not on the road (either). It’s also obvious that ASU is going to be a factor. The league will be a battle.
The home court is a big advantage, but you better play well enough to take care of your home court.
How did the guys respond to Saturday’s loss?
Practice has been great. The guys have worked hard. They are really focused on doing things we need to do better, starting with containing penetrators. The attitude is great. They are anxious to get back out here again.