Dec. 29, 2011
CALIFORNIA HEAD COACH MIKE MONTGOMERY
On the close game
"That's how they play, and you have to give Kevin [O'Neill] credit. They never quit. In his mind, it's going to be a matter of time before [Maurice] Jones makes some shots, which he did. It just happened to coincide with us missing shots and making turnovers. We had a nine or 11-point swing, fairly quickly. They didn't have a shot to win, but I bet you they've had ten games just like that with pretty good opponents. We got a little bit lucky, at the end. We got the three foul shots and Allen [Crabbe] made all three. We had opportunities to stretch it. We missed free throws. Once they figure out what's going on, they'll get physical with you, and they make it hard for you to get plays. We were getting frustrated. We started turning down shots. Next thing you know, we had a close ball game."
On what can be gained
"We have to learn from it. Other than the first two or three possessions where they got the easy dunks for [Dewayne] Dedmon, we played really good defense by and large all the way through. We weren't giving people looks, and we weren't giving them what they needed. We did a pretty good job on [Maurice] Jones. They adjusted. We didn't do a great job of rebounding the ball. They had free-throw misses which hurt them as well as us and we didn't rebound. They had ten, or so, offensive rebounds in the first half. They didn't make many of them, but it took us out of offensive possessions. We did a pretty good job in the first half. If we had made our free throws and rebounded the ball, it would have been a great half of basketball. In the second half, they were down 17, and they got physical. We couldn't get what we wanted and we got frustrated. We made some not real great decisions."
On USC and UCLA's defense
"USC is a really good defensive team. Kevin [O'Neill] had done a really good job. They scout, and they know what you're trying to do. They prepare their kids. They force you down to the side; everything is to the baseline. They've got great size; they bump you a lot. You can't get to your cuts. It takes you out of rhythm. UCLA is really big. They'll probably play three bigs and four perimeter guys, primarily."
"They're good. They did what they needed to do in order to solidify their ball club and that was get rid of Reeves Nelson. It was a huge distraction for everybody. It was causing everybody to be off balance and not know what's going on. Now, they've got a bunch of guys who want to play together. Since that time, they've won, and they've won big."
On sophomore G Allen Crabbe
"He's got to work harder to get open and we've got to work hard to get him shots. We did a good job when we went in to Harper [Kamp], rather than Harper trying to make a play, he came straight outside to Allen and Allen hit the three. We need more of that. We've talked about guys working to get Allen more shots, but Allen is going to have to work, too. People are going to guard him. He's going to have to figure out how to get to the line. He's going to have to figure out how to get some off of the offensive glass."
On sophomore G Justin Cobbs
"He made some bad decisions, and he got into his head, and he compounded it. Rather than say, `OK, I've got to win this game,' he needs to say, `I've got to manage the game.' That's something that's still a work in progress."
Allen Crabbe, So. G
On letting USC back into the game, late
"We just lost focus. We weren't executing like we were earlier in the game. USC got aggressive, and started making plays."
On the foul at the end of the game that got him to the line
"I just know he blocked the shot and it came right to me. I just threw it up. I didn't know that they called the foul. I just caught it, looked at the shot clock, and tried to throw it up."
On his inconsistency
"I just need to put in extra time. I've been kind of inconsistent with my shot. I haven't been shooting good percentages. My teammates always encourage me to keep shooting. They do their part. I'm just glad that we got the victory."
On making the final three free throws
"I just told myself to calm down and take my time on each one."
Harper Kamp, Sr. F
On the rebounding battle
"We knew going into it that USC is a really tough team to rebound against. They're very physical. They're going to push you in the back and push you any way they can. You've got to try and play through it and keep them off the glass. It's a style of play thing, too. It must be something that they emphasize. As long as I can remember playing against USC, that's one thing they've done really well. Tonight, it hurt us, and it kept them in the game."
On the fast start and the gradual slow down
"They settled in, a little more. We caught them off guard, a few times with our pace, offensively. Those first few possessions, we caught them. They adjusted well and played their tough defense like they do. You're not going to keep scoring at that pace against that kind of defensive team."
On winning a close game
"I've been in a lot of games like that, and you see it turn around. You have to play hard, every minute, especially down the stretch. Every possession becomes more valuable than the last. You've got to try and get high percentage shots, down the stretch."
On USC's late push
"We as a team had too many turnovers, late. That's kind of what got [Maurice] Jones going. He was kind of feeding off of that. He got into a little rhythm with his shot. They all smelled a little blood in the water."
On Maurice Jones' late game effort
"Any good player, when they see a few go in, gives them a little bit more confidence. That certainly happened with him. I think he made one really tough one... and that gave him a lot of energy. You knew he was going to keep going back to that."
On weathering the storm
"I think we just have to play through the physical play. We have to expect it. Instead of wanting the game to be called a different way, or be played a different way, we just have to embrace what's going on and adjust and just keep playing hard."
USC HEAD COACH KEVIN O'NEILL
On the foul at the end of the game
"It doesn't matter what I saw. There was a foul. That is a veteran crew of good officials. Naturally, one was called against me, so I would like to say I saw it differently. It doesn't really matter. That's basketball. We've had that happen four times in two-and-one-half seasons here. I thought it was a great defensive stop; great blocked shot. A call is a call. They stood by it, and so do we."
On USC's effort
"I have been proud of our team's effort, all season, except in the Kansas game, and the second half of the Cal Poly game. We go on the road for the first Pac-12 game with no starters returning and only one player who played significant minutes (last year). Everybody else is playing their first conference road game. This is our sixth one-possession game [that] we haven't been able to come up with. We've won four and lost six. We played hard, down the stretch, and did what we had to do to give ourselves a chance to win. We just have to build on that effort. As long as we give that kind of effort, we are going to make progress, as a team."
On G Maurice Jones
"[Maurice Jones] just took over, again. Two of the last three games, he has taken over. He does that, every other game. He is a first-semester sophomore who isn't really a point guard. He doesn't really have running mates, except two freshmen. I was really impressed with his game, tonight. We just need to build on those things we did today and keep them going, Saturday."