Dec. 22, 2007
Head coach Ben Braun
I thought in the second half we played better defensively. We gave up 55 percent (shooting) in the first half - that's not characteristic of what our defense is about. As I told our players, we can point to a lot of things, but when you don't defend, I really was disappointed. In the first half, we not only didn't get back on defense, but we gave up some wide-open looks from the perimeter, some easy post touches. In the second half, we made (Luke) Neville work a little harder for the ball. We contested a lot better. We lost Johnnie Bryant on a couple of occasions - that really hurt us - but we got some stops and held them to about our season average, 40 percent, in the second. So when you do that, now you can take a little pressure off yourself on the other end of the floor, because when you're not getting stops, it's putting pressure on you to score offensively.
On whether Utah took Ryan Anderson and DeVon Hardin out of their rhythm with double teams:
It wasn't by surprise - we knew their schemes in terms of doubling. But I told our guys there are two things: either we don't know how (to react to a double team) or we don't want to. We have some pretty good schemes against double teams; we're going to get some good looks for some of our players. We can't be frustrated because we're getting double-teamed and try to make plays against a lot of hands. But we did a better job in the second half.
On whether Cal's seven team assists was disappointing:
Our season low this year in assists is 14 (entering today's game). To get seven assists in a game (today), our season low by half of what our previous low was, that tells me we're not moving the basketball out of double teams, we're not finding open guys. We've got to do a better job.
On other areas that need improvement:
When we're doing what we do, we do those things pretty well. I think ball movement has been a strength of ours this year, making adjustments, whether it's half-time or during-the-game adjustments. When teams play you and take away some of your strengths, they take away the block, you've got have schemes to get it out, and I thought our ability to get the ball out of the double team wasn't quick, it wasn't as efficient as it where it should have gone. To make better counters, that's something we need to do a better job of, whether that's ball screens, whether that's side switching against our break, which they did. Even if they're fronting, that shouldn't be something that concerns us. We've got to flash a guy into the high post area and then go over the top, high-low. If they help in from the wings, we've got to get that ball reversed to the wings and knock down shots or make a play off the dribble. It's about recognition. It's about our team making those plays and learning how to do those things on the fly.