California Head Coach Mike Montgomery
On withstanding the Trojans' effort to win tonight:
SC's a good basketball team. They're very athletic. They got physical with us like they did [in L.A.]; I thought we withheld that. It was a heck of a game. I thought our guys really hung in there. Hats off to SC. Jorge's two free throws late: critical. Then Patrick made a very, very intelligent, kind of a gutsy play to throw it off a guy [on the inbounds pass].
On what may account for the Bears' finishing stronger tonight than they had recently on the road at Oregon State:
You're at home and you get a little discouraged on the road. The comfort level of knowing you can come back and make a play. We just got shaky when it went to press a little bit. All of a sudden no one wanted to touch it, giving it up to people that shouldn't have had it. But it's kind of a new experience for these guys, being in a position where a game means that much, and we'll work our way through that.
On the significance of free-throw shooting tonight:
We did shoot 27 free throws, and really there is the difference. They make 16-of-28, we make 24-of-27, and we've been a good foul-shooting team all year long.
USC Head Coach Tim Floyd
We got a great effort in the last 18 minutes of the game from Marcus Simmons defensively which allowed us to get some stops. We got some terrific play from a lot of guys on the floor. I'm proud of the fact that we didn't turn it over much tonight and that we out-rebounded them and scored more field goals. I thought we played with a real purpose and just didn't come out with enough stops.
We had terrific individual efforts from Daniel Hackett and Taj Gibson. I thought they really played the best they have played in five or six games and I thought the rest of the guys played solid. I'm proud of our effort. We just didn't get it done.
On what sparked USC's second half comeback:
I thought when we went small and inserted Marcus Simmons into the lineup and put him on (Jerome) Randle. I thought we got him (Randle) under control. We extended our defense ninety-four feet and seemed to get them (California) a little bit out of rhythm. We were able to get stops and I think Marcus contributed to that.
On California's free throw shooting:
It's a big part of the game and they were able to knock them down. I thought their ability to make free throws and our inability to make free throws was probably the biggest differential in the game.
On California guard Patrick Christopher:
Patrick Christopher had a terrific night. I thought he was outstanding. He really had a great individual game. The basket that he made when it was 73-71, the fade from the left baseline, was probably the biggest basket of the night. He played with a lot of confidence.