Thursday, November 24, 2016 Post-Game Quotes – UCLA 99, Portland 77

UCLA Coach Steve Alford – “I thought we did a really good job especially after we settled down in the second half. It was two pretty consistent halves for us. We had twenty nine assists on eleven turnovers.   When you make thirty six baskets with twenty nine assists, you can’t help but smile as a coach. We’re really sharing the ball. We had six people in double-figures, so we have a really good balance. We can beat you inside or outside. I didn’t like our start defensively, and didn’t like our mindset. I thought as the game went on we picked up our intensity.”

On the team sharing the ball? – “We had five guys with assists tonight, we’re just a team that shares the ball and it becomes contagious. They built some trust with one another on the pre-season trip to Australia. We started the season 5-0, but we’re still a long ways away and we got a lot of work to do. We get Ike (Anigbogu) back tomorrow which will help our depth, but we’re still a work in progress.   Offensively I love how we’re sharing the ball, we truly don’t care who gets the basket. We’ll pass up the open basket to get an even better look, and that is something that is fun to watch”

On their defensive plan vs Portland’s pick-and-roll offense? – “We’ve been doing a pretty good job against a pick-and-roll defense and we came into this knowing Portland is all about pick-and-rolls on offense. I just think we didn’t defend it well. It’s more than just guard play, there is a big involved with it as well. I thought we played with our hands down and that we were soft and we allowed them to become comfortable especially in the first half. About 10 minutes into the game I thought we started doing things pretty good. Other than them making an abundance of threes in the first half and in the last few minutes of the game, we held them to 37.7% shooting.”

On Freshman Guard, Lonzo Ball’s play? – “I noticed that he plays like a freshman. We’re playing a Big 10 opponent that has some experience to the team so it will be our best and biggest test we had so far this year. These type of things I’ll be saying in another week when we face Kentucky on the road. That’s our first road trip of the year. The freshmen are learning as they go, but they’re doing a great job figuring out as their learning these new experiences. This is the first tournament as men in college, next week will be their first road trip that they had in college. I just want to see them continue to grow. I thought today was a little bit of a slow start for him (Lonzo Ball), especially defensively. Since he’s so long and disruptive. I think the guys fed off him. If he learned from anything, is that this team really trusts him. He’s not your typical freshman who comes. The Seniors Issac (Hamilton) and Bryce (Alford) went to him in Australia and told him to “Do, What you Do”! “We need you to do what you do.” For seniors to give him that confidence, it’s helped him build some confidence out of that. He’s just got even more confident, and he was and he was a confident player coming in here. When he gets rolling, it really helps what we’re doing at both ends.

UCLA Thomas Welsh on the team’s start to the season? – “We’ve gone through a great start and I think the Australia trip helped us with coming together and having a chance to get to know one another. We have a feel for playing with each other and it shows with our assists today. We only made seven shots that were unassisted. I think we’re starting to figure out each other every game and it’s going to be about sustaining that and playing great defense every game.”

On the team’s exciting offense? – “It’s great! It’s definitely exciting and fun to be a part of. We hopefully will keep packing the Pauley Pavilion and getting fans to come out and support us. It’s fun to play with these guards, and they know how to distribute the ball really well. Around the rim, they can make a play at any moment.”

On the team’s big men rotation? – It’s great because GG (Goloman) and TJ (Leaf) are both phenomenally great players. TJ (Leaf) has been great for us so far, and GG(Goloman) keeps on getting better every day. We’ll get Ike (Anigbogu) back soon and some other guys from injuries. It’s been a lot of fun so far but we just got to learn from this game and keep moving forward.”

Portland Coach Terry Porter – “Thought the guys came out and really competed well. In the first half, we did a much better job knocking down shots. Second half, we knocked down shots at times and they really got hot. They executed a lot better and got the shots going where they wanted to on the floor and going down the stretch, we just couldn’t consistently knock down shots and make plays for us.”

On UCLA guard Lonzo Ball – “He’s got a lot of good skills. Reminds me of an old school Jason Kidd in college, just a big point guard with great vision, who really plays the right way and plays unselfish. He’s probably got a little bit better jump shot than Jason Kidd did coming out of college. He’s got a lot of great skill, great vision, and a good feel for the game.”

On strong defensive start and keeping guys motivated – “Our team is not that concerned. I think that for the most part, we stay true to who we are and will continue to push our system and work our system. UCLA is a very talented team and we can talk all day about their ability to get out, but we really need to take care of the ball. UCLA got a lot of points off our turnovers, but I’m not concerned about our mindset when it comes to how we feel we played. What we do, we take in stride, and we will do it better than before. We know how important it is to get our program to where it needs to go.”

On expectations against Dayton – “Our team is always doing a good job responding to certain situations. We obviously we won our first three games and we had certain situation where we didn’t play as well in the first half and we had to respond in the second half and we did that. This is kind of like that type of scenario. We played well in the first half and we’re taking all the good things out of that, and there are some things in the second half that we got to get better at. Dayton is a very good team and they did a lot of good things in the game that I watched them play earlier today. We just have to come out and play both ends of the floor. We know they’re a high quality opponent and we have to be ready for them.”

Portland guard Jazz Johnson on carrying the load – “I just looked at it as: this is a big team and this is a big opportunity. We really had nothing to lose because its UCLA and we just had to be aggressive and fight as hard as we can.”

Jazz on pushing UCLA and how it compares to conference – “You definitely get confidence from playing a game like this against UCLA. Coach Porter is really on me about play aggressive and not playing passive. Being aggressive against a team like this should lead up to conference well.”

Jazz on expectations against Dayton – “We just to keep playing hard. All these teams are good teams, so we just have to keep fighting and show what we can do.”