Ben Howland talks after loss to Cal Poly:
BH: that was a very very tough loss after what I thought was a really tough start to the game where they came in, and exactly what we thought they’d do, and be very patient. Use the clock. They had the lead. [audio difficulties] I don’t know what the lead was in the first half, it must have been 5 or 6 points at least. We fought our way back. Did a good job attacking their [audio difficulties] zone a little better and took the lead at halftime. Came out, really played well. Had the ball, up 18, when we threw it away in transition. Kyle [Anderson] had a turnover. I don’t know how much time was left when that happened. Does anyone know?
Q: 12 minutes.
BH: so with 12 minutes to go, we had the ball, up 18, and managed to lose the game. Again, you have to give Cal Poly San Luis Obispo credit. They did a great job. Not quitting. Not giving up. The 3 pointers would shoot for them down the stretch. They must have had, from that point forward, they must have had about 6 3-pointers minimum.
And we got lost quite a bit defensively. They ended up shooting 57% in the second half and obviously very reminiscent of the game last Monday against Georgetown where they shot 60% in the second half. And they were 43% from 3.
We’re going to watch this game as a team, and hopefully be able to learn from our mistakes. We’re counting on too many switches out there. Guys would just stop trailing shooters. And they got some open looks late in the game that really hurt us. And the last play there, we tied the game at 68-all. And obviously we didn’t tell Norman [Powell] to foul. He didn’t know what the score was. We were talking in the timeout that if we were down 2, we were going to foul if we were down. But that was kind of a critical mistake to foul with the game tied with 14 seconds to go.
I thought when we had the lead, we started playing a little loose, and we started taking some questionable shots in transition. One time, we were 1 on 4 and trying to split people. And that helped fuel their ability to come back.
Q: obviously a lot of defensive breakdowns down the stretch. Do you attribute that to a lack of focus or something like that?
BH: you know, a part of that is we’re not that super athletic. People were able to gain separation from us. Part of it is inexperience. Part of it is just a lack of focus. We have to dig deep down. We’re too relaxed. This was a possession by possession game. We were very untamed. A lot of guys, young, playing major minutes. And we’re getting some good things offensively. Defensively, things were not too good.
Q: Ben, I think some fans might be a little bit worried to hear you say that we’re not a super athletic team. [audio difficulties]
BH: we’re just not super athletic. I mean, we’re long. We have good size. But with the exception of Larry [Drew, Jr.] and Norman [Powell], being able to step out beyond the 3 point line defensively for us is a struggle. Our lack of focus is average from that point forward. [audio difficulties]
Q: so how do you fix that? How do you counteract that?
BH: we’re going to have to play more zone again. We have to get better on defense. This was a really good shooting team. We knew that. Maybe it’d be better if we played some zone with the lead. And we have to play smarter. We’re up 18. [audio difficulties] The youth of our team is showing in those situations.
Q: Ben, they had a few offensive rebounds at the end…
BH: they did. A couple were missed block outs. We’re going to watch the film right now. But obviously, there were some key missed block outs that got them some second shots late in the game where we got a stop but they put it back in. 2 tip-ins that must have been in the last 3-4 minutes of the game.
Q: coach, are you still trying to get a feel for the makeup of this roster in terms of lineups and how to allocate minutes for players?
BH: a little bit. We just got Shabazz [Muhammed] for 2 games. But really, we have 9 guys. The minutes are going to come. Especially if we get in foul trouble.
Q: can you talk about your decision not to start Kyle [Anderson] and kind of how he did coming off the bench?
BH: yeah, we’re going to have to look at all our options. Kyle, I thought did a good job offensively in most parts… defensively… I’m asking a lot of him. Playing a lot of positions. Played backup point on offense. Sometimes he’s playing the 3. Sometimes the 4 a little bit when we go smaller. So he’s got a lot of responsibility. My biggest concern for him is being able to go out there and guard whatever position we ask him to guard. And he was fine. He’s got a great attitude. He’s our player out there that’s most versatile in terms of things he can do, playing those positions.
Q: Ben, what happened with Tyler Lamb?
BH: Tyler came and saw me, I guess what was Friday… he decided he was going to transfer. He didn’t feel like he was going to be able to get the minutes that he wants. And so we support him fully and wish him the best.