SAN DIEGO - Here's the Dawg Blog for March 18, 2006, as Washington and Illinois do battle in a NCAA…
Coaches' Quotes - UW/ILL (Expanded)
On beating Illinois: "For us, we've played tough teams in the Pac-10, so we felt we were capable of beating tough teams. The reason this means so much is because we are back in the Sweet 16. It didn't matter who we were playing against. We won the second round, and we are going to Washington D.C. It didn't matter who we were playing against, we knew we had to win this game to advance and we did. Obviously, all of us looked forward to playing Illinois because they are a high-profile team and have been very successful. As a competitor you want to play against the best, what the best has to offer. Beyond that, the win means we advance."
On this being the type of game he expected: "Absolutely. If you look at the statistics, there were so many (categories), it was very close - I think it was dead even on the boards. You guys may have hit a nerve with Bobby (Jones) when you bring up the soft thing. He is not close to being soft at all. We've had two game where we were out-toughed this year - at Washington State and at Oregon in the first round (of the Pac-10 Tournament). For whatever reason, everybody ran with that and said that maybe we are a soft team. We're not a soft team at all. You can't manufacture toughness all of a sudden. If that wasn't in us we couldn't have won that game today if we weren't a tough team."
On James Augustine: "We made adjustments to front him and get backside help. That's the standard way we play them. They made adjustments and we didn't catch on. Then we adjusted and were able to contain him. Mike Jensen did a phenomenal job in guarding him.
On Zone switch: "We usually go zone just as a change of pace, to give teams a different look. Our guys were a little winded at the time, they were getting worn down. We decided as a change of pace, let's try some zone."
On shutting Augustine down in the second half: "Give Mike Jensen all the credit. Mike Jensen did a phenomenal job that way. And our guys helped him. It was a team defensive effort, but Mike Jensen did a great job. Throughout his career he has guarded some great basketball players. Channing Frye, Andrew Bogut, Ike Diogu and Leon Powe. He has done a phenomenal job in his four years for us. We always feel that if they've got a post player that is really good, then Mike can do a good job. Mike wasn't on him the entire time in the first half, and there were some mental lapses. When Mike decided to knuckle down and really try to prevent him from catching the basketball - he was strong, he was smart enough to do it - and there it was. We've got a lot of confidence in Mike in being able to do that."
On Illinois' head coach Bruce Weber: "Coach Weber is unbelievable. They run such good stuff. They play such good defense. You've got to give him a lot of credit for just how they were able to isolate him (Augustine) and take advantage of our defensive schemes early on. Give him a lot of credit for that."
On Dee Brown's final shot and what he was thinking: "This better not go in, because maybe next time we'll have to foul. But it didn't go in. Seven times it hasn't gone in, one time it did."
On Dentmon's reaction at the end of the game: "We have not brought that up. It's one of those things that he'll remember for the rest of his life, obviously he's beyond that now."
On comeback and where it ranks: "It ranks right up there. They are a great basketball team. When you can come from behind at a stage that is as high-profile as this and win a ball game against a great team, you feel pretty good about it."
On the last play and switch "We were just going to switch no matter what. We knew they had to shoot a three, and a lot of teams will draw up a play so they can get two guys on the ball and get back to the shooter, but if we switch, that doesn't happen. Mike Jensen was on the ball, so that gives us four guys of comparable size that could guard the shooter. It doesn't matter."
On possibly fouling on the final possession: "The only reason it crossed my mind was because after that Stanford game, I've been asked that question 7003 times. I did think about it and say well, here is that situation again. Given the fact that we have been in that situation a half a dozen times this year and we've lost one time, the other times we didn't lose. We lost one time. We had to go with the percentages."
On his own energy and enthusiasm in the second half: "Sometimes we have a tendancy to put our heads down. This was not the time to do that, so we wanted to make sure that no matter what - whether it was a substitution or whatever - we just wanted to give whatever we could to keep their heads up and continue to play. Because we felt that we had a chance to come back. That game was an 11-point game for the longest time. So I thought, 'We're just a couple of shots away from being right back in it'."
On whether or not it felt like last year's game against Louisville: "To me, it didn't feel like Louisville at all. This was a little different. I felt like we were a little more in control of the game here.
On the second-wind and big plays: "Obviously there were a few plays, the one Justin hit, the rebound and basket by Jamaal, I thought that was very important. But what I thought changed the game was that they were really trying to go to James Augustine. They couldn't get him the basketball. And when they couldn't do that, they had to break down and drive and did some things that were maybe uncharacteristic of their team or system. Our guys did a good job of not fouling them and contesting their shots when they were coming up empty. And I think that allowed us to get back in the game."
On the second-to-last defensive series being UW's best all year: "I don't know if it was our finest, but there may not be another that's any better. There might be a four or a five-way tie there."
On UCLA road game and how it impacted the Illinois game: "We knew because of those things, we knew we could win the game. We were on the road and be able to do that. We were on the road and beat Arizona. When you're on the road, there's no better teacher than experience."
On getting too giddy early on: "I felt like we were worn down the last four minutes of the first half, and when they went up 11 in the second half, I thought it could go either way. We just tried to motivate and keep them going until we got a breakthrough. It's like boxing in a sense. You get stunned, but if you can keep things together until the bell, you can recover. And that's how I felt this game was."
On the pace of the game: "Well, I thought there were three flows to the game. We were totally in control, and then they made a huge run that not only carried on into halftime, but about half-way through the second half. And then there were four huge plays; Jensen hit a huge three; we're down seven and Dentmon hits a huge three that ends up being a four-point play; Jamaal Williams had a huge steal and then a putback on our end. I thought that it was a battle of wills. We had a hard time guarding their bigs with Augustine and they had a hard time dealing with Roy and Dentmon off the dribble. I thought, 'Is this dribble thing going to work better, or is this inside thing going to work better?'"
On not having to rely on Roy down the stretch: "Everybody did something. Bobby guarded Dee Brown and did a tremendous job. Jensen, when he got back in there, did a good job on Augustine. Brandon draws a lot of attention. You look at his line and you may think he didn't play as good, but he's drawing so much attention it helps. And Dentmon's line - 13 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and no turnovers. I really thought we had really good point guard play, which you have to have. And Appleby hit a couple of shots and Jamaal hit some shots down the stretch. It was a good win."
On the reffing job being a little different than what UW is used to: "We thought we were maybe in a position to draw some charges in the first half, and they didn't see it that way, and in the second half we just drove it to the basket and they had to grab us to stop us."
"We switched everything. I didn't see if it almost went in. We just switched everything. There's less than five seconds, so there's not enough time to react. Who cares if they drive in the lane."
"Their physical strengh and conditioning wore us out. They are very strong physically and they were in unbelievable shape."
"Augustine's all-Big 10. That's why he had more success."
"I don't know, it's hard to say on that. It's definitely a good win for tournament time, because we beat Montana and Pacific last year and lost to Louisville, and we beat Utah State on Thursday. It's just nice to get a win over a very tradition-rich program."
On Justin Dentmon not being a freshman anymore: "When the money's on the line, his eyes light up."
On the runs in the game: "We got off to a great start, we really guarded them well, which led to some buckets for us. We were able to get to the line, attack them and get some of them into foul trouble. Then they hit us with their punch, cut it to two at the half and come out of the half and kept it rollin'. You could see we lost a little steam, but we hung in there. We chipped away, chipped away, and down the stretch we made it happen."
On their size: "I think it wore us out more mentally than physically. Mentally, we saw the game going and we tried to get the tempo back up without pressing. And you take one possession at a time, and it went to 8, then 6 and then that four-point play was huge. The confidence went back up."
On the late plays and the team effort: "They've been stepping up all year. Brandon's been doing a great job for us, he's by far our most talented player in terms of making things happen, but at the end of the day, we aren't getting it done without a team."
On Dentmon: "You either have it or you don't, and whether he's a young pup or an old pup, he's going to have it. You just want to give him room to do what you know he can do."
On where the win ranks: "Oh, it's right up there with the other Sweet 16 run. It's big-time. Our kids played hard. It's an unexpected year for us to go to the Sweet 16, but our guys got it done."
Statement: Obviously, we're very disappointed. I guess we didn't understand the level of intensity and how physical they were going to play. We had a great run at the end of the first half. We adjusted to them and took the game to them, but the second half was the opposite. We got the lead and then they took the game to us. You never want to lose. You have to feel bad for for Dee Brown and James Augustine. They were so instrumental in our success, and we owe them a great deal for setting a standard that I don't think anyone could match. They had unbelievable careers, and I just wish them the best."
On the last possession of the game: "They did a nice job of switching out and made it tough for us to get the ball. We had Jamar (Smith) coming off a double-bound, and Rich (McBride) was going to in-bound it and fly up the sideline. If Dee gets going one way and Jamar's not open, maybe we could kick it back. The problem we had is that we wanted Dee to come off the screen, but he also has to make the pass. I'd rather have Dee take the last shot than anyone else, and it had a chance, but it just didn't drop."
On the momentum down the stretch: "We missed some opportunities, and we missed some open shots. Obviously they got to the free-throw line, but we kept them to their second-lowest field goal percentage of the year. We must have been doing something right on defense, but we didn't get to the free-throw line. We got into so much foul trouble that we had mixed-up lineups. No one knew their position, and we lost opportunities. Their kids went to the foul line to take the lead. Strange things happen in these games. When you don't have the guys in the lineup, you can't execute what you want to do."
On how this year's team will be remembered: "If anyone told me before this year that we'd have 26 wins, and playing for the Big Ten Championship, I wouldn't have known what to say. They did pretty well, and overachieved. At the same time, some of the wild season was a microcosm of today. The inconsistencies, the highs and lows, these things happened all year. Certain game we get too high or too low, and that happened today."
On James Augustine and Dee Brown: "I hugged and cried with them. I appreciate what they've done at Illinois. You think about Dee coming back, and it's a tough thing to handle because there's a lot of new guys. When there's one last shot and everyone's looking at him, he kept his poise. He's a great leader. James has made some huge strides, and he's a great team player. I hope that they'll do great things since they both want to be in the NBA. Now it's up to them in terms of how hard they're going to work to get there."
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