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Washington players met with the media following a 76-73 defeat to Nevada.
How would you explain the start of that game?
“There were too many errors and we got into foul trouble—I was in trouble, and so was Aziz. They scored some buckets off the zone, so we stayed out of zone second half. There were too many errors in the first half that dug us in a hole.”
Did this game feel like last year’s with Burton?
“Not really, it was different—last year he did more at the end in one four-minute span. This time he got going at the beginning and throughout the game he was scoring. He got a lot of buckets in transition when we weren’t organized. When we were in half court C.J. did a really good job guarding him. We knew that once we got back in transition we would be able to make things tough on him.”
Did you feel like you guys spent so much energy trying to get out of a hole that you were tired?
“No, we got lost in the game but we thought we had it once we got it back. Then Burton hit two big shots, which made it tough for us. He put the pressure on us to score and we couldn’t capitalize.”
On the last two possessions were they concentrating on C.J. making him unavailable?
“Yes, the whole game they were concentrated on him—that’s what all teams are going to do. He’s one of the leading scorers in our league and teams are going to try to take him away or face guard him; we’re going to see a lot of different types of defenses on him. This opens things up for the rest of us, the main thing we have to do is make sure we execute on offense. He’ll get his shots; he’s a good scorer, and scorers always find ways to score.”
How do you feel about the offense you’re running, what you’re understanding, what you need to understand, etc.?
“We’re still getting guys back; we just got Shawn back, we’re getting Quinn back, and we just got Scott back from injury. The offense still needs to execute better, and since those guys have been out they haven’t been able to get game repetitions, and so it’s a little different. I think we’ll be fine; the main thing is that we just need to make sure we’re solid on defense.”
What is the key defensively going forward?
“Rebounding. It’s not that we’re not a good rebounding team, we just need to know our rotations. We have Aziz and Shawn back there blocking shots. It makes it tough because when they go for blocks they have to leave their man down at the rim for offensive rebounds. This means we need to know our rotations and know to box the other guy out on the weak side. Guards need to make sure they come back, and guards need to rebound too. Desmond and Aziz are great rebounders.”
Did you feel like you defended Burton pretty well on those last two three’s?
“Yes, the first one was a tough shot and the second one I actually tipped. I thought it was going to be an air ball but once he got going, he could make shots like that.”
That first half you usually shoot so well—was this one of those games where it wasn’t working for everyone at first; were you guys not feeding well off each other?
“It was just one of those games. You can’t shoot the ball well every night. We need to find a way and get to the free throw line when our shots aren’t falling. In the second half we got a good rhythm and got a lot of good shots too.”
SHAWN KEMP JR.
How do you feel?
“I feel good for my first game back. I did what I could but hopefully I can work on some more things and do more for the team.”
How was your wind and does your knee hurt at all?
“My knee hurts a little but it’s nothing big. I felt good out there. I wasn’t tired and wasn’t breathing too hard so I was okay.”