Here’s the video and transcript from California coach Mike Montgomery’s press conference following Washington’s 62-47 victory.
(On the game) “No. But, it was pretty apparent from the start that they were way more ready to play than we were. They dominated us physically and on the glass in particular. They had way more shots than we had early. I don’t think our percentages were all that different. We were actually playing decent defense in terms of missed shots, but we didn’t get any rebounds. They got a lot of second-chance opportunities. We missed free throws. I just think the tone was set right from the outset. When there was a 50-50 ball they got it. We didn’t get it, they got it and got second chance points. I think that Aziz was huge in there as far as a physical presence. It was really hard in there for Robert [Thurman] and Richard [Solomon] to rebound because they just couldn’t get into a position to jump because he is 270-280. I think that our guards did a very poor job of going and chasing down balls and getting involved. Once we got down we kind of caved a little bit. We caved to pressure and we let them have their way with us. A lot of it has to do with the mental preparation. I think we’ve got to continue to work on that in terms of every game we’re going to play is going to be an absolute dog fight. We’ve got to be prepared for that and we’ve going to make our minds up that when somebody pushes we’ve got to push back, if there’s a loose ball we’ve got to go on the floor; all those things that you have to do.”
(On whether this group has the necessary mental toughness) “We’ll see. It’s certainly not the first time we’ve seen that. So, we’ll see. We’ll continue to challenge them. I told them, `It’s got to be important to you.’ You’re going to have to understand that we physically are not superior to everybody. We can’t walk out on the floor and just be better than everybody. We’re going to have to really compete to have a chance. I don’t think that’s totally ingrained in us.”
(On starting Robert Thurman) “We just wanted to try something different just to see what would happen. I thought Thurman scored the ball a couple times early and frankly Richard came off and gave us a little bit of a lift off the bench. Those guys are all playing interchangeably any way. So it wasn’t a big deal.”
(On having Justin Cobbs play off the ball more) “We wanted Justin to be a bit more active with the off guard shooting and scoring thing. Ty [Wallace] had done a pretty good job against USC at the point. I don’t think that the experiment went very well. Ty did not have a good game from the standpoint of distributing. Nobody really had any luck getting by anybody and getting to the basket and making plays for anybody else. We kept driving into [Aziz] N’Diaye and going up soft rather than drawing contact and dropping it to a big. He was clearly a factor. He had four blocks but I wonder how many shots he affected in other ways. We didn’t have the boys that we needed. A lot of the shots that we took were hopes rather than a good solid shot. We had three for twelve from the line at half. So even when there were some fouls called we weren’t converting to give ourselves a chance. It wasn’t a very good performance.”
(On Justin Cobbs shooting struggles) “Shots going in have an awful lot to do with shot selection. You’ve got to be able to get shots you can make and obviously they’re forcing him and I thought he tried to take the ball a step too far rather than stop and rise up. One thing we haven’t done a very good job of is lifting people and getting to the foul line because they’re playing with so much pressure on us. Usually you get a lot of holding and banging from Washington at their place and you don’t get that so much on the road but they were pretty aggressive and we didn’t react very well to it.”