Here’s video (above) and a transcript courtesy of the Pac-12 of Oregon coach Dana Altman and players Tony Woods and Arsalan Kazemi after their 80-77 overtime win against Washington.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, some opening comments, please?
COACH ALTMAN: We knew it was going to be a really tough game. Washington has won four of the last five, and their only loss was a game they could have won against UCLA. So we knew they were playing well. Wilcox and Suggs in particular have really played well, and they’re such good athletes that that second game doesn’t bother them.
So we knew we were going to have our hands full, and we sure did. They played really good. I thought we played pretty good. I know we played really hard. We made some mistakes, but we kept battling, and we hit our free throws which was really important down the stretch.
I’m just really proud of the guys. We had guys step up and make big plays all night. Jonathan Loyd stepped up and hit the two free throws to get it into overtime. I thought Arsalan’s rebound putback in overtime was maybe the game‑changing play. Tony Woods with the career high of 19. We went to him over and over again, and I thought he made good plays and played really strong. So it was a team effort. Got a lot of things from a lot of guys. It was a game we hadn’t played well, so the guys really wanted to turn that around. And I thought we played better today.
Q. In your first two wins over Washington you had almost 11 free throw makes better than Washington did in each game. I’m not sure what the free throws were tonight, but what is it that you guys were doing that caused you to go to the line so much?
COACH ALTMAN: Well, they took a few more three‑pointers than we did, which always creates a little bit of an imbalance. But I thought we drove the ball at the basket. In all the games, they were coming from behind so they fouled late. I’m not sure how many of those free throws were late. But a lot of them were in the last minute, I don’t know, six, eight, those free throws were late.
So you take those six or eight away, and the difference isn’t all that much, both times that we played them before at our place, they had a big lead and they were trying to come back. At their place we beat them 13 and they were trying to come back. So that, I think, is the only reason the free throw difference was there.
Q. It seemed that you sat Arsalan for an extended stretch there in the second half. That’s what it looked like. Did you see anything at that point?
COACH ALTMAN: No, I didn’t. I didn’t think he was very sharp. So we just‑‑ Ben Carter gave us some good minutes. We went small for a few minutes. But again, like I said, I thought he made big plays down the stretch, but I just didn’t think he was very sharp there for a while to start the second half.
Q. What did you see out of him in overtime?
COACH ALTMAN: I thought he played his tail off. Took the ball to the basket, made free throws, got us some big boards. I thought overtime was the best five‑minute period no doubt.
Q. Arsalan, could you talk a little about the overtime? Did you see something or just get the feel in the right place?
ARSALAN KAZEMI: First I want to thank Coach Altman for keep on encouraging me during the practice while we were back in Eugene, because as we all know I had two tough games against Colorado and Utah. He was just keep on encouraging me during the practice to be positive about it and just go to work. Also, if some coaches play or play like I did in the first half I’m not sure they would have given him another chance to put him in this kind of game because this is a playoff game. So I want to thank him for giving me a second chance.
But while I was sitting on the bench during the second half I was just like hoping, hoping that he’d put me back in the game. And I know if I was going to go back in the game, I’m not going to let it slip. So I just went there and I played as hard as I could. And I didn’t even look at the score. If we were down, if we were up, I just tried to play hard. I just want to give a big thank you to Jonathan Loyd, because he made those two big free throws for us and it gave us a new life.
So that was really big for him. He gave me a couple of assists that I think the point should go to him because it was wide open lay‑ups, and that’s what just got me going in overtime.
Q. I think you guys were down six and you had that three‑point play that seemed to give you guys some life. What happened there? A called play to you or something you saw?
TONY WOODS: Yeah, it was a called play to me. Just went inside and I was aggressive and got the three‑point play. I just tried to stay aggressive all night, and it kept coming to me.
Q. Against Aziz, you felt you could do some of those things? I mean, he’s a guy even bigger than you?
TONY WOODS: Could you ask that question again, I’m sorry.
Q. Did you sense something against Aziz? I mean, he’s a guy even bigger than you. Some people have a tough time against inside; you had pretty good success.
TONY WOODS: Yeah, I was just trying to stay aggressive and keep going at the rim. They weren’t calling. The whistles weren’t being blown tonight under the basket. It was a physical game. I was just trying to stay aggressive and keep going at it.
Like you said, he has a big presence and a big shot blocker, so it was a really physical game tonight.
Q. At the end of regulation, Jonathan took those two shots. Is that what you wanted? Obviously, it resulted in him making those two free throws and the steal at the end. How big was he at that time?
COACH ALTMAN: Well, he made the big plays. His percentages aren’t such, but the three that he took was wide open. I mean, they had the middle packed. We tried getting something going to the basket, and they kicked it out to him. He had a wide open look. He just didn’t hit it. He felt like he had to get something going at the basket. He pulled up strong at 15 and knocked down the two free throws.
You’re right. The last play, he got a hand on the ball. They were driving, and he got a hand on it and knocked it away and gave us a chance to go into overtime. So they made big plays.
We were trying to drive the ball to the basket there in regulation, maybe make a play for somebody. It just happened to be that when we drove, Johnny’s man just went and doubled the ball and left him open there.
Q. What are your opinions on Damyean Dotson? He was hot in the first half, and then locked up Wilcox. In the second he cooled off a little bit?
COACH ALTMAN: No, he played good. He played good. He was aggressive the first half. We wanted him to do that. The Oregon State game he took a shot, and he just wasn’t the same. He just couldn’t move. He had a bad road trip. I don’t think he scored much in Colorado or Utah. He just seemed to be stiff. We talked and I just told him be really aggressive. I don’t want you to take a bunch of threes.
But if you get that ball in the paint, be aggressive; and he was, especially early. I thought he did a great job early driving the ball.
Q. You guys get to play Utah again the second time in just a few days. Obviously, they’ve got a lot of momentum. How tough is it to play? What do you see in the match‑up that didn’t work out are for you guys over the weekend and playing sufficient a hot team right now?
COACH ALTMAN: They are playing really well. They’ve got a lot of guys that can score and they’re running stuff. And DuBois is making play after play after play. The three hit to put it into overtime was just an unbelievable shot. So we’re going to have a tough game.
They’ve got big bodies, and they’ve got depth. So we are going to have to play awfully well. We gave them‑‑ they hit a lot of shots, but I thought we gave them a lot of confidence early by giving them early shots. Five of their first seven points against us on the road were offensive rebounds and hit a three, and offensive rebound putback lay‑ups. They just got it off. It was their Senior Day. They played with tremendous confidence, and they’re going to play with tremendous confidence tomorrow.
They’ve won four in a row. I mentioned Washington winning four or five. Utah has now won four in a row. You can forget their record. Confidence is one game away, and they’ve got four of them.
So we’re going to have to play really well. We’re going to have to defend them tomorrow. They’ve got guards that can really motor, and Washburn inside is tough. We’re going to have to play really well, because they are playing really well. It wasn’t that Cal played bad today. I just thought Utah played really good.
Q. What was behind the decision to start Dominic today?
COACH ALTMAN: I thought he was ready. He’s still not. He’s been out going on eight weeks now, and he struggled a little bit. But he’ll bounce back. We’ve got to get him more time. He’s a big part of what we want to do. He got us started really well. He had three assists and made some nice plays and he gave us a good 18 minutes. He’s going to have to play a little more tomorrow.
Johnny played extended minutes and really worked hard. So he’s going to have to step up tomorrow ask play more. And it’s tough. He’s been out eight, nine weeks now, and it’s tough to get the flow back.
Before he got hurt, we had a flow going. 17‑2, and he was doing one heck of a job, shooting 50% from three in conference play, and he’ll get that back. We just don’t have much time here. We need him to bounce back tomorrow.
Q. Given how there are three overtimes in this tournament, and someone figured it was 25 to 28 points difference total in what the scores have been. Are you surprised this tournament has been this competitive?
COACH ALTMAN: No, I’m not. I told the guys, every game’s going to be a 40‑minute game. If you look at the conference, every game was the 40‑minute game. You didn’t have that many blowouts. Now some team might get it going at home every now and then.
But our league, I thought the talent level was really good. The freshman class is unbelievable. Our league top to bottom‑‑ when we got the drawing, someone said is there a match‑up you’d rather have? And I go, I don’t know who it would be. It’s not like we match up really well with this team.
I mean, it’s a very balanced, very competitive league, and I think we’ve got a lot of good young players, and I think it’s going to get better and better.
I think the mood of Vegas has added a little bounce to it, the crowds which also adds to it. Utah has a lot of fans here. They’re probably able to drive. I don’t know how long a drive that is, but they’ve got a lot of fans. It adds a little bounce to it with the people.
So I’m really happy for the league and the decision Larry made, because it’s added a little bounce to it. Our fans can come in here and have things to do. So it’s worked out really good. It’s a great decision.
But final answer, I just think all the games are going to go down. We’re expecting a 40‑minute game with Utah tomorrow, and I know that. I know Arizona and UCLA are expecting to go 40. So the fans are going to see two pretty good games. I really believe that.
Q. Arsalan and Tony, you guys lost to Utah with a chance to win the Pac‑12. Now you get to play them again just a few days later. Are you looking forward to a chance to redeem yourselves for what happened on Saturday?
ARSALAN KAZEMI: I really look forward to it. But that game is gone, and I tried to like keep it out of my head because that was a game that really hurt our whole team. But that game is gone, and this is just a new life for every team, and we’ve just got to go out there and play against Utah.
They’re really hot right now, and we’ve just got to go out from the first minute and bring great energy.
TONY WOODS: We put it behind us that Saturday because we had a quick turnaround to come to Vegas and get ready. So we are excited to play them tomorrow though. They’re playing well. And like Coach said, it will be a 40‑minute one, and it should be a fun one down to the wire.
Q. How draining is it to have to play an overtime game this late into the night, and then tomorrow you’re going to turn around and play again with the hopes of having to go and do another 40 to 50 minutes?
COACH ALTMAN: Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter. If you can’t get excited‑‑ these guys are young, hell, they stay up late anyway. Don’t give me, oh, we got done late. I don’t buy that at all. We’ll get a good night’s sleep. We’ll get up. We’ll let them sleep a little bit. Tony really likes to sleep. Tony’s our best sleeper. He was our leading scorer tonight, but he’s our best sleeper.
So we’ll get a little extra sleep and we’ll be fine. Like I said, these guys want to play. They want to play. Like I said, lateness doesn’t bother them. They’re just getting going right now. We’ll be excited to play at 8:30 tomorrow. Utah will be excited to play at 8:30 tomorrow. It will be a heck of a game, and hopefully we’ll play well.