FROM SEATTLE -- We have some quotes to pass along after WSU's 65-54 win over Buffalo at KeyArena on Friday night. Read on.
(On the second half) "The energy and the defense the second half was what we talked about at halftime, what we really needed. Buffalo came out and did a good job running their stuff, scored a lot of easy baskets and shot it extremely well that first half. I thought the energy we came out with, the toughness, the grit was what made the difference in the game."
(On guarding the perimeter in the second half) "We did a better job contesting shots and we were there when they came off on-ball and off-ball screens, just doing a better job of leveling them off, not allowing them to penetrate as much and to get 3-point shots off."
(On other players making shots with Motum struggling) "Oh, no doubt. When we shoot that well it helps, but we were still down at halftime by two. So it helps but it’s not the answer, I don’t think. But it’s always nice to see some other guys make some shots."
(Was that Kernich-Drew 3-pointer what you wanted there?) "Yes and no. No because it’d be nice to come down and run time off the clock and know that we’re going to get a really good look. Yes in that Dexter’s not been making 3s. He’d missed 10 in a row in the last three games combined, so it was important for us, we’ve worked on him this last week to try to get him confidence and a little freedom to shoot, so it was like, ‘hope he makes it.’"
(On Motum's game) "Brock did a good job of scrapping down the stretch and D.J. (Shelton) coming up with 11 rebounds tonight. I like the fact that Will DiIorio and Junior Longrus gave us a good lift off the bench with their energy. There were some good things to take from this game going forward."
(On the second-half energy) "Way better. The first half I thought was kind of a pretty half for both teams, a lot of nice shots, but we had three fouls at halftime. They had a couple. We weren’t playing hard enough. And for us to be good, we’re going to have to play hard, whether it’s tonight or next game or for the rest of the season."
(On Will DiIorio's contributions) "I just love the way Will plays as hard as he can. He might not come up with the rebound but he’ll tip it, he’ll pick up a charge, he’ll come up with a loose ball, he’ll make a good cut and score it or pass it to someone else. He just makes a lot of hustle plays and we needed that at that time for sure."
(On Junior Longrus) "Junior did not get in the first half, so for him to come out the second half … again, he’s just a responsible guy that you can trust and you just know you’re going to get the best effort out of him every time you put him in. once again he gave us a good lift off the bench."
(On the game's ugly nature) "It was a tough game. We were right about here (outside the locker room) walking back to the locker room after the game and (Motum) goes, ‘coach, that was ugly.’ That’s just the way certain games are. I thought he was one of the ugly guys. He was one of the guys that was playing ugly, but he was scrapping and finding other ways to score and be productive, unlike different games where he gets better looks. I thought Buffalo did a great job of guarding him."
(Will teams try to be more physical with him in the Pac-12?) "I think so. I think he’ll continue to get a lot of different looks. Teams will corral him and swarm him and continue to make it hard for him. But that’s why it’s nice to see Dexter hit some shots, DaVonte hit some shots. Mike Ladd hit a three. We need those other guys to be able to step out and hit shots."
(Why did DiIorio start the second half?) "Energy. Simply energy. Bring him in and try to get our energy level up. Hustle plays."
(On getting going early) "It’s all off my teammates. They see I’m going, they see my shot’s going and they find me and set screens for me and stuff. It’s not just me. If I’m going, my teammates find me. If not, they find the person that’s hot right then."
(On the game changing in the second half) "In the first half it was upbeat, uptempo. It was 37-35, so it was going to be a high-scoring game. but I think they only scored (17) points in the second half so we knew that going into the second half we had to play defense to win the game because defense wins championships and you can’t win games if you don’t play defense."
(Is there talk among players about getting more scorers involved?) "I think it’s more like we know. We know going into the game that Brock’s our guy. We’re going to get the ball to Brock and see how he’s doing. I think it’s just feel. Whoever’s feeling it that night, we get them the ball. Tonight was my night. Next game it might be Mike’s, it might be Royce’s, it might be D.J.’s. Any one of us can explode on any night."
(On Will DiIorio) "Will’s great for us. He’s one of those guys like Mike Hart from Gonzaga. He just brings energy and we need those guys to win championships. He does the dirty plays. It’s not going to show up that he boxed out three times and prevented his man from getting three rebounds or something. We see it and coach sees it, obviously. He started the second half."
(On his knee) "It’s getting there. I’m not going to say it is, I’m not going to say it’s not. It’s getting there. I don’t have to tape it up anymore. I don’t have to wear that sleeve so I’m regaining my strength. Hopefully I’ll be there soon."
(On Kernich-Drew's 3-pointer) "It was huge for us. Dex has been in a shooting slump the last couple games and it’s good to see him out of his slump. He hit two threes or something so it was good to see him shoot with confidence like we know he can."
(What might Pac-12 play be like?) "Most important is staying healthy, going into our games at 100 percent. It’s going to be like this game. it was physical. You’ve got to work for everything. They’re not going to give you anything, just like they shot – I know UW has potent shooters on the outside so if you leave them, they’re going to go down just like that. Preparing for that is going to be huge for us."
(General thoughts on the game) "It was kind of one of those nights that was hard. They’re a tough team. We didn’t know a whole lot about them other than what was on our scout. It was a little different than the west coast teams we play."
(On his game) "There’s going to be nights where shots don’t fall or you don’t get calls. You’ve just got to help your team in other ways. I just tried to do anything I could to help other guys get open or hit the open guy or play tough D. Just needed to do anything to help us win."
(On winning ugly games) "Games like that, we have to learn to grind out like that. There’s nothing pretty about games like that but at the end of the day the box score doesn’t show how pretty you played. It shows the final score. I think in the second half we played a lot tougher. In the first half we got outrebounded, they hit some wide-open 3s, we had three fouls at halftime. Those are signs of us not playing tough. In the second half we did a good job coming out, bringing energy and won the physical battle."