FROM PULLMAN — We have some more notes from Washington State's 76-72 loss to Arizona, plus our usual Friday roundup of Thursday's Pac-12 action. Read on. Or don't. I can't make you, after all.
Our game story focuses on Brock Motum's free-throw frustration down the stretch. We also have a game-in-review post on the blog. Howie Stalwick has this story in the Kitsap Sun, which quotes Arizona coach Sean Miller saying he'd put Motum up against any forward in the country. Here's a short recap from the Seattle Times. Bruce Pascoe's game story in the Arizona Daily Star focuses on the contributions of Arizona's seniors. Some more detailed praise from Miller for Motum can be found in Pascoe's postgame notebook. … Former WSU football operations guru Shawn Deeds will still be around, after all.
Around the Pac-12 …
Here's a story about Colorado's quarterback competition. … Carlon Brown will face his former team when the Buffaloes play at Utah this week. … Some Tim Tebow guy is working out at UCLA. … Oregon committed a teeny-tiny recruiting violation, which it self-reported.
Here are some more quotes from Thursday's WSU game, Arizona's courtesy of WSU's sports information folks …
Coach Ken Bone
(On what he told his team afterward) “They worked hard, they followed the scout and we feel as a staff that they did thebest they could. They really battled and we put ourselves in a position to win the game down the stretch, Arizona made certain plays and we didn’t. Similar to the UCLA game that we lost. Down the stretch they scored some baskets and we didn’t. Talked about turning the page. We have a game in two days. We can’t dwell on this one. We need to turn the page, be ready to practice tomorrow and get ready for Arizona State.”
(On Motum's free throws) “We all know that he’s a very very good free throw shooter. Who would have ever thought that he wouldn’t make free throws down the stretch of this game? But it happens. It happens to the best of them and he’s definitely one of the best on our team, and it happened tonight where he had opportunities at the line he did not convert. I hope he’s in the same position the next game and the following game because I know he’ll make those.”
(On his team's second-half lull) “Arizona’s a very good defensive team. I think they’re leading the conference in a few different defensive categories, statistically, and they showed it there for a few minutes. They can really guard. So I would say that it was probably just as much their defense as it was our offense during that time period.”
(On Brendon Lavender) “He can really shoot. There’s a reason why, well, he’s got a great shooting percentage. I’m not sure exactly what it is but he leads the conference and one of the leaders nationally in 3-point field goal percentage. … We were aware of his presence on the floor, we knew where he was, and there were a few times we were there on the shot but he still drilled it.”
(On Reggie Moore) “Again, against a very very good defensive team that puts a lot of pressure on the ball. Reggie did a good job, he scored the ball well, he found people, he had a few assists, he had one turnover. I thought Reggie had a really good game.”
(On his team playing better but losing) “I feel like that last four games, you count the UCLA game, I think we’ve played good basketball but we’ve come up short. We’ve got to turn the page, get on to tomorrow and keep trying to get better.”
(On the difference between tonight and the first game against Arizona) “I’d say the biggest difference to me was we played with more energy and competed, not just competed by score but it seemed like we really competed right down to the last minute. In Arizona, they jumped on us there at the end of the first half… once they got it up to 18 or 20 in the second half, we didn’t compete as hard as we needed to to come back. …
“Tonight we were in the game the whole time and I thought we competed extremely well, just like we did against Oregon and Oregon State and UCLA, the last four games.”
(On whether they could ask for a better situation with Motum on the line) “No, not really. Brock is one of the top two or three guys we would want at the line. You just look at the stats and what he’s done over the course of 25 games up to tonight and anybody could tell you that hey, he's the guy that you want shooting them. Tonight, he didn’t make those. Like I said, I hope the same situation comes up again Saturday or next week because we as a team really believe in Brock. We know he’s a very good free throw shooter. Next time he’s in that situation, he’ll do well.”
(On the ASU game) “It’s a big game. It’s that time of year. We can’t dwell on this game. Every game is big. And they beat us down there. There’s a lot to play for, no doubt about it.”
(On Arizona) “They’re very poised. They’re good, they’re confident, they just kind of stuck with it, they didn’t panic and pretty soon they hit some threes. Those added up real quick and pretty soon they were right back in the game.”
(On the game's tempo) “I think I would prefer to play that game a little slower but we started out hot and sometimes that can be fools gold, and pretty soon we start taking some quick shots within the possession, but we were playing well and you can understand why guys did take some quick shots. It’s kind of a double edged sword. I’m not disappointed at all in the tempo of the game, but if I had my druthers it would have been just a tad slower, maybe force them to play defense a few seconds longer on a few possessions.”
(On Motum getting to the line) “He has a really good scorers mentality and he just has a good knack for knowing how to score and if he doesn’t have the advantage he’s pretty good at drawing contact. He’s a clever player. He has a high basketball IQ. He knows how to play and really knows how to score.”
(On drawing the foul on his 3-point attempt) “He knows how to score and there’s times when other teams have him stopped and he still figures out ways to score. At that point, he figured it out — how to get fouled.”
Junior Brock Motum
(On his missed free throws) “Yeah, I’m sure 98 other times out of 100 I would have made those free throws, but I didn’t.”
(On the difference between the two games against Arizona this season) “I thought our defense was good. Down there we were sloppy with the ball and we just let them score in transition at will. Up here I thought our transition defense and our rebounding was good. One of our main points was to attack their bigs in the post and get them in foul trouble and I thought we did a good job of that early.”
Junior Reggie Moore
(On the difference in his offensive performance this game) “Just getting to the cup. I knew that they were going to pay a lot of attention to Brock, so I was just driving and just trying to help the team win.”
(On getting more players involved in scoring) “Earlier in the season we were still trying to figure out who’s going to be the go to guy, now it’s pretty much laid out, so it’s easier for people to adjust.”
Arizona coach Sean Miller
(On Motum) “They play with great energy. Brock Motum in my mind is not only one of the most improved players that I’ve seen from a year ago, but to me from a forward perspective, I would put him up nationally against any forward in the country in terms of looking at how good of a player he is right now. He is just outstanding on offense.
“Washington State does a great job at getting him the ball in a lot of different areas. I’m going to tell you that there are very few teams that have an answer for how good of an offensive player he has become.”
(On WSU's performance) “I thought they played very well, we had no answer for them, thank goodness for us we were able to have a good offensive night on our end because we certainly didn’t win because of our defense. And I credit Washington State’s offense.”
Senior Brendon Lavender
(On WSU's zone) “Their zone is tricky so we had to try and figure out their game plan and figure out our offensive plan and when we did we started doing pretty good. We’ve been working on their zone all week. It is just different because they switch it up so much, it’s tricky but it’s good. That’s why it was such a good game.”
(On tonight's win) “It is a great feeling, we worked so hard throughout the week in practice to get those wins on the road so it’s a beautiful feeling. As long as we can keep it up and stay together and everyone just keeps playing as hard as they can then we’ll have a good outcome.”