FROM PULLMAN -- Here are some additional quotes from WSU's 76-51 win over USC on Saturday.
"I thought our guys did a nice job and that’ xactly what we talked about in the locker room, as far as dealing with USC coming out in the second half, making a run, making shots, pushing the ball up and down in transition and we did not play very well that first 6-8 minutes of the second half, but we stayed together and dealt with the situation and pretty soon we started making baskets and we were in great shape."
(Has the team matured?) "I’d say that’s the right word. I think these guys have matured, and we are not playing perfect basketball but this is another example of a team makes a run and a month ago, we could have folded, but right now we’re doing a nice job of just staying together and executing, running stuff and continuing to get good shots."
(On Brock Motum playing well on Senior Day) "Brock did a great job and I also think Mike (Ladd) did, considering him being out a number of weeks, being able to go out there, play 27 minutes, have six assists, only one turnover. He didn’t shoot it well, but other than shooting the ball well he did a good job."
"We want to play our best basketball at the end of the year and we want to be healthy, and with the exception of DaVonte (Lacy), we are relatively healthy. I think Mike Ladd is not at 100 percent, but he’s getting closer."
(On Royce Woolridge) "He hit some big 3s, made free throws, I don’t think he had a turnover tonight. He had a good game. He’s playing good basketball right now."
(Does Mike being back help Royce?) "He’s exactly that. He’s a guy that can replace Royce at times and handle the point, run a set, run the show and we don’t need to worry about what’s going to happen. Mike knows the system and it gives Royce a little bit of a break."
(On Senior Day) "It was nice for them (Motum and Ladd) to be shown how much people appreciate them in the Palouse. I just wish the students would have been here. It would have bene nice for the students to see those guys play their last game and enjoy tonight and the other day against UCLA, two good games. … We didn’t have a whole lot of students around, unfortunately, because of spring break."
(What was the difference this week?) "Just the maturity of our guys, just staying composed in tough situations. We’ve had a lot of practice at it. I think our guys right now are starting to understand teams are going to make runs. We just need to relax and continue let the game come to us and it’ll work out."
"Considering where we were, with a record of 2-14 and a tough loss at Washington, to be able to come back and play two good teams in UCLA and USC I think really helps our confidence and it’s the right time of the year to get some confidence. If it wasn’t this weekend,it wasn’t going to happen. So this was our last chance to gain confidence, play good ball before going into that conference tournament."
(On when he knew Ladd would play) "Probably about Wednesday we felt like he wasn’t quite ready to play that game, but we felt pretty confident he would play today, but we wanted to wait until Thursday to watch him and he played some 3-on-3 Thursday after practice with some other guys and he looked pretty good. So when I walked out of here Thursday evening, I felt like he’s ready to go."
(On playing UW in the conference tourney) "I think it’s great. Obviously we just played them, and we’re very familiar with them, they’re familiar with us, it’s always been a good game. So I’m sure it’ll be another battle."
(On coming back after his knee injury) "It's feeling better. I just had to get this game in to get the rust off. I needed this game to get up and down the court."
(On making cuts and running being difficult mentally) "It is, but I’m an aggressive player. I try to play hard any time I’m out there, so it comes natural.
(On holding in Senior Day emotions) "It’s pretty hard. It’s a special moment, something I’ll remember forever. I love the fans, I’m glad the people I can make it that came today showed me and Brock respect."
(On winning on Senior Day) "It's real special. That was part of our plan. We got the win on Wednesday and came in and did scout and we talked about just keeping it going and hopefully we can carry this over to Vegas."
"We knew we had some wins coming. After all those close games we had, we told ourselves we were going to keep pushing and keep working hard and get after it in practice and games, and it’s finally paying off."
(On the 3-pointers he made) "I had missed like three or four in a row and every one I shot I was like, 'man, that one felt good.' So I just kept shooting it and it eventually went in and after that it still kept feeling good."
"I think we’ve matured a lot because we’ve lost so many games in crunch-time situations that now it just comes naturally. The last two games I feel like we’ve been doing really well, especially in crunch-time situations. Now that we get that taste of what to do, I feel like we know what to do and that's why we've been playing so well."
(Did you know early that you were going to have a big game?) "Yeah, I think I did. The first half, a lot of my shots felt like they were dropping, just wanted to stay aggressive the whole time. I think one or two shots in the first half got blocked and I didn't want to let that shy me away and settle for jump shots. I just wanted to keep attacking the ring, so I made a concerted effort to keep attacking and not settle for as many jump shots."
(On the rebounding this week) "I think just a mentality and obviously tonight having Mike back, he’s an unreal rebounder so that helped us out a lot. I think it's just the mentality on the offensive end. We've got one guy getting back, one guy safety and all three other guys have to crash. I think sometimes we get lazy or we just sort of drift back to the defensive end and get set. Today and the last game we’ve all tried to get rebounds, and I think a lot of the time whoever wins the battle on the glass wins the game. We got a couple extra possessions out of that and that helped us tonight."
"We don’t like when the guards come in and snatch all our rebounds but it’s nice for the team."
(On rebounding with Ladd and Lacy out) "I think as a collective unit on Wednesday especially, everyone had to step up. Missing Mike and DaVonte is a pretty big void to fill. And so a lot of the younger guys and guys that don’t play as many minutes had to be ready. I think that mentality was contagious around the whole team and everybody tried to step up and it was the same tonight."
(On the "shh" gesture he made toward the USC bench) "The play before that, I faded into the bench after I missed a 3 and I sort of fell down, and a couple of guys were saying something. It was just heat of the moment stuff. I made a play and I was facing their bench and that was the first thing that came into my head. It was all cool after the game, but I was caught up in the heat of the moment and it was a lot of fun out there."
"I try and bring the same focus to every game, but if I’m going at one guy and a guy’s coming at me I’m going to make an effort for them to know I’m going after them too. If they want to challenge me one on one, I’ll be sure to bring my A-game every single time."
(On what the difference has been this week) "I think experience. I think we’ve been in how many of those games where we’ve had a big lead and they’ve come back single-digits and we cough it up at the end and we can’t come back? It’s a testament to the character of the guys in our locker room and our coaching staff, the ability to improve and not give up at any point in the season and today, they (the opponent) came back again. Royce hit some big shots and we got some big stops on the defensive end. I think that was key."
(Did you achieve your Senior Day goals?) "My only goal was to win, so I guess yeah."
(On winning in front of his parents) "I’m bringing them to vegas and anywhere else we go next time. Wish they’d have come the start of the year and stayed the whole time. It's nice to have them here."
(On playing Washington) "I think that’s our rival and we always look forward to playing washington. We’ve had two close games with them, hopefully it’s a 'third time lucky.'"