I think the road, I think the losses if you want to call it that, just really caved in our mental tonight. Games like this, you don't look at tape, you just move it aside. I know we're a better basketball team than we showed tonight but mentally we're just drained that way. It's time for us just to get back to Pullman and close out this season. Particularly for our seniors in our program, I still feel like this team has something to play for with the conference tournament. And we want to make sure we have some consistency, just in playing good basketball. We played well in Colorado--we didn't get it done. Just that mental of playing so hard in those games and not coming away with the victory, it does grind on you and it grinds on these kids in this game. So what I do now, I don't beat them up or anything, throw the tape away, don't look at it, get back, regroup, get home and play again.
(Why did you go to your freshmen earlier in this game than previous ones?)
Just because they needed an opportunity to play. The game to me was out of reach early. Utah, a very difficult team at first to play. They play so doggone hard. They're experienced, their skillset, they're big, they're strong, they're physical. Once the game was out of control, we wanted to get those young guys some time. Particularly those young guys as we come down the stretch of the season we'll look at playing them even more, because it gives them a chance to play more this year.
(Why sit Valentine Izundu so much in the first half?)
Well, not only two fouls but we wanted to play Conor and we wanted to play (Robert Franks). And we wanted to get Val some more minutes in the second half. WE've got to be careful with him as he works his way back into this. He had one good game at home, did not play well at Colorado and we just wanted to make sure we don't move him back too fast and gets hurt. So when he gets fatigued, he literally took himself out of the game because he got fatigued a little bit and got him back in again.
(What did you think of slowing it down more with Ny Redding at point guard?)
It was not effective because at about four minutes into the game, when I thought the tempo was the right tempo for us to play a second game on the road out here in this altitude, and yet we missed Poeltl on a couple fronted posts, he scored on us. A couple bad defensive rotations and boom-boom-boom, the game starts to get away form you. All of a sudden, that tempo works against you because when a team is up on you by 15, it's like they're up by 30. So unfortunately ,the game got away from us early and it took the game plan away from us. Now you're just in kind of survival mode to get through the game.
(At all surprised by how quickly Jakob Poeltl started today?)
No, he started quickly in a lot of games. We trapped him the last time we played him, we trapped him a little bit in the second half. He's just so skilled for a guy with that kind of size. We just had no answers for him. He gets the ball so deep, you can't get there quick enough to trap him, he's an excellent passer out of it. So, he's a pro and he's playing at a high, high level right now.
(How much did the turnovers hurt your momentum?)
The unforced turnovers hurt, early in the game. That with not fronting the post, a couple bad defensive rotations and turning the ball over, those things together really let the game get away. So again, with this team we know who we are. We know who we are right now and were we need to get to. So it isn't about being bummed. This is a group of kids who want to play hard and win for their school, so it's about moving on, getting it out of the way and getting ready for the next one.