Our conference is a really good conference. It really is. Arizona State battled just like I thought they were going to battle. They needed a win, their first Pac-12 win, happening here at home. My team, they learned about life on the road, particularly the new guys. I thought they played really hard and caused us some problems in the first half. We made some adjustments, went to the zone, that really got us back in the game. I thought the inability to take control of the game when we cut it to five, for whatever reason, our air went away from us and our energy, and they were able to take control of it again.
I was proud of the way we battled back in the second half, but unfortunately we've got that window in all of our losses where we tend to play bad. And that's been the difference in the games for us. Unfortunately in this game it was the first half.
(How can a team break out of a scoring drought?)
Well the good thing is they were going scoreless too, for awhile. We were both scoreless forever it seemed like. But the biggest thing is you've got to get stops defensively; you've got to get run outs, easy buckets. We're not getting up and down the floor. As you know, in the second half the game changed, we got faster and attacked the basket. Attacking the basket is the thing that will get you out of it because you get fouls, get to the free throw line and get easy buckets that way, too.
(Is that what Derrien King and Robert Franks brought and why they started the second half?)
I thought if you look at the game and look at where we got better, it was Robert Franks and Derrien King. For Robert Franks to sit there all this time, and be on the road and get the first opportunity to play, you get an idea of his skillset – how good he's going to be down the road. And then same with Derrien King, who's played some spotty minutes. But I thought he played with great energy. Both of those guys gave us a great lift and that's why we started them in the second half.
(That's their first experience losing a game they played extensively in. What can they learn from the experience?)
What the experience is going to do is teach them how to win, and how to get on the road and how to handle adversity, because they've not gone through it yet. These guys have had a lot of success in high school, success in junior college. Well, this is the Pac-12 and it's different. You've got to learn to handle yourself on the road, at home ,against good competition. So this experience, through the loss, got us better. And we grew a little bit. And obviously, we've got an experience coming up on Saturday that's going to grow us, one way or the other. That's the beauty about being out on the road. Unfortunately, we let another game get away from us because we had that segment of the game where the ball didn't go in. We didn't play as well as we were capable of.
(Anything you liked from this game?)
I liked the fact that Josh was in foul trouble, and out of rhythm, had to sit some and we were still able to get rolling. I liked the fact that we switched our defense, made some adjustments with the zone. They responded and gave us an opportunity. And I like the fact that this team has no quit in it. They fight extremely hard. We'll get better the second time around when we play these teams we're playing right now.