Colorado-USC quotes 2-25-21 – University of Colorado Athletics


Colorado Head Coach Tad Boyle

Opening statement

“Team Victory. Guys were, Mckinley said it, guys were dialed in to the scouting report, both defensively and when we share the ball and have 20 assists on offense we’re a joy to watch and a joy to coach, and the guys are a joy to play with. So, you know, we had been shooting the ball from three. It’d been tough for us the last three games. So I knew it was just a matter of time if we’re getting good shots and taking good shots that they’d start falling. I see us in practice. I see how guys shoot the ball and translated it to the game tonight, and we really shared it. I thought we had some really good individual efforts even though it was a team victory. Eli Parquet’s defensive job on Tahj Eaddy, Dallas and Evan kind of tag teaming Evan Mobley. Those two guys are really really good players. Our guys did a good job of understanding the game plan and making everything tough for them, and then obviously Jeriah made some big shots and threes. Maddox I thought hit a big three the second half. Eli Parquet makes timely ones, and then your point guard has 14 assists and 15 points. I told Mark Johnson on radio, he only had four rebounds so I might have to bench him, but great victory. 

On Jeriah Horne’s shooting performance tonight
“When Jeriah gets it going man he’s a rhythm shooter. He knows how to get his shots off. He’s got a quick release. They knew he’s a three point shooter. Look, the scouting report is out on Jeriah. You know, people are switching his ball screens but he’s just a crafty player and he gets himself going. You know, Jeriah’s got the ability to make tough shots. He’s made some tough ones and my biggest thing with him is I just want you to take wide open threes. You know, I think there was just under eight minutes to go in the game, he’s wide open on the press in the corner, and he let it go. You know, normally you’re like eh, that’s a quick shot we don’t need that one but with Jeriah, you know you kind of take the good with the bad sometimes. But he was feeling it tonight and his efficiency, in terms of the number of minutes he played and the numbers he put up were pretty impressive. The thing about Jeriah is he’s really rebounding the ball well for us which we need because I thought the rebounding battle tonight against USC was going to be the key, and you know we’re plus one, but sometimes you gotta battle those long athletes and it doesn’t always go your way.” 

On what it means to have Jabari Walker back and if his minutes will be  restricted
“It’s all based on his foot and how he’s feeling. We’ve told Jabari that he has to be honest with us as coaches and the trainer with how his foot is feeling because if there is pain there, we have to kind of limit and back off a little bit. So, it’s great to have him back. He was a big part of this team when he went down and he’s still a big part of it. We were able to weather some foul trouble tonight. Evan Battey got into some foul trouble tonight and Jabari, himself, got in some foul trouble. So, we’re able to throw Tristin [Da Silva] in there as a frontcourt player. In the first half he played, basically, perimeter minutes, so to have a guy like Tristan Da Silva who’s so versatile that you can plug him into different spots based on what’s going on, it’s really a luxury. So, we’re 10 deep now and it’s great to have Jabari back.”

On to what extent the passion of this team was important in the game
“Well, yes, basketball is an emotional game– we have emotional players and our guys were ready to play tonight. Look, in my 11 years here, we have not gotten a lot of technicals by wolfin ‘at the other team or talking trash. McKinley [Wright IV] might have said something as a reaction to maybe something that was said to him a little earlier. He has to be better about that and keep his emotions in check. The other ones, I just shake my head. So yes, it’s an emotional game and McKinley, you heard him say it, he has to do a better job of keeping those in check– he definitely said something, so you take that one. The other ones I’m scratching my head. If it were an issue with this team and it was something that happened year in and year out, and game in and game out, then yes it’s something we have to address, but aberration tonight. “

On Some Tough Losses Along The Way
“We have had some bad losses. There is no getting around that. I think when we are locked in defensively, I look at the Washington loss and the Utah loss at home, and if we lock in defensively the way we have here the last four or five games (we would have had more success). Even the Oregon game we lost on the road, it wasn’t because we weren’t locked in defensively. When we play at a high level on the defensive end and rebound the ball, we can beat anybody and that is why we beat USC tonight. It just so happened our shots were going in. We had 20 assists, we shared the ball and those can be a runaway. You have to figure out how to win games when you are not shooting your best. We have stubbed our toe a couple of times when it comes to that. Sometimes offense comes and offense goes. Shots go in on some nights and don’t go in other nights. It is hard after a win like this to look at those three games, Cal, Washington and Utah, and say, ‘Dang, we’d be right in the thick of the Pac-12 Championship race’, but we are not. We are going to get a bye in the first round of the Pac -12 Tournament and we will see what happens there. We have to turn around and play a good UCLA team who has had our number here the last three times we have played them. We have to figure some things out for the Bruins. It is a short turnaround for us and a short turnaround for them so here we go.”

On What Sticks Out From The Game
“Two things, defensive field goal percentage and holding that USC team, and it is not just the Mobley’s. Tajh Eaddy is playing at a high, high level and is shooting it extremely well. Holding their best players in check and holding them to 38% or 39% from the field. And then the 20 assists. We were sharing the ball and moving the ball, and your point guard (Wright) has 14 of them (assists). You can’t get an assist if the ball doesn’t go in the basket. Sometimes we look at our assist numbers and say, “Oh, we didn’t hit them well.’ It is hard to get assists when shots don’t go in. The 20 assists and field goal percentage defense are the two things that stick out to me.” 

On Playing With Pace
“We wanted to make this a track meet. We wanted to run after makes and run after misses. That technical fired McKinley up. The emotions were running high with our team tonight and we played with it. We played with great energy and emotions. We have to keep them in check a little bit more, but that technical kind of fueled McKinley. He got a couple of buckets in transition after that. The blood was flowing through the veins. When he gets like that and he is aggressive, he is a really good finisher in transition. I thought the pace of the play in the first half was really how we wanted it. At times in the second half it was. We started using the clock when we got that lead. Our guys did a good job of that. It is a balance between not being too tentative and still being aggressive on offense, but taking great shots and playing smart. I thought our guys did a great job of that down the stretch.”

On The Keys To Free Throw Success
“It is very simple, we don’t talk about it. We don’t talk about it. We just play the game. You go to the line, you step up, and knock them down. There are not a lot of secrets, other than the fact that the head coach took over free throw shooting responsibilities for the team this year, rather than giving it to the assistants like I have in the past. Just kidding.”

Colorado Players

Jeriah Horne, Sr., F

On getting the last home games started on the right foot 
“We just came out, focused to make sure that we started to set the tone for the end of the season. Everybody bought in, we followed coach’s claims. We play together we had each other’s backs and I think it showed tonight.”
On being all over the court tonight 
“We were continuing to find the open guy, Ken does a great job of getting our offense started, and everybody just follows suit tonight and I think it shows how good we can be. We play like that and play together, and look for each other.”
On taking his skill to the next level 
“Some would say a bad shot doesn’t go in. But man, I have just been continuing to work and I think some shots like that come out when I play one on one, you get three dribbles and not their job you got to kind of always go up with the confidence and just the repetition of just working on my jump shot tracing in my jump shot, and just having confidence all around, I think, is why that is happening.”
On playing these big games after transferring 
“I just give it all to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I’ve been fortunate to play in a lot of big games and all the credit of the Lord I’ve played well and a lot of those games. I just stay focused and do what my team needs of me. Sometimes I’m not going to score a lot of points, other games I will. I just go into every game doing whatever my team needs me to do to win and tonight it just happened to be points.” 
On the career-high points 
“I really give credit to Coach for that. He’s challenged me to be a good rebounder, especially within the last week or so, crashing the offensive glass. That’s something I really try to do whatever I can to help his team win and offensive rebounds are something that is important defensive rebounds as well so just continuing to crash the glass and my family has a running joke of painting the floor. So whenever I’m not doing is trying to be all over the place as much as possible.”
On keeping the winning momentum 
“I feel like that’s the most important part, the mentality of this season. We have some games and don’t play into the potential that we know we’re capable of playing, we just continue to work, we know we’re capable of and nights like this, we’ve shown that. The end of the season is most important. So continuing to keep that mentality, the togetherness, the camaraderie and just play. We just have to give it all we have.” 

McKinley Wright, Sr., G

On next steps for the team 
“Tonight was a really good job. We played at a high level, there were still a couple areas where we lacked and we gave them a couple of free points. There’s always room for improvement. I’m just happy with how our guys fought tonight, the way we defend it.” 
On the many assists 
“I didn’t even know I had 14 assists, that’s crazy. Shout out to my teammates for knocking down shots and my coaching staff put me in a position during a place, to find guys and have them make open shots. We’ve been working on this so all the credit goes to my teammates. And my coaches.”
On the pregame ceremony with Rick 
“I mean that that meant the world to me. I didn’t know that was coming tonight. Ever since I stepped on campus he’s been a really good mentor for me. And somebody I kind of looked up to. He’s done an unbelievable job in the athletic department and shout out to Rick for doing that tonight. You know he cracks jokes on me all the time before the games, after the game, so Rick and I have a really good relationship and I appreciate him for doing that for me tonight, presenting the game ball. And my parents were here tonight. My parents, my grandmother and my grandfather, my brother, and my cousin were all able to make it tonight. So that meant a lot to me. The first game all year, we are almost 30 games into the season and that was the first time they got to see me play in person so it meant the world.” 
On the high-fiving of the card board cutouts 
“Evan and I have been doing the cardboard high fives after every win. We miss our students section, we miss our fans being loud and rowdy for us so there’s just a little imaginary celebration.”
On being able to taste the tournament 
“We’re close, I think, but right now, that’s not our main focus. Of course, everybody here wants to plan a dance, something that this group hasn’t been a part of but Saturday we have a really, really important game with the tournament team. it’s a really, really big game for us and one we must win.”
On the technical foul 
“I apologize to my coach and my teammates, I apologize to them as well. I let my emotions get the best of me. Their bench kept yelling at our players every time we saw that it was off and I said some words I shouldn’t have said but yeah it was it was a big momentum change for me. That’s my first technical since I’ve been to Colorado so that’s not who I am but it just happened tonight. That’s not something that’s going to happen again.”
On being able to stop Evan Mobley 
“It’s a collective effort. Evan Mobley is going to be a top-five NBA draft pick this year we know how skilled he is. So we just tried to make it hard as possible, and a shout out to Dallas and Evan for working their tails off getting around. He made some tough shots tonight but he’s a pro, he’s a top-five pick that’s what he’s going to do. We just tried to make it as hard as possible and I think we executed the game plan tonight, and our coaching staff did a really good job of putting the scouting report together and guys were locked in, I think, the last couple of days of our preparation was at a really high level, we knew how well they’ve been playing so it was a collective effort but shout out to our bigs for holding them down.”
On motivation to get to the tournament 
“It’s something that we look forward to. Since I’ve gotten here is something that we look forward to this year. You know, we really want to be there. We can get there and make a run but now we stare at unfinished business, we got two more home games before that, that situation comes in. We take care of business these next two games. Of course, I look forward to it but you know we still got some work to do.”

USC Head Coach Andy Enfield

Opening Statement

“Colorado played a very good game offensively. Their guards really controlled the game. McKinley Wright had 14 assists, 15 points and Horne made those threes and so they beat us from the three-point line and dribble penetration with McKinley Wright in transition. Give them credit, put us on our heels a lot defensively tonight and when their shooters are making that higher percentage, they’re tough to beat at home.”

On second half press defense

“Our press that actually got us back into the game and cut it to 10. We made a nice run, and we forced a few turnovers and some quick shots and then I think we had a little momentum and then there was a tough call. Wright drove in the lane and they called a foul, so he got two free throws and put it to 12 and then we missed a shot and then they made a three after that so that was kind of the game. But I thought our press was effective for quite a few minutes to get us back in a game within 10 points where we had a chance with five minutes left But, you know, we just didn’t make enough shots tonight, we had open locks didn’t make them and then their three-point shooting was just terrific. They made really tough shots. They made a few open ones, but they made a lot of tough ones too. And so, the team goes 12 for 22 and give them credit.  They shot very well tonight.

On Jeriah Horne’s game

“I thought he played a very good game. He’s a very good player. He’s a big guy that can shoot the ball, he stretches the floor, and he made some tough ones tonight. He made in our face, our big guys were out there guarding him, our guards were guarding him. We missed a couple coverages where he got open, once in transition and also once on a ball screen we were supposed to switch and our big didn’t do that, but he played an exceptional game tonight.

On points off turnovers

“I think we had three or four transition opportunities where we missed layups. So that’s hard to, when you get opportunities you have to convert, and we missed three or four and then we missed a couple layups early in the second half with our bigs and so when a game like that, when you’re having trouble scoring, you need to convert off your transition, you have to convert off your layups within two, three feet of the basket and we probably missed six or seven tonight and that really hurt us because every time we tried to make a run or keep the game close it just seemed like we missed something easy and then they went down and scored. Some nights that happens and tonight was one of those.

On what USC could have done better defensively

“Well, we could have played zone for 40 minutes, which is probably what we’ll probably do next time. Our man to man struggled a little bit. The point guard controlled the game and then the three point shooting, but we did a good job on Wright, he was 4-14 from the field but he did find open people and the three point shooting was spectacular, so we had to run guys off the three point line and not give up 12 threes. That’s a point of emphasis for us and we just didn’t get it done tonight.  That’s my fault if we have to play more zone against a hot team, I guess that’s something we’ll have to consider in the future here.”

On energy level

“Well, it’s not easy to travel here, especially after playing on Monday against a very good Oregon team so we expanded a lot of energy, but we’re not making any excuses for tonight’s game. Colorado played very well and we didn’t.

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