Feb. 18, 2012
Head Coach Doug Wojcik
"That was a great win for us. Jordan Clarkson is a player for us, isn't he? He's a baller and just played a great game. Obviously, I think we had that low point there. I don't know exactly how many minutes it was. We had 44 points, we were kind of rolling pretty good and then we had some strange lineups due to a little fatigue. Steven Idlet played us through with his free-throw shooting in that stretch and then we kind of broke away."
On what sparked the big second half run...
"Well, we hit some shots and, though we were ahead already, I think the three-pointer Jordan Clarkson hit at the end of the shot clock helped. We had beaten Rice 11 straight times. You can't have your team let up and take someone for granted, and our kids didn't, and then, I think, at some point they start to question themselves. But the constant throughout the game, even though I'm talking a lot about offense, has been our defense. Our defense was phenomenal. We really did a good job. They did a good job on Arsalan Kazemi, did a good job on Tamir Jackson. He got eight points, and he's been playing really well. Connor Frizzelle had 11 points, but he had to work to get those 11 points. The guy that's impressive to me is Omar Oraby. He's a real talent. I think he has a chance to play in the NBA. His jump shot in the first half looked really impressive. We already know he's got size and can get deep in the post. But it was a great team win for us."
On whether this win made a statement to the conference...
Senior forward Steven Idlet
Importance of this win after the Southern Miss loss...
"Well, we were picked at the top of the discussion, we've been at the top of the discussion for the last four years in the league. What I appreciate is the kids responding and bouncing back. Wednesday night was a tough night (overtime loss to Southern Miss). I think I need to change my philosophy (in the final 10 seconds of games). It's tough, we didn't have any timeouts then, but they bounced back tonight."
"Wednesday night was an emotional game - a tough loss. That just makes this game that much more important to stay in the race. You have to win at home. We'll see what happens with the rest of the conference. We're trying to win the regular season championship. It's that much more important each of these last games."
When you see Memphis loses, does that solidify that anything can happen?
"We watched the end of the UTEP -Memphis game before the shoot-around today. It's crazy. They all have three losses, and depending on the Houston-Southern Miss game outcome. Anything can happen. If we keep winning, something good might happen."
Do you think you made a statement with the win against Rice?
"They've been playing well. They didn't have Kazemi the first time we played them. So we knew they'd be a different team. They hung in there. Give them credit. They played well for a long time. We were able to put the defensive clamps on, then finally got our offense going."
Sophomore guard Jordan Clarkson
Talk about your career-high 23-point performance...
"It feels good, but it was good to see Steven (Idlet) play well. I thought we played well as a team. Tim (Peete) really set the tone for us early in the game. In the second half, the reason that we got that push is because of Steven."
Talk about the defensive performance on Arsalan Kazemi...
"I thought our post guys did a really good job. They knew coming into the game that he was a monster on the board. He can make shifty moves and get to the basket. I thought they did a really good job and putting the clamps on him, and not letting him get any second-chance shots, and any shots really."