Thybulle on UW's late-game run: 'We figured it out in the second half and it got contagious and guys just started defending and they had no answer for us.'
David Crisp provided the scoring and Matisse Thybulle spearheaded a defensive effort for the Washington men’s basketball team, which overcame a sluggish start and pulled away from Omaha in the final minutes for an 86-73 nonconference victory on Sunday.
Crisp finished with a season-high 24 points and personal-best four steals. Meanwhile, Thybulle tallied 12 points, six rebounds, five blocks and three steals.
Here’s their take in a postgame interview.
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(What allowed you to pull away at the end?) “Defense. That’s what we were trying to focus on from the jump, but we just didn’t bring energy. We figured it out in the second half and it got contagious and guys just started defending and they had no answer for us.”
(Was the difference all in energy?) “We were just too focused on offense and how we were going to just outscore them. Once we realized we’re not going to win that kind of race we started defending and we realized that’s what we hang our hats on at the end of the day, defense. If we can play defense the way we did in the second half for the rest of the season I think we’ll be pretty good.”
(On the blocked shots) “Just energy. Just trying to get after it.”
(Is there anything different about you defensively this year?) “I think coach Hopkins puts us all in a great position to look good on defense just with the zone, because other teams aren’t used to it so they get confused and kind of thrown off. When teams are confused or hesitant on offense, it makes it easier for us on defense. Coach Hopkins has given me a little bit of a leash to gamble a little bit and try to make plays and I just take advantage of that and we just try to get stops.”
(What allowed you to pull away at the end?) “Yeah, definitely the defensive end. That’s when we picked it up, went on our run. First half we were a little too selfish, not moving the ball, not making the extra passes. Once we got the ball moving and started playing defense, we picked it up.”
(Are you starting to figure out your role offensively?) “Oh yeah, for sure. Early I wasn’t even thinking about it, like ‘okay, this is a whole new system’ and I was so used to knowing where I was going to get my buckets from before in the other system. But I’m definitely, I go up to coach Hopkins, talk to him a lot and he broke it down. So I’m just feeling a lot more comfortable. I pick and choose my spots a lot better now. Definitely feeling better about it.”
(What’s been the hardest part of that transition?) “Just getting used to it. It’s a lot of ball movement and stuff. A lot it was a lot of ball screens. Now it’s a lot of ball movement, get the defense moving, and then attack. Just knowing that and trusting your teammates really. That’s where the ball movement is and being unselfish. You have to trust your teammates knowing if you give it up you can get it back and if you give it up you know they’re going to make a good play. Everybody’s just trusting each other more and more.”