Here are the quotes from Washington’s podium session after their 67-61 loss to Utah in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, an opening statement, please.
COACH ROMAR: Proud of our guys for battling back in the second half. Thought our guys played hard, played tough. Did things for most of that half that in a lot of games it would allow you to win the game.
Utah is a tough team. We knew they were tough coming in, and we have a lot of respect for them and what they’ve been able to do. Down the stretch we weren’t able to make the plays. Tucker hit a big shot, obviously, with that three‑pointer, and we wish them the best the rest of the tournament.
Q. What do you feel turned things around in the second half after the 10‑point deficit in the first half that allowed you guys to get back into the game?
C.J. WILCOX: Our defense. We turned it up on that side of the ball, and we were scrapping. We were able to get out and run a little bit, and we were just getting our hands on a lot of loose balls and going the other way. But our defense definitely started that run for us.
Q. C.J., it’s been a long run for you. Can you just kind of sum up your Pac‑12 career and just kind of what is next for Washington and what’s next for you?
C.J. WILCOX: I’ve learned a lot since I’ve been here. It’s been a lot of years; and being under Romar, he’s helped me grow in a lot of ways on and off the floor. I’m proud of what I’ve done.
As far as the team goes, there is still the NIT. We’re not sure yet, but we’re going to hang our hopes on that and see what happens.
Q. During that last 36 seconds, you guys ran off about 15 to 20 points without getting a shot off and not getting a basket. How significant was that in terms of your loss today?
COACH ROMAR: It’s pretty significant. Whenever you go through a period like that where there is a drought, scoring makes it a lot tougher anytime anyone’s in that position.
Q. Darin and C.J., could you just talk about Nigel’s performance in the second half?
DARIN JOHNSON: I feel like he stepped it up more aggressively in the second half, did things like push the ball. That’s what we really needed that we lacked in the first half. I felt like he just wanted it more in the second half.
Q. C.J., same thing for you, please. Just a comment on Nigel?
C.J. WILCOX: I thought he did a good job battling. He got on a lot of loose balls and he was digging on the bigs and got us some opportunities on the defensive end and gave us that spark, that united that run. He’s a big part of that defensive section that we had going.
Q. As players, I mean, usually teams want to go to the postseason, sometimes they don’t. Did you guys definitely want to keep playing?
C.J. WILCOX: Definitely. I know for me, as well as the seniors, we want to keep going. There is always experience for the younger guys to play more in the postseason and go into next year and get a little momentum.
DARIN JOHNSON: I would say the same. I want to continue to play. Especially I want the seniors to continue to play. I don’t want them to go out like this and for the younger guys to get more experience.