He sat down. He cracked open a bottle of designer water. He sighed.
"It's a win," said Brad Holland, Cal State Fullerton coach. "It's a win."
He took a long draw on the water and soon it was like a self-help therapy session.
"It's a win," he repeated. "It's a win. It's a win."
A Big West Conference victory over San Jose State safely tucked away, 66-61, this was a sort of verbal pinch to make sure he wasn't dreaming.
"I'm not making excuses for this team because I want to praise San Jose State," Holland said. "But sometimes it's hard to come back after an emotional game like Santa Barbara.
"We didn't match that tonight. San Jose State played well enough to beat us."
Thanks to a stretch run that included a three-pointer by Aaron Sunderland, a jump-hook by Sean Williams and four free throws in the final minute, Fullerton (10-5, 5-3) increased its Titan Gym winning streak to 11 games in front of 2,015.
The Titans took the floor for warm-ups wearing sparkling new "House of Pain" T-shirts over their jerseys, but it soon became evident that, on this evening, most of the pain would be inflicted on their coach's face.
It contorted in a variety of directions as he scolded the Titans during timeouts. It froze during one second-half timeout as he glared at his players as they made their way toward the bench.
"I think everybody took San Jose as a joke, the same team as they were last year," said Fullerton center Sean Williams, who finished with 12 points.
San Jose State (5-10, 2-5), en route to its 16th consecutive road loss and 13th consecutive conference road loss, did not go down easily. The Spartans trailed, 34-31, at halftime, and pulled to within 63-61 with 44 seconds to play.
But Fullerton's Don Leary made two free throws with 27 seconds to play, and Bruce Bowen hit another with nine seconds remaining to clinch it.
Sunderland finished with 15 points and Bowen 13 to lead the Titans. San Jose State center Daryl Scott had a game-high 18 points.