Jan. 13, 2008
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Indiana Postgame Quotes
Indiana vs. Illinois
Indiana Head Coach Kelvin Sampson
"I think the sign of a pretty good basketball team is finding ways to win games when maybe you aren't at the top of your game. I don't think we played as well as I think we are capable of playing today but I think Illinois had a lot to do with that. I had to congratulate Bruce and his squad because I thought they came in here and really took it to us for a while.
"Our defense, I just didn't like the way we competed in the first half. In the second half, we competed. Our second half defense was OK, it was good enough. In the first half, we didn't look like the way we've looked. I don't know what the problem was. Jordan Crawford is a lot better than that and we had a lot of guys that didn't play as well as they are capable of.
"If it's your team, you are finding fault with your team and there is plenty of that to go around for a while. At the same time, I just thought Illinois played with a great purpose today. I thought they had a purpose and they played well. The bottom line is that we found a way to win the game and that's really what this thing is about. We can play better, but I thought Illinois defense and purpose was a little bit better than ours today.
"In the second half, we defended better and it was good to get Armon (Bassett) back in there and A.J. (Ratliff) played well defensively. Offensively, we just never seemed to get in a rhythm."
On A.J. Ratliff's play today:
"Even his misses were wide open, he had wide open looks. A.J is not going to take people off the dribble very often. He's not going to get the ball to the rim and create, he shoots open shots. He was 2-for-6 from the three-point line and all six of those were clean looks and he just missed them. That's why the more minutes he gets and the game goes by he'll get better and better."
On Armon Bassett and what he brings to the floor:
"Just being a point guard. Jordan (Crawford) is a good player, but you are going to have nights when kids just don't play well. That's why we'll look at this tape and we'll learn a lot from this tape. There are some good defensive teams in the league so we will learn a lot at both ends of the court."
Indiana freshman guard Eric Gordon
On playing against Illinois:
"I was pretty excited. I knew this was going to be a big game for us and we just looked at it like it was another Big Ten game and we just had to get a win."
On things not coming easy against Illinois:
"Well they were playing hard. And they were executing whatever that they needed to do against us. We just need to relax and deal with all the pressure they were giving us."
Indiana senior forward D.J. White
On dealing with the defensive pressure from Illinois:
"I thought they did a good job of zoning up when I caught the ball. But we came out and adjusted to it and it went in our favor."
On having Armon Bassett back:
"He has two years under coach Sampson's system. He knows what coach expects and he made big shots and big plays offensively and defensively for us. So just being under his system for two years helps."
On the scramble around the basket at the end:
"People were just going after the ball because the game was on the line. We want the ball to win and we were just playing hard and going after the ball. A.J. made a great play at the end on the block and then he tried to save the ball but stepped out of bounds. The ball went in there again the next possession and we came away with it."
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
On the last sequence of the game:
"We ran a double ball screen for Trent (Meacham). We had talked about it and watched some video. We thought they struggled sometimes with double ball screens. Trent could come off of it if someone got stuck, or you go to Brian (Randle) , you look high low, or possibly drive to the basket. He kind of hesitated. I don't know. All I know is it was short. I don't know if it was blocked or he got fouled. It was kind of crazy.
"We told Brian if he didn't have a shot, we were going to do a dribble hand off with Demetri (McCamey) on the weak side and then just create off of that. It was pretty crazy. It was short, and Demetri got the ball and drove to the basket. I told him after Penn State, `You've got to go in at the basket and make them block the shot, make the officials call a foul.' He avoided contact again, and did a `double douper douper' or something. I have no idea what it was. It didn't go in, and then it was a crazy mess at the end. It went out of bounds. We ran a play kind of for Trent. Brian Randle got that shot, and then Calvin (Brock) had the ball and he was going to shoot it. I don't know what happened. I couldn't see. He was up in the air, and then he wasn't, and the ball was going the other way."
On being close at the end of the game:
"That is what you talk about. Being close in a Big Ten road trip at half, and find a way to grind it out. That is old-fashioned Big Ten basketball. We did it for years at Purdue. I thought it was a good game plan by our assistant coaches. We spread people out. The cutting, screening, running some different guys off of baseline screens, using the clock. We talked about aggressive patience, which is a difficult term. It is a fine line. We were able to push it a few times. We got it to Calvin a few times early in transition. Then if we got into half court, we were going to make them guard. We were going to try to get some two man games, isolation ball screens. They seem to struggle with those at times. There were some good things there. We battled on the boards. It was eight and nine offensive rebounds, but they had 15 second chance points, so I guess those made a big difference. Balls haven't bounced our way, and calls haven't gone our way. That is the difference between having a great season and having a mediocre season."
"I asked them to fight and play hard. This is a tough place. I've been here many, many times throughout the years. You've got to play with emotion. You've got to match the intensity. You've got to keep the crowd out of it. It was just one little, like all year, one little segment in the second half. We had some free throws. They made some shots. We fouled. Put them on the free throw line, and they made them. (Eric Gordon) got a couple in transition. Calvin (Brock) did a great job on (Gordon). We rotated some people and never let him get in a rhythm. We were going to trap him every time he got the ball. I think that frustrated them a little bit. I'd like to be happy, but I'm not. It's sad. It is difficult. I think we understand how hard we have to play now, and we didn't understand that before. I think they're into the team now and maybe not themselves. We have to grow up as a team, but hopefully it is not too late."