Jan. 21, 2010
Box Score |
Indiana Coach Tom Crean Quotes
Comments about the game:
"Well first and foremost, we knew we were going to play an outstanding team and I know their record is what it is, but it's not indicative of the kind of players or coaching staff that they have. They're a couple buckets away from having a winning record in this league and I hope that everybody will remember that. I know what we went through a year ago in the sense of what we lost when the program fell apart and you have no experience. I think it's very important that people remember how much experience [Penn State] lost. They lost some major league players when you talk about [Jamelle] Cornley and [Stanley] Pringle and some of the other kids that came off the bench. I wouldn't want to play them in a couple weeks, I really wouldn't. We knew were going to have to play tougher, and match their toughness I should say, match their energy [and] I think we did. Very, very happy for my team - very happy how my coaches and staff found all the little tricks and nooks and crannies and all the motivational buttons to help make sure our team was ready to play tonight. Whether it was great walk-throughs, whether it was one-on-one meetings, whatever it was, our coaching staff did an outstanding job. [I'm] proud of the way the guys came in the game, especially Devan Dumas, the way that he played tonight. Everybody that played made a great contribution and it might have been free throws, it might have been a rebound, but when your on the road in a possession-by-possession game, everything is magnified. And when you make those kinds of contribution, it makes your team feel really good about themselves - our guys should feel good about themselves. They earned a victory again tonight, [I'm] proud of them."
On the way the team responded when [Penn State] tied it in the second half:
On Verdell's confidence to step up in big situations?
"Well I think that's probably where Sunday has come back to help us even quicker than you might think. And you never know what experiences you're going to take from a game, and when they're going to come up again, but I think it did. There was no panic in our guys' voices; there was no deer-in-the-headlight look. Jeremiah Rivers fouled out and we bring the guys over for those quick seconds you get before you sub, I had him run that huddle because he needed to stay with them, they needed to know he was still in it even though he wasn't in the game. Those are the kinds of maturity things that help you withstand runs in a game and we made some really big plays. We had some big rebounds, Verdell [Jones III] made a huge play down the stretch, Danny Moore's free throws. I mean the list goes on and I'm really proud of the way that they found the way."
"Oh he wants the ball - absolutely. He wants the ball and the good thing about Verdell is that he's getting better every time with his decision-making. Even tonight when we broke the press once and Devan [Dumes] took it in and he had a challenged shot. He knew right away that that was a challenged shot and to me that's growth. He knows I'm going right back to him in those situations and he had to play extended minutes with Jeremiah's foul situation. In answer with Verdell, I think he's among many. Their confidence is growing all the time and I think that's really important as we move forward."
On the two big offensive rebounds that [Christian] Watford had:
"They were big. Every once in a while when you don't think that Christian is going as hard as he can, he uncoils and there he is. We asked him to play different positions tonight, he had to come in at the three, we took him out for a few minutes so he could get some water and then make sure that we had three or four things that he could run from the small forward spot. We do that in practice, but again doing it in practice and doing it in a highly-contested game on the road is a different deal. But he did and he did an excellent job with that. Again, for the second straight game he came up with big rebounds at winning time."
"We didn't rebound the ball great - we're going to have to get better there, we know that. But we stayed in it; we stayed in it with the rebounding. When [Watford] plays like that, we're a much better basketball team. He can score in the mid-range, he can score at the rim, he can score from three. And when he can get offensive rebounds and he continues to develop the way he is defensively, our improvement level is going to be higher. There's no doubt about that.
On the improved start in conference play this year compared to last year:
"I think it builds confidence. It's not a part of my thinking, it really isn't and I hadn't really looked at it like that until you said it, but I think it's important for them. We try to make sure we learn some lessons from a year ago. We played [Penn State's] outstanding team last year. And don't forget, that team won a championship last year. They lost some serious pieces to their program and you look around the country at teams that are dealing with tough losses. I'm extra sympathetic to that because we lost our whole team with the exception of one guy. It takes time for guys to learn what has to be done and the expectations that this staff has for them. But we came in here a year ago and we battled hard until the end, our guys knew that. But they also knew that Penn State beat us three times last year. They really responded to the fact of "okay here are the things we think we can do in this game. here's the things we cannot do in the game," and I think for the most part they did a good job with it."