Men's Basketball

    Indiana vs. Connecticut

    Go Hoosiers!
    Go Hoosiers!

    Go Hoosiers!

    Jan. 26, 2008

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    Head Coach Kelvin Sampson

    Opening Statement:
    "First I would like to congratulate Coach Calhoun and Connecticut. I thought their kids played tough. They hung together, made big plays when they needed to and that is a great win for them. We've been on the other side of this enough to know how big, in that situation they were in. We told our guys, we played a game similar to this this year. We were without Gordon and Bassett and Crawford. Those three guys were out for a game and those guys being out helped us, in a way. It kind of brought us together and banded us together and made us tougher. Today the toughest team won. Connecticut was just tougher than we were."

    On whether the play of Hasheem Thabeet affected Indiana's offense:
    "Not really. We had good looks. D.J. (White), of his 13 shots maybe two of them were being really contested. He had a lot of good looks. Part of our game plan was to get Thabeet out of the paint and have him guard the pick-and-roll. Have D.J. picking and popping versus picking and rolling. And D.J.'s a really good 15-17 foot shooter. So those were the shots D.J. was getting. He just didn't shoot a very high percentage today.

    "Basketball is a game where you have to play it together. You can't play it by yourself. Probably for the first time all is uncharacteristic for this team. There will be some games like this. You just have to learn from them. This could be a great learning experience for our team and I think it will be. We'll bounce back."

    On being able to learn from a loss that doesn't affect the conference record:
    "The bottom line is we didn't play good enough to win. Connecticut's team deserved to win this game tonight. They have a great point guard and their inside guys really dominated five feet and in...10 feet and in. (Jeff) Adrien and (Stanley) Robinson, Thabeet...those kids played well. Give Connecticut a lot of credit. We can sit here and talk about what we didn't do, but let's give Connecticut some credit here. A tough situation for them, their kids came in and really played well."

    Thoughts on Indiana's offensive execution:
    "I was probably a lot happier last game and will be a lot happier next game."

    On the play of Eric Gordon:
    "He looked like he was struggling tonight. The game didn't really come easy to him."

    On the play of Jordan Crawford:
    "I thought Jordan played more under control, didn't turn it over."

    General thoughts on the loss:
    "We still have a good team. This is a setback. We still have 12 more games and our team is going to win a ton more games and this may wind up being the best thing that happens to this team. At some point, you are going to lose at home. I don't worry about records; all I am interested in is this team bouncing back; learning from our mistakes, not dwelling on our mistakes or talking about how poor we are. We were bad today. There will be other games for us to be great in. This was a game today where we didn't play very well. No excuses. Some days you just don't play good and you have to go fix that. But at the same time Connecticut did; they played good today. They deserved to win the game."

    Senior D.J. White

    On going up against 7-foot-3 Hasheem Thabeet:
    "They are very big up front, obviously. He had a very good game."

    On losing at home:
    "It always feels bad losing at home. We were on a win streak here for the last two years."

    On bouncing back quicker from a nonconference loss:
    "A loss is a loss. But there is nothing we can do now. We'll just try to learn from this game and get better and move on after that."

    Junior Armon Bassett

    On not being able to make a run to take back the lead:
    "They have good individual players and their best players made plays for them."

    On Connecticut being able to limit Indiana's outside opportunities:
    "Probably for the first time, a couple of us probably played a little selfish; probably took some shots that we hadn't taken all season. Sometimes we didn't make that extra pass today."

    On when the game began to change in Connecticut's favor:
    "Probably about halfway through the half when we went 4-for-25 the last part of the half. I thought we had good shots at the basket we just didn't make some shots that we usually make today. We didn't get stops when we needed. That's the bottom line."

    Connecticut Head Coach Jim Calhoun

    Opening Statement:
    "This sweat that you see isn't from the game. It is from me hugging every single one of those kids. And quite frankly, they deserve more than a hug from me. They deserve one from the state of Connecticut. They deserve a hug from the university. They deserve a hug from our fans. And if you are a basketball enthusiast and you see a team that is limited, self-imposed certainly, in the players that are brought here against a terrific team. To do what we did is certainly the greatest win I've had and it's going to get up there since the national championship team beat Georgia Tech. It could even beat the Duke game where we came back from down seven.

    "From the aspect of basketball and leaving and why I do this thing, when people respond that way. I'm not saying we don't have players, we do have players. Hasheem Thabeet made two blocks and 20 detour signs. They went in and left without the ball and him not blocking the shot. Jeff (Adrien) started off rough but came on like a soldier. Donnell Beverly did something that you can't ask a kid to do, having never played in a big game, to come in and give significant minutes. Sticks (Stanley Robinson) put Curtis (Kelly) at the three-position this morning at breakfast and he is normally our four-man. And what our kids did is one of those special things. The pride that I feel with them and the hugs that I gave to them are why athletic competition that brings out the things in people that are very, very special.

    "Again, I think back to the national championship game and being down seven to Duke, it's on that plateau. My respect for Indiana, this building and all it represents...this is basketball heaven and I love every bit of it. To come in here when they have a 17-1 team with some terrific players and have our kids give everything they had. I was just hoping the clock would malfunction and go quicker. We were running out of gas, but we found enough inside of us. I know this a soliloquy and not a question and answer but this is how I feel right now. I feel so much pride in my kids and how they responded and did everything we asked them to do. I'll remember this for an awful, awful, awful long time."

    On Hasheem Thabeet's progress from last year to this year:
    "I still think he has a little ways to go, because tonight wasn't his best night, offensively. But he did hold (D.J.) White somewhat in check and held everybody else in check. I was trying to think of and I really can't, I've had Emeka Okafor, Travis Knight, these are all NBA centers, Josh Boone, Hilton Armstrong...any progress they made would pale in comparison to a kid who hadn't touched a basketball four years ago. His father was the greatest soccer player in Tanzania history, he has the highest cumulative GPA on the team this year, he is an incredibly bright young guy. His work ethic and what he did this summer to get himself ready, now we are starting to see some of those results. I couldn't be more proud of A.J. (Price) and what he had to overcome, some of it self-imposed and some by nature and we almost lost him. To watch Craig (Austrie), after many times being beat out by Marcus Williams after starting 13 games in a row and going undefeated, make the foul shots (at the end). To watch Sticks play the way he did, every single one of them and the guys on the bench. The spirit on our team was phenomenal, and I have never had anyone make the progress [Thabeet] has. I truly believe, and he is going to do what he is going to do and he may be forced to do something, but if he ever waits another year, he will be the best big man in the country far and away. He will change any game and will be one of the most dominating players in recent memory, in my opinion. Is he going to be Greg Oden? I don't know about that, offensively. But I do know that defensively he is an incredible force just being there and being active."

    On the team defense:
    "We worked on it yesterday in practice. That's all we really worked on. We tried to get some of the guys playing different positions. The two players that didn't accompany us, we put them on the other team and went against them. Even if I had decided to bring them, they weren't playing, that I already decided. The point was, we were telling Donnell (Beverly), `Okay, you've been sitting for two and a half months on the yellow team. We would like you to go to Bloomington, Ind. and Assembly Hall and play the seventh ranked team in the country and we expect you to be good'. And he was."




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