Feb. 3, 2008
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Indiana Head Coach Kelvin Sampson
On putting Kyle Taber in the starting lineup:
"Kyle practices well. He is always on the white team and the white team is our second team in practice and our Crimson team is our first team. Kyle...we just haven't been getting as much from our positions as you would like to see and some points you need to reward kids who work their butt off every day. I didn't decide, really to start him...I guess it was yesterday afternoon. I thought he did a nice job. He screens when he should screen. He cuts when he should cut. He gets on the floor after loose balls. He just has to play his role. I think he is a tough kid, too. I like Kyle.
On the status of Jordan Crawford:
"Tim Garl (athletic trainer) said he came down and said that he flipped his ankle over again. I knew he couldn't go the rest of the game. That's good for A.J. (Ratliff). We told those guys, when you are that wide open, shoot with confidence. We need those two guys (Ratliff and Lance Stemler) to start shooting the ball better for us, though."
On switching to the zone:
"Northwestern, if you chart their team, it is amazing how many baskets they make in the last seven seconds of the shot clock. I felt we defended them well for 25, 28 seconds. They haven't shot the ball well. Those were the same shots they've been getting against most teams. But they have to make threes to compete. If they're not making threes, then they struggle. Today they made their threes. In their zone, they have to hope that you miss yours. We tried to attack diagonal to D.J. (White) today. We tried to make extra passes. I thought we were a lot better at certain things. The key is plus 22 on the boards. Our goal going in was to be plus 20. When you play Northwestern, that is an area that you have to do well in is second shots; second and third shots."
On playing more as a team:
"We had 16 assists on 24 shots and had we shot the ball a little bit better there would have been a lot more assists. With D.J. we made a concerted effort. When teams zone you there is a tendency to settle for threes. I thought all the threes we took today were clean looks. I thought if Tone (Jamarcus Ellis) had not gotten into foul trouble he would have had a monster rebounding day. He was really doing a great job crashing the boards; especially the offensive boards. He had six offensive rebounds in 24 minutes."
On the zone being effective against Northwestern:
"They play their way. It is hard to get them out of their offense. No. 22, the freshman, Michael Thompson, he is going to be a good player. (Kevin) Coble is really good. These kids are good players. At least in the zone we could dictate where their shots were coming from. When we were playing a man-to-man, the threes they were taking, it seemed like they were always at the end of the shot clock."
On the play of D.J. White:
"I don't take him for granted. We have the bubble, the plastic lid that we put over the rim and we make a big deal out of who signs it. And I told him today, after the game, we had a little ceremony where D.J. comes up to the front of the room, he takes a black marker and signs it and we always kind of give him an ovation. And I told him today `I don't take this for granted.' I've never had a kid that consistently rebounds at the level he rebounds at every game. He had 17 rebounds at Wisconsin, as physical and as tough as they are. I think he is special. A lot of great players in this country...D.J. is just having a sensational senior year. And he keeps it all in perspective. His maturity is a blessing on this team."
Junior Forward Kyle Taber
On getting the start against Northwestern
"Coach told me last night at walk through. I was excited at first, but I was nervous as well. I wanted to do whatever I could to help the team. I didn't want to psych myself out. I tried to stay calm. I just went out there and tried to do my role."
Senior Forward D.J. White
On taking advantage of the mismatches:
"We just had the game plan of being aggressive on the offensive boards. We haven't been doing that. We just wanted to attack, myself and Tone (Jamarcus Ellis). Jamarcus did a good job attacking them when the guards took the shots and getting the offensive rebounds."
On his rebounding effort today:
"I was just trying to be aggressive. When the ball was in the air I just wanted to go and get it. I was just trying to play hard."
On playing against the zone:
"We've been zoned a lot throughout the year. We are kind of familiar with what we want to do and how to attack it. The previous games, they helped us out a lot tonight."
Freshman Guard Eric Gordon
On making an effort to pass the ball more:
"That was something we needed to work on. We were doing it a little in the first half and a little bit in the second half of the year. That is just how we play. We just penetrated and needed to make the extra pass. We shot pretty good and went off of that."
On the wrap he was wearing on his wrist:
"I was just getting used to it. Before I wasn't playing that much on it and now I am getting used to it, shooting and dribbling off it. I can go left. It was just hard the first game...the first game back playing on it. I feel like I am getting used to it."
On hitting his three-point shots early in the game:
"I was just hitting a lot of threes today. I was just on."
Northwestern Head Coach Bill Carmody
"We knew they were going to play us hard and we thought we could run some of our sets and get some pretty good shots, and I felt we got them. We basically set up the first two, three or four plays and we got three lay-ups and an open shot and might have missed them all.
"I know coach Sampson doesn't think this is a two-man team, and it's not, but those two guys (Eric Gordon and D.J. White) really killed us today. The first two shots they missed, White rebounded. And with Gordon, we told (our guys) to be there on the catch because he is that good and his range is very good, and we were just late getting there. We contested some, but he is the kind of player when you contest a little late it almost steers it in for them.
"And at halftime, they had 14 missed shots and they got 10 of them back (with offensive rebounds), so they dominated us on the backboard. They went to a zone in the second half and again it was like the start of the start of the game, we ran a set play and got a lay-up and missed it. But that change to the zone definitely hurt us."
On the offensive struggles for a portion of the second half:
"Well, some time in there they went zone. We ran exactly what we wanted and got the shot for the guy we wanted and Kevin Coble made that reverse. When you are playing a zone and you beat it quickly, then maybe they go back to their man-to-man. I thought the next time down, Craig Moore had a shot on the wing that he rushed and it wasn't a great shot. It's contagious, you start missing a couple, so we missed a few. And at the same time, neither team looked like they were stopping each other. We didn't stop them then and then all of a sudden it goes from two to about seven or eight. And that is a lot against a good team on their home court."
On the success of the offense tonight compared to other games in the Big Ten:
"I thought we were cutting harder. Our radio guy just told me that we were cutting harder than we have in any game this season, so I think there is something to that. It just seemed like we challenged some guys, but they were overplaying us pretty hard, so we found some guys on backcuts.
"We had six turnovers in the first half and I think we had three walks and that bothered me. If we are going to play with this team, and we did, you can't have missed opportunities with the lay-ups we missed and some of the turnovers in the first half with the three walks. I don't know if they were really forced, maybe they were and they had something to do with it. But I think we have to avoid those things and really cherish the ball."
On changing defenses throughout the game causing Indiana some confusion:
"They made every shot, so I don't know how much confusion (we caused). We thought we had to do that a little bit. We were going to 1-3-1 a lot and Gordon was banging them and they could just flip it up to (D.J.) White. Bassett would penetrate and just flip it up a little bit, so I thought we had to change it up a little bit."