Postgame Quotes - Indiana at Northwestern
Feb. 22, 2014
Indiana head coach Tom Crean
"We knew we were playing against a very good team. We knew we were playing against a wounded team much like we were because they put everything into it. This is a...Chris is going to be an outstanding coach for a long, long time. They run great offense and they are extremely tough to score against because of their ability to switch defenses, their physicality, their ability to get back in transition, they block out, and they're just going to get better and better. And I feel a lot about the same way with our team. This was a great win for us after an interesting week. We were certainly ready to play this past Tuesday night against Iowa, there's no doubt about that. We didn't get to do it obviously with the situation back there, but our guys continued to work all week and get better just like they have all year.
"Tonight was the things that we needed to do happened. We needed to do a great job on Drew Crawford and we certainly did in the second half. We needed to make (Tre) Demps, and if (JerShon) Cobb would've been out there, do the best job we can to make them earn their baskets. I thought (Dave) Sobolewski came in and did a good job of spelling what has become one of the better guards in our league in Cobb, without question. And we had to make sure that we rebounded the ball. We wanted to be active with our defense. We know they don't turn it over a lot but we wanted to get deflections and be aggressive there. We had 51 deflections tonight.
"But we wanted to understand and get the team to see that in eight of the 12 games we've played those eight have come down to two possessions or less. It's finishing is really important, that's obvious, everybody sees the finishing, but it's the things that go on in the heart of the game, it's the things that go on in the crux of the game, it's the second half, it's the timeout segments, it's all those different things. Our guys did a really good of working through that. We got great leadership tonight. We got very sound play from numerous people. An unsung hero for us is Collin Hartman in the way that he played in practice this week of being Drew Crawford. I mean that's how guys get better. They go out there and they play with great freedom. I would've felt very good about putting Collin in the game tonight. But everybody that played contributed and they did what they do, and it really helped us."
On making plays down the stretch:
"Well that's the crux of the game. It's so easy to look at the last couple of possessions and they get magnified and rightfully so, but it's all the other things that go inside...those were big plays at crucial times. It's fantastic for Will to make that shot because he works so hard and his leadership has been so good. He's had a long week. He was highly disappointed after the Purdue game, and certainly after the Penn State game. He is a literal heart and soul guy into this, so it was fantastic to see him make that shot...he lined it up.
"Troy is getting better without the ball all the time, and you see the athleticism that he has when he goes to the rim. I think the fact that he played and had no turnovers tonight with the amount of minutes he played was fantastic. When he is locked in and focused like that...he's just improving...he's starting to understand more and more that it's okay to slow down but when there's a chance to speed up go get that one.
"I thought Stan (Robinson) coming in when Will had four fouls and going right away and forcing a jump-ball with Drew Crawford was a big play. Drew Crawford is not easy to guard at all. It's nice to think you're going to guard him with one person, but you've really got to guard him with your team because he's so capable of. We built our game plan around him tonight and Demps. But guys who really contributed in so many other ways and put great focus on the defense and the rebounding made some big baskets and that is a great reflection point for them to look at. When they're locked in on the right things good things happen on the offensive end."
On the run in the middle of the game to get separation:
"Tonight our spirit was just so good and we were really locked in to what we were doing defensively...what we were switching and what we were changing our defenses on...the communication was really good. And I think the fact that we got off to a really good start in the second half was a really good maturity point for us and a huge, huge point and I hope we can build on it because we're working really hard to build on it. It sounds kind of trite but it really is the spirit of it and its guys doing their job and being locked into one another and taking good shots and getting back knowing what the other team wants and not allowing them to get easy looks."
On the team adjusting to the schedule change this week:
"So I thought that we were able to do a good job of that this week. Their energy was high, their spirit was high, they were ready to play all week long and fortunately we were able to get the win tonight in a highly contested game against a team that has obviously proven this year that they are capable of some really good things.
"You touched on Troy Williams and what he needs to do. What would you like to see him improve upon and how far do you think he has come this year?
"I'd have to really think about how far he's come. I'll have to reflect on that at the end of the year. But I think he is improving all the time. I think tonight the way he played his footwork was really good. He played fast but he didn't play in a hurry. The old John Wooden be quick but don't hurry and that's exactly what he did. I think that comes...I mean he's such a high-wire guy and he's got such a high energy level that sometimes he'll be moving before...he picks his foot up before the ball goes down...little things like that.
"He didn't try to take shots that weren't there. I thought he played...he really was good in the corners tonight...those are improvement things. He didn't creep in...slide up...he really stayed true to the spacing. So I just think that and the basic fundamentals of finishing and knocking down backboard shots and continue to work on his three like we are. I just think we just help him continue to improve. He's a big part of our team.
On the difference in the offense against Northwestern this time:
"I think the thing for us with our ability to offensive rebound if we get good shots we're going to have a really good chance to get a board. That's the one thing that all this youthful athleticism and versatility brings us, so when we turn it over or we take quick shots...I thought we took a couple...we want to stay away from taking quick corner threes off of no reversals...we had a couple...one of those...we don't want to do that...that's not what makes us better. But I thought the fact that we kept reversing it...I'll be shocked if the numbers aren't really high for us when we watch the film and see that we got...that the extra reversal made a big difference because it got their defense moving.
"When a team wants to play inside whether they're zoning or whether they're sagging like they do you have to make them move. If you just stand like we did the first time and you settle for jump shots then they never have to move and they've got defensive rebound ability and they're just coming down the court and getting what they want.
On the season-low seven turnovers:
"But the bottom-line is these guys know that if we get good looks...and if we get a chance to get on that board...and we get to that foul line...we got a chance to be pretty good. When we're taking quick shots and we're turning it over and we're giving the other team live ball turnovers... we were turning that ball over going into this game in 23 percent of our possessions...I mean that's not good. I think we really cut that back.
"They really took to heart this game...I just said this to a couple of my coaches...some of you will remember this...this game reminds me of our game going to Ohio State last year after losing the Illinois game. we really didn't have the same...the young guys won't know this so I won't even bring it up to them...but we had the same level of this is how we need to win the game maturity that we did. That was a pretty good group. We had lost that game and made some big mistakes and we go up to Ohio State and win a tough, tough game on the road because we took care of the ball. And tonight this team was the same way."
On getting contributions from guys off the bench:
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