Men's Basketball

    Postgame Quotes - Indiana at Northwestern

    Go Hoosiers!
    Go Hoosiers!

    Go Hoosiers!

    Feb. 22, 2014

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    Indiana head coach Tom Crean

    Opening Statement:
    "Well obviously it was a great win for us, but just saying to Alex Olah back there...he's a fantastic player. Northwestern...I'll talk about us in a minute...but Northwestern...Chris (Collins), Bryan James, that entire staff...they are doing such a great job making their team better, making them believe...I mean looking at where Alex Olah is now as a player is really something to see. Knowing that he's been hurt with the ankles the last couple games and to battle like that. That's what makes this league so hard, but it's also what makes every win so gratifying. It's what makes every win so incredibly, not just valuable in the standings and things, but just precious because they are so hard to come by, especially when you go on the road.

    "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:
    "I didn't know the numbers but I would just say the spirit because our demeanor really hurt us last week against Purdue. We got our heads down and we missed lay-ups and then all of a sudden it was just an incredible fast-break with a capital "F" on how quick they were getting out and running on us because we missed the shots and some of our guys were at the basket. If you make the bucket now you're getting back, if you miss it now you're at a disadvantage.

    "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:
    "They never flinched and I think that's the most important thing. They just continued to work and we didn't over-work and we didn't over-prepare. I thought we did the right amount of preparation to get ready for a game, but at the same time we were really locked into what we needed to improve upon. I think it's really easy this time of year to get so focused on the games, and we're going to have that coming up with all the games that we have in a row. You can get so focused on the games that you can lose sight or lose that time of making sure you're really locking in on what your players need to get better at not only as a team but individually.

    "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 know that we really did a great job reversing the ball. That's the one thing that I was most concerned about tonight. I don't know the distribution of where we took the shots from, but I know the fact that we got it reversed was really important. I thought we were really good in the shot-clock. The whole thing is about not don't want to have empty possessions. So even if you get a good shot and you don't go...okay, it wasn't an empty didn't get anything out of it but you got a good look.

    "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 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:
    "Well I was really concerned in yesterday's practice...we were going so fast that I had to give myself my own timeout yesterday so that I didn't erupt because we were going so fast and trying so hard and we were turning it over so much in practice. But then we just kind of settled in...I mean they were so ready to go and to play...and we had to practice. But tonight I think that's absolutely what it was. We fed the post and we played inside-out. We didn't try to throw homerun passes...couple times and I'm okay with that when we're out on the break as long as they can tell me what they saw and I can believe it.

    "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:
    "Chris may feel differently and I don't know what he said, and I may feel differently after watching the film, but we wanted to bring fatigue to the game and I'm not sure it did. I think the fact that Alex Olah...I mean he has to be hurting...and to play the way that he did and to many minutes did he goodness, that's fantastic...that kid is going to be a major league player. I'm not sure we were ever able to bring fatigue to the game that way because they're a low turnover team in many ways so maybe it's not going to show itself, but I think...we tried to do our best to make them work very, very hard for everything and not let them get comfortable. They are very, very good at their sets and they are extremely good in isolation, and they know who they want to get the shots. We had to do a good job of that and I think again, our guys that came in did a fantastic job for the most part of knowing what we wanted to take away."




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