Nov. 13, 2009
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Coach Crean Postgame Press Conference Video
Players Postgame Video
Head Coach Tom Crean
"I thought the energy level inside Assembly Hall was phenomenal. To me it never gets old, and I know it's just got to be blowing our young guys away. When you have a crowd that has that kind of support and passion for the team, it just helps everybody in so many ways. To have 17,000-plus in here our first game, in our second year, to me after what we have gone through last year, I just think that's a really, really great thing.
"I thought our players really responded to the crowd's energy. Which I thought we would have, there were some deer in the headlights type of action early in the first half. It's not practice, it's not an exhibition game and all of a sudden this is real and the crowd is that much louder and larger. But eventually we settled in and became very effective. Defensively we got our break going. It really helped us and we were able to blow the game open in the first half. I thought our guys came out and played even harder in the second half. We weren't always as smart or as active as we needed to be defensively. We were moving our head and using our brain and hands and arms, but we were really, really active with our feet. That's a really, really good start.
"We got a lot of good basketball from different people. We really, really shared the basketball. Anytime you have 20 assists that's a real benchmark, it means your offense is moving and really crisp. We are still going to be a hard driving team and a team that wants to get to the rim. There are a ton of things we need to improve on, and we are trying to do that. It's a very good start to what we hope is a productive and improvement-filled season."
On energy Derek Elston brought off the bench:
On Decision to switch to a 2 3 zone:
"We played a lot of zone last year, so it's nothing new for us we work on. We build everything out of our man to man. We spend very little time in zones in practice. Last year we had to do so many different things to be in a game, and switching defenses and things like that. It's really about putting pressure on the point guard's decision making. So we have to continue to figure out ways to do that. Tonight the zone worked for us. They are very good at going to the basket. Riley is a high level athlete at being able to get to the rim and get there in one or two dribbles, so we wanted to take some of that away. I think that helped us. We rebounded solid out there. We didn't rebound great, but we rebounded solid. There's a lot of room for growth in there.
On how Christian Watford and Maurice Creek played:
"They got better as the game went on. Maurice really started off excellent. His mom was here, and Christian's parents were here. You always worry a little bit in that situation the first time. You know it's the first time their families are here, but they really did an excellent job. Maurice has really gained confidence. He's getting stronger. He has gained 15, 16 pounds since he has been here already. He has major league athleticism. But again, his game is driven a lot by his defensive energy level. I thought it was high tonight. I thought Christian just keeps getting better and better. We need him to be a force on the glass. We need him to be an outside, inside scorer, and inside outside, depending on what the game calls for. We want him to continue to get better off the drive and we are going to continue to put him in situations where he can get isolated in the game because he is an excellent foul shooter. Having those two guys, regardless of class or size, we know they are freshman, we have to keep it in perspective, but we are not trying to treat them like that on the court."
On playing time:
"It looked like if we could really stay fresh, we could start to wear people down as the game went on. I put on the board at halftime, the word pace. I put it on the left side, I put it on the right side. I said right now we have two different meanings going to that, and one we have to eliminate one. Last year it was easy to pace yourself because we didn't have numbers, we didn't have a deep bench, and we couldn't play fast, so it was easy to pace yourselves, well this year that is gone. We are going to play at a fast pace. To do that, I want them to understand it's the quality of the minutes, not the quantity."
On Jeremiah Rivers playing too fast:
"Oh I am not going to try and slow him down. I think what's going on right now is that it's extremely hard for our team to keep up with him. I'd rather have them try to speed up than to slow him down. The only thing we are really concerned with him in that area is his decision making. There were too many times tonight he was driving and the defense was back. It's a real effort to keep up with him."
"On run near end of first half:
I think it was the defensive energy. I think it was the fact that we played a lot of guys and our guys were fresh. Without knowing their minutes off the top of my head, they probably weren't able to play as many guys. I think they did a very good job of coming in and trying to determine that they did not want this to be a high possession, high pace game. We didn't want that to happen, we wanted to make it faster. It wasn't like it was fast early on, but it's just a matter of time if you have fresh bodies, who are active and who are getting things done. We could open it up a little bit. We held them to one shot in the zone and we were able to be very efficient. We were very efficient with our offense tonight."
Howard Head Coach Gil Jackson
On Indiana's switch to a zone defense
"It caused some problems because we didn't make some shots. We expected them to play zone, but I think our shooters lost confidence pretty quickly. They missed a couple shots, and then Indiana spread it. Then we had to go in the gaps and attack, and our guards weren't ready for that. They were tentative, so that changed the tempo quite a bit. You have got to shoot the ball and you have got to make shots."
On their shooting problems
"They just weren't going down. We shot the ball pretty well in practice. Kyle Riley hasn't been practicing because of a back problem. He hasn't been practicing the last three days, and it's tough to come out and play without having the rhythm and timing. But they did a good job of closing out on shooters and making us tentative. We had some looks, but the looks that we had didn't go down early enough to keep the game close. Once they got on a run with a couple of transition baskets it made things tough. They did a good job of scoring inside, and they made their shots."
Thoughts on Indiana
"I just thought they played and they played together. They looked to get easy shots. You didn't see anybody playing selfishly. They worked hard inside and their post guys banged. They tried to rebound and keep the ball alive. I thought it was a team effort that we expected. I thought our guys let the game get away from them."