Men's Basketball

    Post Game Quotes - Western Illinois

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    Dec. 6, 2006

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    Post-Game Quotes
    Western Illinois
    December 3, 2006

    Head Coach Kelvin Sampson

    Opening Statement:
    "When we came here, I thought it was important that we create an identity and have Hoosier basketball be an adjective, not a noun. You can't say, ok this is what we want to be and not practice like that or be forceful. I do think that you achieve what you emphasize. The way we play in practice has to carry over to games and probably for the first time this year, I've seen that.

    I've been saying this all year - our kids have to get comfortable. Two things that stood out to me tonight was that we didn't let off the pedal on defense. Irregardless of who was in the game, I just thought that our defensive intensity was solid throughout. We rebounded the ball, we got on the floor for loose balls and we were unselfish. We ran our offense. There is not a lot of `What do I do now, where do I go,' and that creates tentative play. I'm seeing a lot more aggressiveness and attacking the basket, but I think that that comes from understanding, being aggressive and being confident. Its like I said against Duke and the second half against Charlotte. I think we were better in the second half of the Duke game than we were in the first. I think we were better against Charlotte and I think we got better tonight. Our key is just to keep getting better. This is not an ending point tonight. We will work at this and keep getting better."

    On the turnovers:
    "You think about the Butler game, we had 20 turnovers. The Duke game, we had 16 turnovers, 12 in the first half, but only four in the second half. The game is hard enough to play when you contribute to your own demise. Its not an easy game, especially when the other team is defending you as well as Duke defended us.

    Sometimes it's just simple. Offense is not for the coach, it's not for the fans. It's for those kids to understand it. If they don't understand it, it's no good. All those years at Oklahoma, we ran things a certain way. You come here, and you realize that these kids don't really fit that. In coaching, you have to continually adjust to your players. They can't adjust to you, that's not the way it works. You have to adjust to them. We just kept looking for something that would fit Earl (Calloway). The answer is not to bench him; the answer is to make it easier for him, because we need him on the court. I thought Earl did a great job defensively on David Jackson. He was averaging 18 coming in, but look at the job Earl did. He got lost on defense, but I really think that helped his offense.

    I thought everybody played aggressive tonight. The way it works in college basketball, it behooves you to drive the ball, it gets you to the free throw line. Look at the way they call the game now. You can't get to the foul line if you don't drive it. That's an adjustment that we had to make."

    On the play of freshman guard Joey Shaw:
    "Joey floors the ball probably better than the other kids, although Rod (Wilmont) did tonight. Joey, he can get to the rim. He's probably a better scorer than he is a shooter. A.J. Ratliff for us is a much better shooter than he is a scorer, but Joey is a better scorer than he is a shooter. He drives it and is more of a slasher. I don't want him to play inside a box. That's the thing about learning these kids. I didn't know them in October. We hadn't played a game, and you just kind of see how they react to things. We lost at the buzzer against Butler and lost a heartbreaker at Duke, and I think every one of those experiences helped us. As we go forward, that's important. I do think we are getting better. That's the thing as you go through the season - there's a lot of teams out there today that have probably already hit their ceiling. I think our team will get better because of repetition and playing together, like tonight. We had three turnovers. We didn't go get a new player. More practices, more games, its just getting better. We just stay with what we have. The more you deviate, the more confusion you cause with kids. We're just getting better at what we do because of repetition and being more consistent."

    Senior guard Roderick Wilmont

    On breaking out of his so-called slump:
    "Coach told me in practice that I needed to get back in the gym like I was doing at the beginning of the season and I went two nights in a row and shot. Then me and Coach before the game played H-O-R-S-E and he told me to just shoot when I'm open and that's what I did."

    On the guard play in the game:
    "Earl (Calloway), (Errek) Suhr, Armon (Bassett), they did a great job of running the plays and me, A.J. (Ratliff) and Joey (Shaw) on the wings, when they made the call, we knew what we were doing right away. Coach tells us that if it breaks down to just make plays, and that's what we did tonight."

    On playing Kentucky:
    "We just need to keep playing hard like we have been and it's going to take care of itself. It's a rivalry game, and as soon as I got here to Indiana, all the Indiana fans talked about was Purdue and Kentucky, so I know what this game means, and we just have to tell the other guys that haven't been here that we need to go out and fight - it's a pride issue."

    Senior guard Errek Suhr

    On keeping up the defensive intensity:
    "We feel it's very important. Coach was talking to us at halftime about keeping our foot on the pedal defensively. They shot well at the beginning of the game, percentage wise, and something that we pride ourselves on is our team defensive field goal percentage and rebounding, so to keep those goals in order we needed to keep playing hard in the second half and really clamp down on defense. It's something that is really important to us and I think we showed it tonight."

    On playing Kentucky:
    "We played well tonight, but we want to be at our best going into a game like the Kentucky game. It's a big rivalry game, and we're trying to go into Kentucky to win the game, we're going there to compete to win, and its good to be playing at our best. We are going to go play as a team - we're pretty excited about it."

    Western Illinois Head Coach Derek Thomas

    Opening Statement:
    "I'm disappointed in how we played tonight, just coming off an emotional win the other night. I didn't think we executed the things we wanted to do offensively and defensively except for trying to squeeze on D.J. (White) as much as we could, that was about the only thing I thought we did right tonight. I think we're probably a little emotionally tired from our third game in five days, but you have to give them credit for the pressure they were able to put on us and take us out of some of the things we wanted to do."

    On the lack of scoring after the first part of the game:
    "Being physical, body checking and hand checking away from the ball so you can't get to the spots you want. When you have a big shot blocker in there, and you go in there and they get a couple shots blocked, I think those are some of the things that led to easy baskets for them. It gets you frustrated and takes you out of the things you want to do, which we expected them to try to do, and we were going to see how we withstood it."

    On Indiana not turning the ball over:
    "We wanted to pressure the ball and shrink on D.J. (White). We did the shrink part, but we left other guys open too much. It's the same kind of game plan we had the other night which worked, for some reason our guys didn't put enough pressure on them. I think a little bit of it had to be that (Indiana) stepped back a little bit deeper than our opponents did the other night. (Indiana) was hitting some deep threes out there, and I think they got a little bit of confidence. We pride our self on being a very good defensive team and we have been all year, and tonight we didn't put the type or pressure we needed to put on them."

    On what to learn from a game like this:
    "As I told the guys, I felt pretty good when we were eight minutes into the game and we were down two. I was disappointed because I thought we should have been up. We didn't put the pressure on them when we needed the defense. We didn't execute our game plan, and I was very upset. Most people would say you should be happy you were down two, but I was disappointed, we should have been up. We didn't do the things we needed to do, and we were beating ourselves. We weren't pressuring the basketball, we weren't executing offensively and the defensive things we wanted to do. We told them they were going to have a spurt here soon, and they had a spurt and it got them going. Instead of withstanding that spurt, we gave into it, and we didn't play right and the game got to double digits. When you do that and you are playing a pretty solid team, they are going to get confidence and they are going to start hitting shots, and that is what happened."

     

     

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