Dec. 10, 2011
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Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean
"The first thing to me, and again we've never taken anything for granted here, and to look out Tuesday and see how many fans were waiting outside, well I knew they were outside Tuesday. I was gone recruiting. To see them Wednesday, to see that passion and then to see it all today and see the people lined up from early this morning on through the afternoon and then to just hear this crowd. This is one of the most shared moments that I've ever been a part of, maybe the most shared moment where you want to share it with everybody that's been a part of this program long before we got here, the ones that have joined in, in the sense of becoming fans over a period of time. This is the epitome of what Hoosier Nation is all about and the fans and everybody that supports this program from close and far, young and old, they deserve it because it's one of those moments that everybody's going to remember.
"As far as the game, it was not a picture perfect game. We were doing some very good things. We got up in the second half and then we did not play as well and some of it was them and some of it was us. You have to close a team like Kentucky out. You have to continue to be really good on both ends of the floor. It was not a textbook way to close a game, but it really came down to who had the ball last and our guys never wavered throughout the game. Even when we had the lead and we started to give it up, they never wavered. Our coaches did a phenomenal job of continuing to preach belief and toughness to the players inside of the huddles. They talked to each other well. The biggest concern I had on the day, with energy and the crowd, was that they weren't going to hear me a lot. They had to hear each other. There had to be great echoes because there's no way I was going to get two, three, or four guys attention. If I got one they had to make sure that they echoed and for the most part they did. It's a great moment for us. It's a great victory because it's just such an outstanding team and a team, you can see it, the explosiveness, the athleticism, the skill level, the coaching, it's top notch and to get a win like that is huge and to have it be at home where our fans had so much to do with it is the biggest part of the day."
On the last play:
"Well it goes before that, about the three-and-a-half minute mark I put Verdell (Jones III) back in and said, `You really need to be a senior leader now,' because we needed to get settled down. The rest of the time he really did a great job of that and at the end, with that timeout on the free throw situation. We knew they had fouls to give so we weren't going wth our conventional five second full court play because we bring too many people up and we weren't going to be able to win the game if we did that, so we wanted to break long and give Verdell the ball if we didn't have anybody long. They didn't come up with us so they continued to break. Verdell got the ball, made a play at midcourt, had his eyes on the rim, and had the presence of mind because in a situation like that you want to have four spots filled when you're driving the ball and Christian (Watford) did a phenomenal job of being in the backcourt, finding the open gap, and Verdell did a tremendous job of finding him and then Christian shot literally the one vivid image is how picture perfect that shot was. He stayed in his shot, he didn't fade, he didn't leg kick. It was a picture perfect form. I'm so happy for him. I'm so happy for both of them because they've improved leaps and bounds and they've been here through a lot and for those two to connect on a game-winning play like that, that's a big time moment."
On the feeling as the final shot went through the net:
"Stunned. I wanted to make sure it counted because I saw the referees running over to the monitor so I wanted to hold the excitement there. I talked to John (Calipari), shook hands with a couple of guys and just wanted to wait and then when you could see on the clock that it was off and through before the red light came on, take a moment to raise the hands and then I just really wanted to find my family and my wife."
On if the celebration was a sense of relief from the fans:
"I don't know about that. Last year we had a great moment when we beat Illinois, so our fans deserve that, they deserve to storm the court, they deserve to stand on chairs and tables and be excited. They do and our players deserve it. I told our players before the game, and I don't think it was anything profound, this team, these young men have endured a lot and to have an opportunity like this today in front of them, I had 100 percent confidence that they would do everything to max it out and they did."
On being surprised Kentucky didn't foul on the last play:
"I never put myself in another coach's position right there. It looked like they tried, but the screen at midcourt was good and Verdell just did a great job of putting a burst out there. I thought he was going to take it and I would have been okay with it because he was going left and he's an excellent pull-up shooter, but he got cut off and Christian was in an open spot and like I said, when you're running end of game situations, because again, we anticipated. We wanted to try to sneak a long pass in there where we could get the long pass and have a chance to win the game or we'd get held on the cut and they didn't come up and bite. We just ran and for Verdell to pivot and make that pass, that is the biggest assist he has had at Indiana and as good as Christian is playing, I can't describe enough how that was just a perfectly fundamentally formed shot. He's worked so hard to become a better shooter and he made it. Everybody did their job, Victor (Oladipo) ran long and Cody (Zeller), Jordan (Hulls), everybody did their job, but the bottom line in something like that is the belief. Yet they were able to execute under pressure and it turned out to be a bit of a broken play because we didn't' hit long, but when everybody fills their spots good things can happen."
On the last possession:
"It's indescribable. I don't even really know what happened. I couldn't really tell you. All I know is that I saw Verdell driving and I just tried to loop behind him and he did a great job of finding me and I got a shot."
On the feeling of standing on the scorers' table after the game after going through the last few years:
"It's a great feeling. I haven't felt anything like that. It's probably the most memorable moment of my life, definitely of my career. I give God all the thanks, if it wasn't for him I wouldn't be able to do this at all."
On whether he has ever hit a buzzer-beater before:
"I think I did when I was in second grade. I threw up a prayer from half court. They rushed the floor too, it was for a championship game."
On whether there was a play set up for him:
"No play was set up. We had a play set up for when they got the ball out of bounds, but we thought they were going to pressure-up on us, but once I passed to Verdell he tried to drive to the basket and I guess they cut him off so he just hit me with the ball."
On the last 5 seconds:
"We knew, even going in the huddle before that when they were going to the free throw line we had a play drawn up, we had confidence that we could still win this game and that's what really drove us. We got the rebound, got it out, and (Christian) hit a huge shot for us. I'm really happy for (Christian). He's worked really hard and it was a team effort tonight."
On whether he felt like he was getting fouled a lot in the second half:
"I guess I was. I still have to finish with contact either way. I had to go up and realize that if I didn't get the call, I still had to go back and stop my man from scoring."
On who he went to go see in the stands after the game:
"I went up to go see my mother. She is my everything. She is the reason why I am in this world. I didn't even know if I was going to play basketball and she wanted me to and she is the reason why I play today. She is my biggest fan. She is the number one woman in my life. Without her, I wouldn't be successful. I'm just glad she was here. It's crazy because I had a good feeling when she told me she was coming to this game. I don't know what it was; it was just a surreal feeling when she told me she was coming to the game. It's hard for her to get up here and it just so happened that she came to this one."
On the start of the second half and how hot they were from the 3-point arc:
"Shots weren't really falling in the first half as much. We had a lot that we were rallying around and whatnot. Coming into the second half we knew that we just had to make plays and it's only a matter of time before Jordy gets hot behind the 3-point line. We definitely thrive with those kind of opportunities."
On how they were able to stay with an athletic Kentucky team on the boards:
"We knew we had to stay into their bodies. Guys that are athletic and long like that, you really have to kind of move them outside the lane. We just tried to put a body on them at all times. I thought we did a pretty good job."
Verdell Jones III:
On the last possession:
"We drew up a play when Coach called timeout called `Cowboy' for me to get the ball. We knew that they were probably going to try and foul and just to make a play. We had Jordy out there and Victor, so we were just trying to get a basket. The plan was to get to the basket and get it to whomever. Big time players make big time plays and (Watford) did."
On how the play came together:
"When I got the ball I knew [Watford] was going to be sprinting down because he was taking the ball out and he was the trail-man. I just drove in and he was like `V, V' and I turned around and passed it to him and the rest is history."
On what it felt like to stand on the scorers' table after playing for the 6-25 team:
"It was one of the best feelings. All our hard work, all of our sweat and tears are starting to pay off a little bit. This is the first step."
On why he wasn't fouled at the end of the game:
"That was the first thing Coach Buckley told me. He was like `they're going to try and foul you' so just be strong with it. [Teague] tried to foul me and he missed and I got in the lane and just made a play."
On how important it was to get Davis in foul trouble:
"We wanted to attack him. He's a great player. He's a great shot blocker, a great player, a difference-maker. We wanted to take him out and get him in foul trouble."
On the last possession from his vantage point:
"We were just trying to make a play. Verdell hit [Christian] and I was just trying to get into offensive rebounding position. I saw it go through and it was a pretty incredible moment."
Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari
On last play of the game:
"We were fouling. We were going to foul them. We had two fouls to use. So, the whole timeout was about fouling. Marquis [Teague] tried to foul and they didn't call it. No one fouled. I'm proud of my team. I'm proud of the way they played, how they gutted it out in the second half, how they played to win and they did it without Terrence Jones who absolutely gave us a zero today, and that happens at times. I expected Marquis Teague to play the way he did in the first half, but then he came back and he played well. All that being said, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was an animal, Doron Lamb hung in there and kept us around and we still had a chance to win. Again, an inexperienced team, we walked out of that last timeout - you got to understand, that last timeout was that we were fouling. We had two fouls to give. Two. We're fouling once and if they throw it half court, just make sure they're not in a shooting motion, we're going to foul again. The officials knew we were fouling. They said, just make sure they're not in a shooting motion, so I have no idea what went through our mind. Maybe they thought I'm not fouling, the time is going to run out. I don't know. But, this was a great game. First of all, you got to give Tommy [Crean] credit for getting his team ready, how they played; they played us exactly how they had to play to keep it where they had to keep it and their kids played well. They played aggressive, they attacked the ball, they were great. My hat's off to Indiana; they deserved it."
On Indiana staying in the game:
"They made shots. We left some shooters. We didn't find a couple guys, we didn't have hands up. Guys that we said make them drivers. And in the end they went right at us. They went right at Terrence Jones for a layup and then they went right at Darius Miller for a layup. But, on the other end, we were going right at them. It had to be a good, fun game to watch. It was amazing, we executed everything to a T until that last five seconds where they didn't foul and I don't know what happened."
On Doron Lamb's missed free throw at the end of the game:
"I wished he would have made one more extra pass to Michael [Kidd-Gilchrist] and I was more surprised that Doron missed. I mean, if you want to have somebody on the line, he's the man you want on the line. Stuff happens. They made a tough shot, even though we didn't foul, but it was a tough shot to win the game."
On Terrence Jones:
"These guys aren't machines, they're not computers. They have bad games. You move on. Hopefully he'll play better from here on. Maybe five games from now he'll have another bad game and you just got to play without him. Sometimes it's matchups, you know maybe [Christian] Watford was a bad matchup for him."
Comparing this year's Indiana team to the one three years ago:
"You have to understand, that last team three years ago made those shots and Tom [Crean] had them ready, they just didn't have enough of a size so we got them inside. This team is big, [Christian] Watford is now better. Athletically they're better. Tom's done a great job."
Kentucky Postgame Player Quotes
What happened on the last play?
"We were going to foul before they made the shot, before they crossed half court, nobody fouled them and they made a lucky shot and it went in."
Why didn't someone foul?
"I have no idea. I made a mistake. I got see how I learn from my mistakes an keeping working hard in practice and move on."
On missing the free throw late in the game
"I had a lot of confidence going to the line at the end, crunch time, tried to make the clutch foul shot go but I missed one. Things happen, everybody can't make every foul shot they take. But we still had a chance to win, we just didn't foul at the end and they made a lucky shot. Things happen, they made a lot of tough shots and we knew that was going to happen on the road because every team we play against on the road makes they don't normally make. So we just got to move on, worry about the next game."
On the closeness of the game at the end
"Being down on the road with a young team, first road game we've been down 10 points, we fought back, got the lead in the last minute of the game. That was the one positive thing from the game."
On the atmosphere
"Like we had said before, it was going to be a tough atmosphere. I think we came out and weren't ready for it at the beginning being our first away game. They did a great job of feeding of their crowd, it seemed like it hyped them up, had them making shots that we didn't expect them to make. I don't know if they normally do, it's my first time seeing them play. Like we said earlier, it was going to be a tough game, a tough environment and we came out and we lost."
On the shooting of Indiana
"We never got frustrated. It seemed toward the end of the game we were confident we were still going to win the game we just had a mental lapse at the end of the game, something you can't do. Like we said earlier, we were supposed to foul, we didn't so we lost."
On what was said during the final timeout
"He said we got two fouls, he said when they're dribbling around half court foul them, make sure they're not shooting."