Dec. 17, 2010
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Head Coach Tom Crean
On going up 24-0 early:
"I've been on the other side of it. Kentucky was a bad start for us a couple years ago, but I've been in one where it was 18-0 at Marquette and we were up on the road at Louisville. Louisville came back and got the lead. We ended up winning the game by five, but it's just part of the game. If you coach enough games, you play in enough games, you see everything. I think it's a tribute to how our guys came out to play today, there's no doubt about that. They were hungry to play, they were excited, they were aggressive and they kept gaining confidence as the game went on, especially in that spurt to start the game."
On worrying about complacency after going up big early:
"I don't worry about it when you have players that want to play. You're going to make mistakes and I tried some things in the first half and the second half. I looked at different players at different positions, different combinations. You're trying to keep them on edge. Certainly the human element is always going to kick in and we're not used to playing with a score like that, but if you want them to be as good as they can possibly be, they have to learn how to continue to push it in a game when the score gets like that. I thought that they did. We made some mistakes but I think they continued to play hard."
On Derek Elston:
"He's been in and out this week with different nagging injuries and he really played well. That was good to see because he did all the different things in a short period of time that we need from him. He rebounded, he ran the floor, he scored from the perimeter, he scored at the basket, he passed the ball, he screened and got open. He played a very complete game in a short period of time and then he continued to play well. That's what we need. We need that kind of production from the front line and hopefully we'll continue to get it throughout the season."
On Derek Elston as the five-man:
"I don't think that's really what is important to this team this year. I think so much of it is who they guard and so he's going to guard the five. And then to a situation where he was at the four when Bobby (Capobianco) was at the five. We did that a little bit in the game. I wanted to even go a little bigger at certain points so I could look at that. I think as long as they're on the court and as long as they're having production and they do things defensively, I don't think it matters what position they play. But, when he's on the court, he spaces it and he give you another guy that the defense has to pay attention to from the three-point line. I think that's the key to spacing for us."
On team depth:
"It's a lot more exciting. You can put a lot more strategy in the game. I think what it does is that it keeps putting competition at the forefront of what you're trying to build. They play together but they know that there's somebody sitting right there. I let a few mistakes go in the first half because they were playing hard, but I want them to continue to grow through that. When you can go deep into your bench in both halves like that and not have a big drop-off, I think that's important and something we're striving for."
SIU-Edwardsville Head Coach Lennox Forester
"They're a well-disciplined team and Coach Crean is doing a good job with those guys, as far as developing them. He's doing a fantastic job. I thought they played well within themselves. They didn't try to do the one-on-one. They just played team basketball. I thought they were pretty good and I thought they were pretty good defensively, as far as helping out on penetration and making you have to make extra plays.
"I thought we had some good looks, but the shots wouldn't fall and we couldn't make stops at the other end. Then we came down and certainly gave up a lot in transition, wide open threes and that's something we talked about taking away their transition points and I thought they did a good job, as far as moving the ball. (Christian) Watford, he was knocking down threes. He's a much improved three point shooter than I thought coming in."
On if the environment had an effect on the team:
"Most definitely, we're talking about the Big Ten, one of the best conferences in the country, so there's going to be some intimidation even though as a coach you try to prepare them. We played Iowa already. We played Purdue and Illinois last year, but we've got some new guys that are playing a lot of minutes for us. It was intimidating for them, but they played a lot better and relaxed really after we scored our first points."
On what SIUE will take away from this tournament:
"I think giving our guys the experience, as far as playing a team like this. Right now, we're going through the transition phase to where we don't have postseason play and you know what, I believe that if we were in postseason play and we had the opportunity to play postseason play we'd be playing a team like Indiana in an unbelievable environment. Those are great experiences. I think it's a great opportunity for our guys and also to be on the Big Ten Network and national TV. It's a great opportunity for us and we wish we could've played better."