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Post-Game Quotes: Indiana

Jan. 19, 2018

Recap |  Photo Gallery 1  |  Photo Gallery 2 

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo

Opening statement…
Well, I don’t know what that game proves except that we give a lot of credit to our players because it’s been a difficult week. There’s no question about it. I said that this young team has had to learn to deal with the noise and me. Those are the two bad things. To my happiness, they responded. I thought our defense was better. I thought our energy was a lot better. We really played a good first half. I was not pleased with the second half. I thought five turnovers in the first five minutes, we looked like we were one-on-one team the second half. I understand some of it. But remember too, Indiana missing (Juwan) Morgan in that second half, good player. I love those two guards. They gave us trouble early, especially (Robert) Johnson. But we rebounded the ball. We ran. We pushed it. I thought Cassius (Winston) was good. I thought Miles (Bridges) brought some incredible energy early. We looked a little tired and maybe it’s because we had a week of hell and should be tired. In general, just pleased with the way we played but I’m not… I looked at it as this when I walked into the locker room, I kind of told my guys,  we’re definitely not as bad as everybody made us out to be but we’re not as good as some will try to make us out to be. So I’m just going to keep grinding and we’re going to grind to get better. We took a step in the right direction and we’ll see what happens next.
 
On why we don’t see that aggression from Matt McQuaid every night…
Well, I think you could say that about a lot of guys in the last couple of games. I thought Miles (Bridges) was a lot more aggressive. I thought Cassius (Winston) was a lot more aggressive tonight. You know, I don’t know what happened, guys, in that week and a half period. We’re young. Now that we’ve won a game I can say that we’re young and our inexperience shows at times. When guys aren’t getting guys the ball, if the ball’s not moving, then guys like (Joshua) Langford and in all honesty, Matt McQuaid, they get lost in the shuffle a little bit. I thought a lot of guys played better. Nick Ward, I mean, we went to him but if you say, well if we don’t other teams will double him. The only reason they couldn’t double him was he had a lot of baskets off the break. He got in there before he was doubled. There’s no question our bench played better. Tum (Nairn Jr.) did some good things defensively. You know, I thought Kenny Goins did some good things defensively. Xavier (Tillman) and Gavin (Schilling) did some things there. But Miles was more aggressive. Cassius was better in that respect. We got more than a little out of Jaren (Jackson Jr.). McQuaid would be a big, big, big key if we can get him going and keep Miles as aggressive as he looked to me tonight.
 
On Cassius Winston’s assist-to-turnover ratio tonight…
Well that was a key, but the bigger key for me was he was a lot more solid defensively. We still had some problems with our bigs at times but a lot more solid defensively, which then gave him the opportunity to get the ball and do his magic because when he’s in the open court, that’s when he’s a lot better at making decisions. That’s how you get eight assists. If we defend, we push it, then that’s when Cassius Winston’s at his best. So I think that as he realizes the better he plays defensively, the more shots they miss; The more shots they miss, the more rebounds we have a chance to get and then we get our running game going. I think that makes Cassius a better player.

On the play where Nick Ward got double-teamed, dribbled out of it and Cassius Winston scoring a 3 being a highlight of the night…
It was. It was. Only because we worked on it for three straight days, you know, what we were gonna do. One time he almost didn’t do it because he dribbled the ball too quick. When he’s patient, takes his time, and that was a beautiful pass to Cass. I think Cass shot a three if I can remember. But it was the execution of what we wanted to get done that was more impressive than even if he would have missed the shot, to be honest with you. Nick was a lot better tonight. I think that was… That, too, was important for us.
 
On what the difference was on the break tonight…
No. I don’t know. I keep saying it but I guess it’s going on deaf ears. If you guard somebody, you guard somebody and they miss shots, you rebound and run it better than you do out of a made shot and I think that was the difference in our running game. We ran a couple times after made baskets, but we got the ball going, we got rebounds, we got movement. There was energy. We screwed up some defensive assignments tonight. That’s why I’m not really as pleased as I should be. But when you play with energy you make up for it so if somebody screws up, somebody else makes up for it. That’s kind of what I was most excited about.
 
On Miles Bridges’ aggressiveness and how he took the ball off the bounce tonight…
Bingo. I couldn’t agree more. A couple times he forced… What we started to do that’s a shame because we really had talked about it and probably why I’m disappointed in some things; The ball never once swung from side-to-side when we were trying to drive it and that’s when we got in trouble on those baseline. If the ball gets moving side-to-side and you start driving it down, that’s one thing. If you drive it off the initial… And that was one of the scouting report things we talked about. Second half we didn’t do as good of a job. You know what I liked is he took blame for it. He settled down and then he made a couple of big time plays in the second half too. I’ll tell you, he’s a good player. People should realize how good he is.

On Alex Rodriguez meeting the team…
Yeah, I wanted to meet the hall of famer, too. You know, he called a couple weeks ago and talked about it and that was exciting to me. I figured it would go by the wayside, and then he called and I think he watched our game against Maryland, wanted to come up and see. You know, he came up here like a college kid. He came to shoot around then went over, you know, he visited our facility, the whole thing. He went over and visited football’s facility, the whole thing. I really, you know, he had a great message for our team. You know, and that’s kind of, you look at a guy who’s made that kind of money. When he talked to the team, I was very impressed. The guy was unbelievable. He was humble, he was charismatic and he enjoyed himself. He said they wished the game had went to overtime because they were enjoying sitting in the Izzone and I told him to hell with you. Other than that, I enjoyed every minute.

Alex Rodriguez message to the team…
His message was on the work and the things you got to do to be great. He talked about failing and it was really funny because out of the clear I just asked him, I wasn’t sure if he would really come for sure so it wasn’t anything that he planned. He told the team that he’s got 2000 hits and this many home runs and all those things and he’s won a world championship, but what sticks out to him the most is that he is the fifth greatest player in the world as far as strikeouts. He is in fifth place and Reggie Jackson is in first so pretty impressive. He talked about how many times he failed, how to get back up. What a great message when we have just come off a disappointing week of basketball. I thought that was really, really really - the way he said it and the way he approached guys. If you had seen our guys, they were really glued in. I really appreciated Alex coming. It was great and I’ll spend a little time with him now. You hit the nail on the head, any time that you can be around people that have achieved a level of greatness. That’s always good to have around. Even when he talked to the team at the end in the locker room, I just reminded them this has got to be every day. I asked him a funny question, when I introduced him to the team he had been through a lot. That tabloids and everything else, and I said, kind of like what we go through, you know? I said to the team that the greatest thing was that in New York he had to play for a championship every year and he said no coach, everyday. I thought that was a hell of a statement, every day you are under pressure there so maybe our guys aren’t under as much pressure as they thought, so I think I am going to crank it up a bit.

Does Izzo have an opinion on today’s board of trustees decision?
Yeah, you know, I guess I do. It has been a very difficult week for me. As a father, it’s been a difficult week. I listen to the stories of those courageous women and, you know, I look at the survivors who spoke and in all honesty Nassar permanently damaged and changed the lives of so many of those people. I feel like it has changed the life of all of us at Michigan State in some way, shape or form. As a father, that is difficult to even fathom. I hope that the right person was convicted, and I have to say though that I have the utmost, the utmost faith and respect for the leadership of our president, too, at Michigan State and it is a woman who has dedicated over 40 years. I have been here 33 with her, and I think I know what she stands for, and so I hope and pray that those survivors continue to grow in their life. I hope we do everything we can to make sure that this will never happen ever again, not only at this institution but any institution, to be honest with you. But it has been a lot of sad days for me in a lot of ways, and I am going to try to do anything I can to help the survivors, to help us grow from this and learn from it and move forward. That is about all I have to say.

How would Izzo react to those who want a change in leadership?
You know, when I talk to you guys about basketball, it’s really easy. I don’t really give a damn if you agree with me or not. But I mean, you have to understand that there is nothing I can say that is going to be right, right now, and there is nothing that is going to make anybody right. I will just stick by what I said. Survivors are the most courageous people. I can’t even imagine. You know, I hate when I am put in a position when I can almost start saying, ‘I know what you are going through’ because I have no clue what they are going through and never will, and hope I never find out. But, I also just got to say that, that is a situation that I think is being dealt with and has been dealt with and there is no way I could waiver on the support for my administration and my president knowing the 35 years I have spent here. What she has done for this university, what she stood for, not only athletics as a small part, but for women’s groups, for different groups, I think she has been a champion, so I hope and pray that the survivors get through this, but I also hope that we take a serious look at what we’re doing.

On Coach Izzo’s mood heading into the game against Indiana…

I absolutely love this team. I don’t love what they do all the time but I love this team. Sometimes I wish I didn’t like them as much because it makes it harder to get on them. My assistant Mike Garland and I have been here together 90 percent of the time and we figured out that contrary to what some people think we know how to coach. And we know what to do and we know what it takes. You don’t get old on that. It doesn’t pass you by. You sometimes make adjustments because of the crazy world we live in and what I went into this thing was more vigor, and I warned every guy, you’re going to be held accountable at the nth degree.

There will be no happy mediums if you can’t do this or that. We’re 20-some ahead and Miles Bridges got his butt chewed on those three turnovers in a row. Not to be mean to you, I don’t care what you write, I don’t care what you say anymore.

I don’t like what went on last week. I don’t like how people jumped in and out of the bandwagon. Whoever does, jump out, you’re gunna miss out. Whoever jumps in and stays in, I think you’re in for a pretty good ride. There’s going to be bumps and bruises on the road but I’ve been telling you this is we’re going to play with the energy level that supersedes with the one that we play with. I say that and I think when you go through something like this. What did we go through? We lost two games to ranked teams. What you learn is, you learn a little bit about your team. Words of soft, words of this and that. I think of all honesty, words of youth. Words of inexperience. Words of not knowing how to handle things that are thrown at you. It’s OK. It’s OK. We just live in a world that’s a little crazier.

I learned a lot. I’m a better coach today, or some people think, I’m better today than I was. Whether that’s good enough? That’s up to a lot of people’s decisions to make. I’m better going through this and figuring out that the way I’ve done it my whole life is the right way, and that’s not changing. Not in the near future and not in the distant future.
 
On preparing for the next seven of 11 games on the road…
I don’t know, I’m going to find out Monday night. A lot of other people haven’t been doing so good on the road, either. It’s not like this is a Michigan State thing. This is a problem. Plus our schedule. You’ve never seen anything like that have you? Where seven of the last 11 are on the road? Our job is to get better every day so we can handle the road. What I liked about tonight; they shot 33 percent, 30 from the 3. We outrebounded by 18. That’s all travel worthy. That goes everywhere. I’m going to try my hardest to keep pushing that to these guys morning, noon and night because when we’re moving the ball and we’re running it’s a fun team to watch.

We have defended 99 percent of the games. Maybe Ohio State shot 52 percent. I don’t know if anybody else shot over 43. We did more good than bad. I just don’t think we handled the start. When you say that, you can be two ways. You can be cocky and arrogant and a jerk. Or you can just be immature and not realizing that everybody’s shooting on you and there’s pressure on you and everybody’s talking about you. We’ve had some talks with our kids about that. We’ve had some talks with our kids about social media and all the noise that’s out there. We’ve really grown as a team, we’ve really grown together and I kind of like that.
 
On Jaren Jackson Jr. and comparing him to Deyonta Davis
They’re way too different. Deyonta was around the basket and Jaren can do both. He can shoot 3s and handle the ball a little bit better. Deyonta had some strengths too. But, blocking shots and I think the biggest thing for Jaren now, when he got tired it’s hard to move that big long body up and down. You talk about changing things and having to learn how to play with 20 more pounds on his body. That takes some time just to learn how to do that. He’s so exciting to watch, he’s so exciting to… He can just do some things so effortlessly.

I thought it was a pretty physical game and he’s still not as strong as suit. He’s not afraid of it he just doesn’t know how to use his body yet because it’s a new body. I didn’t realize he passed it tonight. That’s a great credit to him. Great coaching, I’m sure I taught him how to block shots and the funny thing is I never taught him one thing about it. That’s all him growing. That’s all him.
 
On Miles Bridges’ response to Izzo pushing him…
He responded great. He had a couple great practices. Then he decided to defer and throwing balls all over instead of just shooting. I don’t know if I ever say Miles took a selfish shot. He takes a bad shot here and there, but a selfish shot, I don’t think he’s got it in him. I hope he keeps shooting. I really do. I think he’s gotten calmer, he’s had an unbelievable shoot-around today.

I thought yesterday’s practice was the best practice he’s had in a long, long time. He was just more aggressive, he was hitting all of his shots in the lane pulling up off two feet. Things that I think he can do because he’s so explosive, yet he exploded to the rim. He showed a variety of his stuff tonight. His turnovers were just a little sloppy and that’s the only thing that really bothered me about it. I thought his defense was better, too. Rebounding was better.

One thing that Indiana does an unbelievable job and I think the best team we’ve played so far of is offensive rebounding. I thought we cut them out pretty good for the missed amount of shots that they had. They didn’t get a ton of offensive rebounds. This team does a great job of it. I thought Nick (Ward) did better. I thought Miles did better. I thought Jaren did a lot better and we brought Kenny (Goins) and Gavin (Schilling) in there and we got X (Xavier Tillman) in there and everybody did a decent job of that and that was a big difference in the game.

Indiana head coach Archie Miller

Opening Statment...
Well congratulations to Michigan State. You know really great performance by them in terms of just initiating the physicality of the game, the pace of the game, and just how hard they play.

They were really ready and prepared, and I think they showed that they have a fantastic team and they’ll be right there; not only for the league title, but a lot more after that. Just very, very impressive. For our guys, it wasn’t our best performance. We weren’t really able to get any of the phases that we wanted to try and be solid defensively. They were able to, most of the time, just wear us down. You know a lot of 50/50 plays, a lot of hustle rebounds, a lot of physical things that they came up with, you know, really resulted in a lot of second-chance points and right through big plays where five-point swings just turned the game. So, give them credit, for us we got to get back to working the next couple of days. We have an opportunity at home against a really good Maryland team.

On Juwan Morgan’s status...
Nah, he will be re-evaluated at home.

On MSU’s offensive game…
No, their running game is the paint. They attack the paint off the advance pass. They have the best rim-runner in college basketball, Nick Ward, and they forced the action and the transition game. They handled the post trap, I thought, really well. Our traps maybe with their own time, but they cut right out of them and burned us, so we weren’t really able to control the transition game and then you add rebounding to the mix, it was a disaster.

On his team’s play from the beginning of the season to now...
No, we are a much different team.

On knocking down open 3’s…
When you go through a long stretch you need a couple of those things to go in, whether they were open or in and around the basket. It just wasn’t a good offensive showing and they had a lot to do with it. Everything was contested when we did have an open one you felt so much pressure because you had to make it. We did make a couple, obviously we’re scoring you’re okay, but your offense has to be able to get you something and you know even when Juwan was in there we got nothing really going. I thought it was going to be a game where we’re going to have to have a couple guys make a few and you know that just wasn’t the case. I thought Rob (Johnson) got off to a decent start. Josh (Newkirk) made a couple, but other than that that’s about all we had for the perimeter.

On Colin Hartman not wearing his brace…
I think he was cleared to take it off.

On Colin Hartman being affected by injury this season…
You know I’m not sure, I’m not sure. He’s a guy that can come back around from that. Right now, he’s not shooting particularly well, but he’s been in practice every day. He’s been working hard, and I think you know shooting is like one of those things you start playing mind games about it, you start talking about it and the next thing you know start missing in a couple games. He’s a veteran guy and there are a lot of games left so I would suspect he’d be back and he’ll make some and he’ll make some big ones for us.

On Cassius Winston
He pushed the tempo from his advanced passes up the floor across to their perimeter guys and he has a tempo that he pushed, and I thought just running their stuff, getting the ball to their shooters on time off-screens you know he was good. He’s a good player.

On the transition game…
We had a couple stretches there where it got under 20 where if you just kept going and it gets to 15 or 14, you can start to breathe a little bit more, but couldn’t sustain it. On the other end when you make a mistake and you don’t run hard, that one mistake against these guys you get killed and I think there are multiple examples in this game of missed shot led to basket or foul or 3-point play just because they are causing pressure in their transition.

I think that’s how they played all year. Maybe they haven’t got going the past few games where clearly the emphasis that they promoted tonight. I think you can see what they can do with that. That was the biggest thing of the game was not being able to sustain our transition defense, but you know when you can’t score it’s hard.

When you can’t score and you’re always running back it becomes really hard and I thought tonight especially Juwan got back we had a hard time executing, we had a hard time running a good offense. It became really just a stagnant half court where you had Rob and Josh just trying to make as many plays as they possibly could and that was tough on them.

On Robert Johnson’s play
He was just being very aggressive. I think he knew he was going to have to step up and make some plays and he did. He played hard the whole way through. He had six more defensive rebounds, I think that’s 24 defensive rebounds in four games. There is not much more you can ask of Rob. he’s done a really good job leadership-wise and I’m happy for him that he’s able to play right now at the level he is, and he’s got to sustain that, and so does Josh. Josh is playing better for us the last few games as well. So, if those two guys can continue to well I think we’ll be okay.

Michigan State sophomore guard/forward Miles Bridges

On what the difference was tonight…
We just played more aggressive, played our game. We got out and ran, that’s what we want to do and that’s when we’re at our best.

On putting together a run after the back-and-fourth start…
We’ve had teams where we came out to a great start and they were able to come back, like the Rutgers game. We just wanted to be able to step on their necks, and we showed a sign of maturity today. When they went on a run, we went on our run.

On getting back on track…
It feels great, because we haven’t been playing like ourselves. Once we got the ball moving, playing great defense, got some rebounds, we were able to get going.

On the effect of Alex Rodriguez’s appearance for the team…
He was great for us, he gave us a great speech in our pregame, and he was very supportive of us. So, he kind of got us going too, because he’s a world champion, he’s done it before, and we’re trying to get to his level.

Michigan State sophomore guard Cassius Winston

On the difference with tonight’s performance…
Definitely just our energy, our energy coming into this game - that’s what’s going to take us over that hump. We played with a lot of intensity, a lot of moments tonight, and they made everything just better.

On what got the team going after a back-and-forth start…
We just kept the energy. They’re going to hit some shots. Things are going to happen, but if you just keep playing with that constant energy, stuff is going to start happening your way.

On being “back” now…
It’s great. We were never worried, though. We had a week of practice, got back to our roots, and now we’re ready to go and make this strong push.

On playing with in new alternate uniforms…
It’s sweet. Black is probably my favorite color, so a different look. Definitely we felt good out there, kind of helped a little bit too.

Michigan State sophomore forward Nick Ward

On getting things rolling again on the court…
Everything felt normal again, the past weekend we didn’t play Spartan basketball, and it cost us. So, to get back on track, especially in the Big Ten, was big for us.

On the team’s performance in out-rebounding Indiana…
We’re a big team, so we’re going to take advantage of our size every time on the boards, offensively and defensively. So that’s a big emphasis for us.

On what was key to handling Indiana’s double team against him…
Just being patient, taking my time, and just realize where they’re coming from.

On preparing to go back on the road for Big Ten play…
We just got to focus and believe in our system.


 

 

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