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Post-Game Quotes: Purdue

Feb. 10, 2018

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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo

Opening Statement…
Well, to say it was an emotional day would be the understatement of the world. But, I thought one of the more well-played games, when you look at they had three turnovers and we had six. When you look at how hard and physical that game was played. Our fans were the difference.

They’ve got a really good team. I think we played pretty good but that team is, they’re destined for something great. They really are. They move the ball. We didn’t move the ball very good the first half, they did a better job of that. But, you know what I was proud of my team and my staff for is we had a game plan going in and a game plan was to give Haas some shots, I didn’t think 22 of them, and just make sure that they don’t hit 3s.

The first half we did a poor job and I blame myself. There were some picks up on top by Haas, which he normally doesn’t go up there. Carsen Edwards hit two or three 3s in a row. That was kind of a scouting report flaw by me. But, to hold them in the second half without a 3, as good as they’ve been shooting the ball, and to execute the way we did, to out-rebound them, to out-shoot them, to out-shoot them even from the 3, it seemed like they had everything going in.

I’d say that the keys to the game was not giving up 3s. The key to the game was not turning the ball over. The key to the game was to follow the game plan. Even though it was frustrating, I think fans were. You could hear the moans. They kept throwing to get the shot but those were two points, and sometimes the others are three points. That was the game plan and for once we executed to a T, including the last play.

As I told Miles (Bridges), you know, we ran a thing to clear the side, put the ball in his hands, he was supposed to drive it and get fouled, but if you’re from Flint, to hell with that I’ll just jack a 3, and it worked out. But, it couldn’t have happened to a better kid who worked his tail off and he came back for these kind of games. With 1.7 seconds left it felt like we had it won, but all of a sudden the way it went, where we didn’t shoot a free throw, all of a sudden I looked up and Jud (Heathcote) didn’t say nothing to me. So, next time I’m going to look down. I’m going to find him somewhere.

It was a great tribute to him.  I appreciate Steve Smith. There were a lot of guys, there were actually seven or eight guys that couldn’t fly in. In fact, Steve went through hell to get here. Gregory Kelser couldn’t make it because of the snow. Darwin, there were some guys that tried to get in, but I was ecstatic with the way it went. So, Matt Painter’s team, that’s a very well-coached, good team. I thought they played better than us in the first half and we got it out in the second half, so I’m just so proud of these guys right now and we’re going to enjoy the day.
 
On sticking with his guns about not doubling Isaac Haas…
Well, we stuck with our guns, but if you notice in the last five minutes when he put it on the floor, and that one time he fumbled it. So, you’re right, we were just so paranoid with the 3s. It gets them going. I swear he was in there for an hour and a half a couple of times, but it is what it is. I’d say 99 percent we stuck to the game plan, which made (Nick) Ward and (Gavin) Schilling look bad at times, but give our guys credit, you know? Give our fans credit. I know a couple of times I heard some moans, like what are you doing, you knucklehead? And I looked at my staff and said, “What are we doing?” But, we just stuck with it and I give them credit.
 
On Kenny Goins and Gavin Schilling stepping up today, and the depth of the team…
Well, I say this, I’ll probably get killed, but I thought going into this, Purdue was a little better than us. I thought that we both had talent, and if we had a little more raw talent with size, I thought they had a lot more experience. I thought we had the home court. I was going back and forth in my mind last night how we’re going to win the game and the crowd was a major part for us. No secrets about it. But, when you could, the other part I thought we had was depth, and depth with our bigs. We’re going to keep throwing bigs at them. We just didn’t do a good enough job. I think deflected a few passes in there. But, he got it so deep a couple of times. I have to look at the tape. He was either backing him in or wouldn’t let us push him out, but the guy’s a mountain in there. And Matt (McQuaid)’s done a great job with him (Isaac Haas.) He’s pretty lethal. It changed when he would throw it in there, and all he did was dribble, dribble, dribble. That’s not who they are, and the way they move the ball so well. I thought that in a sick way, it worked to our advantage.
 
On how the emotions of this team and how everyone has stayed together…
You know, like you hope our school or community does, you bond together. That’s what everybody does through some adverse times. I just felt a little bit bad for a guy like Miles who came back to try to have the greatest year he could have, and some of it has been crazy, and it’s no fault of his, it’s nothing he did. He’s such an unselfish guy. I think you’re seeing that I picked a bad couple of words the last few weeks in different things and one with him was being more of a jerk instead of maybe being more aggressive or more of this. I think he’s really starting to become more aggressive, and he wanted that ball and I wanted to give it to him. I just was happy for him. He came back to be in these kind of games. He came back to try and help us win a championship of some kind. We have a lot of games left and a lot of things to go on yet, but Miles, he got what he deserved today because he made the big plays and the place was in elaborate form. For all of the guys I thought the place was great, but I’m happy for Miles.
 
On Schilling’s defense the last play on Haas, and how this game can affect seeding for championships…
Well, as you know, we have some big games left and all of ours are on the road. But, at least we give ourselves a chance and you guys that have been around me a lot, I’ve always said that you want to be in a position in the last two weeks. You want to be in a position to mathematically be able to win a championship. There’s been some bad years, I mean average years where we’ve been in a position, one year we were 11-6 in the league and we had a chance mathematically, so that gives us a chance.

There’s so much left. I guess we still need some help. Hell, we needed some help in 2001, got it. We needed some help in ’99 and got it. When you play in a conference like this, you don’t do it on your own, how you’d like to have everything in your control but that’s not the way it is. This gives us another chance, a time to hopefully build a little bit. That was an NCAA deep tournament game and what I like for us is that it proved we can play different ways again.

The best teams we’ve had here we could play fast, we could play slow, we could smashmouth, we could finesse, we could do it on the rebounding and we could do it on the shooting. This game, we’ve been a fast break team and we’ve got a few of those, but I think what won us the game was our depth, 47 points off the bench, following the game plan and our star took over the game. That’s kind of what you need in a tournament setting, but at the same time that is the best team, I think, we’ve played against.

I loved the way those seniors react. I love what they do, I just, every one of them does something good. I think that is definitely, in my humble opinion, a team that has a chance to make a deep, deep run and be a Final Four team. I think the other cool thing for me is I, we, the first guy I called when we were doing the Jud (Heathcote) reunion or the Jud, honoring Jud, was Gene Keady, and then my guys picked Purdue as the game to do it, my guys, just because of our schedule, it was our only Saturday game and it had to be the right time. So Gene came in a couple of days ago and I spent some time with Gene, but the thing that, how neat is it that Jud had me hired a year before, Gene hired him a year before, and we’re both competing at a very, very high level and I think that’s a great credit to both of our mentors, more so than us.
 
On the team wanting to win the game for Coach Izzo…
You know, I hope it wasn’t for me, I hope it was for, as I said, our survivors, our people, our community, our school, but I hope it was for them, too. I get a chance to play in a lot of these throughout my career, maybe not many better than today when you look at the crowd. In fact, our rebounders, they asked Gene Keady, they said, “What was your toughest loss?” And he said when we had Big Dog and got beat by Duke in the Elite Eight to go to a Final Four, and then he looks at me and said, “But close behind was when we got screwed by the officials in ’90 and DJ made the steal, in ’89-’90, in the first year of this building when we had that epic win.” But then I laughed and said, “But think about the mistake I made a couple of years later when I raised the banner before the game,” and so, Gene, there’s been a lot of interesting moments, but the job that those two men did, for not only our programs and our schools, but for Matt (Painter) and I, and to think we’re both sitting here playing for a lot late in the year, I’m sure Matt would agree is a great testament to those guys.

On Miles Bridges chasing (Dakota) Mathias around screens in the first half…
He did. He got lost a couple times in the beginning, which is one of Miles’ issues. You know, sometimes he’s going hard. But, you know, it’s funny because I had so many different guys that made plays, but Miles made the most plays and the biggest plays.

But the guy that had his best game as a Spartan was Cassius (Winston) because he guarded, he rebounded, he assisted and he made some plays. The job he did defensively, staying between his man and the basket, makes me proud of him and angry that that’s what he’s got to do all the time. So those two guys, you know, did a lot.

You’re right about (Gavin) Schilling, you’re right about… You know, Nick (Ward) did some good things. Jaren (Jackson Jr.) made a big basket late. The poor kid. I mean, he’s not even averaging 15 minutes a game in the last five because of foul trouble and I’m struggling with some of that too. You know, I think that to me, there were some touchy ones.

But played a lot of guys that did a lot of things but don’t forget about Cassius Winston. He… and what I like; I’m hard on Cassius. I’m hard on my point guards, I always have been and I always will be. But he’s starting to learn how to respond. He came over, he’s talking to me, giving me plays that he thinks would work. I mean, I sometimes forget he’s only a sophomore, it’s just that I don’t have time for him to only be a sophomore because I think we got a team good enough to do some damage.
 
On challenging Cassius with extra minutes…
Yeah and I mean that’s what I said. He not only played with extra minutes but he played with some energy. I mean, before the game, halftime of the game, in the huddles. You better watch out because he’s going to become what I want him to be instead of maybe what he thought he wanted him to be, but he was really, really good today.
 
On if this was the biggest home win since the 1989-90 Purdue game…
Man, I never thought of it that way. I think the crowd was as crazy, you know? As far as two teams at a very, very high level; I think yeah, it probably could. I’m sure I’m probably missing some games here and there.

That’s the advantage you have when you’ve been around a lot of years; There’s a lot of big games, a lot of good games. But this one because, mostly because I had so much respect for my opponent. But also, like I told my guys at halftime, I didn’t think we played very good and we were only down five. At the same time, I don’t know what Matt (Painter) thought of his team, but that bucket by Cass (Winston) right before the buzzer was a big one.

And then we just kept saying, if we take away the 3s, and we did, and then Haas kept draining shot after shot. So it was a big win, it was a big game. The crowd, you know, does deserve a lot of credit. I say that because I was standing down there and it was crazy, and a good crazy. 

On the moment when he looked up to the rafters for 10 seconds when the game was clinched…
Special. You know, because of Jud (Heathcote), I got to live a different life than most of my family. You know, I got to do things that, you know, my parents or my cousins or my sisters never got to do. They got to do some of them, thanks to Jud too, he helped them too.

But, you know, I was thinking to myself what I said the other day that Jud, the last parting shot, it’s up there in the video, was how do you want to be known? And he said, ‘I want to be known as a guy that did it the right way and a guy that cared about his players.’ And I was thinking to myself, how well said and probably a lot of us could learn from that.

On if he felt that they had to win the game…
Yeah. Yeah, you know, I got a chance to meet with his wife, Don Monson, Gene and some of those people before the game and you know, I know it wouldn’t have mattered to them but the crowd… You know, I heard halftime was great, I’ll get to watch it on video. But yeah, I wanted to win it for him. I mean, that was his kind of game.

You might as well just remove Matt and I, put Gene and Jud in there. You know, have Clem Haskins scout, and then we really could’ve had a war like in old Big Ten times. But yeah, I wanted to win it and I think it was won in the right way. And if I was Matt, if there’s such thing of losing in the right way.

It was a fist fight, it was a war. But his team.. Remember I said this to you; That team is a Final Four team. I don’t want to put any pressure on them, I just know how hard they were to guard. They missed some shots in the second half and maybe.. I’m sure they didn’t think we would, you know.. We’ve always been a team that doubles in the post and things like that, we just had one long meeting on Wednesday and decided that we were going to change what we were doing after looking at some film and that’s what we did.
 
On the turnovers…
The turnovers. Yeah, you know, we had four in the first 8 minutes, two the rest of the game and only one the second half. For us, that’s like Christmas, Fourth of July and any other major holiday pulled into one. For them, it’s kind of the norm.

And that’s what why what I thought when you look at the two teams stat wise, they are very, very, very even. They’re a little better 3-point shooting team, we’re a little better defensive team, as far as stat-wise. But I thought what makes them tough is they don’t foul much and they don’t turn it over at all and we know that’s one of our problems. So to be able to have a game where there’s six and three, and I don’t even know the fouls, I think 12 and 13 or something, I guess everybody played the way they needed to play. We were fortunate that a couple shots went in. That is a good, good basketball team.
 
On if this is the best his team has played this year…
You know, sometime in the near future I’ll probably talk to Matt. I don’t think so, okay? I thought we had a couple kids… Because I thought the first half we were very average and we weren’t moving the ball, we were standing around. But I’m not sure he thought his second half was so good either.

But I will say this; I think we had some guys take some steps and it’s one of the things I still like about this team, I do think we have a higher ceiling than a lot of teams, but whether you get there or not is a big key. If we take a step in the right direction, if you get a team like Purdue, even though it’s at home, those seniors are solid. Boy, they are solid. I think we took a step.
 
On how he knows what Miles Bridges wants now and if he’s being more vocal…
You know, very seldom does he… Twice in the huddle today said give me the ball. I said yes sir. But it’s not his style, you know. I said, ‘Miles we’re going to you.’ Now, I said, you either have to get fouled or get a wide-open shot, but I’d like you to take it to the hole and get fouled.

So it still just proves he’s disrespectful, said to hell with you and I’ll do what I want to do. But in all honesty, it was the right play. They backed off him, cleared that side. I really thought it was going to work and I was standing there and where I was standing I could see it going right in. It was just one of those plays, like Valentine’s on Valentine’s Day, only this one’s a little bigger for a guy… A guy that I’ve heard so much about whether he’s good enough, whether he’s this, whether he’s improved, whether he’s… He’s improved a lot. He’s just got a better team around him, so he doesn’t… How he finished, 9-of-14, 2-of-4, well going to the free-throw line, but he had to guard today. That’s the step he took today.

Matthias, you know, I love that kid, he’s really good and early he caught Miles twice and Miles did a much better job. He told me at halftime, he’s not getting another shot. That’s the part of Miles that I’m really starting to appreciate and enjoy. So listen, I appreciate our crowd and I appreciate the fact that we had so many guys that I think had an interest in what Jud Heathcote was all about. Players came back yesterday to practices and when I talked to my team before it and I said, most of you didn’t know him but I’ll tell you what he stood for and I thought they played to that better than I thought they could. So thank you very much.

Purdue head coach Matt Painter


On Miles Bridges’ last 3-pointer…
Yeah, you know, he made a tough shot. Obviously, you know, you’d like to keep it out of his hands. Any time you hit a dribble-up, 25-footer, you’ve got to tip your hat to him. He made a tough shot.

On fouling…
Yeah, I don’t like to foul in that situation, just like our game against Michigan. You know, they used their foul and then they foul us, and that’s how we win the game. You know, they earned it. The last thing I want do it foul intentionally, then all of a sudden Miles (Bridges) gets the ball and he drives, then we unintentionally foul him and he hits two free throws. He earned it, so you’ve got to give him credit for that.

On executing his game plan…
You know, they made a decision not to double Isaac (Haas) and so a lot of people won’t continue to go to the well. I wish we would’ve made some 3s in the second half. I thought in the first half we had a good balance of making some 3s and going inside to them so we wanted to keep going into them, and since they were staying one-on-one, just keep it simple. We were able to do that for the most part.

Ten misses in a game is a lot for him. I know he has 12 field goals, but him, that’s a lot of misses. We just have to keep working. You know, they made a decision, so we had to roll with it and that’s something that we really harp on with our team is that they make the decision what to give us. We’ve got take what they give us. I think that’s an important thing for our team to have balance, just take what the other team gives us and play hard.

On the ending in the last two games for Purdue…
Well, you know, you lose today on a step-back 3-pointer by a great player, and you lose on a tip-in after you get a stop by another great player. Keita Bates-Diop made a heck of play and Miles Bridges made a heck of play, but that’s part of basketball and competition. It’s a fine line between winning and losing. We’ve won a lot of games this year in possession-type games, now we’ve lost a couple. You’ve got to learn from it. That’s the main thing. If you can be better because of it down the road into March, that can help.

On teams not giving away open 3s to Purdue being the secret to win…
I think we just keep going to the well. Isaac Haas is a good player, and there’s a lot of places that we could’ve played this game and gotten the benefit of some calls and things that happen. When you’re on the road, that’s just the way it is. You’ve got to go down there and you’ve got to battle. They have a lot bodies to throw at you. I think that’s the one benefit that they have. They have a lot of people in there. I think as we continue to play, he’s just got to, no one’s really done that, what they just did today. Obviously the game could’ve gone either way, so one more possession for us, you guys would be talking about us, the greatest thing in the world to do is just keep throwing it to him. So it’s still a good option.

On Kenny Goins
He double-bounced one in at Iowa at the end and helped them win the game. We knew he could shoot. He hit two 3s against Maryland, 3-for-10 in conference play going in, so we’re familiar with what he can do. If you have that five out on the court, that’s the guy you want shooting it. Once again, give him credit. He stepped up and that was a big basket.

On the game as showcase for Big Ten basketball…
I think it was a great game. Two really good teams, two really competitive teams and I wish we played Michigan State twice every year just like I wish we played Indiana twice. Just because we lost this game but we’re better. We’re better than we were two and a half hours ago.

Any time you play against one of (Tom Izzo’s) teams, you’re going to be challenged. We put ourself in a position to win the game. We obviously didn’t, but I think this was a great game to show a lot of people in the country that the Big Ten is a pretty good conference.

On having trouble getting Isaac Haas the ball…
Give (Gavin) Schilling, I thought Schilling worked hard. In the last shot he missed, just had him out a couple feet extra with it. That’s when we’ve got to try to get him a little bit deeper than that. I liked the shots that he was taking. One time he went to a turn-around and Schilling got a piece of it. I wanted him to be as aggressive as he could be, but he can go either way. I thought his hook was pretty good with his left hand tonight, too.

On Jud Heathcote…
Coach Heathcote recruited me to come to Michigan State and was just a great guy, a great
 man. Obviously he was known for his coaching and won the national championship with Magic (Johnson) in ’79, but he was a much better person than he was a coach. He was one of those guys that got along with everyone, had an unbelievable sense of humor. Him and Coach Keady together, that was pretty special to have those guys in that room together. It was a pretty neat thing because I was pretty close to coming here when I was making my decision.

On learning from today’s game…
For me it’s, you know, we didn’t turn the ball over in the first half. That’s a pretty good stat. We had three turnovers for the game, but we had the three turnovers in a real crucial stretch where didn’t get the shots that we wanted. That stretch hurt us more than anything. We just kind of let the game get away from us a little bit in terms of what we were trying to do.

To their credit, they’ve turned the basketball over and they didn’t either. So we thought that we could prey on them when they turned it over, we could go get some possessions, some transition hoops but they didn’t turn the basketball over so we didn’t get very many of those opportunities.

I thought it was, I thought our guys played well. I thought they did some really good things. Like I said, I’d like to have a couple of those possessions back in that stretch where we took a couple ill-advised shots. We got a rebound on a great play by Grady Eifert and then we would take a tough lay-up, we throw the ball away next possession and so we’ve just got to be better at those times.

On his concern with little mistakes at big moments…
Not really. They happen. When you reflect on it, it’s a crucial time in the game but it’s not the last two, three minutes of the game. We still got shots. Isaac got a good shot late in the game. He just didn’t make it.

On the key of getting more scoring from more players…
Well, I think this is one of those outlier type games. They made a conscious decision to play (Isaac Haas) one-on-one. If you’re going to play him one-on-one, we’re going to throw him the ball every time. I don’t think you have to have balance. When he gets 22 shots, he shoots 60 percent from the field, that makes sense to me. We only turned the ball over three times. We’ve got to be better in other areas. It was more of possession type game, but I don’t think a lot of people will do that, especially when we play at home.

On the next couple weeks of Big Ten play and chasing a title…
Obviously, Ohio State’s in a better position than we are. They win out, they win the league. So us and Michigan State are going to have to get a little bit of help. I think everybody just has to focus on them self. It’s hard when you go on the road and try to win basketball games, and even at home.

Obviously, it was hard for them just like it was hard for us. I think you can’t beat yourself. If you can try to put it into theory, that’s the best thing that tonight we had some mistakes but we turned the ball over three times. We didn’t beat ourselves. Miles Bridges made a hell of a play. At the end, if he misses that, we get a rebound and it goes into overtime, a lot of things can happen but he made the play and that’s the way it is.

I think it’s dealing with younger guys, too. We have some older guys. They’ve been through it. We won the Big Ten last year. California’s not going off into the ocean here. You know what
 I mean? We’ve got to take a couple days off and get ready for Wisconsin and keep your focus. I know that’s coaches talk, but just be simple. Be simple and play to your strengths, and good things will happen.

On talking to the team about the last two losses…
No question. I don’t really get to that. I don’t sit around and talk about it all the time. If you can’t rebound, work on rebounding. If you’re turning the basketball over, play 4-on-4 no dribble, get the pads out. Work on functional things that are going to make you better. When you’ve played in 125 college games, you know, they’ve heard every speech I have. I’ve got four guys and they’re tired of my speeches. They want to win. I like our team. I really like our team. I think we can compete with a lot of people in the country. Sometimes it doesn’t go your way. We were in a lot of games this year, both our Michigan games, Maryland, Northwestern, I’m probably missing a couple, but we were in a lot of possession games where we won. That’s just part of competition.

On losing leads…
Yeah, we were just trying to finish the first half better. When we go back and look at lineups and different things, there’s nothing that jumps out that is consistent in some of our errors. We’ve just got to do a better job of maintaining leads and finishing out the half. The other night, obviously, it was worse than tonight in terms of letting that lead kind of slip a little bit but there’s another team out there competing, so it’s not as easy as it might seem.

Michigan State sophomore guard/forward Miles Bridges

On his game-winning shot…
First of all, I just want to give all the glory to God, for helping me make that shot. (Dakota Mathias) gave me a little space, and I was going to drive to the hole, but as soon as I saw him back off, I was like ‘I’ve got to shoot this,’ and when it went in, I was happy.

On the final seconds following his go-ahead shot…
We knew it was going to be tough for us to get a stop, since they have such a good coaching staff, they’re going to draw up a good play. We just had to stay on our P’s and Q’s.

On what the win means for the team, program and Coach Izzo…
It’s big for us, big for the program, big for Coach Izzo. It gives us a lot of confidence going into road games coming up.

On preparing for the upcoming road games following the marquee win over Purdue…
All road games are tough. Minnesota’s tough on the road. Northwestern’s tough on the road. Wisconsin is going to be tough on the road. They’re all going to be tough for us. We’ve just got to stick together like we have been.

Michigan State senior forward Gavin Schilling

On what this win means for a team as young as Michigan State’s…
This just brings a lot of momentum, especially going down towards the end of the season.  A win like this brings us closer to our goals we set for ourselves. The younger guys are pumped, the older guys are pumped, we just have to keep it under control and not let this win kind of blow our heads up, and keep winning the rest of the season.

On what this win means with four games remaining in the regular season…
It just brings a lot of momentum to us, especially mentally. Seeing us get a win like this cohesively as a team is great for us emotionally. The younger guys rallied and helped us, as well as the older guys rallying with the younger guys, so it was a great team win tonight.

On what this win means to Coach Izzo on the night honoring Jud Heathcote…
This win means the world to Coach, especially with all the alumni coming back. Dedicating this game to Jud, I know Coach, that’s how started his coaching career was under Jud, so it just means a lot for him. I know he didn’t want to show it too much, but I just know that this win meant the world to him.

On guarding Purdue forward Isaac Haas…
A big, strong, physical guy, but I just told myself mentally that he wasn’t going to score on me. That’s something I take pride in, guarding people and my defense, so I was just going out there and doing my job, and I just wanted to get the win at the end of the day. I did what I could to get it, and I succeeded.

Michigan State sophomore guard Cassius Winston

On this game being the biggest game for the team so far…
It was definitely the most riding on it, the most in terms of Big Ten, in terms of our season, there was a lot riding on that game so it was definitely a big one.

On finding rhythm in the second half…
We learned how to win. You got to win games. It’s not going to be pretty. That’s a good basketball team. They’re ranked (number) three for a reason. You can tell, they hit big shots, they made big plays, but we came down with a key stop, a key rebound, a key basket. We learned how to win games.

On defending the 3 in the second half…
Guarding the 3 was one of our game plans. We didn’t do a good job in the first half, but the second half we locked in and we shut that down.

On Miles Bridge’s go-ahead 3-pointer…
I was in the corner. I saw it, and that’s our best player. The best player on the team, we’re going to live and die with him taking that shot. We had full faith in him knocking it down, and he did.

On the Breslin Center atmosphere…
That might’ve been the loudest game I’ve played here. We’ve had some loud games, and I couldn’t hear anything after that game.



 

 

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