Add to Calendar
Skip to main content Skip to footer
BUY TICKETS

Post Game Quotes: Indiana

Feb. 14, 2016

Recap |  Box Score |  Notes |  USATSI Gallery  |  Photo Gallery 

Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo

Opening statement...
Gary Harris said it best. `Coach, you have to schedule more games on Valentine's Day for [Denzel] Valentine.' He thinks it's special and his mom thinks it's for him - it's not, but it's good that he played well. I'm a little disappointed in him because he isn't rebounding as well. He had a good excuse because he's kind of guarding guards now a lot more than he used to guard when he was on the inside on the wing guys. Because of that, I don't think he has as many boards, but he showed he was one of the more complete players. His defense has been so much better, we even talked about putting him on Yogi [Ferrell] because we didn't think we could cover Yogi [Ferrell]. I think [Yogi Ferrell] has become one of the greatest point guards in the whole country and I don't know if we did a good job on him or if he just wasn't as involved. When he misses a couple free throws, maybe it's not his day. We've gone through that with our players, too. We beat a really good team today. The way they played the first half, we didn't guard, and then we had our stretch where they didn't guard and we did. They scored 40 points in the first 15 minutes of the game. After that, I think we did an unbelievable job. I just thought our defense made our offense go. Zel [Valentine] found some great looks and we played a lot of that game without [Bryn] Forbes and [Eron] Harris. We got a lot out of our bench, but the shame of the thing is that I think we'll lose Kenny Goins. It looks like it might be a meniscus, so that is frustrating. Give Marvin Clark credit, he came in and actually did a pretty good job under the circumstances. All-in-all, an unbelievable crowd and an unbelievable game and yet, Indiana is a good team. I was concerned about the game because I didn't know if we could cover the way that they drive it and the way they handle it. [Max] Biefeldt, give him credit, for a while he was the best player on the floor. I give our team credit. We bounced back. Zel [Valentine] got after everyone at half time. We weren't very good in the first half, even though we got the lead. I don't think we were playing very well. The second half I think we played offense very well, and that turned our defense into our offense and we scored.

On Denzel Valentine being Player of the Year...
That's an unfair question, but I'll give you my answer. I love Buddy Hield. Not only is he a good player and a tough kid, but everything I hear about him - Tum-Tum [Nairn Jr.] is from the same area, I watched him handle losing at Kansas a couple weeks ago and he seems like the most quality kid that we have in college basketball. I'm a big fan of his. As far as the versatility and being able to do everything, I don't think [Denzel] Valentine gets enough credit for his defense. Everything we've asked that kid to get better at, he's gotten better at. He's become a better shooter, he's become more disciplined with the ball, but he can guard people. He can guard and rebound on the one end and pass and score on the other end. I don't know anyone that I've had that can do that as thoroughly as he does it. I think he deserves to be in the race. I think the guy that's been everyone's favorite deserves to be there too. The first ten minutes, he wasn't playing that well and he was just existing out there and we talked about it in the huddle and then he started to change. He's very smart too. If you can find another all-around player on both ends of the court, he deserves it.

On Matt Costello...
He wasn't very good early. I thought [Thomas] Bryant was kicking his butt and so was [Max] Biefeldt. He was posted too far out and Denzel [Valentine] talked to him about that. Seniors are supposed to come through in their senior year. I was really looking forward to the Bryn Forbes and Yogi Ferrell because each one of them have grown so much. Yogi Ferrell has become a hell of a player, too. We needed the other guys. [Matt] Costello and Bryn Forbes struggled, but he stepped up. So, our three seniors were the difference in the game and you kind of hope that that is the way it happens, especially this season because it seems like seniors have been doing a lot more for a lot of these teams. We still have a long, long way to go and now have to deal with another injury to a guy [Kenny Goins], but I guess it's just par for the course. I think we learned something about our team today that if we go inside, we can score and if we go inside-outside, we can score as well. The first half, we had one offensive rebound and they had nine. They still ended up with 16 and I give Tom [Crean] a lot of credit. That's the way we used to play.

On Tum Tum Nairn, Jr.'s status...
I said we're going to try and play him a little bit and we did. I think he wanted to turn into a shooter there for a minute and we had talked about that. Not that we don't want him to shoot ever but we need to get him back. He hadn't even practiced really, half a practice in a month. He probably won't practice tomorrow or the next day, very little. We're hoping it'll be back to how it was in December, painful, won't practice as much, but can still play. It's not going to be where he's practicing every day and playing, that's not going to happen. If we can get something out of him, 10 minutes a game, he's wiling to do that for us.

On what turned around his team's ability to check and get to loose balls...
Good huddles. Some good huddles. I just think that they understood we had made some substitutions and some of those guys came in hungry. I guess that's where everybody says you have depth, and I said, yeah, but today our depth is probably what won us the game. Those two guys played unbelievable, but it was our depth. It was (Alvin) Ellis III coming in and doing something, Marv was really good. We didn't get as much out of DD. He's got to turn that motor on. That motor was just idling today. I think he realized it at halftime. He'll get better.

On Kenny Gions' status...
I have no idea, no idea. So why did I say it? Because they told me, and I don't hide many things. That's what I heard. I heard that they're a little worried about his meniscus. It's a shame because he has been playing good. I go a week and a half without an injury, that's probably not normal.

On what he needs going forward from Marvin Clark, Jr...
He brings one thing that we thought from day one last summer. He's a pop guy, he can shoot a three. He's as athletic as the day is long, he can guard people. We left him in too long a couple of times and I think he gave up a three because he was dead tired and hadn't played in a long time. The other guy that I didn't give much credit to, and he played 10 minutes, but I thought (Gavin) Schilling did a great job. He got in foul trouble in the first half and we took him out, but I thought he did a good job guarding. Our other guys didn't guard very well. You guys are like everybody else, everybody loves offense, so Matt (McQuaid) played pretty well offensively, but I wouldn't say he's getting the defensive player of the day. So he's got to improve in that area. I thought Gavin gave us some of that. We have a lot of guys that chipped in. Marv is very important to us because we said at the beginning of the year we thought he'd be our starting 4-man.

On if he was confident in turning to Marvin Clark, Jr. today...
We were. Mike Garland came to me before the game and said coach, play Marv. He said I've been watching film with him every day. I went to his room last night and he was studying film for hours. It sounds so corny, and I'm sure it does to you guys, but it's not hard to read kids. I told Denzel when the game started, I said, `Zel, you need to get out of it.' Nothing bad, I could just tell, he wasn't vocal, he wasn't this, he wasn't that. Mike read him perfect. Everybody wants us to feel comfortable and to give a guy a chance. Well, give me a reason to give you a chance. He gave us a reason. He had three good days of practice, and a stupid thing like watching film until 1:00 at night when Mike Garland was around checking probably gave him a chance. Because of that, maybe this will jump start him a bit.

On what he likes about Matt Costello's defensive game and progress...
I thought in the second half we were a lot tougher and a lot better defensively. I really did. In the first half I wouldn't say that. Matt's got to keep realizing that you can't go for those fakes. He was going for some of them and they were getting around him some. He probably did a better job than I think in some ways and in some ways I think he's got to do a better job than you think. I mean, he's a senior, and he is a very good defensive player. Right now, when we're better defensively and we get our running game going, I think we're really good. (Bryn) Forbes missed some great shots again and we felt there were some reasons for that too. We're kind of hitting him a little too early. He's on the run too much instead of stationary. We've got to shore that up. Getting Tum back a little bit, maybe 10-12 minutes a game, will help some of that. Getting Zel off the point will help him some. But Matt Costello, for a guy that doesn't jump real high, he blocks shots, he's got good timing and he's very cerebral. Sometimes, he's not as much so. He must have told me three times how dumb he was. And I agreed. I agreed each time. In fact I added a few. Yet, he did some very good things. He was mad at himself. He knew of some plays where a guy was going to drive right and he goes out there on his left side. He's valuable. Twenty-two points, 11 rebounds and I'm figuring out a way he didn't do as good as you guys. That's pretty cool.

On his confidence level in Alvin Ellis III...
What I like about Alvin the most is there is no kidding everybody here, he was in the ultimate doghouse for two years. This year, he said he was going to take a different approach. There were games we didn't play him in and he just kept getting better and better. His shooting's getting better. We put him on the scout team. For a junior, that's not the norm, especially a scholarship player, but he wanted to go on it to get better. He's done a heck of a job. He's kind of working himself back into the human race and I'm proud of him for that. That's the ultimate in a person. If you're not playing good enough and you're not doing what you're supposed to do and then all of the sudden you're around, those are the kind of guys you love in the end. He's really made a concerted effort to put more into basketball and basketball's giving something back to him. Those basketball gods are funny gods, they do that. And they're doing it for him.

On how the seniors are helping Deyonta Davis this year...
I think it's really important because today DD struggled. What they've done such a good job of, Costello's done a good job with him, but the other guy who's really done an incredible job with him is Colby Wollenman. I think he's his roommate on the road. He spends time with him, he's on the scout team, he's telling him what to do and where to go, how to be. Today was the first time in a while I thought DD... The opening jump he lost by a foot. You're going to see some of that with some of these freshmen now, and so is everybody else, because it gets to this point in time in the year. It isn't screwing up that's the problem, it's screwing up and then screwing up again and not understanding what you did. I give him a lot of credit. He can take coaching, he can take criticism, but he had some players that got on him too. The non-motor stuff is more excusable than the assignment stuff.

On how MSU can lose to Nebraska and then take down a team like Indiana here...
A couple of those years with (Victor) Oladipo they got us. Indiana's got a very good team. They really do. This game scared me more than most we've played because it was a bad matchup for us. The way they dribble-drive with four positions... I thought one guy who is really improving is (Collin) Hartman. I think he's improved a ton and he's a hard cover because he can shoot and he can put it on the floor. We lost to Nebraska because we were going through a tough time. We had just lost Tum at Wisconsin and we had Wisconsin-Nebraska back-to-back. We made some mental errors, we made some poor decisions. We shot 11-of-23 from the line. But for the most part, we've been fairly consistent. We lost to Wisconsin but we played hard enough. We lost to Nebraska, that was probably he worst loss. Losing to Purdue, I watched Purdue yesterday and I watched what they did against us and I've got to say, I thought they outplayed us in the first half. They were better than us. They made every shot, they did everything. I don't think it was us being poor, I thought it was them being awesome. That's what you're starting to see, too. It's the hard part about our job right now. There's so many things that make you scratch your head. You guys are scratching yours. I'm scratching mine too. I've seen a team that played so well against us, a guy hits five threes and gets two points the next game. Why? I don't know why. Keeping guys focused in this day and age where everybody tells them how great they are is more difficult than its ever been in all sports. Football, basketball, it doesn't matter which sport it's in. I will go down, whenever I go down, saying that has been the greatest change for how kids deal with issues and problems, positively or negatively. It is a pain. There are too many people that it's happening to. I'm sticking with my theory and everybody else can have their own.

On what MSU's focus is while closing out the season...
Get better every day. I don't care where we're ranked, I don't care what we've got. You wanted certain things because you don't want to play in the Thursday night game in the Big Ten tournament. I don't know if it matters. You want a higher seed, that definitely matters. We're playing for those two things now. We're not sitting here thinking we can win the Big Ten unless a bunch of people explode. I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about us getting better every day. I thought we had a decent week of practice. I don't think it was as good as it needs be. We're playing a team that's won seven in a row and started it with us. That was the day after we lost Tum. We're on our own mission. Almost more than win games, I want to get better every day because I know what the tournament's going to be like, and that's kind of what you're looking forward to now.

Indiana Coach Tom Crean

Opening Statement...
Michigan State played outstanding and the plays of the game that we really had to make sure didn't happen, they happened. They made too many threes. Their field goal percentage was outstanding because we gave up too many fast break baskets. The disappointing part is that we did a very solid job in the first half and we did not continue that by playing the personnel as well as we needed to. They were just too comfortable and when they are comfortable and getting great looks and not taking anything away from them, that makes them that much better. Twelve and 19 in transition, that was crucial. You can't do that. You can't give that up to a team and their break was so good. They always have a fantastic break but today it was as good as it's been or that I have seen. We didn't get back and find shooters as good as we needed to but we let their best players be comfortable. When we played the screens the right way we were good, but when we didn't (Byrn Forbes) made us pay and that's what good players do. Denzel (Valentine) and Matt (Costello) were outstanding and they didn't need a lot of help today. We just let those guys get to the rim, and when you are playing a good team with great players you just can't let them get to that. That's really what it was more than anything else. We didn't defend as well as we needed to, we gave up too many baskets and we gave up too many strength baskets, which means they got to their strengths. The game was physical and we weren't. We need to be better, and we were much better the other night and now we turn around and get ready to play Nebraska.

On Denzel Valentine's poise...
He's a great player, there is no question about it. The strength he has, the way that he throws the ball ahead, you can't let him come off and get to the right hand like we did. He got to play with his strengths and for the most part we did not put enough pressure on him and make him uncomfortable enough. He's a guy who can do a lot of different things because of his vision and ability to play through traps but you have to wear him down and Purdue showed that the other night. You have to put heat on him and we just did not do that. We have to learn better for the next matchup.

On Yogi Ferrell's struggles today...
I think he pressed a little bit tonight and in the Iowa game. It's just a matter of making too many things happen rather than moving it. We were having trouble scoring right but he had a long break with the fouls. He is used to playing a lot of minutes. We had a bunch of other guys who weren't making plays. Guys come in and impact the game, whether they start or not, they come in and impact the game. Today we didn't get enough impact from other players some starters and some substitutes. I'm not worried about his shooting, or his minutes. We prepared hard we just physically didn't have the ability to go hard or the time. It's a matter of us trying to stay on pace and improve.

On Ferrell's ability to help his teammates...
It's not one teammate, he had seven assists. We don't talk about slumps because he is not in one. You just have to take what the defense gives you and when you have the ball in your hands a lot, I'm sure he would like to be at the foul like more and he's trying to get to the rim more at times. We made 11 threes but we needed a few more from other guys. We are not going down the slump road, we are going down the, we need to get better in all areas and that starts with transition defense.

On managing Troy Williams...
We just get ready for the next game and go through practices. See what the practices give us and who we are playing and go from there.

On his players defending Denzel Valentine...
He's a great player and we just tried to shut him down. You had to defend his driving, his scoring, his shooting and certainly his passing. You need to put more pressure on him and we didn't do that as much as we needed to.

On Matt Costello's improvements...
He's playing his way right into the NBA and we helped him today there is no doubt about that. He's having an outstanding year and leading the league in rebounds and averaging a double-double. He hit his second three. You have to guard him. He came to play as a young guy and learned to play. He's a product of the system and he is as tough a player as there is in the league. He has improved his speed and quickness, we let him get to his strengths and we let him get to that. We let him get too comfortable on the block with plays and we are not going to send a lot of double teams especially when they have 4 guys who in the last five games have been shooting over 50 perfect from three. They are doing an outstanding job of spacing and because he can shoot the ball and pass and because he can get people open it makes him incredibly valuable.

On Indiana's transition defense...
The biggest problem is we have two people in the paint. You need to have one guy in the paint and one guy guarding the rim, but then you got to get out. It's not as much about stopping the ball in this game as it is to get the wings covered because they run the wings so well. We have to do a better job of that and Iowa did a great job of throwing the ball ahead, but the bottom line for us is that too many times two people were in the paint and when you do that you leave too many people open and then we just don't get communicated. A couple of times there are no excuses and it will show in film, a few times we just didn't rotate quick enough and would be a lot happier if they could run that way every game. They were with their best and they were committed and we let them get some confidence from it.

On starting Max Bielfeldt...
Matchup situation and that is nothing that Colin (Hartman) did wrong. We didn't want (Bryant) Thomas to start on Costello because I know Tom's mindset because he did it with Zeller and he did it with Vonleh and they just tried to attack them. The bottom line is they were going to guard them but we wanted to let Thomas get stabilized in the game. Max answered it. All along in my mind we have numerous starters on our team. There is always a starting lineup but everyone out there can impact the game. Today we had a few guys who did and a few who didn't.

On Troy Williams' game...
He's got to understand how to impact the game when they are taking things away. One thing that Troy is really good with is obviously moving without the ball and getting to the corners. I give Tom and his staff a lot of credit for not losing sight of him. We wanted to see Troy play and they made a great adjustment to him because there were a lot of times that a guy would lose their man. He corrected that because it seemed to be an issue on Tuesday night and never let your guy out of sight. Troy impacted the game on the boards and defensively because its not all about the jump shot. You have to get more rebounds and lose balls when you are athletic like that. It is a learning experience for a guy like that. It's not like he isn't on the front page of a scouting report but sometimes he gets lost in the game and that is where a lot of his cuts come from. A lot come from organized sets but he needs to understand how he is going to cut in front of somebody, jump up and draw a charge but its not on him but he has to do better.

Senior Guard Denzel Valentine

On his team's performance ...
It's good to get a win on Valentine's Day. We just came to play and that's all that mattered for us to get the win. We wanted to be different than we were on Tuesday. We felt like we let one slip away from us and we deserved to win that game. We came out here and took it to Indiana a little bit.

On coming back from a first half deficit...
Our energy picked up, sense of urgency picked up and we were getting to all the loose balls. We played hard as a team and we wanted to win that game.

On carrying their momentum into Thursday against Wisconsin...
They got a good win against Maryland on the road. We lost to them the first time so we need to get some revenge. They're coming here this time and we're going to be ready.

Senior Guard Bryn Forbes

On the slow start and having to come from behind ...
In the beginning, our defense wasn't too good. We gave them 40 points in the first half, and we were hoping to hold them to a lot less than that. We finally found our rhythm in the second half, offensively and defensively we started playing well.

On what the team did differently to come back from a 10-point deficit...
I think it's the energy we brought. Coach was telling us he could feel it. We didn't have much energy in the first half and we knew we had to step it up in the second half to stay in the game.

On their ability to shut down Yogi Farrell ...
Sometimes we struggled a little bit with him. He was creating for others, but we really focused on him coming off ball screens and using ball screens. He's a great ball mover and penetration was a big key too.

On the significance of the win...
This is huge. It's a big win because Indiana just got a huge win over Iowa. I think they were tied for first in the Big Ten, so that's a huge win.

 

 

Partners & Sponsors