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Jan. 12, 2011
Coach Ed DeChellis Quotes:
Q: How much better defensively did you play tonight?
DeChellis: I think we're playing better defensively. I think Jeff(Brooks) has been moving well defensively, getting into positions to contest a shot. We have been better on the boards, we out rebounded them tonight. We've given ourselves a chance to win in the last two games. Even though we didn't make many baskets, and only shot 34 percent, we were able to find a way to win. We also kept them off of the offensive glass, didn't give them second shots, we only gave up four offensive rebounds.
Q: What was the difference on the glass the past 2 games?
DeChellis: We work on it all the time. Our rebounding has started to click. Our big guys Jeff, DJ(Jackson), and (Andrew) Jones. Tim also rebounded well tonight, he had eight rebounds. I've been trying to get our guards to get back for the rebounds. With the size of our team, it is important that our guards rebound well.
Q: What did you think of your defense and rebounding at the end of the game?
DeChellis: That is what you need to do in the Big Ten. If you make shots, you look pretty good and it's a little easier. We have to rebound at both ends. Other teams in our league have some good players that can make shots. We have to challenge shots and make them score over us. We challenged shots well tonight in our man-to-man and zone defenses.
Q: Has your team been working together well?
DeChellis: They need some confidence. During the non-conference season, we were so up and down that we had to find a rhythm. We played a tough schedule, but we still had no rhythm. The team has started to gel nicely and guys are playing well individually. Drew Jones is playing well. I haven't done anything different, just trying to get him to play hard and shoot a little better. He's playing with confidence now, and it's amazing how well that can work.
Q: Talor talked about your different practice approach, practice as though you lost the last game, how has that helped the team in practice?
DeChellis: Some teams are different, young guys don't understand that. We have been looking for different approaches, so lately we have been practicing as if we had lost the night before. We did some toughness things yesterday. Sometimes you have to do things in practice that are tough and uncomfortable, but you have to do that. We have tough, physical practices the next day. The younger guys sometimes just shake their head, but our older guys understand that this is what you need to do in this league to be successful.
Q: Do you feel better about your team now than a week ago?
DeChellis: I felt like if we got them going, we would be okay. I thought we needed to build some confidence. I was very disappointed after the loss to Michigan, which I let them know verbally to the team. We didn't finish the way that we needed to. We had some very tough practices after that loss.
Q: What did you think of Tim's play tonight?
DeChellis: I don't think he made a shot, but he made plays elsewhere. He played very solid defense on (Demetri) McCamey. I challenged Tim to prevent baskets and force some tough shots. He had a big steal late in the game that bounced off of an Illinois guy. He was affective without scoring.
Q: What do these two wins do for your season?
DeChellis: We have two very tough games ahead at Ohio State and Purdue, so we don't have much time to celebrate. This is a very unforgiving league, so you can't get too excited about winning two games. It gives the guys some confidence going into the Ohio State game. This win is a confidence builder for us, but we still have a long way to go.
Q: Are you satisfied with winning 2 out of these 3 home games?
DeChellis: If you look at the whole schedule you have to break things down. It was important for us to split the first road trip. We have to win games at home. I wasn't satisfied with how we played against Purdue. That was disappointing. We have bounced back. We didn't play well tonight offensively, but we played pretty well defensively. It's important to win your home games, but we have to go to Champaign at the end of the month. You have to take care of yourself and try to break the season down.
Q: 1st Back-to-Back wins over Top 25 teams since 1954. Has the team talked about that?
DeChellis: We never talk about where these teams are ranked. We know Michigan State and Illinois are pretty good, they're good basketball programs. I've never said that this team is ranked here or there, we know who they are. It's important for us to play as well as we can to give ourselves a chance to win. Our kids watch the tapes and understand how good these teams are. We just need to go and play hard against these teams. I'm proud of our kids and the effort they had tonight, both on the glass and defensively.
Penn State Player Quotes
Q: A couple weeks ago you guys lost at home double digits to Maine, what has changed with you guys?
Talor: You know what's funny? Whenever we win, someone always mentions how we lost to Maine. Maybe that's what sparked the fire. I think the last couple games we've really been playing well together. Coach went back to the drawing board saying we don't screen for each other, we don't do this, we don't do that. We've really just been working hard in practice, not being satisfied against Michigan State We've just been competing, We came out today; we just made the plays at the end.
Q: Can you take us through the final play, both of you. Talor when you drove, Drew when you came in.
Talor: Drew can't hear, so he kept trying to screen for me. I'm like, "Just get away Drew." He finally gets away. It was the same play as last year, but the difference was Mike Tisdale blocked my shot. What I didn't want to have him do was block it because I saw him come over, so I actually just shot a hook to kind of get it on the glass. Coach always says to get it on this glass, especially if the help guy comes, there's a weak-side rebounder and I'll let Drew take it from there.
Drew: Like T said, obviously when he goes to the bucket he's going to have two or three defenders on him. It just happens, it's just the nature of the game. He's aggressive going to the bucket, so that's just what happens. Tisdale, why he did I don't know, he left me and T just through it up on the glass and I just through it in.
Q: The defensive intensity was pretty high all game. I'm guessing you guys thought that's what you needed to do if you wanted to come out here with a win tonight, considering how well they were playing offensively.
Talor: They can kill you so many ways offensively, all of them can score. Our mindset was to really get into them and make them uncomfortable. At the end of the first half I don't think we really did that, but with the exception of that I think we did that for the most part. We got some steals here and there. We really just made them uncomfortable. We've been working on that in practice and we've been executing in the game.
Q: Illinois came in with a considerable height advantage, what did you guys do to win the battle?
Drew: We just attacked really. Put a body on somebody. The biggest thing that we were doing is that we were allowing teams to get momentum towards us going to the basket. The last two games, especially in practice we've put an emphasis on not letting teams get momentum going to the basket, especially athletic teams. We've been trying to meet them early so as the balls coming we're kind of at a stand still and we're not on our heels and have them coming towards us. We've been doing a good job with that.
Q: You guys are in the middle of a tough five-game stretch, how does winning these two games against Michigan State and Illinois set you guys up for the next two games at Ohio State and Purdue.
Talor: They're good wins but Ohio State and Purdue are two totally different teams. What we've been doing in practice is practicing like we lost the night before. After we beat Michigan State that's the first thing coach said, "Let's practice like we lost." No one's excited and lackadaisical because we just won, we've been practicing like we just lost and have something to prove. I think that's really paid off, guys have been getting after it. We're going to do that when we come back Thursday to practice and get ready for a really good Ohio State team.
Q: Drew, what's it like to have that sort of play to win a game? I'm sure growing up you always think, "3, 2, 1, he gets the jam," what's it like for you? Drew: Initially I knew there was time on the clock so you look at the tape and see my reaction and I'm sprinting back on D. You never know what can happen on the last minute heave. We've been on some heartbreakers with last minute heaves, so my initially reaction was just to sprint back and a timeout was called. Once the clock actually hit zero, that's when I starting roaring with my teammates. It's a good feeling, it's a good win and we just got to keep on going and like T said, beat a really good Ohio State team.
Q: As that plays going on, any concern on your part that the clock might run out before you could do all that?
Drew: Yeah it did actually. At first I didn't think T was going to get a chance to get the ball up on the rim because they were so collapsed on him I thought there was no way. But once I saw the ball come off the glass I was just like, "Man, I got to get this one." I didn't know how much time there was so when I caught it I just threw it in as hard as I could, but there was still time on the clock.
Q: They were averaging 77 points a game going into tonight. What did you guys do right on defense?
Talor: Against them, in four years, I don't think anyone's scored more than probably 55 points. We had a 38-33 game, so when we play them it's kind of defensive minded and people can't really make shots for the most part. Coach said we wanted the game in the 60's or lower, once we got up there we figured we'd be in trouble. That's what defense does. We kept them from getting comfortable. We kept it a low scoring game; right where we had a chance to win and we came out with a win.
Q: How did it feel out there on the court with all those fans celebrating with you enthusiastically?
Talor: Hot. It was great seeing them run out there. The funny thing is, you see a whole bunch of people running at you and your natural instinct is how do I get out of there as fast as I can? That's what I do. I kind of slide out and make my way back through. They're a big part. We give them credit too for this win and we thank them for coming out.
Q: Talor, that three you hit. You were on the paint, on the Nittany Lion. Is that the longest actual jump shot that you've ever hit?
Talor: Probably. The funny thing is I was practicing half-court shots today for some reason. I was doing it with one of the managers because he's supposed to be good at hitting them so I was trying to beat him in a little contest. My shot, it was going straight, I heard everybody go "whoop, whoop" and it just sunk right in. Thank the Lord.
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
Opening Statement: Hats off to Penn State they played their butts off. They played their butts off against Michigan State. They found a way to win. I didn't think we had great emotion at the beginning of the game, but we did fight our way back had a good run to finish the half. A tied score makes you feel pretty good going in at half time, so let's go and come back and have a good start. But they got off to a good start and they got five points that we could never recover. I didn't think we attacked. We had a lot of stops in a row from 5 to 12 minutes. I don't know if they scored in that stretch and we just didn't attack them. We weren't in sync. We were shooting the ball so well, I thought. We shot a lot of quick shots. We turned it over obviously too much and tried to make a lot of quick plays. Defensively, when it comes down to it, you hold them 57 points and Taylor makes some tough plays, really tough shots. We hurt ourselves. The whole week I talked about finding a way to win and that was our whole theme. If you look at four of the games in the last three years, two have gone down to one point and last possession. The other two were really close games. So they got the bounce that made the play and now we have to go home and figure things out and go to Wisconsin.
Q: Coach, are you concerned that at the beginning of the year if your shooting wasn't there, you wouldn't win? Is that was is concerning you now when you say "find a way to win"?
Weber: I just knew it was going to be close when I say find a way to win. It could be a stop, it could be a rebound, a tip in, a loose ball. They got all the 50/50 balls they put on the board, defense, rebound, and 50/50 balls the first half. They outplayed us on their mat and in our chart they got second chance points. We are a pretty good fast break team and they got more transition baskets because we turned it over to much. The second chance points hurt us especially,and the last one they hurt us early in the game. They hurt us early and late. We have to get to the free throw line. We cant always give in. We can't make the quick play. Maybe we shot it too well, too easy. You have to learn to grind it out when you have to.
Q: You made sure you would never let Demetri be spoiled, but what do you think his deal was tonight?
Weber: He wasn't in sync. He tried to make too big of a play, too tough of a play behind a bad pass. He has to accept that some games he's not going to be perfect, but then lead us and do all the other things, make the easy plays and easier passes and let it come. I think we all had to do it somewhere. It was like, `I hadn't had a shot, I'm going to put it up.' The next guy goes, `I haven't had a shot I'm going to put it up.' Then the next guy, `I'm going to have a shot.' Now we have four or five empty possessions where we shoot quick shots that were contested and Demetri was a part of that. He's been great and there is no doubt. I told him after, if you want to be an All-American, help us win. Be a player every game. That's how you become an All-American. You win, you get publicity, you get acknowledgement, you get all the accolades later on.
Q: Coach, what is it against playing in the zone that your players aren't able to get in the lane?
Weber: Well, actually, we destroyed Northwestern the other night. So, they started man, we thought they would start man. Even though they played mostly zone against Michigan State, but they did go zone and hurt us a couple occasions. I don't think we read it and got inside enough. We weren't patient enough. I'd have to go back and look at how many possessions they were zone and what we scored against them. It would probably be equal to what we scored against the man when it comes down to it. We have been pretty good against zones for the most part, but tonight just a little out of sync. They match up, they do some different things, but you have to move the defense and find an open man some place in it.
Q: On the last play someboedy is supposed to...
Weber: I'd have to look. I would think one of the things we talked about was rebounding. They just went low and forward and I think they got the big guy sitting there somebody probably had no weak side rolled up. I would think you have to stay in there and rebound. I didn't see it. I couldn't tell you. The ball bounces and it doesn't hit the rim and it goes right to him. Sometimes that's what happens.
Q: Considering what you got coming up, how big of a win would this be?
Weber: Well, it would have been nice obviously. You want to stay in the race. Purdue got these guys here, we didn't, Michigan state didn't. Purdue is up on us by one so now you have to find a way to get other games. Go to Wisconsin, they had a heartbreaking loss tonight. We had a tough loss, so we will see how both of us will respond.
Q: Battle has been your nemesis the last 4 years. How glad will you be to see him get out of the way?
Weber: Well, actually, we have done a good job on him. He's made the big basket two years ago, a little game winner. He scored points, we told our guys if he gets 20 points we have to let him get 20 shots. He was much more efficient tonight and he was effective and the 2 bombs just killed us. But Demetri has made them before and that's what good players do. They make the good play, the tough shot. I thought he moved without the ball pretty well and when they have Frazer in there, he delivers to them and Frazer doesn't get a basket. But, he's got 8 rebounds, forces, no turnovers, and that's pretty effective. He gets to play at the end of the game when he's face-guarded Demetri. We're trying to get him the ball and I'm not sure who hit it out, but he got the ball.
Q: When you saw Penn State upset Michigan State, did that change your perception of Penn State at all?
Weber: I knew it was going to be tough every game. Look at our history; during the last 4 years, every game has been close. I wrote on the board all the scores. I knew what it was going to be like and hopefully the kids understood that. You would hope the Michigan State game would give them more motivation that they have to play their butts off. Obviously we didn't do that, especially at the beginning