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Jan. 20, 2012
Penn State Head Coach Pat Chambers
Q: What adjustments did you make in the final minutes in those two timeouts?
A: Really, they were both plays for Tim [Fraizer]. He has earned the right to make those and take those shots. He's done a great job with leadership. He's been just incredible, his effort in his play throughout the whole season. We knew they were going to deny him out to half-court, which they did. He was supposed to back-up and he cut it off. He didn't trust it. Fine, I just called timeout and said, "let's simplify". Let's get a good screen. (Meyers) Leonard was out of the game, he fouled out. I liked my chances against a backup center. He went and made a play. He took the same shot the possession before that was just shy. He has earned the right to make that shot. What Imean by that is that he has worked so hard. Even when we don't have practice, he comes in, he's doing extra things, extra shooting, working on his game. He earned the right to make that shot. He earned the right to take it.
Q: Is confidence a big factor in these games?
A: It's confidence, there's no question. They see now that they could be a good team. They can believe and have faith in what Penn State basketball is all about: it's defending, rebounding and competing for40-minutes. If they do that, we are going to be in the game, in a possession game.
Q: How excited were you for Jermaine Marshall?
A: I am happy for Jermaine. I have been all over Jermaine about defending, about rebounding, about taking care of the little things, about finishing plays, about finishing defensive possessions. That's what he did. I mentioned to him actually before I let the team go that I'm really proud of him. He stepped up.
Q: Has anything else changed in the last couple of days?
A: Just our concentration and focus to Penn State basketball the last couple of days. About playing for each other and not playing for exterior things. Not getting distracted. I think that's what you saw tonight.
Q: After so many close games against Illinois in the past few years, were you expecting this close of a game?
A: Illinois is a great team. They are a great team. (Brandon) Paul is terrific. (Meyers) Leonard is amazing. Those guys are really, really good. I knew we had to play collectively in order to make this a possession game and finish it out. That's what we did. We had great contributions from a lot of different guys. It was a total team victory.
Q: Would you say a lot of different players contributed tonight?
A: I would say yes. You have a lot of guys there. I think Cammeron Woodyard, even though he was setting at four. He got us some production as far as points. When Matt Glover plays tenacious, playing aggressive. That word confidence is so big. You can say it golf. You can say it in football. You can say it in baseball, basketball. When you have confidence, these kids can do anything. I think this team has got some confidence.
Q: How was the crowd tonight?
A: Awesome. I just said that to my staff, and my brothers are in the back. I just said that. I just said, even though it snowed, that bottom part of the bowl was filled. It gets loud in here. It gets loud. And what agreat game for us to win to make them come back again. Now, they are going to enjoy Penn State basketball. It's exciting. The future is bright.
Q: Did you focus more on physical defense in this game?
A: It's not like that was a point of emphasis. It was to say, play hard and play together and bigs outwork him. Get him off the block. Whatever that means, if it means getting in front of him, getting to the side of him. Just keep moving, keep moving, keep moving. That was really the goal, just to make him uncomfortable. To catch the ball in areas he didn't want to catch. Our bigs did a great job. Jon (Graham) and Sasa (Borovnjak) basically split time and both did a really good job.
Q: How do you feel about some tough road games again after tonight's conference win?
A: They are all good to get when you are in the Big Ten. This conference is unbelievable. It is the best conference, great coaches, great players. It is a flat out battle every time you step on the floor. You can't take anything for granted. You can't let up. That's what I try to tell our guys. You cannot let up. They didn't. They did a great job. It was a great win. Indiana happens to be the next game on the schedule and it happens to be on the road. I expect another battle.
Q: How was the team as a whole tonight?
A: Again, team collectively we played really good teamdefense. Everybody did their job, for the most part. The game of basketball is all mistakes, so there are going to be mistakes. Can you cover up those mistakes? Can you hide them? I think for the most part we did a really good job of doing that. Guys really picked up for one another. They had each other's backs. I always say, foxhole mentality. Get each other's backs. I think they're starting to build trust. Trust is another important word in this program, another important word in the locker room. When guys start to trust each other and they take that chance or they step up, they know that that guy is going to get my back. He has the next rotation, which is critical.
PENN STATE PLAYER QUOTES
Q: You guys are a different team every year, but the games against Illinois always seem so close. How can you explain that?
Cammeron Woodyard: It is amazing. Coming into the game you know it is going to be a dogfight, and you know it is going to be a last possession game. The past couple years we have been able to take care of business in the game and come home with the wins. We did the same thing tonight, we played hard for 40 minutes and we got the win.
Q: Tim, for the game winning shot, was something designed or were you just freelancing?
Tim Frazier: We had a high screen and roll and I was trying to make my read whether they came up high, I was just going to kick it out to the corner, but he stayed in the paint and I was able to get deep enough to get the shot.
Q: Cam, are you trying to be more assertive on offense these last few games or is it just coming naturally?
Cammeron Woodyard: I think it is coming naturally. Once Tim sees that I have it going, he's finding me. He's finding me at times where he knows I can just catch and shoot, where he knows I'm comfortable at. I just knock it down.
Q: Tim, what did you guys do better this game against a ranked opponent than against a team likeMinnesota?
Tim Frazier: Last time I was up here, I said if we play 40 minutes of Penn State basketball, things would end differently. This game, I think that's what we did. We focused on attitude, and focused on some of the little things, and it ended up that it was an outcome that we liked.
Q: Tim, what was going through your mind on that last shot?
Tim Frazier: I got the ball, and I was trying to make the reads. Once I hit the floater, the first thing I think about is not lettingBrandon Paul get the ball, and I tried to deny him as much as possible, andthey ended up calling a time out, so it was great.
Q: How about the last defensive play, were you surprised that guy took the last shot?
Tim Frazier: Yeah, he is a great player too, and he drives hard. We switched players, and Matt was on him, he took him and made him take a tough shot. Jermaine came up with a game changing crucial block and then Cameron with the rebound at the end. It was a great effort from everyone.
Q: Matt, did you guys feed off the crowd a little bit, especially the student section?
Matt Glover: Yeah definitely, they're always great. Especially tonight, the fans that always show up they make it a great game, but tonight was extra special. We wanted to show them, we are going to play forthem, but also pull out the wins. We are going to keep playing hard, and they're there for us through the bad times and the good. So, this one was basically for them and for us. They were great.
Q: Matt, do you feel like you have some kind of responsibility to pick up the slack with Billy Oliver out?
Matt Glover: Not really, Billy is his own player. He can shoot, he can go against the big guys, he does so many different things that I feel that I want to play the guards. But then Cameron, and Sasa all stepped up on the big guys on defense. As you can tell, Tim took big shots and Cam took big shots. I think overall everybody picked up for Billy.
Q: Tim, were there any changes between the first and second time in the last minute?
Tim Frazier: Not really, the first play was a different play and that didn't work. I wasn't able to get the ball, Coach called another time out, and we drew up a different play. I knew where everyone was, and I knew I was going to get, and I knew it was going down.
Q: How critical was this win to get the team positive again and back on track?
Tim Frazier: Definitely critical, it feels to get back on the winning side. We've lost three straight, now we have a couple road games, and road games are pretty tough. But this was the most important win not because it was a ranked game, and not because it was Illinois and we always go to the wire with them, but because it was the next game.
Q: Talor (Battle) just tweeted about the game, have you talked to him? He obviously has a history with Illinois.
Tim Frazier: Yes, I talk to him from time to time on Skype. He's having fun out there playing great basketball. We chat from time to time, as well as other guys, I stay in contact with them. I know Cam stays in contact with Jeff almost every day or every other day. We stay in contact with thembecause they were here before us, they set the tone.
Q: This is four wins in five games against Illinois, what's the secret?
Tim Frazier: I don't know. I guess we have just played Penn State basketball every time we have played Illinois. Cam has been here longer, so he would know.
Cammeron Woodyard: We played hard that's all it was.
Q: Cam, Tim had some big shots, but you hit a few key jumpers, and that three in the corner. As a senior, do you feel pressured that you should be taking those shots late in the game?
Cammeron Woodyard: No, I don't feel obligated. Coach makes those calls based on who has the hot hand or he adjusts to how the defense is playing. Like Tim said earlier, they were playing a certain way, so Coach called a time out and we adjust, and look at what you get. He knows what he's doing, he knows who to get the ball to at the right time.
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
You have to give them a lot of credit not to have Billy Oliver and we knew we would struggle scoring, but I did not think we would struggle this much. I knew it wouldn't be easy. Their changing defenses really hurt us in the first half. I think this is where a freshman point guard struggles in recognizing these things. Sam Maniscalco just came back and you can see he does not have his timing and rhythm. I give them credit though. There were a couple big swings the first half with an elbow foul, a five-point play, and another one where we had the ball and threw itaway and they came down and hit a three. Then we did something else, so that was two big runs for Penn State. But you give them credit the coach has gotthem playing and we knew it would be hard we just talked about persevering and finding a way to win. You know down the stretch we thought we gave ourselves a chance but we didn't make enough plays when they counted.
Q: You did a good job of getting Leonard Meyers the ball at post.
A: We did. I mean I probably could have gotten it to him a lot more and honestly he gets frustrated. They were very physical with him and I think there should have been more fouls called but that is just my opinion. He has got to play stronger and not give in and make sure he finishes. He had some chances at the hoop, but we have to get it to him more and he also has to keep his composure. I have talked to him about how has got to be a back up to our defense and he has to run. He has got to keep his poise and whether it's double teamed or what that is where he will make improvement if he does those things.
Q: What were you looking for from the team at the end of the game?
A: I told them if it was under seven to call a time out and if it was over seven push and see if you have anything. I wish Sam Maniscalco would have gone in a little harder but then you got the timeout and you don't know if they will have a man or zone defense. It was supposed to be Sam then Kevin getting a quick ball screen from Brendon and letting it pop and then Brendon going because you don't know if it will be zone or man. DJ running the base but probably the wrong call obviously but I think Sam did the right thing. He got to the basket. I don't know if there was physical contact or not at the end but they got the block and that's the game.
Q: Can you talk about the disappointment after the game ended after getting all of that momentum up?
A: We didn't play well and I didn't coach well. You can deal with one or two guys not playing well, but we had too many guys not playinggood basketball tonight. I didn't prepare them well enough obviously because we had all the time off and you hope it is a positive thing but I said I wouldknow tonight if it was good or bad and we weren't very sharp.
Q: Going forward with the emotional stability about the highs and lows
A: I thought we had come down to earth but it is a road game and I understand but you have got to play and we made too many mistakes early in the game. We gave them some easy layups and let them get their head up. The start of the game, the start of the second half, and the call on the elbow I have to see the film and see what it was about and then the play at half court where Brandon I thought stripped them. You have got to make your own breaks and make your own plays.
Q: This was another really close game against Penn State. Does it remind you of other past Penn State teams?
A: They play hard here and at Bryce Jordan Center they play at another level. Then without Oliver you thought they would struggle scoring which they did but they did a good job and made us struggle too. We also haven't been the best offense there is not doubt. I think we didn't do a good job recognizing what they ran and we got late in shot clocks and we didn't hold the ball and we didn't make plays.
Q: Toward the end of the game you did a nice job on Frazier and then Penn State called timeout and then came right back to him did somebody lose him?
A: Well we told them tonight when you are at 30 seconds left you can fight it a little bit and we did and then they got it back. There was a fine line if they have a play where they go back door and now you are giving away a layup. The one thing we wanted to do was force him left because he is obviously much better right handed. To is credit he used the ball screen and followed through.
Q: You played Sam Maniscalco a lot more minutes than what you had said, did you expect to play him that much?
A: I think part of is that Tracy Abrams struggled so much and we were trying to find a way to win a game. You hope that Sam has the maturity but he made some mistakes. Some easy passes that he normally makes he didn't make.
Q: As you go forward here how important is it for Tracy Abrams in to keep some of the minutes off of Sam Maniscalco?
A: There is no doubt. Going into the season we were hoping it would 15 and 25 somewhere around that and it's probably got to be 25 with Tracy and 15-18 is Sam. We've gotten away with Joe playing the four tonight he just never got into the game even though he has been so good for us. He went in and made two big plays for us, which was a nice boost for him.
Q: Do you think the call on Joe's elbow got to him?
A: I don't know because he told me he didn't do anything. It could have, but he was struggling at that point and then he kind of froze alittle bit.
Q: Is that unusual for Joseph Bertrand personality wise?
A: If you go back to Maryland he struggled on the road, but now he has played so well and whether we are in St. Louis in a big unreliable environment or at Northwestern a couple of guys are just stagnant. Maybe they are switching defenses or maybe playing on the road made him break, but I do not know.