Penn State vs. Wisconsin
Penn State Coach DeChellis Quotes:
Q: Was there ever a point in the game when you thought "these guys again"?
Coach: I thought our timeouts were good, we knew we weren't playing well. We couldn't get shots in; we couldn't get any rhythm. I thought Jordan Taylor made a big shot before half to put them up 9. I liked where the score was. we thought we had to keep it to a low-60s game. It was there, so we knew we still had a chance. I think our kids knew we weren't playing well, but we stayed positive that shots would start to go.
Q: Were they loose at halftime? What did you say?
Coach: Yeah they were. I ripped them a little bit. I just said we were playing poorly. The biggest thing I was upset about was that we didn't rebound. We gave them points early off of offensive rebounds. I didn't think we were rebounding at all defensively and I told Andrew Jones that. He came out in the second half and got a couple rebounds.
Q: How was your defensive effort in the second half?
Coach: In the first half, we were trying to play some zone. We played some more man in the second half and threw in some 1-3-1 to try to keep them honest. They're a very good team, a very good rhythm team. We tried to break their rhythm as best we could with some zone. We played well in the second half, we held them to 23 points in the half. We challenged some shots and played with better energy. I thought we were better defensively in the second half.
Q: Did you get energy and momentum off of the crowd? How did that help you?
Coach: It was a lot easier tonight when the place was filled. You know, you make a play and the place erupts. That makes it tougher on them, because that's what we face when we're on the road. I really appreciate everyone coming today to support our team, support Coaches vs. Cancer. I thought it was a great Saturday afternoon for college basketball. It was great to get a win and hopefully everyone will be back for our game against Michigan.
Q: Because of your troubles against Wisconsin, is this worth more than one win?
Coach: That's why Talor (Battle) hugged me at the end of the game. Four years of frustration. I tell you when (Keaton) Nankivil hit that shot in the corner, I was like "here we go again, how are they going to find a way in this one". Then we missed a couple free throws. But, our kids believe we can win. The credit all goes to our kids.
Q: Did the physicality of the game help you?
Coach: Before the game, we put up on the board, 'embrace the physicality'. You have to embrace it. I thought we had to play hard without fouling. For the most part we did that; we kept them off the line. They're a tremendous shooting team. I thought we did play hard without fouling. We did those things in the second half and we made some shots. Jeff (Brooks) and Talor made big shots.
Q: Did you have to settle (Tim) Frazier down in the first half?
Coach: Yeah, he was beside himself to start the game. We had to slow him down. That's a sophomore, a young kid. The most important thing is he learned. He came back in the second half. He made a big play, made a big basket. He got that pass to Jones for a dunk. He's a competitive young kid and he has some fire to him.
Q: What did you see in Frazier?
Coach: He was making mistakes. This was a game where he was making some defensive mistakes and wasn't executing offensively. So he had to sit down and try to figure it out.
Q: How much fun is it to coach this team?
Coach: Wasn't that fun (laughs)? This has been a great group. They have given us everything. I didn't know at times what type of team we were. The road games were a barometer for us, we found out what we were made of. We went on the road 10 days ago and played some pretty good teams. We have pretty good fiber. This is a long race; we're halfway through. I like our team, they really believe they can win. They play hard; they practice hard.
Q: Can you keep this up?
Coach: Yeah, we're going to watch some tape tomorrow. We're in pretty good condition. I give Brad (Pantall) and Saz (Jon Salazer) credit for keeping us healthy. The kids are just playing and we'll see where it leads us too.
Q: What is the importance of winning to keep the fans coming?
Coach: Its important to win and win at home. Other than the Purdue game, we've done very well. Hopefully they'll be back Sunday against Michigan on a Sunday afternoon. It's a big game for us and we go on the road Tuesday against Illinois. Then we come home for Michigan. It will be huge for us; we need a big crowd.
PENN STATE PLAYER QUOTES
#12 Talor Battle & #22 Andrew Jones
Q: Was there a point in the first half, giving your history with Wisconsin, where you guys were discouraged?
Battle: No, we don't have those thoughts anymore, seriously. We honestly believe. We were laughing around at half time because without the last three by Jordan Taylor at the half, were down six and we hadn't made a shot in the entire first half. So we were actually comfortable and figured if we hit some shots we would be right back in the game. And as you can see, we came out with the win.
Q: Going off of that, do you realize that these big games are winding down?
Battle: Definitely, it's a sense of urgency. At this point, we need every game. That's what we tell ourselves, every game is big. It's tough that we already lost one on the home court. We have to try to win out the rest of the year on the home court and then try to steal a few on the road. We can't afford it and we played like we can't afford a loss tonight.
Q: Did you know you had to be more physical with this team in particular?
Battle: As far as the physical thing, one of the biggest things Coach keeps saying is we have to embrace the physicality of the game. Wisconsin is one of those big physical teams and of late, we've been playing physical and that's going to give us the opportunity rebounding, Drew had an unbelievable 14 rebounds. There are the little things that we've been doing that we hadn't in the past. We've been right there in games and we haven't come through. I kept hearing everyone saying we come through with a slow start, but I guess that's okay to get off to a slow start against Wisconsin.
Q: What did you think about your defensive effort against Leuer, Nankivil and Taylor?
Battle: To be honest with you a lot of the points came in the first half, there was a big three. I thought we did a better job in the second half containing them. We kept them to 23 points and that's a great job. Keeping them to 52 points, I think we did a good job.
Q: In tight spots this year your passing the ball, is that something you would have done in the past?
Battle: When I turned the corner today, it's not that I just always want to shoot the basketball. I try to read the game as well as I can. I knew I had a shot, but I would have had to change it because I saw Nankivil coming over. I saw Drew and I believe and trust in Drew and I dropped it low to him and he made a big play.
Q: After Leuer, Nankivil and Taylor, are there any Badger who strike fear in you?
Jones: Nobody strikes fear in us, but we know what those guys are capable of. Coach gives us a game plan and our job is to go and execute that game plan. We know what those guys are capable of and we know what we have to do to execute against those guys to slow and contain them. They are the main players on their team and we felt as though if we can do a good job on those guys, we could really put ourselves into a position to win the game.
Q: Did you have to get over a psychological hump against these guys?
Jones: They got off to a hot start they threw the first punch. I think that we reacted pretty well to it. As the game went on, we got settled in. It's just one of those things we have to work on and I think that we've gotten better throughout the season. Wisconsin is a team that runs that slow swing offense and sometimes it can lull you to sleep. I guess you have to be very disciplined when you're playing that team. It kind of took us awhile to get into that rhythm, but once we did, we started rebounding defensively well and we started guarding them.
Q: Talor, there was a stretch when you and Tim took over, did it make you feel like you were all the sudden in the game because it seemed like everyone fed off of that?
Battle: We were down nine, but we got a couple baskets. Tim got that big basket to tie the game and that kind of just got the crowd into the game. I think once we tied it, the crowd really exploded and we just kind of took off and made some big plays.
Q: Could you have won this game without the crowd?
Battle: They really helped us tremendously. I was telling the radio guys that I was spent and I'm trying to guard Jordan Taylor and their energy gave me a fight.
Q: How gratifying was it to see that many people here tonight?
Jones: It's crazy. At one point, we came out of a timeout and I looked at Tim and said, "Let's go, let's get it going." I just happened to look up and for the first time I saw people everywhere. I said, "Tim, they really came out for us tonight. We gotta do what we gotta do. We have to win this game. " We came out as a team and we got it done.
Battle: That was at the seven or eight minute mark. He said, "it's rockin' in here." And I said, "Yeah, we gotta keep them coming back so we gotta win the game."
Q: How does the crowd compare to crowds on the road like Purdue and Ohio State?
Battle: It was definitely loud and it was a whole different atmosphere. This time they were rooting for us and not booing us. They gave us that little urge to win it.
Q: What did you tell Bo at the end of the game?
Battle: I obviously played for Coach Ryan on Team USA and so we have that friendship. He's such a good guy, even though they just lost the game, I kind of joked around with him and said I have to at least beat you one time in my career and he laughed and said you got us. He said you're playing great, just typical Coach Ryan. He said keep it up and do work and some other things like that and I said I'll see you I obviously want to go back out there to Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Head Coach
Q: Did you get what you wanted against the 1-3-1 in that little stretch or did you want more?
A: We broke down every one of those shots against Illinois. We hit a little bit of a cold spell on these shots right here and every guy in that locker room knows that we have to hit a couple of those. Every basketball player thrives when the inside is shut down and we kick out for a wide open outside shot, and we have to knock a couple of them down. I used this before and nobody cared, if I had those shots when I was playing, come on. Our guys are good shooters and I think and even for all four of John Leuer's threes, he had the time to spot up and shoot. There is a guy with good form and is a good shooter. It was just one of those days.
Q: In the first half you guys really won the battle on the offensive glass, in the second half you didn't really, was it something Penn State did?
A: They played it a little differently. They are so athletic and long in Penn State and their seniors. It was two different games. It was all positioning. They knew their responsibilities and we kept a couple balls alive, but it wasn't enough.
Q: You guys shut Battle down in the first half but he went off in the second half?
A: Yeah he started to hit some shots and get some confidence. He had the ball in his hands and he made some plays. We have seen him do it before. We have some guys like that too. I have seen Jordan Taylor do some things that, that are like Talor Battle. There are some guys in the league who can do that like Talor Battle. He got some confidence and they began to play off that. The inbounds got in quickly and he hit five of six from the line down the stretch.
Q: You got a good look at his personality this summer and the World Basketball Champions, he seems to thrive on that, he never seems to shrink in moments like that. Did you know him until you got him in that program, what did you learn about him?
A: Oh, I knew him. I do FBI background checks and I know which hand they use the most. I know a little about Talor. He's fun to coach and we found out what adversity can really be like over there and still play hard, play well, go 6-1 but everyone always remembers the one.
Q: What is a general example of that adversity?
A: It's tough, crazy crowds. We are who we are, it's not like 17 and under or 19 and under, the teams we played against are very big and physical. They were tough.
Q: Your guys shot three free-throws and Penn State shot 20, how tough is it to overcome a deficit like that?
A: When you're playing from behind you shoot more free throws, so I'm not one to complain about free throws because when we shoot it's because teams are fouling us and trying exchange a three for a two or an and-one and are trying to stop the clock. You have to go to the line and you have to make them. They were playing off and guarding the paint pretty well and teams have done that before and we have killed them. When I say kill, my coach said that a one-point win was a crush, so when we win by one or more, if we are hitting outside and the other team the same thing if you are stretching the defense and probing and looking for what they give you.
Q: Penn State did not play well in the non-conference schedule but they have taken off in the league and all of their quality wins are in the league, and I do not know how they will be judged by this committee but do you have any input?
A: We're not even finished in the first half of the Big-Ten season, I have to figure out some things about Purdue on the flight home. We are getting ready for that. We're pretty decent if we are multi-tasking on the offensive end, inside and out. Makes for a different game, you could look at 20 games today and break them all down.