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Feb. 13, 2010
Penn State Head Coach Ed DeChellis
Q: Why did the offense struggle in the scoring drought?
A: Well, we just couldn't score. We couldn't shake them. They turned up the heat and we didn't execute anything we talked about doing and whatever we really called, we didn't execute it. It was just really poor and that was just a crucial time of the game. They turned up, we didn't. We didn't respond like we needed to. Offensively, we looked like we've never run offense for three or four minutes.
Q: Was Michigan State doing anything unexpected defensively?
A: Nope. Nope, switching the same way. We tried to do the same thing that we had been doing for the first 30 minutes of the game and we had been pretty successful at it. Give them credit. They defended us better, got into us more and we didn't handle it very well.
Q: When you start slipping in a game, do you feel the confidence level of your team decrease?
A: Yeah, we had some open shots that guys didn't take. We had a little baseline jumper we didn't take. We tried to force some stuff. We were driving east and west instead of north and south like we did in the first half. The first 10 minutes of the second half we were going towards the basket, then all of a sudden we just kind of went away from doing what we had been doing. Somebody's got to try to make a play then and that's where it starts to slip away.
Q: How do you balance ball movement with beating the shot clock?
A: We thought we had to keep the ball in our hands tonight. The more we had the ball in our hands offensively, the less opportunities they have with the ball. We talked about it 12, 15 (seconds), started getting into our secondary offense of ball screens and driving it. In the first half we were ok and in the first 10 minutes we were ok. The last 10 minutes we just didn't execute. I don't know how many times I have to say it; we just didn't execute what we were trying to do the first 30 minutes of the game.
Q: How much of what the team is going through is due to the lack of a post presence?
A: I think it's all new. That's part of it. That's part of offense is throwing it in there and creating some offense and we just haven't been very efficient at that and we haven't been very efficient at the free throw line down there as well. That's been a situation for us all year.
Q: How tough is it to when Talor Battle is scoring most of the team's points?
A: Yeah and bench points as well. They beat us on the bench 13 to 1 and we lose by 11. We didn't get much off the bench tonight. Our guys, offensively, we didn't get open shots for them. I thought Talor was outstanding, kept us in the game, made some big plays and that's the way he's done it all year. But, we've got to have some bench points and we've got to have guys coming in and helping us. We've got to make some open shots when we have them and we've got to execute a little better. It was just frustrating for the fans to watch I'm sure. I know the last 10 minutes, offensively, we didn't do anything we had done for the first 30 (minutes). We just turned it off, and that's why it's frustrating.
Q: Do you ever get to the point where you wonder if you're ever going to win?
A: I don't think I get to that point. That's the 10th ranked team in the country, somewhere in there. We played pretty well for 30 minutes and had the lead, we just haven't been able to finish games off and that has been the M.O. all year. When we get it close, whether its 10 minutes or five minutes or where we've got to make a play we haven't been able to make a play, whether it's a defensive play or an offensive play. That part is frustrating. I think we will win. I keep saying that and telling them that every day in practice. We just haven't.
Q: Can you appreciate the shooting performances of Talor Battle and Kalin Lucas today?
A: It was a great matchup. Both kids are very, very good players. They're both first team All-Big Ten players. Both played very, very well. It was fun to watch. They were going at each other pretty hard and pretty tough. For those two guys, at their position with the ball in their hands are very efficient.
Q: Did you expect to miss Jamelle Cornley and Stanley Pringle this much?
A: Mel, we had an opportunity to throw the ball to and he drew double teams so other guys played off of that. Stan was a guy that could take guys off the dribble and get his own shot. He was the leading three-point shooter in the Big Ten. That's pretty good. When we drove and kicked we were making open shots. We had a pretty good post presence where you threw the ball in there and people had to double him. Even though he wasn't a tall guy, he was a tough guy they had to double him and we played off of that a lot.
Q: How much of the situation your team is in mental and how much is lack of execution?
A: I think it's some mental, some lack of execution maybe. We weren't ready to shoot it when we need to be ready to shoot it. I think at this point in time maybe some of it is mental. They were fun to watch for a long time there and all of a sudden we just go like we haven't ever done it before. I think that's the thing. We haven't done it. When you look at numbers from last year to this year, the last 10 minutes of the game, the last five minutes of the game, we stepped up. We made plays offensively and we shot the ball pretty well and it hasn't happened this year.
Q: How much was rebounding a part of the game?
A: Killed us. It was a key to the game. Transition defense, we still thought we did a pretty good job getting back and stopping them and rebounding. You have to rebound the ball against this team. You can't give them second shots. They won that war. I thought in transition defense we were ok, didn't give them any easy things. But, rebounding, they got us on and that's something that they've got most people on. They're up to plus 10 in the rebounding margin.
Q: Have you tried to juggle your lineup around a little bit?
A: Some guys have got time we just haven't had a whole lot of productivity out of it. We're playing the guys we think we have the best chance to win with.
Q: Does Talor ever tip you off when he thinks he is going to have a scoring performance like this?
A: No, he doesn't tip me off. He's a competitive kid and he always wants to do well. I think that's the best trait of a player. He's a competitive person, he wants to do well and he's going to play as hard as he can play and he's going to try to do everything he can do to win the game. I don't think there's a better trait than that.
Q: How do you look at the rest of this season and beyond to next year?
A: I'm just worried about Monday. I'm just worried about Monday's practice and focus on Monday's practice and try to help everybody get better as players. We'll go back at it tomorrow morning and watch the game tape and prepare for Northwestern. I don't think in this league, wherever you're at, you look too far ahead. I think you look to the next game. When you start looking ahead, in this league, it's not a good thing. I know the overall big picture but I'm just trying to focus on Northwestern.
Q: What do you think of the crowd today?
A: The crowd was tremendous. We have a great crowd; the people do a good job. They come in here and we don't finish off and we don't play down the stretch like we need to. It's disappointing. The people who came were great. It was a great crowd. They were tremendous.
Q: Looking back on the game, how do you think your team played?
A: It's not an easy sell every day when you haven't won games and you talk about confidence and then you say, 'ok, here's what we need to do to beat one of the top-10 teams in the country.' I think our kids were ready to play. I think we competed. I think we played pretty hard and gave ourselves a chance to win. The frustrating part is it just kind of like goes away. That's kind of been the story all year. It just kind of goes away. I think our kids are still hanging in there, still competing and still in pretty good spirit.
Talor Battle Quotes
Q: What caused the offensive drought?
A: We definitely went through a little drought. Actually, coach called a great play off the inbounds I came off for a three and it felt good, but I think it went long. I think it might have been 46 all at that time. They locked in defensively really well, but at the same time we didn't really execute offensively, our sets. We couldn't get up a shot, so credit those guys during those couple minutes of really defending.
A: I just tweaked it off a cut, but it's nothing major though.
Q: Do you find that defenses are cheating out on you more and more each game?
A: They've been doing that the whole season to be honest with you. They did a great job of switching guys on me. I told our radio guys, "Everybody and their team was guarding me today". So, eventually they're going to have a chance at stopping me and I think kid that Izzo was just talking about. He was so fired up when I missed a shot, so credit him and the rest of their team from keeping me from getting good opportunities at the basket.
Q: How do you balance shooting and when to pass?
A: Sometimes you're just really hot and I think I was. I mean in the first half I shot one at the end of the shot clock from, I was really far and it just went in. Even when I missed, it kind of felt good and things like that. At the same time I still try to get my teammates involved and then when I was open my teammates did a good job of screening and finding me and when I was open I was knocking them down.
Q: Going back and forth scoring against Kalin Lucas...
A: Yeah, he's a great player. He did a great job for his team tonight. Our stats look very similar head to head between him and I only his team won the game. So, credit Kalin, he did a great job
Q: Talk about your success against Michigan State.
A: When you play a team of the caliber of Michigan State - last year, they were in the National Championship game and Coach Izzo has won a National Championship and they are one of the best teams in the country every year - that's all the incentive you need to be hyped and excited to play. I had a lot of family and friends down here, so I was really excited today to be honest with you. At the same time that can hinder you, trying to do too much and trying to let the game come to you too much, but I tried to level that and really focus in and tried to play well today.
Q: When you go through a losing streak like this, do you wonder if you'll every win again?
A: We prepare the same way every time regardless if we win or lose we still got that next team on our schedule. We feel like we can beat anyone, we just hope. We actually have to stop hoping and start believing that we can win and close a game out.
Q: Is it hard to not let the poor performances, during stretches of the game, get to the team?
A: I mean it's definitely not a fun feeling because we have felt that so many times this year, but we have to do a better job of when that happens to not let them go on a 7-0 run then we get a basket. We can't let it get to 11, double figures and then try to come back. That has hurt us all year, so we have to continue to get better and have confidence to hit shots when we're open through those stretches.
Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo
Post game Quotes
I've gone through a lot of things in the past three games wondering where my team is and what we're doing. I wasn't enamored with our defense for a lot of those games; teams were hitting shots against us. I learned today that it's hard to play well against good teams without your quarterback, and our quarterback may have played his best game today. As far as Kalin [Lucas] goes, he was under control, of his 15 shots there may have been one bad one. He was really under control when he penetrated, and didn't turn the ball over much, and our team fed off it. But give Penn State credit, I think this was the largest crowd I've seen here, and our team has to learn we're going to be a big shot for everybody. But, Penn State hit some shots and did some good things, that's the best 0-12 team I've seen in a long, long time in the league. We weren't great, but coming off of what we have been, I knew this wouldn't be an easy game.
Q: What can you say about Mike [Kebler]'s defense down the stretch, especially after Penn State took that lead?
A: Well Mike is pretty strong, and very athletic. You look at him and don't necessarily realize how athletic he is. The other thing that was enjoyable for me was listening to our bench. Draymond [Green] was willing [Kebler] to play harder and harder and harder. One of my goals was for everyone to be better teammates today, and I though we were great teammates. Kebler was awfully good playing his role today.
Q: Is it crazy to think [Kebler] could help you, even with the full compliment of players moving forward?
A: No it's not crazy at all, because he can play a role. Right now I need more guys that can play a role. I thought we run our stuff as well as we've run it all year tonight. We're not where we need to be to make a run that we can make, but I thought we took a giant step today.
Q: What is the status with Korie [Lucious]?
A: To be very blunt about it, he didn't meet some academic restrictions, it wasn't eligibility issues, he's a great student. There is just an "understanding of what you have to do" issue. So we decided not to take him on this trip, but I see no reason why he won't be back next game. But the interesting thing about sports is that someone's loss is someone else's gain, and he has a dogfight to get back where he was.
Q: Overall how key was the defense, especially with guys like Kebler and Durrell [Summers] getting stops on Battle during that stretch?
A: Well you brought up two key guys. Durrell right now, we all know the issues, but I think the good news is that he knows it, and he's going to get better. You look at [Lucas] right now, he's playing as good as he's played all year. It happens, but I was very proud of [Summers], he did some key things defensively and so did Kebler. Kebler had a good point, I said 'Kebler can you check [Battle]?' and he said 'Coach, I've checked Kalin Lucas everyday for three years.'
Q: Tom what do you have to do to get this time firing on all cylinders?
A: Well we have to get everyone going more, and we have to get Delvon [Roe] going a little bit more. I was pleased with [Derrick] Nix and [Garrick] Sherman, the minutes they gave us and what they did. I was hoping at the beginning of the year to be able to get 20 minutes out of those guys. We still need to get [Lucas] healthy, he hasn't been able to practice. So we have to get everyone healthy and shooting better.
Q: Tell us the appreciation you have for a guy like [Penn State's Talor] Battle. He's the focal point of every defense and still manages to drop 30 points.
A: He was great. Battle deserves some credit, the whole team does, but Ed DeChellis does too. I went through a losing streak, and all of a sudden 'I forgot how to coach,' 'I don't know what I'm doing,' 'the players forgot how to play' according to our fans. I understand, it's just the nature of the beast. But, it wears on you, and I feel for [DeChellis]. I give the fans here credit too, give them credit for coming out on a Saturday and cheering on a team that hasn't been doing so well, they were great.
Q: Were there any questions about [Lucas] coming into today's game?
A: Yeah there are certain ways he can't go. I don't want to divulge them, because we have another game coming up. But there are certain things he can't do one way or the other. It is getting a lot better, but there just isn't any rest right now. We need our bye-week but ours was the first one of the year. He's getting better, and I think if we can get him through Tuesday night, then we have four or five days off, that would be a big deal.
Q: Was [Lucas] complaining about pain or anything on the bench at all today?
A: He wasn't complaining at all. I asked him early, and yesterday he was a little sore. Your body swells up a little bit when you fly, and that happened to his ankle. We got here and shot and he did things gingerly, but the thing about him is that he has some toughness about him, and that's what I love about him.
Q: Just to clarify, is Kebler on scholarship now?
A: He is, but he's on scholarship because we had an extra scholarship to be quite honest with you. What I like most about [Kebler] is that he's hung in there, he went through two years where he was happy to just been on the team, and he has had a much better year this year. The guys like him, every time he made a stop the guys were into it. He helps a great deal with our chemistry, and our team had that this afternoon.