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Feb. 28, 2013
Penn State Men's Basketball
Penn State vs. Michigan
Feb. 27, 2013
Penn State Head Coach Patrick Chambers
Q. Coach, for the past month, you have been telling everyone that your team is very close to a win. How great was it to finally win tonight?
A. Words cannot express how I feel right now. These kids come with a great approach. We were on a 14 game losing streak and they still came with a great approach. They didn't lose the fight or the fire, and I knew we were going to win one down the line. What a great night to do it on senior night. They will never forget that for as long as they live. They have earned it by going above and beyond.
Q. How was it to finally see shots going in?
A. We finally made shots and I would not know what to tell you if we came out on the bottom of this one. In the last six minutes, we finally made some stops and did some good things. The kids played with great confidence. We go down by 15 and then with under four minutes to go, we are right back in it and I ask them are they having fun? You have to try and make it fun. I would also like to give a shout out to (head football coach) Bill O'Brien on coming over and talking to the team and really inspiring them.
Q. How important was it to knock down the free throws at the end of the game?
A. I always say, you have to earn it. If the shots aren't falling, then you haven't earned it. If you go to the foul line and don't make it, then you haven't earned it. These kids worked by having their own captains shooting over the weekend. They have impressed me with their drive and their great attitude, which is why they made the shots.
A. That is Penn State basketball. Get a good picture of that because that is what it is going to be. It was very good to see.
Q. What do you think of Nick Colella?
A. He and I embraced after the game and we both became emotional. He does everything I ask him to do and he comes in and works harder than anybody. Whether on the court, weight room, film, whatever it is, he is busting his tail, which is great. He is very coachable and always looking to see what he can do next. His journey has been incredible.
Q: Coach, the game was tied at 79-79 and you called a timeout with about 1:15 left and you put it in Jermaine's hands. Can you talk a little bit about that play and what you were drawing up?
A: Before that possession, I noticed that I still had two timeouts. So I was wondering if I should use one. We put the ball in D.J.'s (Newbill) hands, he passed it to Sasa (Borovnjak) and he took a 15-footer and missed. So we needed to get a quality shot and Jermaine is our best free-throw shooter and he did a tremendous job getting to the basket with an incredible finish.
You know what guys? The ball finally bounced our way. Trey Burke strips D.J. at half-court and dropkicks it out of bounds. That's normally something that we do. You might think it's funny, but it's reality. Today the ball bounced our way and we stayed out of foul trouble. Let's give those kids on Michigan some credit though. I threw everything in the kitchen sink at Burke and he still scores eight to start the second half. We had to go back and get the ball out of his hands and force others to beat us.
Q: D.J. talked about how it felt good to have the hard work pay off. How much of this is validation for the hard work they put in for the past few months?
A: Like I said, we've been close, and it just feels so good to taste victory again. It's been so long and it's great to feel a win. I'm happy for them because they work so hard. I wouldn't say validation, but they put the work in and we're still looking to get better. We didn't win the championship; we play Minnesota on Saturday. It's only one game. We did a great job and we have to continue to get better for the next one.
Q: How about Ross Travis and the way he's played on offense and defense?
A: He's playing great basketball, isn't he? He's really doing a lot of great things and he's hitting them from his sweet spot, jumpers and floaters. We had him on Burke, including a lot of other guys as well, and he still gives us a double-double. That's impressive when he's tallying so many minutes. He's playing great basketball.
Q: How have you kept these guys so motivated?
A: We're just trying to develop great habits and keep a great attitude. We come in every day with great energy and I kept telling these guys that it's only October 17 in my book. We've got time to keep getting better and I think we're seeing that every day. They're getting more comfortable out there. We've also done some creative things such as Rec Hall, the White Building, having Bill O'Brien speak. Just doing different things like that keeps them energized. Tim Frazier did a pre-game prayer and he was phenomenal. Little things like that, especially from your teammate and captain, really helps.
Q: Those last couple minutes down the stretch when you looked at your players, did you see that hunger?
A: No doubt. They wanted this one badly. They executed because we worked hard in practice. The last six minutes, I thought we might score in the 100s. We made some defensive stops and were rebounding well. We made winning plays.
Q: Final buzzer sounds, who did you grab first?
A: Like Walter Peyton said, "Act like you've been there before." I grabbed John Beilein and shook his hand because he's a friend and I know they're still fighting for a championship. Then I looked around at our team because I wanted to see how they felt within that moment. Those moments don't come around very often.
PENN STATE PLAYERS
D.J. Newbill, So., G
Q: D.J., you have always said that coach told you that the lows can't be too low and the highs can't be too high, but how good does it feel to get a win especially in a situation like tonight?
A: It feels really good to come out and never give up. Our team never held our head on any game. We kept fighting, kept to our principals and listened to coach. We believed in our foundation and it finally paid off.
Q: What did it feel like at the end of the game, considering you guys have been through so much, for the fans to be there?
A: We were enjoying it. We felt like our hard work had paid off. We wanted to make our fans proud. They have been coming out supporting us all year and we are happy to give them something to cheer about.
Q: Was anything said when you guys were behind by 15 with 10 minutes left?
A: In the huddle we talked about how they had their run and now it was our time to come back. We wanted to keep chipping away at their lead. We had to crack down on defense more. Everybody stayed positive and I believe that was the main thing tonight.
Q: D.J., can you talk about Jermaine's game tonight?
A: He was incredible tonight. The thing about Jermaine is that he may miss a shot, but then he has the confidence to take the next one. He is always working hard in the gym shooting extra. Today, he came out on the court before anyone was even here. It paid off in the game.
Q: D.J., I saw you walk off the court with Tim (Frazier). What did you guys talk about on the way out?
A: We were excited about the win. All year we have believed that we could get it done. We were short a couple of times. Tonight was just a relief for all of the hard work. All the film sessions, gym sessions, coming in to work out by ourselves paid off for us.
Q: Is there any sense that you guys were trying to play for Tim Frazier and for everything that he has missed?
A: That is our brother. We understand how bad he wants to be out there with us. Even though he is not playing, he is involved in everything that we do. He was coaching on the sideline and sweating just like coach. We definitely want to go out there and play for him.
Q: D.J., was it a relief for you to win a game?
A: I think it was a relief for all of the guys. We have put in a lot of hard work. It is just a great feeling to give that to the fans. It is a memory I am going to have for the rest of my life.
Q: Things have been difficult for you guys, especially the last couple of games. How have you not gotten down on yourself?
A: Our foundation is based upon attitude. We can easily get down on ourselves if things do not go our way or we can work harder and change. We can come into every game confident, with a positive attitude. I think our team played really confident today and it worked out.
Ross Travis, So., F
Q: Ross, how is your leg?
A: It's fine. It is a little cramped, but I will be back at it tonight.
Q: Ross, can you talk about your first half. You helped out on the glass and had a couple of points. How aggressive were you trying to be in the first half?
A: Coach told me to face-guard Trey Burke and make sure he doesn't touch the ball. I think my teammates did a great job securing the rebounds when I was face-guarding. Coach put me in that position, so I made sure I played hard to get the job done.
Jermaine Marshall, Jr., G
Q: Jermaine, coach has said all year that we are close, we are almost there. Did you guys get the sense that you really believe that?
A: Most definitely. I think we work so hard and we are never going to give up. We believe that we can win any game. We have to give credit to them. They have a lot of great players. We have confidence in ourselves, and confidence in coach. We believe we were close and it feels good to say that we earned that win. Like Ross said, we are going to get back out there tomorrow.
Q: Did you guys ever think that you would see students rush onto the court?
A: It's a win. It's our first win and it is kind of expected. But, we weren't worried about that when we were playing. We just tried to finish the game. Coach stressed finishing the game.
Q: Jermaine, it was tied at 79 with a 1:15 left. Can you walk me through that play a bit?
A: It was a little chip play. D.J. did a great job trying to draw my defender. Coach put the ball in my hands because he trusted me and believed I was going to make a play. Fortunately, I got a layup and it went down. It was a great boost for us. We got to keep fighting and we win games on defense.
Q: Jermaine, you guys have been close before. Did anything feel different tonight in the last few minutes?
A: All week we watched film. We saw the plays that we needed to make. When the game came down to the stretch, I think we made those plays. We had stops and rebounds. We thrived on getting the rebounds from free throws.
Q: Jermaine, was there a point in the second half that you could see in the Michigan players' faces that they were surprised of the run you guys were making?
A: Not at all. Like I said, they are a great team with great players. I think they played with confidence and I don't think they were ever going to drop down and roll over. They are a top team in the country. They usually make plays. Fortunately, we did our job and stopped them.
Q: Jermaine, with things not going your way last time at home, how does it feel to win the way you did?
A: It's a great win. We enjoyed today. But, tomorrow it is over. We got to move on and prepare for our game on Saturday. We are going to do what we do.
Q: Talk about Senior Night, sending your seniors out on a win against Michigan?
A: It says a lot about our team what we are willing to do for our teammates. Nick Colella was emotional at the end of the game. That is a guy that works hard 24/7 in everything he does. To see him get happy about a win on his senior night. The same thing with Sasa Borovnjak. He got down on himself in the game a little bit. I pulled him aside and talked to him. Then he had some important free throws. To go out on a win for those guys, it says a lot about our team.
Q: Big win. How do you translate this into the last three games of the season?
A: Hard work, attitude and staying to our principals. Follow in coach's leadership. We believe in our team and we believe in each other. We are a family and are going to continue to do that.
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
I think what you saw today is why we all love college basketball. I've been seeing this coming with Pat Chambers' team for the last month. We've watched a lot of video and they're just really getting used to playing well together. They make every extra pass, took four or five charges against us. I don't now if we had a charge. I think we might've had one. They beat us fair and square, and in the last ten minutes really outplayed us. They had a great plan, really did a great job on Trey Burke and their guys hit shots that they can hit. (Jermaine) Marshall was terrific and they hit just some other ones and made their foul shots. We did not, and you just don't win. I don't care where it is, you just don't win. I don't care what the team's record is when you play like we did in those last ten minutes.
Q: What happened in those last six and a half minutes?
A: Tim (Hardaway) got in a little bit of foul trouble. They did a great job, they really tried to shut down on Trey. We had some good shots, but not enough good ones. They slowed us up with their press a little bit and we just couldn't stop them. I think we were scoring a lot in our transition offense and I think that was huge. But you can't run transition offense if you can't make a stop. And whether they hit the three or drove it right to the basket, they were getting easy shots.
Q: You preached all week about how you wanted to get stops and back-to-back stops, what went wrong in the second half on defense?
A: You have to guard your guard. You can't let the guy go north-south. Marshall went north-south. You got to hedge the ball screen really well. They beat us over and over again or drew fouls on it. We have to see action and react to it a little better. We got to get better at it, that's all it is. We got to get better at it.
Q: Trey said the last six minutes they had more heart than you guys did, do you agree?
A: They were a better team. We did not withstand the run. We did not show the things you need to do to be a really good team. To win games at this level you have to have an awful lot of courage down the stretch and we looked very tentative. We just didn't play the level of defense we played many times before and that gets you. Like I said, they have been playing at a pretty high level for a little bit and just falling short. I'm very happy for Pat and Penn State for this win. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy who is really working hard and those kids who represent the university so well. There's no trash-talking, they're just buying into playing good team defense and finding the extra man.
Q: Is there an intensity problem?
A: I think that with some of our guys it's just still moving too fast for them. They're a step slow from where they should be and then they said you just have to make a stand and stay in front of your man better. If somebody gets beat there's got to be some help there that's solid. We didn't do either one of those things well and you're going to get beat. Marshall's a really talented player, (D.J.) Newbill's a very good player. He's played point guard all year and is getting better and better at it. They've got some guys who've been out there playing some minutes and they really took advantage of some situations where we did not play with that type of force that you need.
Q: How difficult is it going to be to bounce back and build this team up to withstand these last four games?
A: It's going to be tough. Especially the way it was, I think we were up 15 with 10 to go and then they just made three after three after three. We missed some easy shots and we turned the ball over. Turnovers and foul shooting were really big. I think it led to 15 points for them in the first half and they were one of the lower ones in the league at turning people over. We just either gave the ball to them or were very tentative with it and we charged a lot. I think we had three or four, we might have had four of them and that is a turnover. We're disappointed and we have to move on. It's that simple. We have to get better. If you want to win championships you have to win games like this one on the road where you're up by 15 with 10 to go. We didn't have what it takes tonight and it's that simple.
Q: How deflating is it? This morning you controlled your own destiny, and this game is gone now.
A: If you're going to be a champion in this league you really have to be able to complete games. You have to be able to beat teams on the road, especially if they are in the lower end of the division. We cannot be 5-4 on the road now. That's key. This is one of those games we had to have and we didn't get it. Yeah it will be deflating, but it's our job as a coaching staff on Friday and Saturday to get back. I think we have another game on Sunday at 4pm that we've got to get ready for.