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PENN STATE Head Coach Patrick Chambers
Q: This team has had a lot of opportunities this season to just roll over ....?
A: --- I don't think these guys are going to quit. It's become a habit not to. It's unfortunate that we can't get stops when we need them, and we can't get shots when we need it, or those turnovers in the first half killed us. They lead into threes and easy baskets, and it gets a team going on the road, but I'd like to think our mantra is "Never Give Up," you know - keep competing, keep fighting. I was proud of the way they came out in the second half. I challenged them at halftime, because it's very easy when you're in a situation like we are to mail it in. I think you saw what this team is about. I think you saw what the heart is about and what future lies ahead. As disappointed as I am, I'm excited about that.
Q: Is there any sense of helplessness after they are just putting up shot after shot after shot and every one of them goes in?
A: --- I mean, right now I can close my eyes and see every one hit the bottom of the net. They are skilled, they make shots, they have great spacing, Coach B does a great job. I've been seeing it since I was a player. I played against him when he was coaching at Lemoyne and I was the point guard at Philly U. I know what its about. He recruits that type of talent. He's doing a great job. I'll say it again. We can't make missing shots dictate our effort. And, that's exactly what you saw in the first half, from some of our guys. They were feeling sorry for themselves. They know they're on national television, and it's a shame that our youth lets that creep into our heads. And that's my job. I need to do a better job at that -- of getting those distractions out of their heads and focusing on Penn State basketball.
Q: Does Beilein remember you Patrick?
A: --- Of course. Are you kidding me? (laughs)
Q: Did you ask him really?
A: --- I talked to him. He went to 7:30 mass this morning, I missed him. He's always busting my chops. I said, "Don't worry, I'll get there." He and Coach Magee are very good friends. Herb Magee. So, at the Final Four I would always see him, talk to him. And I was at Villanova and he was at West Virginia, so there was always some connection throughout our careers.
Q: Earlier in the season when Tim struggled, the team would really be in trouble. But you had other guys step up. We saw that from Ross and Jermaine obviously. How important is that, for other guys?
A: --- Today, I thought you're going to get 15 or 20 from Tim and then you think Marshall, he's had a couple pretty good games, he's ready, he's due - which he was. And, then you're hoping Jon or Sasa can give you that combined 10 or 12. For Ross Travis to step up the way he did, and with great confidence, I am excited for him. I'm excited for our future with him. He was terrific. He was the reason why we went on that run. Just kept balls alive, kept playing hard. He was making his free throws. He's a special kid. And the thing about him -- he's earned the right to play like that. He lives in the gym. He wants to be good. He wants to be coached. I scream and yell at him all the time. He's just like, "what else can I do, what else can I do?" I love coaching him. And that's why I think you're going to see a lot more production out of him -- In this game coming up, and in the future.
Q: What does the future look like
A: "I would tell you, we are recruiting. But, we need to recruit winners. We need to recruit guys that can help us. Ross Travis is a guy that can help us. Trey Lewis has been hurt. Matt Glover is struggling from the floor. They are still guys that can help us and they have a year under me, which is only going to help us for the future. A freshman - unless you go to Kentucky - a freshman coming in here has got to earn his way. And we have some special kids coming in, no question. But high school to college, it's a leap. It is a leap. You guys Know how intense I am. You know my practices. It takes a while to get used to."
Q: Have you seen a freshman like Trey Burke?
A: "Kyle Lowry. Just the intensity. Kyle Lowry is a winner, he's a pit-bull. He knew he was coming up with the loose ball. He knew at the end of a game, if he needed to make a play when Randy wasn't having his usual game, BAM! There's Kyle. When he got to Villanova, he elevated us. Trey Burke elevated Michigan. Their seniors are great and they know how to win on the road no question. Look, Purdue has three seniors that are playing great, you see that. Northwestern's Shurna is playing just unbelievable, and you see it. This kid Burke, he's a special player. He hits an and-one three, I mean come-one, you `ve got to be kidding me. That's guts. Coach Beilein has the courage to let him take those shots."
Q: After Burke's four-point play, is that when you thought it was going to get away from your guys?
A: "That's what the teaching process is. Don't put your head down. I know it's a four-point play, but we've got to still come back, we've got to still compete. There's plenty of time here. We work on this situation all the time in practice, and let's just keep doing what we do. To see those guys heads up and keep competing to the final buzzer as a coach, I don't like to lose, but I'm proud of the way the competed in the last 20 minutes."
Q: Will it be a tough transition next year
A: "You have a senior leader, Tim Frazier. He's used to me by now. We're going to have D.J. Newbill, who's going to help considerably with scoring. If Jermaine Marshall could give us a little bit of this, not even the 27 points and 8 rebounds, if he gives us anywhere from 14 to 18 and six to eight rebounds."
Q: What was Jermaine Marshall's situation in the beginning of the year?
A: "I said get your life together. We think you're a great player, but you need to minimize some distractions and focus on being a great player. Focus on your academics and being a complete person, becoming a man. That's part of my job that we all forget about. You're taking 18 to 22 year olds and trying to help them and getting them ready for the real world. That's what we did for Jermaine. Did it hurt us? It probably did. We probably could have one a couple more games early on, but for the future I think it needed to be done."
Q: What went on in the team huddle during the timeout when you we down 19?
A: Marshall: "Basically, we gathered up as a group and said we're not going to give up. Like you said, there was some time left on the clock and as long as the times ticking, we as a team feel like there is an eternity left. So, there was plenty of time left on the clock and we felt like we could cut into that lead. That's what we tried to do and coach kept preaching, "show some heart, show some heart" and I think that we did that pretty well."
Travis: "Coach just told us to show how much heart we had as a team. So, everybody started playing harder and everybody stepped up and we kept lead down."
Q: Was Coach Chambers disappointed in the team before the comeback attempt?
A: Marshall: "I wouldn't say upset. He just knew we had more to give, and I think we all knew we had more to give. As a team, as a unit, we stuck together like coach always teaches and we cut into the lead, and I think we cut it to five, or four. We started playing hard and together and that's what happens when you play together."
Q: How difficult is it when you're not quite able to get over the hump and win the game?
A: Marshall: "Coach talks about no moral victories, and we don't have moral victories. We don't want to use any excuses. We cut into the lead, but obviously we felt that we should have won the game. But, at the same time you know it's tough cutting into the lead, guys get drained. You've got to fight all the way down from 20, guys get tired and you got to find that extra push. That's what attitude is all about and coach preaches that every day, every second of the day. So that's what we try to do, just stay focused on attitude."
Q: Do you think you will be able to use this in the future and use this game as a stepping stone?
A: Marshall: "Definitely. We have a young team. Now, I think we're starting to learn that we can compete with anybody. When you're looking back at that, a couple years down the road and were a different team, but obviously in the future we're planning on having a better season. So, looking back will be a definite help and just staying the course."
Q: What took so long for the comeback to kick-in after you we down?
A: Marshall: "Coach just kept preaching attitude. We don't give up. We try not to give up and that's what we harp on. We play until the buzzer ends and the buzzer sounds and that's what coach tells us to do, and I think we did a pretty good job of that - trying to fight, scratch, and claw back into the game. We missed some shots late. Ones that rolled around the rim a couple of times, and you wish those shots go in, but unfortunately they didn't fall."
Q: How will you improve your game for next year?
A: Travis: "I'm just going to come back, and we've still got to talk about when we're going home in the summer, but I'm just going to stay in the gym with the coaches and just continue to improve on my jump shot, dribbling, and ball handling. Just work on my overall game and just stay in the gym."
Q: Did you feel pressure to pick up slack with Frazier in foul trouble?
A: Marshall: "I am one of the older guys on the team. You feel that, but at the same time it just came. It wasn't all me, it was my teammates finding me at the same time. So, it wasn't really me, I guess it was the team. They looked at me and I did what I could do, to the best of my abilities. Personally, I was having a decent shooting night, and wish I could have had a better one and we might have come up with a win. That's tough with Tim out of the game, he's our leader and he's obviously the focal point on this team, so having him would have helped us a lot, but he got in foul trouble early. Like I said attitude, keeping a positive attitude and that's what we did."
MICHIGAN COACH JOHN BEILEINOpening Statement:
We feel very fortunate. We have had to win games in all kinds of ways this year, and today was unique from the standpoint that we let Penn State get out to a great start. We battled back and had a comfortable lead at half-time that probably extended too early. Then we had to hang out a little bit because of the turnovers we have had.
It's great. Our kids will value this win very much. It puts us in position if the right breaks go our way to be in a position to have a share in the Big Ten Championship, which is really something and very important at the University of Michigan.
Q: You ended this like a championship game, what made the difference?
A: We say it every day in practice, so now it's down to one of the opportunities you have to win a championship. This is one obviously (conference title), then you have the Big Ten Tourney, the NCAA Tourney andthen the national championship. So, you do go into it ,and we've talked a lot about it at practice, and this is what champions do on this day. They play with poise, with confidence. They do the little things. We certainly weren't perfect today, but we did a lot of things we needed to do to win this game.
Q: Coach, Evan (Smotrycz) gave you guys a lot of offense, he had one of his best games in a while, what will that do for you going into the tournament?
A: It's important. He makes us, obviously, a better team immediately. He has put in a lot of extra time this week, and really the past couple of weeks, really settling in to what people are going to give him and really valuing the basketball. His turnovers are down. His shooting is up. He is accomplishing more by sometimes doing a little bit less and I think it showed today.
Q: That versatility as a five really changes everything and it took a lot to defend you, right?
A: Yeah, we'll go from one extreme, where they'll play Jordan Morgan completely different and they can get mixed up sometimes and we can pop Evan sometimes. Or, early we'll just roll them really hard so we're always changing throughout the game, so people don't know what we are doing. So, his versatility really helps for sure.
Q: Was that the kind of plan you had with Evan last year?
A: Once Evan got settled in - he's 6-9 almost 6-10 - there are very few guys that size, playing small forward, where he wants to get to at some point - to play the highest level. He wants to get to a 6 -9, 6- 10 multi-dimensional outside guy, at this level you can count them on one hand. The guys that are doing that, and he's go to work towards that. In the meantime, we will work very hard to give him shots and opportunities to give him those shots and he really took advantage of that today.
Q: What was one thing you'd worry about that you didn't have a say in the drive and intensity that you didn't have in the second half that you had in the first?
A: I saw us get a little tired where we called ourselves into a couple of delayed offenses that I didn't call. We just had an emotional game at Illinois to put us in this position to tie for the lead, and then I think we got tired, and when you are up by 19 or 20 with 10 minutes to go, it's a dangerous area, because the three-point shot and the shot clock. It could be 12 in no time, and it was, and if it can get to 12 in no time, it can get to six in no time, and it did. I really applaud Timmy, because he had five turnovers, he had two back-to-back that were just flukes, and all of a sudden there he is stepping up and making a big shot when we need a six-point lead.
Q: This win makes you 5-4 in conference play on the road and you talked about that as a big achievement... does it say anything about how the team has grown since you had been struggling on the road earlier in the season?
A: When we started out on the road, we lost three of our first for, but they were at Indiana, Ohio State Michigan State, and of the early four losses they were to pretty good team. The Iowa game was in the middle of a cluster, and Iowa has done that to other people. I don't think it shows anything about what we were doing earlier, it just says, the constitution of this team was to stay engaged, stay focused, don't be afraid of playing on the road, embrace it and do our best.
Q: Do you think you are at a point where you are peaking at the right time of the year?
A: Peaking is a hard thing to understand, but there were moments in the first half, where everything was clicking. So, that's our job as coaches to try to create a good February-March team. We have a Friday game coming up for the tournament, in a quarterfinal. It's important to figure out what rest the guys need, how much do you practice them. But, I feel very good about the second half of the season.
Q: This is the first time, since '93-94 that you have 13 Big Ten wins and a 5-4 Big Ten road record. The history must mean something.
A: My assistants have done a great job of putting this all together, so that they know the history of Michigan basketball. Unless you have been in Michigan or live in Michigan, you probably don't appreciate it as much. I did. We value our history and they have seen the Final Four teams. To get to a Big Ten Championship, you have to win on the road and protect your home court, and we did that.
Q: Trey Burke being a freshman, are you ready to give an appraisal of awards he should earn in the post-season?
A: Educated people and coaches have seen and will look at that. They know the value he has brought to this team. We lost a great guard last year in Darius Morris, and for him to do this in the situation he was in. We are talking about Burke as a freshman coming in and doing this. It's really been great and he's calmer.
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