Postgame Quotes: Michigan State 79, Penn State 63

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Dec. 31, 2013

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Postgame Quotes
Michigan State 79, Penn State 63
Dec. 31, 2013
Bryce Jordan Center (University Park, Pa.)
Attendance: 7,397

Patrick Chambers, Penn State head coach

Q: Why was it tougher for your offense in the second half?
A: I thought we had some good looks early on there in the first four minutes.  We missed some shots, they played a little bit harder and I think we let missing shots dictate our effort, something I talk about all the time. It's unfortunate, because the team that I envisioned played in the first half.  We can be a really good team and compete in this league. Michigan State is where they are because that is what they do to you.  They score in spurts and the best thing you can do is try to kill that spurt and we did, it was 50-47, we got to the line and missed free throws.  When you're trying to stop the momentum and stop the run, I thought we did everything we were supposed to do; we just didn't convert. This has to be a learning experience game, we have to learn a lot from this, because we have a chance, we do, but mentally, we have to get way tougher.  They were, they were tougher and they showed it.  I felt like we had poor body language and did things I hadn't seen in a while. That has to change, that starts with our leaders and our captains have to do a better job.   

Q: It took Tim (Frazier) a while to get on the board, did you think he was ever trying too hard?
A: I'm sure. He's a senior, playing Michigan State, we're at home, he wants to play well.  He just has to let the game come to him, he has to share the basketball.  I thought he did a really good job in the first half and then in the second half, I felt that he was trying to get us over the hump, he was trying to make the play. It happens and you can't fault him for doing it.  I'm just so disappointed with our defense in the second half, not getting back, not sprinting back, not talking because of just missing shots and turning the ball over.

Q: How do you talk to your team about this when one half was so good and the other was so poor?
A: You show the positive half and say, look what we can be, look what we could become. It's a long season.  It's only one game.  We'll get up tomorrow, we'll watch film, and we'll do what we're supposed to do.  Then you go to the second half and say, this is where we are mentally, this is where Michigan State is.  That's why they're one of the best teams in the league, because they're tough mentally and physically and they wear you down.  This is where we need to step up and fight back.

Q: Is this where you wanted to see a game like this to see where your team is at mentally or did you have a sense of that coming in?
A: I know where we are as a team.  Going in, I thought it would be a great game going in.  We're still trying to get John Johnson, Jordan (Dickerson), A.R. (Allen Roberts) and Geno (Thorpe); we're still trying to find a good formula for us.  D.J. Newbill played 39 minutes. That's too many minutes, I have to get him out of the game. I think with more practice and more games, I think we'll find that rhythm and we'll be much better. I was proud of the way we competed for 20-25 minutes, but unfortunately the game is 40.  We have to do a better job when teams go on runs. It doesn't get any easier, because now we go on the road and there's nothing like a Big Ten road game. 

Q: Is there anything specific that you attribute the rebounding difference?
A: Again, missing shots and turning the ball over. One of the keys for me was not to turn the ball over, we had to keep it right where it was because we did a good job in the first half. We had 12 turnovers, they had 19 points.  That contributes to their fast-break, which they're very good at.  It reminds me of North Carolina. If they miss, they come down and get trail rebounds.  We have to find bodies and we're scrambling. You open yourself up for threes, which they got hot and rebounds. I just wish that because you had a turnover, doesn't mean you put your head down. Just because you missed a shot doesn't mean you don't sprint back and get in guarding position and do your job. That's where our youth showed and that's what we have to get to.

Q: They opened up on a 10-0 run in the second half.  What do you look for your captains to say on the court or in the huddle when a team goes on runs like that?
A: That's my job as well. I'm not going to pin this on my players. They're taking direction from me.  I have to get them into huddles. I don't know what our deal is at halftime. I try to keep my speeches short, I give them five things that need to work on in the second half and I feel like we come out flat every time. That's my job. My job is to inspire my team, motivate my team and get them to compete. For whatever reason, we didn't do it.  In huddles, it's the same thing.  I felt like Princeton all over again. Whatever happened the last play, you have to forget about it. You have to be like a relief pitcher. You just gave up a home run, `give me the ball back'.  It's a work in progress and we're going to get there. We're going to get there. Trust me. I'm going to continue to help these guys with their leadership.

Q: How do you feel about the in-game chemistry of Johnson and Dickerson? Is it where you want to be?
A: It's going to take a little while, we're still not flowing like I would like us to. Those guys help us tremendously. Again, we need those guys.  We need bench production. You look at the bench scoring, 18-6. We need those guys.  We need Allen, we need J.J. and we need J.D. It's going to take some games. The starting five played really well. If we did a plus/minus thing, I guarantee you those guys would be in the plus. Fouls also dictate your rotation. We have a long way to go here and we have to keep working. 

Q: You had a pretty good crowd tonight and it seemed like they were really into the game in the first half. How does that help you?
A: 8,000 on New Year's Eve is great. There was no student section today, though I'm sure there were a few students.  Fans were standing up; they were into it.  The upper deck had a few people. I hope that stays. I hope they believe in me and believe in this team. I want them to keep coming out.

D.J. Newbill, junior guard
Q: Why was the team unable to do some things in the second half that you were able to do in the first half?
A: They just played good basketball in the second half; that's what good teams do. They came out strong. We knew they were going to come out strong.

Q: What do you take away about how the second half went compared to the first half?
A: We've got to play 40 minutes. We played a great 20 minutes, but the game is 40 minutes. We have to take some of the good things we did in the first half, watch film and bring them into the whole game.

Q: Was there an element of struggling on offense and having it carry over onto defense?
A: No, I don't think so. We just missed some shots that we normally make. They were executing on offense and played better defense in the second half. Our hats go off to them.

Q: Was that surprising that you had that much success shooting the ball in the first half?
A: We have days where we shoot good and not bring it to the second half, but that's not what lost us the game. We have to keep defending. They made (five) threes in the second half and you can't expect to win a basketball game letting a team shoot 10 threes on the road, especially against a good team like Michigan State.

Q: Did you expect them to make a run in the second half?
A: The game is a game of runs. I think we gave them too many threes. Late in the second half we gave away a lot of rebounds. We have to work harder on that.

Q: Do you think the team is close to playing a complete game?
A: We're real close. We have to tighten some things up. It's a long season. It's the first Big Ten game. We've got a lot of games left. Our heads are not down. We know we're a good team. We have to work to become a great team.

Tom Izzo, Michigan State head coach
Opening Statement
The first half they blitzed us in every way possible . They made shots, they played harder, they played better defense. They really hurt us with the pick and roll and we just covered them as poorly as you can. Which is our fault but you have to give them credit because not only did they execute, but they made shots. Those guys are making shots; that is a much improved team. In the second half I thought we bore down. I didn't enjoy that our halftime wasn't a lot of fun.  You always hope that your players respond. They didn't play well but they responded. We got some of our rebounding mojo back from our three best players, (Adreian) Payne, (Keith) Appling, (Branden) Dawson.  Thankfully Dawson was keeping us afloat. In the second half I thought most of those guys played better. Pat (Chambers) has done a great job. They have great players now, good enough players to win, they just got to get everybody working and this team will be a good team.

Q. What kind of things did you guys do to make Tim Frazier uncomfortable?
A. Tim Frazier made me uncomfortable. I loved him. I'm so happy that he's back in the league. I think he's a kid that stands for everything that's right with college sports. We tried to sandwich him and tried to step up on him. I thought we did a decent job on Tim. We let some other guys run free but that's what you do when you try to stop the best two players that they got. You're giving up something for someone else. They had other guys that hit some shots. Brandon Taylor hit some of those threes early but I think we did a decent job on Ross Travis. Although, (D.J.) Newbill still scored some points. They made some shots but we put a lot on Tim we said that we couldn't let him down the lane or get on the line. 

Q. Did their pressure in the first half send you out of whack?
A. I think we were out of whack before they started pressing but the press was effective. I thought they did a good job. But in all honesty guys we weren't very good. I don't know why, we have practiced great. I'm very happy with our practices but we'll have a couple tomorrow. It will be a little more enjoyable I promise that. 

Q. If you wouldn't have kept pace with the threes in the first half, would that have been more difficult?
Yeah we shot pretty well from the three too. Yeah that kept us in it. Gary Harris got going in the second half and then he picked up his third foul. We just didn't do a lot of things right. We didn't make a run, Harris hits two threes then he gets a layup then he gets his third foul and he's out. (Keith) Appling played a lot better in the second half hitting threes but in the first half he missed his threes. (Denzel) Valentine hit a couple. If it wasn't been for those threes we might have been in a real hole in the first half. One that we wouldn't have been able to fight out way out of. 



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