Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 87-51 win over Coppin State on Saturday night at Assembly Hall.
Watch and listen to the press conference in the embedded media player below:
Quotes after the jump.
“Tonight was fun for a lot of reasons: they played extremely hard. Even at the beginning when shots weren’t going and we were having some turnovers, they were playing extremely hard. There were no concerns. We needed to challenge a few more shots, so that the first time-out, that was our biggest concern. These guys were ready to go, and if they’re not ready to go, then it shows up in effort, it shows up in your running ability, it shows up in lackadaisical travels and things like that, but we didn’t have any of that. They were ready to play, so it was just a matter of time since we were getting so many second chance opportunities.
“But the thing that was fun about this was that we had to find a way to get the pace going our way, and they came in with a mindset and a game plan, and that game plan was too be deliberate at times. The biggest thing we were trying to focus on with Coppin State was their ability to create dribble penetration – they were fourth in the country with 3-point attempts (27 a game), and they were in the top 10 in the country at forcing turnovers (22 a game). We wanted to take care of the ball, but at the same time, we wanted to get the pace our way. We did some different things defensively, and even though we brought some fatigue and deflections to the game- I think we had 36 at the half- it still wasn’t where we want it to be, but the pressure changed that in the second half. Our guys did a great job with that. It started in the beginning with Vic, who ended up having 20 deflections tonight, which is a high for us at Indiana and an individual high for him, but our guys just never stopped competing.
“I don’t think we called a lot of sets in the second half; it was very much a free-flow game, which we’ve got to learn how to play because it won’t be the last time someone tries to play a deliberate style and it won’t be the last time that someone wants to get it down in the shot clock. It won’t be the last time that the opponent will try to get what they want, which is a one-on-one or that open three. I think we will probably find some mistakes- we didn’t challenge shots totally the way that we could have, we missed some block-outs and some fouls, but we were aggressive, we were on the attack, we played extremely hard and competitive, and we had a lot of really good balance because of it. I loved the win, I just loved watching them tonight, I really did. They were on it. They were locked-in, and they were on it.”
On the greater pressure and energy shown in the second half:
“We actually walked through that at half time. That was something that we had done in practice from time to time, but that’s something that we think we are going to get pretty good at down the road, especially as we get deeper in the front line. We decided to do it tonight so we cleared out the hall way instead of going back to the gym because it would have taken too long, and walked through what we wanted to do. They were very alert and attentive and it was quick. I apologize to those people that were in the store that had to walk-out the other way, but we just wanted to make sure we knew what our shifts were going to be. It was very much a free-flow game and they were very much into the trapping and the rotating. We just wanted to get the pace going our way, that’s really what it boiled down to.”
On how to teach plays in a hall way:
“We just walked through. It wasn’t like it was the first time they had done it. We were just in the corner hall way and that’s just what we did. The players that weren’t in stood back and we just talked about shifts. It was more a reminder or a focus-center thing. It doesn’t make a difference if we practice two hours, if they don’t go out and work that hard it wouldn’t have made a difference. They like to play very aggressive. Everyone asks me how we are going to play everyone, and that was how. That was a quality of play versus quantity of minutes game tonight. I think we have a lot of tired guys who are tired because they spent it. That’s what you want. They truly brought fatigue to the game tonight, especially in the second half.”