OTTAWA, Ontario — Tom Crean, Nick Zeisloft (14 points), Yogi Ferrell (21 points, five rebounds, four assists) and Devin Davis (13 points, six rebounds) met with the media following Indiana’s 95-85 win over Carleton University on Monday night at the Ravens Nest.
Watch and listen to their postgame comments in the media players below:
“I thought our game tonight was indicative of our preparation going into it. I thought we learned some things from film from yesterday. The one thing we have not done very much of at all in the summer is spend much time on film – there’s quite a few things we haven’t spent much time on: block outs, those types of things with it being a long season. A trip like this is very indicative of where you’re at, not just where you’re at because of what we teach and what the fundamentals are, what the details are and the system, but where you’re at as a competitor, where you’re at in a basketball-awareness type of situation, but really where you’re at in understanding that you have to have tremendous two-way grit to be successful.
“I thought that our guys responded from the film and in practice. We walked through a bit at the hotel and I thought their mindset was really, really sharp. They understood, they didn’t know a lot about Carleton but they knew we were playing a very good team, they knew we were playing a national champion. They knew that we had just played two of the classiest programs in the country. We left some things on the table yesterday and we left some opportunities on the table when it was time to win the game.
“I think the response our guys made in learning from one day to the next this time of year is truly invaluable. The win is the culmination of coming in with a really, really good mindset today and so I’m proud of that. Like I told the team, if you like the way you feel and you like the competiveness, the energy and the toughness you played with, then you’ll bring it even more tomorrow because that’s what true competitors do. True competitors don’t turn it on and off based on whom they’re playing; they don’t turn it on and off based on how they’re feeling. That’s exactly what we have to look forward to now and we are.”
On the quick start for the Hoosiers:
“Well I think it’s a mindset, I think it’s different things. We didn’t do a lot of scrimmaging back home, we did some scrimmaging, but not a lot of scrimmaging. I think you could probably equate different things into it, but the most important thing is coming out and playing with a real resolve. I thought we came out with that resolve to start the game, not just play the game and feel it out, but our guys responded.
“I think the atmosphere was really good, they knew this other team was good and they could feel it from the beginning. With Ottawa jumping on us so quick, it wasn’t a respect level thing at all because they really don’t know much about either team and they’re both really similar, but it was more about just coming out and playing with our own resolve.
We’ve had game plans for every game, their not very intensive in the sense of all the different things you put into it. There were a couple things we really wanted to be aware of in this game and of the four things, two of them never happened, we never dealt with them. To me, it’s just really coming out with the proper mindset, that had as much to do with the start, the finish and everything in between as much as anything.”
On the importance of correcting mistakes from Sunday’s game:
“It’s playing over mistakes. It’s getting over disappointment really quick – missing a shot, having a turnover. It’s your teammates helping you. I thought there were too many times yesterday where we got quiet. When I looked at the film and showed it to them, we started at our run in the end of the first quarter and then how we let the game be a back and forth game in the second quarter. Really good teams understand in the game it’s always about grabbing momentum. Momentum shifts throughout the game, but the more times you grab it, the better off you’re going to be. Yesterday, we never really grabbed momentum when we had those opportunities. Tonight, I thought we grabbed momentum and we didn’t really let go of it too much. They were good, they did some really good things and it would be fun to watch them play during the season, it would be fun to watch Ottawa play during the season. We’re going to do our best to keep track of those programs because they’re very good; they’re outstanding. To me, that was the biggest thing that we didn’t hang our head in disappointment, we moved on right away and their teammates helped each other do that.”
On how Sunday’s loss to Ottawa motivated the team:
“I don’t think there’s any question it does. I think it’s more important that – it’s not just that you lose to a good team, it’s how you lost the game. As I keep saying to them, it doesn’t matter if it’s Aug. 10 or March 10, Aug. 11 or March 11, a competitor brings it every time. It wasn’t that we didn’t bring it, but we let defensive fatigue affect us. The defensive fatigue came because some our shots weren’t going, our free throws weren’t going, those types of things. That’s the disappointment you can’t let turn into discouragement and sometimes young people don’t understand there’s a great difference in that. Disappointment, that’s a part of life but discouragement, is something we choose. We have to remove all those obstacles that allow you to get discouraged in a game because it’s such a fast-moving game, especially with this 24-second shot clock.”
On Nick Zeisloft’s performance tonight:
“I thought he had a very good game the whole way. I thought his desire to come out here and show that he was capable of more defensively, that really got his offense going. He’s no different than anybody else – he’s been known for what he’s done offensively, but we certainly wouldn’t have signed him if we didn’t think there was defensive upside to him and there is.
“Now, I’m saying all this and we gave up offensive boards, we had some balls taken from us. We’re playing against an experienced older group of people in these games, which is great for us. The bottom line is there’s so much to learn – win or lose. You can learn a lot about what you need to get better at, but I thought everyone of them, including Nick, came out and understood that they were capable of more tonight from a mindset area, from an energy area and from a toughness area.”
On Carleton’s 20 offensive rebounds:
“It’s three things. With a long season, and I made this choice, but there were certain things in the summer because we hadn’t done this type of trip. It’s a long, long season we didn’t have those taxing, physical – though he had some longer practices – we didn’t have those physical, battle, drawn-out, one-on-one battles, two-on-two block out drills. We didn’t do those things really this summer and we probably could have done more, but I made a conscious decision to know that it’s a long year and get those things going as we get closer to our regular season. Some of it was their tremendous speed, we had heard that, we saw it on film, but until you get into the game, you can’t really understand how quick they are. The third thing, of all the things we have seen to this point – and I may say something different tomorrow night – but of all the things we’ve seen in three games, the best thing our players can learn from another team over here because they’re a little bit smaller at times, is how quick they chase down those basketball.
“We are going to have to have a team rebounding team. We had some of the best rebounders around the last couple years at Indiana in Cody Zeller and Christian Watford who was really good, Noah Vonleh was as good of a defensive rebounder as there was a year ago. We miss that, so it has to come from everybody. If we’re going to play small, we got to be quick, fast, physical and tough and those are things we can learn. I look at that and say that we’ll be able to carry that lesson with us for a while when we get back home.”
On Devin Davis’ offensive production tonight:
“It wasn’t as much the matchup. It was actually Tim Buckley’s recommendation and it was a good one. The only thing I wanted to do was change the backcourt a little bit because I thought we got overly fatigued in the backcourt last night and we’re just not ready for that yet so I knew I wanted to sub one of the guards out of the lineup to start the game. I may do it again tomorrow night with a different one, we’ll see. It was Tim’s idea, it was a very good idea and Devin responded.”
On playing time and rotations
“It’s August and I wouldn’t put much into that. I would say that we could find value in that when we get home and we look at it. We keep our plus-minus and lineup systems during the game but after two games there is very little to take from that because one was as 40-point game and one was a close game. We will be able to balance a little more of that out.
“I think that when we get home, we can say `Give us the film of these five guys’ or give us the minutes for this guy, we will learn from that. Right now, in my mind, it is just a feel of the game. It is trying to get different guys in there. It is trying to play through the 24-second shot clock.
“Tonight I thought that the way we played and the mindset that we had, there wasn’t going to be any experimentation, on my end, for this game. That’s not reflective of guys that didn’t play many minutes or didn’t play at all. It was nothing that Tim Priller didn’t do and Ryan Burton didn’t get the first call in just because he didn’t play as much last night. It’s over a period of time. I wanted to get Nate Ritchie in, and I wish I would have gotten him in earlier because it is his birthday today and I’m disappointed I didn’t get him in there.
“The bottom line is that we will learn more from that down the road and they are learning how to play with one another. That is what’s most important.”
On what Ryan Burton has given the team the last two games:
“I like his basketball acumen. I like his toughness level and he can knockdown shots. He doesn’t understand yet, at this level, how physical he has to be and the short-space quickness that you have to have. And he is still too quiet…he has to break that and be more vocal.
“As far as a guy that is tough, really cares, really gets it, is an excellent teammate and someone you can really trust on the floor in crucial periods, I feel really good about that.”
On his impressions of the defense tonight:
“Well, it was better. Like I said yesterday, the game is always giving you something and you have to figure out a way to take advantage of it. And you have to keep taking away what they want. So the game became…we did a lot of switching at times. We were struggling with the side pick-and-roll, in the sense that they were spreading us out a little too much. And then we went to the switches and they started to attack those switches. Sometimes they did and sometimes they didn’t.
“Kevin Yogi Ferrell is one of the best post defenders that we have had, regardless of size. It makes no difference. James, Robert, Nick, Stan…they have to learn how to do that, because that is how they are going to have to play in the Big Ten. I think there are there are plusses that we can take away and there are always things that we can learn. It’s never going to be perfect. But I am pleased with the level of energy, enthusiasm and awareness that we played with for most of the night.”
On whether there were some things that clicked better tonight:
“No question. That is why this trip is invaluable. And my message to the team after the game was that it has to be the same again tomorrow night. The game is never won or lost over a period of time at the end of the game. It’s never just the one or two possessions at the end of the game. That is the part that gets magnified and the part that everyone remembers, but there are always points inside of the game.
“One trend that we will really look at when it’s all said and done is what happened when we got up six points? Or what happened when they got up six? We will look at that and look at he lineups and that might be where we learn something.
“Too many times last year – the teams the two years before were very good at capitalizing when they had a chance. Last year’s team didn’t, for different reasons. A lot of times it is as much about the offense as it is about the defense. Those are the lessons that you have to learn. The best thing you can do for a team to learn how to play and gain experience is not to sit and wait for them to get to a certain age. It is to put them in as many situations where they are responsible for winning. And the more you learn that, the better you are. Tonight was a step in the right direction and we are looking forward to tomorrow night to see if we take another one.”
On closing out the game late in the fourth quarter:
“We were definitely locked in on the defensive and offensive end tonight. We played together throughout all aspects of the game and all of our teammates got each other involved. These guys are great at making the extra pass to me and it’s nice having guys that can find me as well.”
On his comfort level with the team:
“I would say I’m pretty comfortable. I’ve been watching all of the practices since I came in. Ever since I got on campus, it has been a lot of getting used to everybody. It has been a good month now and we are getting more comfortable with each other.”
On whether the 3-pointer from the corner is “his shot”:
“No, behind the line is my shot (laughs). But not necessarily just that corner three.”
Kevin Yogi Ferrell
On the biggest takeway from the game:
“What we can take away from this is that this is a player-driven game. Down the stretch, everyone in that huddle was talking to each other. We didn’t want to lose this game. We were telling each other that we have a 2-hour drive (back to Montreal) so we didn’t want to lose and have a sad bus ride going back to the hotel. To play against such a great team like Carleton will definitely help us in the long run and when we get in the Big Ten.”
On the importance of making plays down the stretch:
“This win was definitely big for us. In the fourth quarter, when Carleton made their run, a lot of our guys heads did not hang down. I think that was the biggest part for us. Teams are going to make runs because teams are good. So if we just keep our heads up high and do the same things that we do day-in and day-out, we know that we can come out with a win.”
On having great shooters to pass to:
“I love it. It reminds me of high school at Park Tudor when I had a bunch of shooters. So I know if I drive in and they take me away, they are going to be open. But if they take the shooters away, I have the lane. It is definitely fun for a point guard like me because I can find anyone on the court.”
On finishing the game 6-of-6 from the field:
“One thing Coach Crean preached to us was being consistent and being tough the whole game and that’s what I tried to do and help the team as best I could.”
On playing hard while also scoring and rebounding:
“I think I need to maintain it throughout the whole game, regardless if I am in the game or on the bench. I feel like I have to bring a level of energy to my teammates and myself that gets us going on the runs that we need.”
On the impact of putting on some muscle in the offeseason:
“I think that helps me a lot to be able to guard the post. Coach (Je’Ney Jackson) has done a good job of keeping me conditioned so I can still switch onto some guards and versatile to guard both of them.”
On his mindset entering the season:
“With the team that we have, you can feel that we are more together and we are tougher. We all have a great mindset.”