HD Video: Tom Crean on Penn State win

  • 01/22/2012 3:54 pm in

Coach Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 73-54 win over Penn State on Sunday afternoon at Assembly Hall. Watch the press conference in high-definition quality video in the embedded media player below:

Quotes after the jump…

Opening Statement:

“[It was a] hard fought battle, as we thought it would be. Penn State plays as hard as anybody [in the Big Ten] we’ll face or as hard as anybody probably in the country will face. That’s a tribute to Pat [Chambers] and his coaches and the energy and toughness of his team. Certainly having the experience of playing against Penn State just a couple weeks ago, that we were going to have to be at a high, high level of toughness, a high level of energy, we were going to have to be guys that got to the floor first because that’s what they take pride in and that’s what they do. I thought our guys put together as close to a 40-minute game of that, we weren’t always as efficient as we needed to be, especially in the first half, but we played with that toughness and that energy and for the most part played with the intelligence that you have to have. I think to hold a team to the shooting percentage that we did, especially in the second half, says a lot about our guys resolve in the defensive end and we were probably a little more anal than ever about closing a game out. I know I was, and making sure we didn’t take a lot of chances in the end.

“I thought our guys did a good job with that. I thought our defense, the defense intensity ratcheted up in the second half, especially with the way we had to guard Tim Fraizer. I think every one of you saw again today how hard a matchup he is and how much he thrives on pressure and playing through the pressure and what he creates, that’s where the game plan starts. A lot of good basketball again from different people. I’m proud of Christian [Watford], he’s been bothered a little bit with some injury and I thought that he came in and did an excellent job. I thought that Cody [Zeller] played an efficient game with the scoring, with the passing, with the movement. We wanted to get him in more movement because it does take quite a bit to get him to the foul line out of the post and we just want to make sure that we just keep getting him in movement so that he’s in a lot of different spots for us. I think you saw some of that when he had a drive in the first half. Again, we got better over the last couple days and it showed today. I thought our crowd support was excellent. It all start how tough you are, what your energy is like, and how willing you are to do all the hard things if you’re going to beat teams like Penn State and that’s exactly what we needed to do and for the most part we did it.”

On the explanation he got on the argument at the end of the game:

“To my knowledge there will be no changes to Will’s [Sheehey] status. There were no punches thrown or anything like that. It wasn’t considered a fight; it was more verbal than anything else. We’ve already talked about that internally and I don’t anticipate anything there. It’s just the maturity process. It’s a heated battle. All I was trying to do was play NFL head-linesman, make sure I get myself right in the middle of it when the referees were in there. It’s just part of the game, it’s a heated battle. It was a tough foul on Christian (Watford) at the end, but again that’s the game. Tempers flare but I don’t think anything escalated to any point outside of some verbal and, again, both players were held accountable for it. I thought the referees handled that as well as possible from my vantage point.”

On the first two possessions of the second half:

“Verdell [Jones III] came out with a great burst on the play. Again, we wanted to get the game in space a little bit and get a little more movement with our big men, let them out. The first half showed that they were really going to collapse inside and they were going to try to take away everything first side and so the ball had to reverse a couple different times for us. At the same time we wanted to start out with a little bit of a lift. I thought Verdell turning the corner the way he did was excellent, Cody followed it up well and then we were very aggressive on defense. We wanted to make it very, very hard in the second half for Tim Fraizer to run their offense, scoring-wise or creating for others.”

On the importance of having a big second half the way they did:

“It’s important that you never felt like you pulled away. As I told them, 16 wins, 16 different ways. It doesn’t change. If you do it right, you just take the experience from those games and it helps you somewhere along the line. We’ve been in some grinders, and I think that helped us, but we had to do a better job in the second half of not letting Tim Fraizer control the game and I think we did. We did everything we could possibly do and he is still a very good guard, he’s going to be tremendous. He already is at the college level; he’ll play well beyond this and be excellent. It was very important that we establish that we’re going to be a second half defensive team with communication as good away from our bench and we come down and take care of the ball. The number one thing that had to happen was to take care of the ball; the number one thing on defense was to really control the looks that they got. I think that judging by the field goal defense and the lack of turnovers that we had, those were big time positives today.”

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