Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 100-69 win over Central Connecticut State on Saturday at Assembly Hall.
Watch and listen to the press conference in the embedded media player below:
Select quotes available after the jump.
“I was really proud of these players for a lot of reasons. Number one, they had a great week of preparation. They were absolutely locked in, and our play showed it. They just played at a very high level. We got up, we continued to play hard, we created things off of our defense, we were getting some offense from the guys that were in, and then when Austin [Etherington] got hurt. There is no question when you have a close knit team like this, going through the recruiting process and the day-to-day interactions that they have together, it affected everybody, and I’m proud of the way they bounced back because they were really bothered; it wasn’t as much about the win. I know their thoughts, and they were really concerned for their friend. That’s what he is. He’s their teammate, and they’re all close friends, and that’s one of the reasons that we’re having the success that we have. It was really important that they continued to play and they did, and I thought we closed this game really well. We got a lot of really good basketball, I mean Cody [Zeller] with 19 [points] and 19 [rebounds]— goodness gracious, it was fantastic. It wasn’t like he was given any advantages around the basket by any stretch of the imagination, so he earned everything that he got. I thought Christian [Watford] played really well and again triggered his defense. Victor [Oladipo] had 20 deflections and five steals drawing the assignment of the nation’s leading scorer and did a fantastic job. They’re a hard team to play, and we knew they would be, but that’s where everybody is trying to do their very best. We definitely wanted to take [Kyle] Vinales out of the game. It created a few more opportunities for other people. I thought [Kevin] “Yogi” [Ferrell] did a great job on his match-up and at the same time played a great floor game. He had six assists in 27 minutes and to control the ball the way that he did, he played outstanding. Will Sheehey gave us a lot of solid minutes. Jordan [Hulls] was very content to move the ball and very content to be a strong defender. Remy [Abell] and Maurice [Creek] all came in. Austin [Etherington] had a couple of tough fouls, and I was getting him out when he got hurt, and that was a tough part of it because this would have been a really good game for him, but bottom line is there is a lot of room for improvement in our team. That’s never going to go away. We can get better. We will get better, and I thought our guys did a really good job of playing through their emotions throughout the game.”
On Austin Etherington’s condition:
“It’s going to take a little time to make that determination. They’re fully in the process of that. He was in a lot of pain when it happened, so it takes a little time for that to settle down before they can get to the degree of where it’s at. We’ll find out more later tonight, but right now definitely a significant injury, so we’ll just see how it’ll play out.”
On if [Austin] Etherington stayed here for the rest of the game or if he went to the hospital:
“He left shortly after halftime. They moved on it right away just to get that process moving as quickly as possible for him.”
On Victor Oladipo’s play:
“In the first half, we really wanted to tag team [Kyle] Vinales a little bit with Victor [Oladipo] and Will [Sheehey] and then play them more together in the second half, which we ended up having to do, but Will [Sheehey] did an outstanding job on him as well. Remy [Abell] was on him. [Kyle] Vinales was the leading scorer in the country coming into the game and had only been out a total of 27 seconds the entire season. He was averaging over 40 minutes a game with their overtime win, so that was a big test. We gave up too many to Matt Hunter. I believe he was shooting 11 percent from 3-point range going into the game, but he came out and had a good game, so there’s room for us to shore things up over the week as we get ready for our next one and as we go through finals, but it was an interesting game. It was not a fluid game, so we had to bring that to it as much as possible. We had 53 rebounds, we had 50 some odd deflections and we did a lot of really good things.”
On the importance of having two guys that want that defensive challenge:
“That’s very important. I think we have more that can do that as well.”
On Christian Watford’s performance:
“He’s coming off his best practice of the year. He’s had a good week. Yesterday he was unguardable because nobody could score on him, and it carried right back into it today. He played with tremendous energy. I sat him over there a long time with the two fouls. We were up, and I didn’t want to risk it. I almost put him back in the first half, and he probably would have more, but then once I knew our bench got a little shorter, once we lost Austin [Etherington] there, I was glad that I hadn’t because I knew that he’d have to play more in the second half but he did a really good job.”
On Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin being able to play in the next game:
“It’s too early to tell. We’ll just try to build them into the flow.”