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TOM CREAN'S POST GAME

January 31, 2013
Richmond High School



HERE'S WHAT TOM CREAN SAID TO THE MEDIA AFTER INDIANA'S WIN OVER PURDUE

Opening Statement:

To win here you've really got to be on top of your game, and it's not just the offensive and defensive execution, it's the attitude, it's the energy, it's the mental toughness. Our guys had that, and they have great respect for Purdue…there's no doubt about that. The one thing that stood out to me…that stood out to us as a team…we had to win the rebounding game and we had to do a good job with the basketball…because…this has been keeping me up since I saw it in the game notes…when (Indiana SID) J.D. (Campbell) gave me the Purdue game notes…they are 72-2 in Matt's (Painter) time here when they win they win the rebounding game and they win the turnover game. Fortunately tonight we won both of those, and I think that's got a lot to do with the victory.

Again, the respect for Purdue, the respect for Matt (Painter) and the players, it brings a little bit more to the table. Obviously the rivalry is big, but I think the respect factor that you play with knowing that you have to be on top of your game, like I said, to be able to not only compete but win against a team like that, against a team like his, is really high.

We got a lot of very good basketball from a lot of people. Our defense was excellent. We had 56 deflections. There were some things we'll obviously see on the film that we've got to do a better job of. We didn't double the post tonight, and we didn't have enough ball pressure. At certain times we didn't play the post the right way, and A.J. Hammons showed what he is capable of. But our guys…they never took their foot off the gas pedal so to speak, which is really, really important for us as a team to take the next step.

We have had enough of a viewpoint of some of the great teams in this league like Matt's (Painter) have been when you had guys like JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, Robbie Hummel, Lewis Jackson, all those guys that just kept going and going and going and getting better as the game went on. When you see enough of that over a period of time you either become that or you keep getting it done to you. Our guys have really learned to become that type of team, and the growth process for us continues, but I loved how they approached this game, and we got a really good result because of it.



You mentioned the rebounding. Also, I think you won the free throw battle by a lot…

No, I don't think we did. What were we…


Well, especially the first half…

Yeah…first half…yeah.


You were 19-of-20 on free throws. What did that mean, especially in the first half? You started hitting a lot of shots, you rebounded well, and you got to the free throw line.

The only problem with the first half was we sat there too long at six fouls. We've got to do a better job…when we're smelling the bonus we've got to go get it. But we just kept taking what the defense was giving us. We kept moving the ball…I thought out ball reversal and ball movement was even better in the second half, but I think we had a really good balance in the first half of playing at the rim, playing in the lane, and also getting some threes. I don't remember what our numbers were in the first half, but bottom-line is the ball has got to move for us. It has got to move in the break and it's got to move in the half-court. When we live on the first side we're not very good. And the other thing we don't do a very good job of when we play on the first side is rebound. When the ball is moving, when the ball is going to the second and third side, that increases our rebounding and it increases our offensive rebounding and it gives us a chance at second chance points and that is all part of getting to the foul line.


What makes it such a tough environment to play in? What were the keys…

Were you out there…were you out there…yeah…that's a tough environment. They've got great fans. I mean they're passionate. It's the state of Indiana. We've got an incredible atmosphere…they have an incredible atmosphere…it's the way that it is. It's a great environment to play in. It's an excellent arena. I think the guys really enjoy the surroundings and the court, but you know when you come in here and win you've done something. We felt like that last year, and it was a great springboard for our team. To come in here and win like this tonight, we don't take that…it's a big deal…it's a very big deal.


Coach, Jeremy (Hollowell) had a couple of big energy plays in the first half. Can you just talk a little bit about what that brought to you?

Well, his work ethic…he doesn't like sitting on that bench. He is getting better all the time, and every time I turned around the last couple days he was in the gym. Whether it was early morning, whether it was coming back at night…and we're not over-practicing by any stretch. We did a lot with him and some of the other guys who didn't play a lot on Sunday on Monday, and then he was back in that night, he was back in yesterday morning. We need him in there, we really do. But he has got to be ready all the time. He went back in in the second half and gave up an offensive board on the foul line. Those are the things that guys can't do, and those are the things he's got to learn from…it's a play on demand and it's a play every possession with the same amount of energy. It doesn't mean you're going to have the execution, it doesn't mean you're going to have the success, but you've got to play it with the same energy. That is what we need, and he is very capable. I think if we're going to continue to get better as a team going into the month of February we're going to look back at it and he has going to have been a big part of it if we did.


Tom, this is Indiana's biggest margin of victory here. What does that say about how well your guys played tonight?

I think they played…they just played with a resolve. They were very authoritative on their drives and the passes. Our defense was up and active. We had 56 deflections so we're getting more active defensively in the Big Ten which I think is really important. They just keep moving the ball. I mean the ball really didn't stop. I saw that and maybe that sounds easy…it's not easy…it is so easy for that ball to be on one side and you start trying to go on your guy and you can't…they're a very good defense…we scored a lot of points but they have a very good defense…one we have a lot of respect for. If you allow them to play help defense, if you allow them to get into their down on the side pick-and-roll, if you allow them to load the lane up, they're good. So we can't do that. We've got to keep the game moving so we can keep the defense in rotation.


What was it like to watch that match-up between Cody (Zeller) and A.J. (Hammons) as much as they went after it tonight?

I'll have to watch that on film. We didn't double tonight. We could have done a better job in the post. We could have done a better job with the ball pressure. We could have been more active. He (Hammons) is going to be very good. I mean there is no doubt about that. I thought Cody had an excellent night. I'll have to watch the film to really break that down, but we're going to have to make adjustments in two weeks when we play A.J. Hammons and Purdue again…no question…I should say Purdue with A.J. Hammons in two weeks.


Near the end of the second half when Will Sheehey was going pretty crazy at the student section and he was getting pretty fired up…what does it mean to have a guy with that sort of energy and still playing hard up 30. What exactly did you say to him if you care to share that with us?

Will has got a great edge to him. Will is a great young man who has got a great edge. He is not the player that he is without that edge and that energy, and it fuels him. It is no accident that we're playing better because he's playing so well right now. And I said it on Sunday…we don't win the game without him. And today it's the same thing. We got a lot of great balance from a lot of guys. He had a career high in assists tonight, which I think is really important in having seven assists. He was in double-figures in deflections. He guards numerous people. He has got an energy and an edge that makes us a better, tougher basketball team.


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