Feb. 1, 2014
MEN’S BASKETBALL POSTGAME NOTES
NORTHWESTERN (12-11, 5-5 Big Ten) 55, MINNESOTA (15-7, 4-5 Big Ten) 54
WILLIAMS ARENA | MINNEAPOLIS | SATURDAY, FEB. 1, 2014
ATTENDANCE: 12,744 (14,625 cap.)
Minnesota Head Coach Richard Pitino
“Certainly a disappointing one, but gotta give them the credit, they made a play when they needed to, and we did not. This is a tough one, so we have to find a way to regroup these guys and get them back on the court with confidence and feel good about themselves.”
On players’ reaction to the tough loss…
“Certainly, they do care, they cry in the locker room, and it is not good that players are crying, but it is great when they care about winning because it is the first step when we are building this program in the winning mode. So we move on, [this game] is only worth one, we continue to get healthy and we will learn from these mistakes.”
On the strategy for the last play…
“Drive the ball to the basket, and we did. If he misses it, get the offensive rebound, and we did.”
On the most disappointing part of the game…
“Probably the way we started. Overall, I think we played well in the first half, but I do not think that great at the beginning.”
Junior Guard DeAndre Mathieu
On if he got bumped on his layup attempt with a few seconds to go...
"I don't know. I get bumped a lot during games, and I'm pretty used to them not calling it. I just missed a layup."
On if Andre Hollins' absence was the difference in the last two games...
"No, just not defending like we're supposed to. In the first half we came out and gave up six or seven threes. You can't win when you're giving up six or seven threes at home. We've just got to get stops, and we couldn't get stops. Dre would have helped scoring, but we're still not defending. It's all about defense."
Senior Guard/Forward Austin Hollins
On playing wihtout Andre Hollins...
"Of course he's a big part of this team, but we can't blame any loss on Dre's absence. It's a team sport. We've got to defend. We gave up like six or seven threes in the first half and that really hurt us."
On moving forward from back-to-back losses...
"We'll shake it off and come in and practice hard."
Northwestern Head Coach Chris Collins
“Obviously, it is a great win for our team and our program. We got a bit of a break with Andre Hollins not playing. He is (Minnesota’s) best player. Obviously, when they get him back we have seen what type of team they are. I was really proud of how our guys hung in there against the press for the whole game. That is something we did not do well in the last four minutes of the Wisconsin game. We did a much better job here.”
On the impact of Sanjay Lumpkin…
“I love Sanjay. He is a freshman. He is the heart and soul of our team as far as our toughness and energy. He does not score much, but he is always in the action. He is our best defender. He is always on the boards. He is a hustle guy. This is a big day for him. It is his first time back (in Minnesota) after redshirting last year. That does not always go well. Sometimes, the first time you play at home, you get over anxious. He had about 20 family members here. I thought he played within himself and just played his game. He did a great job for us.”
On handling Minnesota’s press…
“We did a good job with it. I was really worried about this game because we had so much energy in the Wisconsin game. It was on the road and we did not get back until one o’clock. We could not do much the following day because we had two guys who played 40 minutes and another who played 39. We prepared for this team in one day. I was worried about our energy holding up for the entire game and to our guys’ credit they did. Not only did they not turn it over, but they did not get sped up. We were able to break it and pull it out and run offense if we did not have anything. We did not want to get into a track meet. That would not have been a good recipe for us.”
On what the recent stretch of wins means for the program…
“When I came in, I just wanted a fresh start for everyone. That does not mean it was all bad. There was a lot of good. There were good players in the program. The coach I replaced was the most successful coach in the history of the program and was a really good coach. Our approach has been to start fresh. It has not been easy. We took our lumps in the non-conference. We tried to figure out who we were. After the third league game, our guys came together and said they wanted to make something of this season. We rallied around each other and made a commitment to defense. In the heat of the battle, it is hard to think long term about what these wins means. As someone who grew up in Chicago, I know that it is not easy to win in this building. I know it is not easy to win at Assembly Hall, and I know it is not easy to win at the Kohl Center. For this team to be able to do that, it shows a lot about the group of guys I have.”
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