Feb. 19, 2014
Minnesota Head Coach Richard Pitino
Opening Statement …
"Obviously not a real good one. We just started off real well and then they made a run, which we thought they would and then just the second half, we just did some unthinkable things. Why, I don't know. I don't get it. We haven't done it all year. But we will go back and watch the film and we will learn from it. And try to get better tomorrow."
Pitino on the most frustrating part of the game for him...
"We made odd turnovers; like stepping over the line twice while inbounding the ball. Elliot (Eliason) took the ball out, 5-man never takes the ball out. We had a couple of weird turnovers. Really strange and then it all compounded from there."
Pitino the amount of errors compared to other games...
"Even worse than Northwestern. Northwestern, I didn't feel like we made these really bad plays. We just lost and weren't enjoying it. This game we really made some strange, unheard of plays."
On sitting DeAndre mid-first half due to foul trouble...
"We need him, we definitely need him. He was in foul trouble and he came in the second half and was pressing a little bit and was trying to carry us a little bit. But it's not all on him. We were defending, especially in the beginning of the game. But in the second half, we just didn't do it. We made a lot of mistakes."
On if being in foul trouble affects the way DeAndre plays...
"Maybe so. He had a really good second half verses Northwestern. He wasn't in foul trouble, but he had a really good second half. We really need him out there now that Malik isn't playing real well. You have DeAndre in foul trouble and Malik not playing great. We just have to get these guys going. They put a lot of pressure on themselves and we have to get their confidence back."
Minnesota Senior Guard Austin Hollins
On the game...
"They played good defense. We made a lot of bad plays. We had a lot of turnovers."
On the impact of DeAndre Mathieu sitting out with two fouls...
"He's a big part of our offense. He really gets out in transition and attacks the basket well, but we can't blame anything on him for being on the bench with two fouls, as to why Illinois went up on us. It's a team sport. We've all got to play defense together."
On what changed after the Gophers' early double-digit lead...
"We didn't get stops, so we couldn't get out in transition, and we didn't guard the three."
Minnesota Junior Center Elliott Eliason
On what made it tough to get the ball inside...
"We struggled coming off of pick-and-rolls. We didn't get good post position. They would just reach right over us. They got a lot of deflections, and a lot of turnovers came off of that. We were just out of sync."
On the offense settling for jump shots...
"They just did a good job with their pick-and-roll coverages, and we just didn't figure out how to talk it better and make them pay for what they did."
Illinois Head Coach John Groce
“That was a war on the defensive end. I have a lot of respect for Minnesota. They are one of the more difficult teams we have to defend because they have so many two-way guys, who can drive it and shoot it. They have two guys who can post it. (DeAndre Mathieu) is a playmaker. We knew we would have our hands full defensively. We came up with our best defensive effort of the year. For (Nnanna) Egwu, the numbers do show how well he played, but that does not even do it justice. I thought he was terrific. Offensively, for us to take care of the ball on the road in that environment, to have zero turnovers the last 13 minutes was tremendous. We have been trying to educate the team about what things allow you to win and what gets you beat, today our guys finished the game out. I am proud of our guys. They continue to fight adversity.”
On the play of Nnanna Egwu…
“Defensively, he was so locked in. One of the keys has been keeping him around 30 minutes. Normally, I would pull him out right before the 12 or the eight-minute (media timeout) just to give him a blow. He was so good I told him he would have to ride it out. He said, ‘coach, I got you.’ Boy, did he ever. He was great offensively, defensively, on the glass, and was a presence around the rim. He had that look in his eyes of being very confident and it was great to see that look. There is not a better kid than him.”
On Egwu’s last three games…
“I think he is just more determined now. He told me the other day that he was not happy (about how things were going.) He has done something about it. He has responded and fought.”
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