March 2, 2013
Minnesota Head Coach Tubby Smith
“I was concerned about how we would respond after we did what we did against Indiana but being a home game and being senior day, I felt like our guys were very focused and committed to sending out the seniors the right way.
"We started with setting a good defensive tempo early in the game by holding them to zero points for quite a while. It was impressive the way we defended today. Holding the other team to 27%, we’ve been on the other end of that before. Coach Chambers and his troops, they were coming off a big win against Michigan. Their tough thing was having to come out on the road and we made them respond the same way.
"Again, everybody stepped up and played well, all of our seniors, that lineup looked good out there. Julian got us started early with knocking down some shots and distributing the ball. Trevor was his usual self. Rodney did some good things and that unbelievable dunk, I haven’t really seen it yet, I guess everybody was oohing and aahing about it. So, we had good balance, now we have to get ready for Nebraska.”
On Julian Welch’s play early…
“He’s had a tough year shooting the ball. Because Andre Hollins has had such a good year, it’s been hard for him to get into the lineup. Austin, up until the last 11 or 10 games has been playing pretty good, he’s just had a struggle shooting the ball.
"It’s always tough when you’re a senior and a junior college transfer and the expectations were to play a lot more. He showed a lot of character with the way he stepped up today, which means I have a lot more confidence in him now.”
Minnesota Forward Rodney Williams
On his injured shoulder…
“My shoulder is a lot better now. I’m just keeping this (protective shoulder brace) on to keep it warm.”
On if he thinks the team can make a run like last year…
“I definitely think we can make a run like we did last year. Around this time last year we caught fire, I think this is a perfect time to do it.”
On playing against zone defense…
“I think we did a pretty good job today against the zone defense. We just have to stay patient and let things open up, that’s what I feel like we did today.”
Minnesota Forward Trevor Mbakwe
On if he has ever rebounded like he is now…
“I think I’ve had some good rebounding games but I went through a rough stretch where I wasn’t rebounding as best as I can. I’ve picked it up these last two games and hopefully I will be able to continue this momentum for the rest of the season.”
On how far this team can go…
“We can go real far. Final Four or bust.”
Penn State Head Coach Patrick Chambers
On if he was surprised by the slow start...
“I was not. We are coming off a very emotional high. As a coach, I have to do a better job getting by guys prepared because there were so many exterior factors that went into the game before the game even started. I tried to prevent it, and I just could not do it.”
On Minnesota coming in off their big win...
“They had an extra day in between, and coach (Tubby) Smith does a great job of calming them down. Then, you add Senior Night and there is extra momentum. When you can’t make shots on the road, it is going to be a long night.”
On team’s mindset coming in...
“I felt like we had a great practice yesterday. We had a good shoot around last night. They were great this morning. However, with 18 to 23-year olds, you miss a couple shots and you turn it over a little bit. What a home court advantage (Minnesota) has here, it is a pretty special place.”
Minnesota Downs NJIT, 74-68
Akeem Springs came off the bench to score 19 points and Nate Mason added 18 for Minnesota, which came from behind in the second half and escaped with a 74-68 victory against NJIT.
Preview: Gophers vs. NJIT
The men's basketball team returns to the Barn Tuesday to begin a six-game December homestand.
Minnesota holds off Vanderbilt in 56-52 win
Minnesota erased a 12-point first half deficit and hung on Saturday to defeat Vanderbilt 56-52.