Postgame Quotes

March 3, 2012

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Postgame Quotes

Minnesota (18-13, 6-12 Big Ten) 81, Nebraska (12-17, 4-14 Big Ten) 69
Williams Arena - Minneapolis, Minn.
March 3, 2012

Minnesota Head Coach Tubby Smith

Opening Statement:
“It was a good win for us. Nebraska is a team that has been struggling, but we’ve been struggling also. Doc Sadler and his staff do a good job, I’m hoping everything works out with them. We will see them at another point in time next year. Being their first year in the Big Ten, it was a rude awakening, as for any team or any coach that comes into this league.”

On Ralph Sampson III and Trevor Mbakwe's senior day:
“We’re really excited and happy to be able to send Ralph and Trevor off with a win. These kids have been very good for our program. Ralph’s consistency and continuity, he’s been the guy that’s been here the whole way, all four years. We wish he could have seen more postseason play, but unfortunately things happen to the team that put you in these situations where you’re not at your best because of a loss of a player, an injury or a transfer. Through it all, Ralph has been very positive and very consistent and I appreciate that. That is my fault, when we have people who don’t surround guys with the right people. There’s nothing you can do about injuries but there are other things we can get better at. Through it all, I appreciate what Ralph has done. It’s always a treat when you coach guys who do the things you ask them to do on and off the court. I have always been able to sleep comfortably knowing that I wasn’t going to have any issues with Ralph Sampson and I knew he was going to come to work every day and do it the right way and the best way he knows. I’d love to coach him for quite a few more games and expect to be coaching him for a few more games. I liked his energy today, I liked our team’s energy.”

On breaking the team's six-game losing streak:
“We needed to break this six game slide, get off this 17 wins and get our 18th. No one expected us to be 16-12, but things happen. It was good to get one here at the barn, I thank our fans for being upbeat and the future is bright, especially with the young guys that are committed to play. Today Chip (Armelin) played outstanding. His parents were in town so that may have had something to do with it, but he played well last time against Nebraska also, so maybe something about their system and style of play, when they play up and down like that. We were better at shooting and we’re built that way. Guys are recruited that way, to be an up and down type team. With the zone defense and pressure, it gave us some problems, but it was a good balance. When you get that type of balance going, 23 assists, 26 shots, you should win the game. We won the battle on the boards, we did all the things you have to do to win like we did today.”

Minnesota Players

Ralph Sampson III

On his last home game as Minnesota Golden Gopher:
“I enjoyed my last game here at the Barn. The fans were great. My family came out, so I had a lot of support there. I think the team pulled together well, we played a good game, and came out with a win, so can’t ask for anything more.”

On what the last run in the Big Ten Tournament means to him:
“It means a lot to me. Like Rodney said, it was my sophomore year when he came in as a freshman and we made that run to the championship round. We still have that feeling here about making that run, so we know exactly what we have to do, how to execute it… It’s all about getting everybody on board, on the same page, and attacking every game like it’s our last, because it could be.”

On what they have to do to beat Northwestern or Iowa:
“We just have to play Gopher basketball. That’s all there is to it.”

On getting exposure through postseason play before the NBA draft:
“Any time you have a team to go far in the NCAA Tournament, players usually get more exposure and better looks going into the draft for the NBA. I’ve seen it happen, so I think a run in the playoffs would be a great thing.”

Rodney Williams

On his first-half dunk over Brandon Ubel:
“I wasn’t even thinking about it. It was something that just kind of happened. I usually go in and get contact and double-pump, but the coaches have been telling me to just go straight up with it, so that’s what I did, and I got a good dunk out of it.”

On the importance of getting a win today:
“I think this was definitely one of our biggest games. Going into the Big Ten Tournament is like starting a whole new season. If you can go in with some confidence, anything can happen, just like my freshman year. We went on a losing streak and won our last one, and then we made it to the championship in the Big Ten Tournament, so that’s the kind of run that we’re looking to make this year.”

On being able to finish the game strong:
“It’s about time. We’ve been thinking the same thing [about not being able to finish games strong]. Lately we’ve been having trouble turning over the ball, getting stops… but I feel like we pulled off the game pretty well.”

On if this will be his last home game at Williams Arena:
“Nah. You’ll be seeing a lot more of me.”

Nebraska Head Coach Doc Sadler

Opening Statement:
“I thought both teams played very hard, especially in the first half. It was a good basketball game. It was 38-30 at half time, and we struggled to make baskets. I do not know about coach (Tubby) Smith, but I questioned our effort on the defensive end. We had to defend the three-point shot better than what we did. I thought it was a good game. We cut the lead to two, and then they went on a 9-0 run. That was pretty much the game. There was a stretch during the second half where we gave up some easy baskets. I told my guys that the one thing you can control is not dropping your chin. It is a hard thing to do, but you have to learn to do it. I thought we finished the game well.”

On Rodney Williams’ play:
"He is a good player, and he has been a good player all year. He makes spectacular plays. He scored 16 points and you think he ended up with 40 because they are plays that are really exciting.”

On his first year in the Big Ten:
“It has been fun. When you compete against guys like coach Smith and coach (Tom) Izzo, I dreamed about that. That part of it has been fun. The wins and losses have not been. It has been a fun league to compete in.”




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