March 9, 2014
MEN’S BASKETBALL POSTGAME QUOTES
MINNESOTA (19-12, 8-10 Big Ten) 81, PENN STATE (15-6, 6-12 Big Ten) 63
WILLIAMS ARENA | MINNEAPOLIS
SUNDAY, MARCH 9, 2014
ATTENDANCE: 12,775 (14,625 cap.)
Minnesota Head Coach Pitino Quotes
"This is a great win for us tonight. It was a tough to have seven days off this time of year. The guys were so eager to get out on the court when all of these other games were going on. The best thing for us was to play a game, so it was mentally difficult for us to have to wait seven days between games. Our team took care of business tonight and I was happy with the way we started tonight. Penn State had a nice run of points, so we had to calm ourselves down. It's a good win for us and we have to get ready to go to play them again on Thursday. One of the hardest things to do is to beat a team three times, so we need to prepare for that.
On playing Oto Osenieks at the end of the game...
"It was a tricky situation because he is seeking a medical, yet we still wanted to honor him tonight. If we didn't have the opportunity that we had at the end of the game, I would have waited and we would have worked with him in the offseason. He's a great kid and a great representative of the university, so I wanted him to have his opportunity to get a jersey and speak with the crowd. He was able to get into the game for a little bit, which was a good way for us to let him see some, but I also didn't want to show up Penn State. I wanted to find a way to get him on the court someway. He is a great player and we hope he has a career in coaching which is what he hopes to do after he graduates. He'll be with us next year and work with us day in and day out."
On having the seniors talk with the crowd after the game...
"When I was at Louisville we would ask the seniors to speak on senior day. I thought it was a great way for these guys to create lasting memories. They'll never forget their chance to speak in front of 10 thousand people. More than anything it's great for them to say thank you because these college years create memories that they will remember for the rest of their lives."
On deciding when to play Maverick and Malik...
"It was difficult because we wrestled with the choice of whether to start them. Maverick wants to play; he doesn't want to start the game and then get subbed out after 30 seconds. He's a better player than that. Malik is the same way, so I wanted to play them and get them good time on the court. I was glad that Maverick played 13 minutes and took advantage of every moment. I'm happy for him, he's a great kid, and I need to find him more minutes as we move forward. Hopefully we'll have a few more games to give him that opportunity."
On Mo Walker establishing himself as a post player...
Mo does a great job of coming in and demanding the ball. Our guys look for him and look for chances to get him the ball. He's become a solid free throw shooter as well. His confidence has really improved which I believe has been instrumental in his success.
Junior Mo Walker
On halftime adjustments…
“At halftime coach (Pitino) said we weren’t playing as aggressive as we could have been. He wanted us to get to 80, so we picked it up a little bit in the second half.”
On playing Penn State again on Thursday in the B1G Tournament…
“It’s tough to beat a team three times in a row. We got them at their spot and now we got them at home so it’s going to be challenging to get them a third time in the BIG Tournament. We have to take this week and get better offensively and defensively.”
What the team takes away from today’s game….
”It was a good, solid win. We had players stepping up off the bench, Maverick (Ahanmisi) had a good game today. We’re all just playing well right now, but we have to keep it up, keep up the intensity on defense.”
Junior Center Eliott Eliason
On whether Penn State had more interest in Thursday’s upcoming game than today’s….
“They (Penn State) wanted both games, they know how much more the B1G Tournament means to them in the long run because they need to make a run in (the tournament) and win to make the (NCAA) Tournament. It’s going to be big for them on Thursday.”
On Thursday’s game being held on a neutral court….
“We had a lot of emotion today, being at home. That helped us. But on a neutral floor it’s going to be a lot tougher, we’re not going to half that (fan support).”
Senior Guard Austin Hollins
On what this team is taking into the B1G Tournament…
“Our confidence is really high and guys are playing at a high level. Our guys really believe that we can go in and win this thing. We want to make the NCAA Tournament, but our mindset is starting the B1G tournament right on Thursday with Penn State.”
On his last home game on ‘senior day’….
“It was bitter-sweet, but it’ll be a day that I’ll always remember. It was great seeing some guys that I came in with, like Maverick, have a good game, but definitely a bitter-sweet moment.”
On the team maturing throughout the season….
“It’s a long season. At this point, we have grown. We’ve grown a lot over the course of the season, we’re improving in all areas, but there’s still room for improvement. We’re going to work hard this week and get ready for the B1G Tournament.”
Penn State Head Coach Patrick Chambers
On the tough start for Penn State...
“(Minnesota) had a week off and they had fresh legs. It was senior night and they were playing for the NCAA tournament. I think that is what you saw in the first 10 minutes there. We could not recover. You can’t give a team like Minnesota a 20-point lead and expect to come back. We did a nice job getting the lead to single digits, but I think we ran out of gas.”
On putting up a fight towards the end of the game
“From the eight-minute mark of the first half to the 10-minute mark in the second half, I thought we really competed hard. We have to start out the game that way when you are playing a desperate team like Minnesota.”
On playing Minnesota on Thursday in the Big Ten Tournament
“Tomorrow is going to be about Penn State. We will worry about Minnesota on Wednesday. We just have to pick up the pieces, regain our confidence, and do a better job moving the basketball. We were playing great defense up until today and I knew if (Minnesota) got into the seventies it would not be a good outcome for us. They got 81 points.”
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