Nov. 5, 2012
Minnesota 86, Southwest Baptist 59 (exh.)
Williams Arena - Minneapolis, Minn.
November 5, 2012
Minnesota Head Coach Tubby Smith
On the game:
“To get through the exhibition games without any major episodes is always important, I think. The thing that we’re most concerned about is turning the ball over. That was something I thought we did a poor job of, but I was impressed with Jeff Guiot and Southwest Baptist. We go back a number of years, not Southwest Baptist, but he was with Niosho Junior College and his president went to the University of Kentucky. But I thought they shot the three well and I thought our guys did a good job of defending the three for the most part. They shot 28-percent from three. That gives you a different look. You don’t see that that often. They shot 36 threes and we struggled shooting the threes, going 2-for-13. That’s something we’ve got to improve on, we’ve got to get Austin (Hollins) shooting better. We hoped with these games we could do that, because that’s something we’ve got to do a better job of. Although, once again Mo (Walker) and Trevor (Mbakwe), two guys that haven’t played, I thought they looked pretty good. I thought once again Joe Coleman came ready. He’s been the most consistent player in practice and he’s showed that in the games. I though Charles Buggs gave us some good looks as well as Elliott (Eliason). But again, we got to the free throw line. That’s something we were trying to do because we really had a distinct advantage in size. We have got to do better than 69-percent. That was not what we were looking for but at least we got to the free throw line.”
On the difference in Joe Coleman’s confidence from last season:
“He played with a lot of confidence last year, but I think he’s just gotten stronger, a year older, having played in the Big Ten, and he’s got 30-some games under his belt. There’s always supposed to be an improvement, hopefully, from the freshman to the sophomore year. I think that he’s a kid that’s committed, not that the others aren’t, but he’s really a guy that puts the energy, effort, and the time. And he has a big brother in Dan who works with him on a continuous basis. I think that really inspires, motivates, and helps him.”
Guard Joe Coleman
On how he would evaluate his performance tonight:
“I’d say pretty good. I think I had about three turnovers, so I think (I struggled with) a little bit of decision making. But they were decisions for the right reason. I was trying to get my teammates involved. Other than that I think I played pretty well.”
On the difference in his comfort level from last year to this year:
“I’d say just a lot more relaxed. I know what coach Smith wants. I know how the college game works. It’s a lot easier for me now.”
On if he is looking to become a go-to scorer for the Gophers this year:
“Just whatever I can do to help the team. If it is scoring, and it’s rolling for me, then I’ll continue to do that. Last year, I scored a lot, but I’d say my free throw shooting was kind of down last year. So my focusing on the that should help my scoring.”
Forward Rodney Williams Jr.
On how these exhibition games help:
"I think they do a pretty good job of helping us out. We get to go out there and play against someone other than each other, going against our own stuff. We got to look at a couple different types of teams. This team, they shot the ball real well and the other team, they liked to drive more. We got to look at two different types of teams so I think that helped."
On if the Gophers have been practicing against zone defense to prepare for American:
"We worked on it a little bit. They like to zone a lot so we we’ve been working against the zone, but that’s probably it right now."
Forward Trevor Mbakwe
On how he felt during the game:
"I felt pretty good. We were playing pretty well and it felt good to be playing and to get my lungs back in order to prepare for actual game speed. I'm excited for where I'm at right now and I hope to continue to get better."
On how his legs are feeling:
"It's still coming along and I've been adjusting to coming in off the bench. A lot of guys have been up and down for six, seven minutes and I need to learn how to get myself ready and prepared for that situation."
On how his dunk felt:
"It felt good to finally get one down. I just need to get back to my forcefulness in the air."
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.