Nov. 7, 2011
Minnesota Head Coach Tubby Smith
“First of all I want to say I’m pretty impressed with Augustana. We knew they would come in and be aggressive. They have a lot of local players on this team, as is always the case. Exhibition games are games that you try a lot of different things.
“You always want to play better. Coaches want to see the perfect game, and it was certainly far from it tonight. But I think Rodney (Williams) and Trevor (Mbakwe) both understood what we need to do to get back in the game, to turn this around and be more aggressive and physical. I thought we did that much better in the second half, challenging shots. We’re still not shooting the ball well. We had a lot of open shots and we just don’t seem to have much of a rhythm. Much of that has to do with early season, trying a lot of different combinations and trying to give a lot of guys opportunities to get their feet wet and we still have a lot of guys that haven’t played a lot of basketball with us and they're still learning."
On what it will mean if Trevor can be effective at the free throw line...
“He understands that he’s athletic and physical enough, that if he can get in there... He’s worked hard on it and he’s hard to stop. Trevor is a very coachable player."
On his thoughts about Drae Murray...
“He kept saying, 'Coach, I wanted to play for you,' and I was like, 'Yeah, I wanted you to play for me tonight too.' We had no real answer for him, some of the shots he was making at the end of the shot clock.”
On if there was a certain point where the Gophers decided "enough is enough"...
“Yeah, last year coming down the stretch I don’t think I did a good job of being a leader and stepping up, and I think that that is where veteran players show their true colors. I just wanted to keep being aggressive, my teammates did a good job of finding me when I was open and I was able to make my free throws.”
On not having Blake Hoffarber to rely on...
“Yeah, we counted on Blake, and this year--me, Ralph and Rodney being the more experienced guys here--we need to do a better job down the stretch the last five minutes.”
On if he was surprised by Augustana being up at the half...
“Not really. We knew they were a good scoring team and they can really score the ball. But it was good for us to come out here and be down in the first half and show that we can fight back in the second half.”
On what he thinks the team is capable of doing...
“There’s no telling if everybody works hard every day and gives it 100-percent. A lot of teams are going to sleep on us because we’re so young they think we’re not going to contend for a “W” every night, but we know what we’re capable of.”
Augustana Head Coach Tom Billeter
“It is a great opportunity for all our kids from Minnesota. It means a lot to recruiting. This is a great area for us to recruit. It would be great if (Minnesota) had us back every year.”
On what this game means for the program...
“It is great for Augustana College. We get to come to an area that understands private schools. There are a lot of them up here. Possibly the best Division III league in the country is here. We are a very small, very strong academic school that can give scholarships, so that is a nice.”
On what the team can take out of the game...
“I think that going over the film will help us tremendously. I think we are going to continue to improve and get better. We play in a great league. It is a Friday, Saturday league so we are going to have to come back strong on the second day. Those are some big, strong humans inside that (Minnesota) has. It is easy to want to reach out and block one of them with your chest. We have to stop the bad habits.”
Preview: Gophers vs. Clemson
The Gophers host the Clemson Tigers in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Monday night at Williams Arena.
Minnesota Holds off Nebraska-Omaha, 93-90
Joey King scored 18 points and Bakary Konate added 14 with 10 rebounds and Minnesota held off Nebraska-Omaha 93-90 on Friday.
Preview: Gophers vs. Omaha
The University of Minnesota men’s basketball team returns to the Barn to begin a four-game homestand Friday against Omaha.