Nov. 15, 2012
Minnesota (3-0) 72, Tennessee State (0-3) 43
Williams Arena - Minneapolis, Minn.
Minnesota Head Coach Tubby Smith
"It was a game that showed us a lot of quickness, and [Tennessee State] was very aggressive and physical, but I thought our depth and our bench played extremely well. So I'm very happy. We've been playing unselfishly and that's key to being a good team. We rebounded well tonight, and one thing we need to do better is taking care of the ball."
On how well his defense is advancing:
"Usually the defense is ahead of the offense at this time of year. That's what we're trying to hang our
hat on because that's the best chance of winning the game, by creating opportunities for ourselves. With Austin (Hollins) shooting the way he's shooting and Rodney (Williams) shooting over 77 percent along with Julian (Welch) and Maverick (Ahanmisi) knocking down threes tonight. Their zone slowed us up some but we were very disciplined and we had good composure. When we did make mistakes it was when we were trying to find someone, so that's something we need to work on. That's what I took out of the game tonight."
On how the big men open up opportunities for the offense:
"When we throw it to the inside to someone like Mo (Walker) who's taking up a lot of space, that really helps out our offense. Elliott (Eliason) is excellent at finding people out on the perimeter who can throw it into him, causing the defense to collapse, so that Elliott is able to find people open. I think that's all because our interior has been very impressive and allowing us to get open looks."
Tennessee State Head Coach Travis Williams
On a poor night shooting the basketball:
"You have to give (Minnesota) credit for going out and playing physical defense. It is a tough team. I tried to tell my guys that we have to be ready to play because they are big, physical, and strong. This was probably one of our worse shooting efforts. Just not the caliber of basketball we are accustomed to playing. We have to get better as a team. Four of our five starters shot a bad percentage, so we have to get better as a unit."
On Kellen Thornton's play:
"He is playing well, but he struggled shooting today. I don't know how much him getting injured changed the tone of how he was playing. Ultimately, he has been playing well, but we turned the ball over too many times. We have to do a better job of valuing the basketball."
On positives from the first three games:
"The positives are we had a tough schedule. We knew that going in. You throw in BYU, South Dakota State, and now Minnesota. I knew we had our hands full. We just have to learn from this by watching film and continuing to grew. We are back at it Monday."
Andre Hollins (So./G)
On if the early zone defense threw the team off:
"A little bit, but then our shots started falling. We just needed to attack the gaps. Sometimes we get timid offensively, but other than that we got it together and started knocking down some shots."
On his improved shooting tonight as compared to the first two games:
"It was just relaxing. That's all it was. Getting a little rust off, getting game time action. I'm confident in my shot, so tonight I just had to shoot it. They were in zone, so the shots were there and I had to take the opportunity."
Rodney Williams (Sr./F)
On Andre Hollins "getting his game back":
"It's definitely good to see some shots come down for Andre. He's been talking about how he doesn't want his sophomore slump to start. We just keep being positive with him. He's got confidence in himself. You've seen that out there too."
On Andre Hollins being both a point guard and a shooter:
"He's our point guard but he's also our scorer, too. We're just going to stay on him about shooting those open shots because, like you've seen tonight, he can knock them down."
On starting slow on offense but keeping up defensively:
"There's going to be times where the offense isn't going great, but you always have defense to hang on. That's what coach preaches all the time. In these past three games we've been able to really shut teams down on defense."
On if he lost track of how many dunks he had tonight:
"I wasn't paying too much attention to it, I try not to."
On the one dunk he kept simple:
"I thought about doing something, but then I thought about the consequences of missing. I just had to put it in the hole."
Northern Illinois Game to Air Live on BTN
Sunday’s men’s basketball game against Northern Illinois will now be televised live on BTN.
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.