Dec. 4, 2012
No. 14 Minnesota (9-1) 88, South Dakota State (6-3) 64
Williams Arena - Minneapolis, Minn.
“I have a lot of respect for South Dakota State, but I have a lot of respect for our players, the way they conducted themselves tonight as far as being disciplined. ...Nate Wolters is a very talented player and we wish him the best, hoping his ankle heals. Then they were missing [Taevaunn] Prince. But I was glad to see that our guys stayed focused and came out. …Andre Hollins got us off to a good start, knocking down shots. We have been defending people extremely well and that was good to see. Although they knocked down some open threes...we held our opponent under 40 percent, and that’s one of our goals.”
On if it was encouraging to see the three-point shooting get going...
“Absolutely, because that’s something we struggled with last time out going 1-for-13. Tonight, to make 10 was pretty good. We saw people making shots, like Oto [Osenieks], and even though Julian [Welch] had some open looks wide open, he’s been out there working on his shooting every day. I thought he was shooting better. But really, Andre [Hollins] he can get on that type of roll and knock them down. He just took that one bad look but other than that, he shot good shots.”
On if this is the best any of his teams at Minnesota have looked this early in the season...
“It’s hard to determine. We have a lot of depth right now and that’s the key. We don’t have much of a drop off because you’re bringing in a guy like Trevor Mbakwe and bringing in another talented player, Julian Welch. You’re bringing in Andre Ingram. So it’s the most depth that we’ve had. I don’t know about the best we’ve opened. It’s good to have that luxury of players like that to come in and give a big boost like Oto and all those guys, and Maverick [Ahanmisi]. They really all play well. The competitiveness in practice is making each guy better.”
On the three-point shooting...
“It can be discouraging when the other team keeps making three-pointers and it’s hard to come back
from that, especially when you feel like you can’t stop them. Andre did a great job in the first half and he gave us that energy boost that I think we all needed.”
On the team spending extra time practicing three-point shots...
“It definitely paid off for everybody tonight. The whole team for the most part was hitting threes.”
On the difference between this year and last year as far as his comfort level...
“Because of the extra year I know what I need to do, and what I need to work on. We’ve been practicing hard as a team so I have a feel for all the guys around me, which pays off during the game. The overall experience lets me know what to expect.”
On playing teams like Duke and Memphis so early in the season...
“It showed us where we were, what we need to work on. Coach says we need to carry over what we
learn in practice so we get better each and every day. I think we’ve been doing a good job with carrying over the little things that we learn into the game.”
South Dakota State Head Coach Scott Nagy
On his players not executing the gameplan…
“If you could see it, then you know we didn’t. I didn’t care what the score was, I just didn’t see us compete like I want us to compete. The talk was that they believed that they could play well and win, but they didn’t play like it. That was my frustration. I didn’t care who played, I’m talking about the guys that played. I wasn’t interested in the score, I just don’t think we competed like we can compete.”
On no player stepping up in Nate Wolters absence…
“As I look at it, at some point I have got to quit complaining about the players and wonder what I’m doing wrong, quite frankly. There was a possession in the second half where I couldn’t believe how good of a defensive possession it was. I called a timeout and I talked to our guys about it. It took us 34 minutes to play a defensive possession like we are supposed to play it. Then I just sat and wondered, ‘Why aren’t we doing it?’ So at some point I have got to quit pointing the finger at them and start pointing it at myself and say, ‘What do I need to change to help them compete better?’”
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Guard played two years with the Commodores, will have two years on the court with the Gophers.
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