Dec. 7, 2013
Minnesota (8-2) 80, New Orleans (1-4) 65
Williams Arena - Minneapolis, Minn.
Minnesota Head Coach Richard Pitino
(Elliott) Eliason and Malik (Smith) yesterday both hurt their ankles. Thought Elliott would be able to rebound from it. This morning he said he was about 65 to 70 percent. Malik came back into practice and then this morning he showed up and could hardly walk. He was really hurt. We just had to do it without him. Happy we got the win. Little bit of a scare certainly. The biggest thing I didn’t like is that I felt we didn’t play with a whole lot of confidence or a whole lot of energy. I think we’ve worked too hard and I do believe that we’ve earned the right to have a little bit of confidence out there and I didn’t see that out there. Just gotta bet better. We have Sunday and Monday to prepare for SDSU. We just have to focus on getting better every single day."
On the lack of a flow in the game...
"I think it had a lot to do with them, to be honest. They were holding the ball, especially in the first half. They were being very patient. They hadn’t played in a while so we really weren’t sure what we were going to get out of them. They had some time to prepare and we tried to do some things especially in the first half to speed them up, but overall we got the win. The best time to learn is to learn from winning. It wasn’t great by any means, I’ve said from day one we can lose to anyone and we can win against anyone and today was a wake up call."
On Andre Hollins…
"He came back in and was fine. He was pretty aggressive towards the middle and end of first half, he got going a bit. We needed that, we need an aggressive Andre Hollins, an aggressive Austin Hollins, an aggressive DeAndre Matthieu."
On Mo Walker…
"He was good. Before the game I wasn’t sure if I was going to play Elliott. I told Mo, 'Take advantage of this opportunity.' He did some good things rebounding the ball. He’s big, he’s got size. He’s gotta rebound the ball. He’s gotta be more aggressive posting up. I told him at halftime, 'You’ve lost 60 pounds. You’ve earned the right to go out there and be confident. You’ve put in a lot of work that others have not done, so go out there with the confidence that you deserve to be on the court.'"
Austin Hollins (Sr./G)
On the crowd's energy his alley-oop…
“It does help when the crowd is in it. Sometimes, it’s going to be a little dead in there, and we’ll have to bring our own energy. One thing that we were lacking for part of the game was energy. We have to do a better job of that when we come into the game – we have to stay focused for 40 minutes.”
On his injury during the game...
“I got a knee to the back of the head, but I’m fine. It hurt at the time, but I’m all good now.”
On the energy in second half and New Orleans’ comeback…
“I definitely think that energy was part of it. We let up a bit, and we just have to keep our foot on the gas and take control.”
On Maurice Walker's play...
“With Elliott (Eliason) not playing a whole lot, I think that Mo really came in and did a good job. In the second half, he was a lot more aggressive in going up and getting the rebounds, so I think he was a really big factor in that.”
Andre Hollins (Jr./G)
On New Orleans’ comeback…
“Sometimes, it’s just human nature, but we’ve gotta overcome that and become a better team. We’ve gotta focus on getting better. They’re not a Syracuse, not a big game that we get up for, but we still knew that it was an opportunity to get better. We didn’t want to squander that – each game we get better.”
On his thoughts coming into the next three games…
“We have to get better. We have to get everything flowing coming into the Big Ten.”
On the ups and downs of the game…
“It’s easy to get up for teams like Syracuse and Florida State, but we have to try to block that out. It’s an opportunity we have to get everything going, but we didn’t start out like that tonight. We had some lapses when we played really well both offensively and defensively, but we also had some lapses where we weren’t as good. We have to come back and get better.”
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