Dec. 28, 2013
Minnesota Head Coach Richard Pitino
"Very good defensive performance, I'm proud of our guys. To hold them to 35 percent shooting, we really held them the first eight minutes in the second half without a basket. This was a bit of a trap game. Looking ahead to the Big Ten, I thought our guys did not do that, which is a testament to them. We got better since Christmas defensively and a lot of that showed in practice and it carried over to the game tonight.
About the defensive effort...
"I was in Miami over the break and went to a Heat game. Just watching Miami, the way they play ball screens; they're tremendous at it. We broke down and edited that and showed it to our guys. They really learned from that and responded from that. They want to take the next step defensively. In order to do what we want in the Big Ten, we're going to have to defend."
"I told them at halftime, `we're good, but let's be great, we're not great yet". It was a good overall defensive performance; we took the next step."
On Andre Hollins...
"Having 18 points in 23 minutes is really good. We need him to put 16-18 points up a game and we need him to be aggressive. He was taking less jump shots today and trying to get to the rim more."
Addressing team going in to the Big Ten...
"We don't really talk much about the Big Ten, we'll just talk about Michigan. We'll watch this film (TAMUCC) tomorrow and then we'll watch Michigan. We're just trying to get one win and we'll go from there."
On the team's defensive effort in forcing turnovers...
"We played great. We forced a lot of turnovers, especially in the half court, which really got our offense going. Defense is key in games like tonight."
Junior Guard Andre Hollins
On how the non-conference schedule has prepared the team for Big Ten play...
"It's been good. I think it's really tested us mentally, because we need to be focused to play every game and we know that Big Ten is do-or-die. The schedule has prepared us, and we've learned a lot about our team."
On whether he'd prefer a more challenging non-conference schedule...
"Of course. I always want to play the best. I always play my best when I'm playing against the best players on great teams. I'd like to be able to play a tougher schedule, but I think it's just as challenging sometimes to play teams like tonight (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi). It's easy to get up for the big games. It's harder to get fired up to play smaller schools, and so it makes you better and more mentally tough."
On how he's feeling heading into Big Ten play...
"I'm feeling good. I'm being aggressive, and one of the keys I'll take from tonight is to be smarter defensively. But my body's feeling good and I'm healthy and ready to go."
Junior Center Elliott Eliason
On how he feels the schedule has prepared the team for Big Ten play...
"We feel pretty good. I think we played some pretty good defense tonight. We didn't shoot well, but it's tough to prepare for the Big Ten until you actually get out there and play. A lot of the guys on the team don't have any Big Ten experience yet, but it helps that we get to open with our first two games at home."
On the defensive performance in tonight's game...
"That was really a point of emphasis for us these last few practices. I think, except for a stretch in the middle, we did a great job. There was a lengthy stretch in the second half where I don't think they had a field goal. Playing good defense is going to be key for us in the Big Ten."
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