Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith
“Michigan State played tougher in areas that we need to improve in. They got some momentum in three-point shooting. We need to keep being persistent. When you don’t have one of your better ballhandlers with Al out, it hurts. We have to get some guys playing on the same page and being productive on the court.”
“We had our chances. We knew the pressure was going to be the same as if you were playing any team in the big Ten. Good teams like Michigan State pressure the ball and force turnovers. Then we had unforced turnovers of our own and just threw it away some times.”
“Neitzel is an excellent shooter. He’s tough to guard. We lost him in transition and some in-bound plays. We definitely made some defensive mistakes. We have to guard better in crucial situations. In the game, they had 16 or 17 uncontested shots and you can’t win like that.”
“We have to learn to create offense. We have guys who can score but we have to attack the rim and get a foul instead of avoiding contact. We forced 18 turnovers and you wonder where we didn’t do the job but they shot 58 percent, so we didn’t get it done on the defensive end. There is a fine line between winning and losing and we just have to find a way to get across the line.”
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo
“Coming in, I didn’t know how well we would play today. Overall, we didn’t do a good job in the first half. They made us turn the ball over too many times. Minnesota is a good team and it helped that Nolen was out. He brings energy to their team and we didn’t have to deal with that. It was a crazy game in that Morgan couldn’t make a free throw and Neitzel did a good job at the three-point line. We rebounded well and we got a big win today.”
“(Drew) is starting to make some shots. In the last few games, he hadn’t been shooting the ball very well. We need him to pick it up in order to succeed. Also, it helps if others contribute when Drew is performing poorly.”
“(Lucas) brings energy to the team. He is a solid defender and he isn’t intimidated by anyone. He is a great player and I only see him becoming better.”
“Our turnovers were ridiculous tonight. There were three charges and three travels and that is something I can’t do anything about. They need to play smarter however we executed very well tonight and were able to knock down shots.”
Minnesota guard Lawrence Westbrook
"We thought we could use the Indiana game as momentum into this one. But, it didn't pan out. We don't think about moral victories. We were there with them but didn't pull out the win. It just shows that we can play with top teams like Indiana and Michigan State."
"We don't want to go through droughts so whenever someone is hitting shots, we are doing fine. Everyone steps up their game and plays well. It drives the whole team to do better."
"We are more together as a team this year than in the past. We don't like to lose and this game will drive us to step up our play in the coming games. We will practice hard and get ready for Ohio State. We will execute better and finish these close games."
Minnesota guard Lawrence McKenzie
"I think he really would have helped us today but he can't help us if he isn't 100 percent. Since this game is all about quickness, his thigh injury would have slowed him down. I think we are definitely a better team with him and we could have used him today."
On Nolen's injury:
"You expect guys to step up when another guy is down. That is what a team is all about. When someone goes down or someone isn't playing well, you expect someone else to step up. I think its something that I have to be able to do."
On his injured hand:
"It's pretty swollen and its something that gets bumped and bruised in practice every day so it's hard to heal completely. I wouldn't blame any of my play on it. Sometimes in the middle of the game, I will forget about it but I am going to have to deal with it the entire season."