Here is what Indiana coach Tom Crean had to say following Monday night’s 95-85 victory over Carleton in Ottawa.
Special thanks to George Montgomery, who is on the trip, for providing the audio of coach Crean and the IU players for AllHoosiers.com.
Here was Crean’s opening statement.
“I thought our game tonight was indicative of our preparation and mindset going into it,’’ Crean said. “I thought we learned some things on film from (Sunday). One thing we haven’t done at all on this trip is spend much time on film. There are two things we haven’t spent much time on. One is block outs. And a trip like this it’s very indicative in terms of where you’re at. Not just where we’re at because of what we teach and what fundamentals are and what the details are and the system, but where you’re at as a competitor and where you’re at in terms of basketball awareness. And really where you’re at in understanding that you’ve got to have tremendous two-way grit to be successful.
“I thought our guys responded from the film. We didn’t practice. We walked through a bit at the hotel and I thought their mindset was really, really sharp. They understood. They didn’t know a lot about Carleton but they knew we were playing a very good team. They knew we were playing a national champion. They knew we had just played two of the classiest programs in the country and we left some things on the table (Sunday). We left some opportunities on the table when it was time to win the game. I think the response that our guys made of learning from one day to the next this time of year is truly invaluable.
“The win is the culmination of coming in with a really good mindset today. I’m proud of that and like I told the team if you like the way you feel and you like the competitiveness and the energy and the toughness you played with then you’ll bring it even more tomorrow because that’s what true competitors do. True competitors don’t turn it on and off based on who they’re playing. They don’t turn it on and off based on how they’re feeling. That’s exactly what we have to look forward to now and we are.’’
Crean said he thought his team played with a great resolve Monday night.
“I think it’s a mindset,’’ Crean said. “I think it’s a lot of things. We didn’t do a lot of scrimmaging back home. We did some, but not a lot. I think you can probably equate a lot of different things to it but the important thing is coming out and playing with a great resolve. I thought we came out with that resolve to start the game. Not just playing the game and feeling it out, but our guys responded. I think the atmosphere was really good. I think they knew this other team was good and they could feel it from the very beginning.
“When Ottawa jumped on us real quick I’m not sure it wasn’t a respect level thing. We didn’t know much about either team. They’re very similar but it was more about coming out and playing with their own resolve. We’ve had game plans for every game but they’re not very intensive in terms of all of the things that you put into it. There were a couple of things we wanted to be aware of in this game. There were four things and two of them never really happened. To me it’s just really coming out with the proper mindset. That had to do with the start and the finish and everything in between as much as anything.’’
Crean was asked if IU had used Sunday’s loss to Ottawa as motivation.
“I don’t think there’s any question,’’ Crean said. “It’s playing over mistakes. It’s getting over disappointment really quick. Missing a shot, having a turnover … I thought there were too many times (Sunday) when we were too quiet. When we looked at the film and then showed it to them, we started our run at the end of the first quarter and then allowed the game to be a back and forth game in the second quarter.
“And really good teams understand that it’s always about grabbing momentum. There are momentum shifts throughout the game but the more times you grab it the better off you’re going to be. And yesterday we never really grabbed momentum and we had those opportunities. Tonight I thought we grabbed momentum and we really didn’t let go of it very much. They did some really good things. It would be fun to watch them play during the season. It would be fun to watch Ottawa play during the season. We’re going to do our best to keep track of these programs because these are very good. They’re outstanding. That was the biggest thing though for us. We didn’t hang our head in disappointment and their teammates helped each other do that.’’
Crean said part of IU’s problems Sunday stemmed from defensive fatigue.
“It’s not just that you lose to a good team it’s how you lost the game,’’ Crean said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s August 10th or March 10th, August 11th or March 11th, a competitor brings it every time. It wasn’t that we didn’t bring it but we let defensive fatigue affect us. The defensive fatigue came because some of our shots weren’t going, our free throws weren’t going, those types of things. That’s the disappointment that you can’t let turn into discouragement. Sometimes young people don’t understand that disappointment is a part of life. We have to remove all of those obstacles that allow you to get discouraged. It’s such a fast moving game especially with this 24-second clock.’’
Crean talked about what he liked from transfer Nick Zeisloft.
“I thought he had a very good game the whole way,’’ Crean said. “I thought his desire to come out here and show that he was capable of more defensively that really got his offense going. And he’s no different than anyone else. He has been known for what he has done offensively but we certainly wouldn’t have signed him if there wasn’t defensive upside for him. And there is.
“Now I’m saying all of this, but we gave up some offensive boards. We had some balls taken from us. We’re playing against an experienced older group of people in these games which is great for us. And the bottom line is there is so much to learn, win or lose, that you can learn that there’s so much that you can get better at. I thought everyone of them including Nick came out and understood that they were capable of more tonight from a mindset area and from an energy and toughness area.’’
Crean was asked about Stanford Robinson who was injured in the second quarter but came back in the second half.
“It was early on but he was ready to come back in in the second half,’’ Crean said. “He did some good things. He was cleared to play and it was his option to play. He did some very solid things inside of that time. It was his ankle.’’
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