Read the entire transcript of what Indiana head coach Tom Crean had to say to reporters yesterday following his team's 96-92 win on the road over the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The coach I have a tremendous amount of respect for. Thad (Matta) is…in my mind when he’s eligible he’s earned his way to the Hall of Fame. I have always felt like that, especially since he’s been here. You can see it at Butler, and you can really see it at Xavier, and certainly what he’s done here is amazing. I know that…we all hit skids…and we have a lot of respect for them, a tremendous amount of respect, like I said, for him and for his coaches. We knew we were going to have to play really well.
I’m proud of the way our players played. I’m proud of the way they were locked in. we’ve had a long week but we’ve had a great couple of days getting ready for this. Getting ready for games has never been our issue, it’s been more of the fouls and some of the turnovers and things of that nature.
A couple things that stood out to me from the stat sheet, the foul shooting game was even, and we didn’t give up as many points off turnovers I don’t believe. But I’m proud of the team, and I’m really proud to be associated with the coaching staff that I have. I thought Rob Judson did a phenomenal job preparing for this game. Everybody had the team ready at a high level, but they had themselves ready. Their engagement was high. 8:00 this morning we could have tipped it off then and those guys would have been rearing to go. So they were fantastic.
We knew we beat a good team, and we knew it would be a team that wasn’t going to go away. We knew we beat a team that’s got a lot of offensive firepower. They’re another team that is like us, they are capable of winning against just about anybody, but at the end of the day it comes down to your decision-making and things of that nature. I’m sure we both have dealt with that this year, but it’s a great win for us.
Q – What do you feel like your team learns when they (OSU) rally and you answer. They get up one and then you…
TOM CREAN: I think we had seven straight possessions…is that right…yeah, seven straight…so that is a great confidence builder for them. I’ve got tremendous confidence in them. I think it’s great that they see that they can put the stops together and make the baskets. They were really sharp coming out of time outs. We played a lot in-flow today. The biggest thing I think we’re going to see is that our first steps we’re pretty good…our first steps defensively a couple times later on weren’t as good, especially on the ball screen. We didn’t get over the screen or under the screen depending on the coverage as quickly as we needed to. We had a couple times we hit the screen.
But they were really locked in. And again, the first step, the ball movement, those mean so many things. Being down and ready to shoot…all those things mean so much. I think with the way they played they had the confidence…I mean they never saw in panic in myself or the coaches, and they never brought any panic to the huddles. And they certainly played like they had great confidence.
Q – How big was it for Rob Johnson to have a game like this?
TOM CREAN: You can say that he was due, and you’d be right, it is just an anomaly that he has not played as well with his shooting. It’s heartbreaking sometimes when he’s missing shots because outside of James Blackmon and Rob, and Josh (Newkirk) would be in this group too, those three work so much extra on their shooting, almost to the point of just relax.
But Rob was down. First step was good. Defense got everything going in that sense. I’m really happy for him because that’s the kind of player that he is. It’s unfortunate that it is not always seen when he’s missing some shots. He’s a humble guy, he’s a team guy, and it was fun to watch him play today.
Q – I think Juwan (Morgan) was like a plus-15 today. He and Rob had five points in that 10-0 run after they took the lead. How much do you look to him now that he is healthy for those kind of moments?
TOM CREAN: You look to him a lot when he isn’t in foul trouble. I thought the coaches did a great job of managing our foul trouble on the bench today in the sense of who was in when. A couple times we rolled the dice and won with not subbing, and we held the fort when we did. We’ve got to find a way to keep having our best players in at the end of the game, and that is really what we’ve not had if you go back and look at it. So many of these games have come down to a possession or two.
But Juwan did a fantastic job. We are getting healthier, I don’t think there is any question about that. He ran into a photographer I believe in the Tuesday night game (at Purdue), so he didn’t even practice for a few days in the sense of Juwan. Se we’ve had some of those snake bit things that have just hurt us. But we got his recovery. Tim Garl did his magic and Juwan played fantastic.
Q – How important was it to have this kind of game before next week?
TOM CREAN: Well, I haven’t given a lot of thought to next week. I think it is very important to win. It is very important to play that way. So that is the most important thing. I’ve given no…I have no idea bout next week…it’s not been on my radar. It’s been a long week…a long couple of days. The most important thing was those guys coming out of this game with confidence.
Q – I know it has gotten a chopped up a little bit by fouls, but De’Ron (Davis) and Thomas (Bryant), you’ve talked about playing them together and learning to play together. These last couple of games have they taken steps forward in the way that they play together, the two of them specifically offensively?
TOM CREAN: Yeah, the post-double was going to be big today and those guys being in movement. Whoever was the four, or the five when they were in together, whoever was that guy was really going to have to move and cut. So they had pretty good synergy together.
But it becomes a defensive thing sometimes. And then there’s times…what I don’t want to have happen, and it happened a little bit, was that we just automatically post De’Ron when Thomas is in there. It’s almost like we become ingrained that is what we’re supposed to do, and that is not always what we want to do. We want to mix that up so we’ve got to get that communication cleaned up over the next couple of days because they can both pass.
But they both battle each other and we had some great battles in practice this week. It is always good when they can do that.
Q – Did you use the box and one on JaQuan (Lyle)?
TOM CREAN: I don’t remember.