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Coach Crean & Players Verbatim: Wisconsin

Peegs.com has the transcript of what Coach Tom Crean and IU players said after Indiana's 70-60 loss to Wisconsin last night in the Big Ten Tournament.

Read the entire transcript of what Indiana head coach Tom Crean and IU players James Blackmon and Juwan Morgan had to say to reporters last night following the Hoosiers' 70-60 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers in the Quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament.

THE MODERATOR: We'll ask Coach Crean to make an opening statement.

OPENING STATEMENT:

COACH CREAN: Disappointed with our loss obviously because they made some really tough plays. There were times we didn't defend a shot as well as we needed to. We didn't get down and double inside of the post a couple times as quickly as we needed to.

In all honesty, we missed a lot of shots that we've been making, especially around the bucket. I know we got into the paint quite a bit. We just didn't get as much out of there.

But our guys didn't flinch in the sense of coming back. We kept coming. Unfortunately, that last play Koenig made at the rim, that was an absolute dagger. He is a tremendous player. As I said to him, it's been an honor to coach against him. He has gotten nothing but better. He is going to be a long-time pro. I don't know much, but he is going to be a long-time pro.

They made timely shots, but he led the way. As good as Happ is, Ethan is very good, Koenig is capable of so much. Unfortunately tonight that happened to us a little bit.

THE MODERATOR: Question of James and Juwan.

Q. You're one of the best scoring teams in the Big Ten, 81 points a game. This is your third game against Wisconsin where you haven't scored 70. Is it just that they have one of the best defenses you've seen against anyone this year?

JAMES BLACKMON, JR.: I wouldn't say. Not really, it's on defense. I think it's just the pace they play at. They slow it down on us a little bit. Sometimes when our shots aren't going like tonight, it hurt us.

Q. They have a very experienced team. They moved the ball well. How tough is it to defend a team that always seems to find the open man?

JUWAN MORGAN: It's very hard just because the ball moves faster than anybody can physically run. I think once they got us in rotation, them finding the open man, once we close out on him, there's another open man. Seems like we're always in rotation. They were just finding people for the open shots.

Q. Juwan, you've been playing well offensively as of late. What has been going on for you? What was going on tonight with that?

JUWAN MORGAN: It starts on the defensive end. Sitting down with all the coaches, all the different players coming and telling me, that's the way it always started for me last year. I had to get back to the roots of how well I was doing last year. I started on the defensive end locking down, not giving ground on any given possession. My teammates did a tremendous job of finding me in the open slots. My team was moving the ball. Once we are really moving it, it opens everything up.

Q. How tough is it when you're down 15 in that second half to expend that much energy coming back, get close, then not have it come through for you?

JAMES BLACKMON, JR.: Yeah, it was really tough 'cause we want to play at a certain pace. We got them moving a little bit towards the end of the game, speed 'em up. Like you said, the last play was kind of a dagger. Just a couple stops we needed.

THE MODERATOR: All right, thank you. You may return to the locker room. We'll take questions for Coach Crean, please.

Q. The interior defense was really good last night. Tonight not so much. Was that a product of Happ and Hayes being really good?

COACH CREAN: No, I wouldn't say that. They got the ball deep. Two things; we didn't have enough good ball pressure at times, and we didn't get down there to go after the ball enough.

They do a really good job of keeping the dribble going in the post. Our guards, we left the bigs hanging out to dry a little bit at times tonight.

It's hard because they can really pass and play. You have to come aggressively. You can't come halfway or late. You have to come aggressively and be in rotation a little bit against them. They put guys out there that can shoot the ball.

On the other end, I'd love to credit the defense, but we missed a lot of close shots. De'Ron, Thomas, those guys missed close shots around the bucket that if we make those, it's a different story. They made theirs.

We were not nearly as effective getting down and causing the congestion on their shot as we needed to.

Q. I was sitting right behind the Badgers' bench, heard Koenig said thank you a couple times.

COACH CREAN: I just shared that time with him. I pretty much said what I said. Thank you.

Q. Tom, they went through a rough stretch like many teams in the Big Ten. What do you see them doing now?

COACH CREAN: I don't know. I'm not good at that. I'm not good at dissecting them. They got really good players. They got the most experienced team in the country. They play inside, outside basketball very well.

At the end of the day, they've got Koenig. He makes a huge difference. Just as we went through the stretches where some of our guys weren't as healthy affected us, probably affected them when he wasn't as healthy. He is a big-time player. It's easier to say it now because we're not competing against them. I'm not sure he's ever gotten the credit in this league he deserves.

He doesn't play a game that promotes himself. He plays a game that wins. He can shoot it. He's quick. He can get to the rim, pass the ball. I've been a big fan for a long time. Now it's easier to speak it.

They've got toughness. Showalter knows exactly what he's doing. They score inside. The played faster in the first half when Hayes was in foul trouble. They're a faster team when he's not in, in my opinion.

Koenig, it's ridiculous how much he affects winning. I say that in a good way.

Q. What do you think led to Thomas and De'Ron struggling around the rim tonight?

COACH CREAN: I don't know. They missed shots they usually make. It's one of those things. I can't say.

You have to play through the contact, okay? When you're going to play against a Wisconsin team, whether it was when Bo first came into the league or whether it's now, they're going to put their chest into you. That's what it is.

I gave up complaining about that years ago, right? They're going to put their chest in you. You have to play through the contact.

But we didn't make those shots. It's not the only time we've gone against contact. We didn't make the shots. But we were right there. We were getting it in the paint. We also missed some jumpers we would make.

I think we got a little frustrated because we didn't make the close shots. It is what it is.

Q. You were down 15, came back, made it a four point game. What do you like about your team being resilient?

COACH CREAN: They weren't going to stop. Our guys have been through so much. I mean, they deal with more than I could even possibly tell you.

They weren't going to go away, our guys weren't. Like I said, we were right there. We were gaining confidence. You just hold your breath sometimes when Koenig has the ball. We didn't guard him well enough. We didn't guard the shot well enough.

The one thing about Koenig, if your hands are anywhere near the middle of your body, he's going to go up and get it off quickly. We were a little late in our rotations because we didn't go quick enough to the post, all right, which spread them out.

As far as the aggressiveness that we played with at the end, it was good. I think we played aggressive throughout the game. Again, our hands weren't where they needed to be on challenging shots. I think we'll be a little disappointed with that.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, coach.


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