I don't know if you can say it enough, but it's really special to play in front of a crowd like that and have that kind of support. The hostile aspect of going on the road is overrated; what it is is the support and energy that the home team gets. Our guys would say that was instrumental in us being able to be successful. The other thing they would say is the coach's ability to rotate players…(laughs)…the rotations were well thought out and instrumental also. What a dream for a guy who likes to play basketball, huh? You get to come into Carver and play for 45 minutes. I was really pleased with the kind of effort they gave. Defensively, Michigan puts you in tough spots. For the most part, other than a little bit of a lapse in the second half where we were not switching handoffs and they were shooting some uncontested shots, after that point we made a great effort to continue to defend and that was huge. To rebound it and finish plays at the end, making free throws, I thought Jake did a terrific job. We are asking him to do a lot. I think he enjoys that. I think he enjoys doing a lot. Other than just a few times, he was very, very solid. It was very important. Our spacing was good, guys did what they could do and stayed away from things that are difficult for them and fortunately we were able to be successful.
Q: Given all of the adversity you have faced this year, how meaningful is it to win a game like this? Your guys just don't quit.
Todd Lickliter: I am proud of them, but I expect it. Why would you not? You only have so many opportunities, and you sure wouldn't want to miss out on any of them. That is the joy of it. Nobody ever said it would be smooth sailing. You are going to have to do it when things look kind of bleak. It was pretty rewarding, but that is what should happen.
Q: Did you think Jake Kelly could make this kind of impact at point?
Lickliter: Are you asking why I didn't do this earlier? (Laughs). I don't blame you. You know what? In the way that we play, he was handling the ball a lot anyway. We distribute the ball all around. We have had to alter it a little bit. We are not running the sets and the easy scores that we would like to get. We maybe are missing out on a few of those. But we have been able to compensate and guys are playing off of him. His ability to get to the on ball screen, to handle the ball well enough and get ot the screen has been a real key. We didn't know if he could do it. A year ago, he might not have been able to do it. He is a little bit stronger, and I can't wait for him to gain more strength. I have been pleased with, for the most part, his decision making.
Q: What were your thoughts on playing Cyrus Tate?
Lickliter: We just wanted to see. This is the best he had felt, he really didn't practice this week but he went through shoot around. I thought in the second half, I wanted to see what he could do. I also thought he would give us a little lift and he did. He is a competitive guy. This really hurts him a lot, having to sit and watch. It's one thing to sit and watch and you are able to go, just a coaches decision. But it's another thing when you are injured and unable to go. It's been tough.
Q: Jake Kelly played great defense tonight.
Lickliter: Yeah, and he got help. But I agree. I told Gary Dolphin this; he likes to talk about the offensive end a lot. We all do that. But Jake has been the guy who we have said their most aggressive perimeter player, you are going to need to guard. He has really taken that responsibility to heart. He is capable. He is very capable. It's great. He has great length, and I think he is a terrific defender. I have said that a number of times.
Q: Talk about the defense on Michigan's last set in regulation.
Lickliter: We had one foul to give, so we wanted to see if we could come up with a steal. We sort of fouled without trying there, so that didn't happen. Then we just said we would defend them like we had been, and we are going to contest and be there. We didn't talk about them making it, but my thing is that you do everything you can to make them miss. If they make it then, you have to shake their hand. But we wanted to make them shoot a jump shot and contest it. I don't know if we made them or not, but they ended up shooting a jump shot and we were pretty much there. They have very capable shooters and run a great system.
Q: Can you continue to have guys play 40 minutes?
Lickliter: Why not? We are down to the end, they are young, they are kids. I think we have done a good job of balancing. Early in the year, as you go through the year, early on you love to rotate them and you always shrink your rotations. Not this far, but you always shrink them. I would think that they could play. If we go overtime, we will have to do it again. But regulation is only 40 minutes.
Q: Are you running more of a motion offense now?
Lickliter: Yes, it's what we call our motion. We just kept changing the spacing and the angles more than anything. We ran some sets, but you wouldn't have known that because they weren't effective. Sometimes you just run sets to make them guard different actions.
Q: Why didn't Jermaine Davis play?
Lickliter: He is injured.
Q: What is it?
Lickliter: I am always a little bit reserved, because I don't know the extent of it. I think what he has, is he hit knees in practice and has a bone bruise. They are very sore, it's tender, he has tried and I don't know what the length of time is on that.