Basketball Presser Notes

Coach Tommy Amaker and a few players talk about their upcoming home match-up with the Purdue Boilermakers.

Head Coach Tommy Amaker

On the advantage of having extra time off:

"We're getting into the month of February and you get a little beat up and banged up, I think everyone feels like that this time of year. It's nice if you can get an extended break and get healthy and rested. I never like to have a long extended break coming off a loss but that’s the nature of where we are.”

On the injury of Chris Hunter:

"I'll find out more today. He's getting fitted for a mask and he hasn't been cleared to have any contact but maybe that changes today. We'll find out more before practice."

On the emergence of Brent Petway:

"You talk about the season being a long year and a lot can happen. You talk about being ready for players who haven't played as much or played at all and I specifically pointed to Brent and I said 'I hope your listening because your opportunity is going to come.' I didn't know when or how but you just know the ebbs and flows of the season that different players are going to have opportunities whether that’s because of injury or foul trouble or sickness or players not playing as well. He's ready for the opportunity. He's practiced hard every day. He's taken it and tried to run with it. He's been an energizer for us. He makes things happen, he's productive."

On the importance of this game:

“Knowing that Purdue is a team that I think everyone felt at the end of the day was going to be in the hunt for the Big Ten Championship. I think they have six seniors on their roster and all of those players are getting significant minutes and big contributors to their team and the success of their program over the years so if you have that kind of grouping of players you can imagine how significant this year is for that program and rightly so. For our club to have a chance to have that team here in our arena and coming off a loss, if we're going to stay alive in this race, a home win is significant right now. Having a great program and great coach like Coach (Gene) Keady, if we can fair well that would be huge for the standings, the psyche, all of the above. You never know the impact a certain win can have on a team and a program. This is one of those types of games that could have that type of impact."

On scouting Purdue:

"First of all, we're going to have to defend the ball against Purdue, they put a lot of pressure on you. The second thing is we are going to have to take care of the ball. I think it’s obvious that Purdue is a tough, hard-nosed man-to-man defensive team and their guards with Brandon McKnight, Kenneth Lowe and David Teague, you are looking at three very experienced, fast paced players that put pressure on you at both ends. So you have to guard them and handle the basketball so we need to be able to do those two things very well as our base for our perimeter players."

On the Big Ten race:

"I don't know if it's extra importance but certainly coming off a loss for us, a home game and weekend game, I think our kids are going to be excited and ready to play. I think the significance of this game is everyone is one or two games out of being in the hunt for everything so everything is going to change again and it's going to look a lot different if we can some how get to .500 in the league."

On a conference title being a realistic goal:

"Yes, I think you're looking at a number of teams above us and below us who still feel that the conference championship is still within reach. It's going to take a lot of twists and turns before it's all over and we know that. So, somehow whatever team that can start playing the best basketball, get a break, steal a game that maybe they’re not supposed to win or win something on the road, they could actually come away with it."

Senior Bernard Robinson, Jr:

On the upcoming stretch of the season:

"I think this is the most important part of the season for us, if we can put together a sting of wins I think it will give this team a great boost of adrenaline and confidence going into the latter part of the season."

On the importance of home wins:

"I think these home games will help us. This league has proven that it is very tough to win on the road. You have to do some very big things on the road in order to win. We're at home for a couple of games and we have to come out with wins in those games. If we don't do that, it will be tough for us to achieve what we want to in this league."

On whether the team is where he expected it to be at the start of the season:

"We expected to do a little bit better, but we're still in the hunt and still have a chance to get to the NCAA Tournament. You can't ask for anything more. We just need to get these victories going now, that's the most important thing for us right now."

On what a win against Purdue would mean to this team:

"It would mean big things for us. It would definitely help our confidence. Any ball game you win gives you confidence which carries over into the next game. A victory over a tough, hard-nosed Purdue team would teach us a lot and it would prepare us for our next game."

Sophomore Daniel Horton

On his confidence on offense despite the recent struggles:

"I always have confidence. Last year, if my shot didn't fall I had some leeway to where I could just keep shooting until I got back in a groove. But with this year, it's not in the team's best interest to just keep firing it up if I'm not making anything."

On whether opponents key in on him defensively:

"Even with my shooting percentages and the stats that may not be up to par, I think I'm still the guy that teams are going to focus on. It's been like that all season, no matter who we play against."

On whether the team has the capability to make a run at the Big Ten title:

"A majority of our remaining games are at home, and we got three of our toughest road games out of the way at Michigan State, Wisconsin and Illinois. If we play well and do the right things, we should be able to make a run at the conference title."

On what the team needs to do to play to its full potential:

"As I have said all year, I think we need to pay attention to detail. If we don't focus and pay attention to detail, then we will have those games where we turn the ball too many times."

On what he expects to see from Purdue:

"I expect to see a typical Purdue team, one that is tough and feisty. They will pressure and deny the ball like we do. They will play pressure defense but they will not play up-tempo like we want them to do. They'll take their time to get the best shot possible on offense. We're going to have to stay patient on defense and our assignments. On offense, we're going to have cut hard and make them work defensively."

Freshman Brent Petway

On his increase in playing time:

"Getting more time on the floor means that the coaches have confidence in you and that you are able to do what they expect of you. It gives a great boost of self-confidence because you know that the coaches have confidence in you to perform well on the court."

On what he brings to the floor:

"I just look to bring energy to the team whenever I'm on the court. If I can help bring emotion and help get the team hyped up, I think that is very important. If I can get rebounds and make big defensive plays, it will help to energize the team. Any points I get on offense are just a bonus. If I get a dunk, its just another way to get the team energized."

On what a win against Purdue would mean to the team:

"We need this win, it would get us back on the right track. We can't keep winning one game and then lose the next one. We have to start putting together winning streaks. It's coming down the stretch of the Big Ten where everyone is still in the race. Those winning streaks would definitely help us get to the top of the standings."

Transcript courtesy of UM Sports Information

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