Amaker and Players Discuss Victory Over MSU

The Wolverines extended their winning streak to a lucky thirteen games, in a victory over cross-state rival Michigan State. After the game, head coach Tommy Amaker, Bernard Robinson Jr., Daniel Horton, and Lester Abram met with the press to discuss the big win. Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo also provided comments on the game.

Head Coach Tommy Amaker

Opening statement:

"What a Big Ten basketball game. I can't tell you how proud I am of our team. I didn't know how we would pull through it, but we did. I thought the atmosphere was great, they gave us a lot of inspiration out on the floor and we needed every ounce of it. Even though LaVell Blanchard didn't hit a field goal he did the little things to help us win the game."

On LaVell Blanchard's game-winning free throws:

"It goes to show you that the little things are the things that win basketball games. If you had told me before the game that Blanchard would not hit a field goal and would only hit two free throws, I would have said that we would not win the game. It shows you how tough a team we are and that we play aggressive and with hunger every time on the floor."

On responding after Michigan State went up five late in the game:

"When they took the lead we talked about having poise and perseverance. I never doubted our kids and they never doubted each other. I may sound corny, but that is what this team is all about."

On beating Michigan State:

"It means a lot to the variety of different people. It is meaningful for our seniors, our university and our fans. We are aspiring to be the best team that we can be and this is another step closer to our goal."

On the plays that helped Michigan win:

"I thought we made a variety of winning plays. Gavin Groninger's three-pointer in the first half and Chris Hunter's block late were just two. Hunter, he also made a great play in the final seconds when he didn't make a cardinal freshman mistake and foul Chris Hill when he hit a three."

On where the team is now:

"We have to keep moving on. For this team right now we are excited about wining another Big Ten game, having the atmosphere in Crisler like it was today. This was a big win for the university, our fans and us.

On the freshman class:

"I never thought that we would have five freshmen playing for us, but these young guys have done everything and more we have asked of them."

On the keys to the win:

"We didn't turn the ball over and we hit our free throws. That is what wins games is hitting the free throws down the stretch. We are still on our journey of being the best team that we can be."

Bernard Robinson Jr.

On the game:

"We knew it would come down to the last minute. They had us by five late in the game but we were able to execute and LaVell (Blanchard) made some big free throws for us. Everyone made plays. Chris Hunter had the block and Daniel (Horton) hit the three. We made a lot of the good plays that good teams make."

On what he was thinking during the final minutes:

"We just wanted to secure the game. That was the main thing because wild things have happened in the game of basketball. Chris Hill is a very good player and he hit an amazing three-pointer over the arms of LaVell (Blanchard)."

On taking care of the ball:

"One big thing about Michigan State is that they force a lot of turnovers. They make you play faster than you want to and we were able to settle them down a little bit in the second half. We were able to play our game, how we wanted to play. To do that against a very good team is big-time and shows what kind of team we are."

On his first-half offense:

"I was just trying to force some things and get it going. We were not really into our game and I just wanted to go out there and play as hard as possible. I was just able to knock down my shots in the first half but everybody stepped up."

Daniel Horton

On his first experience of the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry:

"It was a great game. It was a hard-fought game. They are a strong team and they run their sets to perfection almost. We did a couple of things to take them out of it and we played well."

On taking care of the ball:

"It was very key, especially against a team like Michigan State. They make you pay for turnovers either with their fast break or by running their sets."

On his thoughts after hitting a three-pointer with one minute to go in the game:

"I was thinking about playing defense. We had to stop them and make free throws. We needed to do that to win the game and we did."

Lester Abram

On his first experience of the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry:

"It was a big game. It was the first time I've seen so many people in Crisler Arena. I have never seen so many Michigan fans at a Michigan-Michigan State game. It was great. I love the Maize Rage. They give us a lot of support."

On Michigan's free throw shooting:

"That was really big. Our coach said it might come down to the wire, and as you can see it did. Each free throw was critical. When you go to the free throw line you have to concentrate and make it. Luckily we did that."

On the team's mentality that allowed the comeback:

"We understand it is a 40-minute game. We cannot be scared if we are down, because we have to play the whole 40 minutes."

Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo

Opening statement:

"I will start it off by giving credit where credit is due. Michigan played a great game and has done this all year. A lot of people have said why start and play Al Anagonye. He did a great job on LB (LaVell Blanchard), who is playing as good as anyone in the country. I think when we had the five-point lead late in the game we didn't do the things to win the game. It was a well-played game and well-officiated Big Ten game. I am very proud of our team, as they came in here and played well in Ann Arbor."

On the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry:

"Has the gap been closed? I think that it has. He (Tommy Amaker) has done a hell of job as have we done a hell of a job in East Lansing. This should be a rivalry for many, many years. I have been saying that when we were winning by 30 and I said it when we were losing by 30."

On Daniel Horton:

"He is very talented player. I thought that we did a good job on him, but he did hit a very difficult three late in the game and I give him credit for that. For me he has Mateen Cleaves quality, he is a calming figure for his team. He can take over a game with his scoring and passing."

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