FastScripts by ASAP Sports
PAT CHAMBERS: Another Big Ten battle, which is this league is so amazing. Its always going to come down to one or two possessions, and for us all year thats the way its been. I think thats our 13th or 14th game in single digits in tight ones. Im really proud of my team and the leadership of our seniors. When things got tight there, we responded. We attacked the situation, and we made some big plays and got some finally some timely rebounds, and Geno Thorpe hit some really big time free throws for us.
But these two guys to my right really played consistent throughout and carried this team to victory.
Like I said, really proud of this group.
Q. Fourty-five of your points came from the Philly guards. Talk about your toughness and what you guys bring?
D.J. Newbill: I mean, well, you know, its really tough when youre not scared of the moment, just going out there trying to give it up for our teammates. Today we had it going. Coach wanted us to stay aggressive, so we did. We never wanted to get rattled even when they went on their runs. Nobody on our team really gets rattled. I think thats a testament to Coach Chambers. He brings his Philly toughness too.
Shep Garner: I think just think Philly toughness, it brings the best out of you. Coming out of Philly youve got to be tough at everything you do. You know, we showed that tonight.
Q. D.J., you had a very impressive line all the way across. The four blocked shots, how does that factor into what you were trying to accomplish?
D.J. NEWBILL: I mean, those guys were attacking the basket. I was fortunate to be able to get some clean looks at the ball, just trying to make defensive plays for my team. We got stops. Wasnt really playing, it was just how the game went.
Q. Share your thoughts on playing the University of Iowa next. Its a team that you guys played a very close game with just a couple of weeks ago.
SHEP GARNER: Theyre a good team. They came and beat us, but we were in the game. Im happy to see them again.
D.J. NEWBILL: You know, those guys got the job done at our home, so weve just got to come back and play our game for 40 minutes. I think we played about 32 minutes of Penn State basketball. Weve got to put together a 40 minute game.
Q. This is for Shep and D.J. both. Youre going against a team tomorrow whose coach is a Philly guy, too. How does that translate in this game? Is Iowa tough to play against, and do they reflect the toughness of their coach?
D.J. NEWBILL: Every team in the Big Ten is tough. You see, we just went down to the wire with Nebraska, so Iowa is no different. Its going to come down to a few possessions, who can get the stops, who can make the plays.
SHEP GARNER: You know, I just feel the same way. Try to go out there, play harder than them. Thats whats going to win the game, the team that plays harder.
Q. What do you think of the atmosphere here at the United Center? Playing a first round game of course its not full, but does it matter to you guys, the size of the crowd?
SHEP GARNER: It doesnt matter to me, but its great. I love the Big Ten atmosphere. Its alive and everybody is loud. I just like it, coming from Philly, I like it.
D.J. NEWBILL: Its definitely big to get a chance to play at the United Center. This is the place Michael Jordan made famous. We play for each other, so whether the crowd is loud or quiet or theres a lot of people in the stands or not, we play for each other.
Q. D.J., the All Big Ten team, you werent on the First Team. Are you on a mission here to finish your career and show everyone how good you are?
D.J. NEWBILL: As a unit were on a mission, the whole team. Were disappointed how we finished in Big Ten play, so weve got another opportunity to come out here and prove to ourselves and prove to everybody that were better than what we showed.
Q. Same question about the Philly toughness and what those kids bring. Fourty-five points came from your Philly guards. Talk about their style and what they have.
PAT CHAMBERS: You know what, Shep and D.J., they have a lot of guts and a lot of grit, and I think thats what you need in tournament play. Really important that you dont get deflated when other teams go on runs. Youve got to stay even, and youve got to know that youve just got to win the next possession. And if we just take it a possession at a time, theyll find success, and I think thats what they did, and I think thats why youre talking about Philly toughness and Philly guards, and thats what theyve done. If you know the history of Philadelphia and the great guards that have come through there, you put those guys right on that list of courage and not fearing failure and putting themselves on the line. And guess what, if they look bad, they look bad, but you know theyre going to get back up and play the next possession.
Q. You guys set a Big Ten tournament record for blocks tonight. Just talk about the block party and what you guys accomplished.
PAT CHAMBERS: The block party, huh? Thats good. Look, they were driving the ball, we had high hands, we were trying to wall up and chest, and good things happened. Again, that wasnt the game plan. The game plan was to keep them out of the paint, and obviously keep them off the offensive glass. But Im proud of my guys for playing as hard as they did as a collective unit and giving us an opportunity because statistically this is amazing. This is just amazing.
But we all contributed in some way.
Q. What do you think of this atmosphere at the United Center, and how do you think it perhaps inspires and motivates your players?
PAT CHAMBERS: Yeah, I said this to Sandy Barbour and Phil Esten earlier: I just love Chicago, I really do. Theres something about Chicago that I appreciate. Im not from Chicago, but when I visit here, I just enjoy the people, enjoy the city. Went for a walk along the lake. I know friends and family are here shopping. Theres so many great things to do. And then the walk in where the Chicago Bulls play and a great friend of mine is the assistant coach in Eddie Pinckney, just so much excitement around it.
Were fortunate to come away with the win, but we really are enjoying this experience.
Q. I know you and Coach McCaffery go way back. What has impressed you the most about his team and the way theyve played, especially down the stretch here?
PAT CHAMBERS: You take Wisconsin out of this league, I think theyre the hottest team in the Big Ten. I think hes done a phenomenal job closing out teams. They never get rattled. We were in a close game. Aaron White makes a huge play. But Ive seen that all year. Somebody makes a big play for them, so they find success. Think about last year, they were in a ton of games, but it went the other way for them, but now theyve learned from those experiences, and now theyre winning those games. And hes a terrific coach. He really gets his players to buy in, plays a ton of guys. Hes a great motivator, and I think thats why you see Iowa having a lot of success under his tenure.
Q. You called the last game against Nebraska a rock fight. This game seemed pretty physical, as well. How are you guys going to get ready and come back to play tomorrow early afternoon?
PAT CHAMBERS: Were going to rest up. Were going to do some cold tubs. Were going to get some treatment. But if youre an 18 to 23 year old kid, come on, they dont want to practice, they want to play games. I feel confident that theyll be ready to play and theyll play with great energy tomorrow.
Q. How much extra motivation do you have? This Iowa team came into Happy Valley a couple weeks ago and won on your home court. What does that do for the guys?
PAT CHAMBERS: Yeah, they totally understand that we let one slip away there at Penn State. But again, its typically about us and our mindset and what were capable of doing as a team. Iowa is big. Theyve got really good shooters, really good scorers. Aaron White, first team, All Big Ten, what an incredible accomplishment for him and what hes done there. Hes all over the record books. But weve got to go out and play Penn State basketball for 40 minutes, give ourselves a chance.
Q. Just whats it like to have D.J. be able to go out and have that kind of performance on a nightly basis like he did today?
PAT CHAMBERS: You know what, Im disappointed he didnt make First Team. I think Ive shared that quite often over the last 48 hours. But he showed you why he should be. Hes very consistent, usually very efficient, and hes a great leader. What did he have, four blocks today? Hes probably had four blocks in ten games. But thats just the type of player he is. He was unbelievable in huddles, especially when Nebraska went on their run, calming everybody down, really stepping up his leadership, and saying weve been here before, we can get this done.
You know, his performance today was Im happy for him, but hes got to do it again tomorrow.