Rutgers Coach Steve Pikiell, Captain DeShawn Freeman React to Loss against Northwestern

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell and captain DeShawn Freeman offer a candid albeit somber reaction to fifth-straight loss, this time 69-60 against Northwestern. Freeman played like a captain with 12 points and 15 boards and another double-double.

Rutgers Head Coach Steve Pikiell

 

Opening Statement: " I thought we played really hard. Again, we're struggling with that 40-minute marker. But we played a really good basketball team that I have a ton of respect for. I thought we did a lot of good things and we keep getting better. I know our record doesn't say it, but we're plugging away and we're going to get a couple of these."

 

On what changed from the first half to the second: "You have to make some shots. I think that's part of it and offensive rebounds really hurt us tonight. I thought they kept a lot of balls alive. You need a couple of breaks, too. You need a couple of shot to go in and a couple of whistles to go our way. Those things would have helped us, but again, we played a good team, a very good passing team with a lot of weapons and I thought we had a good game plan. I thought we played extremely hard throughout the game. D [DeShawn Freeman] did a good job of leading us and has done a very good job with that the last two games. I think Corey [Sanders] and the other guys are fighting, which I like."

 

On his team's defense: "I thought we had a good defensive game plan and I thought we did a good job. With [Scottie] Lindsey, they have three terrific scorers. I thought we dictated with our defense. They're one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country. So I like our defense on [Bryant McIntosh] and I thought we made things very difficult for them and that was our game plan coming in."

 

On what Northwestern did well: "They're really good offensively, so that's my first thing. If we could hold everyone to 23 points in a half, we would lead the country in defense. But a lot of things change. Shots go in. We got to the foul line, which they didn't a lot in the first half. With Vic Law, they have two wings that are terrific and they got going. Again, we have to make some shots and 40 minutes has been an issue. Tonight, probably 33 really good minutes and we need to get that other seven to finish this thing off."

 

On trying to get the ball inside: "We drove inside. They blocked 15 shots, so that was an issue, too. We really try to limit our three's to 10. Ten or below has been our number. You know at the end you throw up some too, but you have to make some. We had some pretty good looks and a couple of those have to go in for us, I think. The way they block shots, their size and their length really affected us driving to the basket. We have to do a better job of getting in the paint and kicking to open people and we'll spend a lot of time in the next few weeks with that because teams are blocking our shots. Our size is an issue, too. People think we're big but their two wings are 6' 7". They have really good size and when I play our three small guards, it shows up sometimes in those stat categories."


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