Rutgers Postgame Reaction: Still Learning to Finish Games, Steve Pikiell Reacts to Home Loss against Michigan

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers could not finish in another close loss, but what had head coach Steve Pikiell in a better mood Wednesday night after the 68-64 loss to Michigan?

Rutgers Coach Steve Pikiell Opening Statement: "Thank you for coming. Appreciate it. It was a great environment today. I want to thank the students and the community for coming out and supporting. You guys saw, we play hard. We compete like crazy. Now we have to complete the games. We didn't do that today, but I'm proud of our guys. They're fighting. We played an outstanding team that's fighting for a NCAA at-large bid. They're well coached and Michigan was four points better today."

 

On what is preventing the team from winning: "You guys have to understand that this is a process. This is the best league in the country. I don't care what anyone says. Night in and night out from top to bottom, from the No. 1 team to No. 13, this league is really good. Look at the teams' records and look at the coaches that are coaching at these places. Our guys are fighting. Today, we didn't rebound which is something we usually do. But we made free throws and we didn't turn the ball over, so we improved in those areas. We played a team that can really shoot the ball. We have to keep fighting. Nothing's easy. Nothing's going to be easy or given to us in this league. Our players know that. They come every day and they have to fight. We're playing teams that are good basketball teams. We have to complete the deal, make that big stop, get a good whistle, maybe that would help us, too, and we also need to make some plays on the offensive end. So any one of those areas would help us a little bit down the stretch."

 

On the execution in the second half: "Great. Again, we executed the plays we wanted to. Corey [Sanders] got to the rim on a play I wanted. These guys fought. We got an open three at the end there. Corey tee'd it up. We have to tee it up to win it. These guys are doing a real good job and they've improved in that area tremendously from earlier in the season."

 

On stopping Michigan's three-point attempts: "They're so good at shooting the ball, it's crazy. They make free throws usually and they shoot three's. every guy on their team that steps on the court, they're unique in that way, every guy can shoot three's. I thought we did a good job. They pick on fives. Fives usually have a hard time guarding on the perimeter. I thought they did a good job. We subbed. I thought Shaq [Doorson] gave us good minutes today, especially on the defensive end of the floor. We were in tune. They knew the game plan. I told them after [Michigan] hit the first couple 'If you guys didn't know it, we've been talking about this for three days. That's what this team does'. They  came out shooting the ball and we kind of settled into our defense. I thought we did a good job making it a little more difficult for them. I thought our press stalled them a little bit, too." 


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