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February 15, 2015

Tom Crean


THE MODERATOR:  Questions.

Q.  Where did you meet Brian?
COACH CREAN:  I met Brian in a hospice a few weeks ago.  I visited with him and his family.  I learned a little bit about him before I went there.  I know Brian is an absolute diehard Indiana fan for a long time, as his family has been.
I was as inspired walking out of there seeing him as he would have been happy to see me.  Probably 10 times more I was inspired walking out of there.
This is something I've had planned.  He didn't know it.  But when he would be able to get here, we're going to do this press conference together.
I will have to speak a little more for you.  Did you enjoy the night?  I'll take that as a yes.
Needless to say, a performance like that, when our guys are initiating the offense the way they did, attacking, we knew we were going to see a team that was going to bring pressure that we hadn't seen lately.  We needed to attack it.
The whole key, like I said, was going to be recognition and understanding when we had a quick shot, understanding when we could reverse it.
First couple possessions we were a little slow against their zone, then we started to get it figured out.  Our guys did a tremendous job.
We knew we were going to deal with difficulties inside of this game tonight, inside of their ability to play in the post.  Certainly with the way Andre Hollins is playing, they're a very good team.
In a league of teams that should be NCAA tournament teams or considered for it, they are right there with everybody else because they're getting better.
We had to play very well.  We shot the ball extremely well.  Really proud of the way the guys kept moving the ball.  Proud of the attack.
Defensively we had over 40 deflections, which was key.  We needed to rebound the ball well.  We needed to get second‑chance points.  We did that.
But the bottom line is the ball was on a string all night for us.  When it's on a string like that, you're getting very good movement, Yogi is leading the way the way he did, you're going to get looks.  Tonight those looks went down.  We were very fortunate to have those go down.  Sometimes they don't.  Tonight they did.  I'm excited about that and proud of the way the guys played.

Q.  How were you able to out‑rebound Minnesota?
COACH CREAN:  I was surprised at the number.  I think we were really conscious of being on the offensive glass and we really had to do that.  But our whole basis, as simple as it sounds, we have to have five guys inside the paint when that shot goes, and five guys inside to rebound the ball.
In a game like tonight when you have to get into the big guys, the forwards, the breakdown of the rebounds, Troy had nine, I didn't study the stat sheet, but bottom line is you have to have five guys in.  We knew the more we defensive rebounded, the more we could get out on that break.  Our guys did a good job with that.

Q.  How important was it for Rob and James to have the night they did?
COACH CREAN:  They've hit the wall a couple times.  Are you referring to the Maryland game?

Q.  Yes.
COACH CREAN:  I don't think that was a wall situation.  They missed some shots.  But those guys played a lot of minutes.  There were there on the court at the end of the game.
A wall is when you're mentally not able to stay with it defensively, you're getting discouraged easily.  That's not the case at all.
I try to explain it to these guys.  That proverbial weight on your shoulders, when you're missing shots, you let it affect you, it becomes slower.  Looks like you're not on the attack as much.
We'll do different things.  I kept James out there a little longer at the end of the shoot‑around for 10 extra minutes working on complete speed and attack to get it into his mind that everything is fine, when you're on the attack you're in great shape.  I kept reminding him of that.  You don't want the mental part of that to play in because it's really not there.  Because physically they're good.  So you don't want the fact that they missed a couple of shots to take them away from what their most important job is, which is to play a complete game.
They work hard on their shooting, they all do.  They work very hard on their shooting.  I think if you hit a wall, you wouldn't be spending that extra time.
I think we hit that wall a couple times.  Will we hit it again?  Maybe so.  That certainly wasn't the case on Wednesday night.  They wouldn't have come back and played the way they didn't today.

Q.  We haven't seen from Troy that perimeter game.
COACH CREAN:  He works very hard on his shot.  That's something that's growing.  It's something that is a part of him.  He wants to be a complete player.
Is it something that is a huge part of everything right now?  It will be.  But the bottom line is it's got to continue.  He's working to a point where he's feeling confident and those shots look good.  I credit Tim Buckley for the extra time he spends with him.  Troy is very serious about his shot.

Q.  The three‑point shooting tonight.  How instrumental was Yogi?
COACH CREAN:  Yogi gets so much attention from the other teams' coaches, game plans and players.  Yogi continues to play the game.  He makes adjustments inside the game well.
We're asking him to do an extraordinary amount of stuff, not just on the offensive end.  When you switch the defenses, we have to make up for what we don't have in post size, he's asked to do a lot.
We probably did maybe five, six different things defensively.  He's a key part of every bit of that.  One possession, he's guarding Andre Hollins, two possessions later he may be in a combination zone.  You have to be smart and tough to be able to do those things.  We were fortunate to get a couple breaks with him tonight.
I said, Great job passing the ball.
He said, I have a lot of great shooters to pass through.
It is a lot about him.  He is very, very serious about his improvement.  We practiced on Friday.  We got done about 6:00, 6:15.  The night goes.  All of a sudden 9:20 at night I'm coming in from downstairs, he's walking out of the locker room to head onto the court on a Friday night.  That's the kind of dedication he has.  He is working every day to become a complete player.  He's getting closer to it every day.

Q.  You have been a really good three‑point shooting team all season.  Why is that?
COACH CREAN:  I think it's just movement.  The ball just has to move.  That's what it is more than anything else.
A lot of that three‑point shooting, that's just a part of what we do.  It's not like they were set play calls for a three.  It's more about the movement.
We've got a lot of different guys.  Troy can play on the baseline, on the wing.  Troy can initiate the offense.  Troy can get into the pick'n roll.  Collin we didn't do as much with it tonight.  Emmitt, that's coming.
We have to be that way and be versatile because we don't have a team that we're going to go line up on that block and play high‑low, run cross screens constantly, things like that.  We just don't have that.
Bottom line, it's got to come in drive and kick.  We turned it over too much.  There's still things we got to get better at.
The bottom line, I say it all the time, it sounds simple but it's hard to do, pass the ball one dribble sooner, all right?  When you hold it too long, it allows the defense to adjust.  We're trying to create two‑on‑ones all over the court.
When the guys are moving, it's not about the scouting report, it's about moving constantly.
What do you think?  You good with that?  I saw that.

Q.  (Question regarding breaking the three‑point shooting record.)
COACH CREAN:  They're also fourth in the nation to turnover percentage.  They didn't lose many stat points on that.

Q.  Talk about the ability not to get steals against you.
COACH CREAN:  Again, it's ball moving, getting the ball advanced.  At certain times we're trying to get rest, making sure we have enough ball handlers on the court.
It sounds simple, but it's just doing your job.  It's getting the ball to the middle, getting it reversed.  Yogi takes the ball out of bounds.  We had a plan if they started trying to deny Yogi what we were going to do.
We have so much versatility that allows us to do different things, we have to make sure we understand that once we're in those things, that's your job.
I think that's key.  Again, it's spacing.  It's spacing.  It's ball movement.  It's getting the ball advanced up the court.  I'm really proud of the recognition.
A couple times we might have shot it too quick or tried to make a drive that wasn't there.  But I'm really, really proud of the way they moved the ball.
I can't tell you how proud I am to have met this guy right here and his family.  This would be a model of perseverance to me right here.  Brian Jones is a model of perseverance.  He's not had an easy life from everything I understand.  He has a great family from what I've seen and everything that I understand.
It's a rare, rare person that can make you feel better, all right, about you when you're there trying to make them feel better about them.  That's what this guy's got.  That's why we're doing this.
I'm really excited that you came here tonight.  I'm excited that you got to see us tonight.  I pray for you every day.  I hope you just continue to get better.  I appreciate you guys putting him up here where people can see.  This is a model of perseverance right here.
Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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