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November 3, 2015

Max Bielfeldt

James Blackmon, Jr.

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana - 82 Ottawa - 54

THE MODERATOR: First question.

Q. What was the key in the second half when they closed the gap and you put them away?
JAMES BLACKMON, JR.: Our key was the game plan, which was our defense. I feel like we picked it up the whole time second half. The first half we had a couple lapses, then just talked it out and went out there and did it.

MAX BIELFELDT: Definitely playing our team defense, being a unit, whether it's guys being in the gap, helping each other out. Switching was a lot smoother. Everybody was talking better in the second half. You could see it.

Q. (Question regarding Thomas Bryant.)
MAX BIELFELDT: Thomas, he always plays with incredible energy and incredible heart. He was showing why he's so highly regarded out there. He was just working his butt off, going on the glass, getting those rebounds, second-chance points.

His ability to get his own miss is really unique, scary ability. It's really tough to defend.

Q. (Question regarding losing to them last season.)
JAMES BLACKMON, JR.: The guys that were here last year, we all talked about that, to the freshmen, to Max. We knew how much it meant to us. When they made that run on us, we talked it out and said, If this is a close game at the end, they could go on a run. We wanted to shut that down.

Q. Coach talked about this a little bit pregame. They've already played nine games. There really are no practice limits up there. Do you feel like you got a better test than the average exhibition? Were they sharper than the kind of opponent you would face?
MAX BIELFELDT: I would say so. You could tell they got a couple games under their belt. They went out there, they were running stuff smooth, playing really well together, knew where the person was before he was there.

That's why it took us a little while to get going. It was kind of our first game playing against somebody else.

I think we did adapt really well kind of going back and forth in the first half, adapted really well to push that out and show what we can do.

Q. (Question about playing with Thomas.)
MAX BIELFELDT: I love playing with Thomas. He's such a physical presence down there. I kind of bring a physical presence in a different way.

Me and him down there, it's fun to be rebounding buddies almost. He's definitely an easy guy to play with. We definitely played well together and practice together.

Q. (Question regarding Thomas' energy.)
JAMES BLACKMON, JR.: I definitely feed off of it, too, with all my teammates. But Thomas does and Max as well. It's so much different with them two in there. It seems like everything is carved out when shots go up.

It makes it easier for us. I'm going in there crashing the glass, it's already wide open, so it makes it easier for all of us.

Q. (Question regarding key to shutting down the three-point shot.)
MAX BIELFELDT: We definitely focus in practice trying to put on the ball pressure around the three-point arc. They're a good three-point shooting team. If they get going, they have a chance against a lot of teams in this country.

I think just our ability to take our matchup, kind of not overhelp. They really thrive when someone has to help someone else, hitting that open man. I think we really managed that a lot better, kind of took it away in the second half especially.

Q. (Question regarding limiting the turnovers in the second half.)
JAMES BLACKMON, JR.: Yeah, that was the main point as well, just as much as the defense. He talked about it, then we just talked to each other and said, Let's fix it.

I don't think it happened a lot after that.

Q. Bigger lineups, everybody knew you were going to have more size this year, but to be able to play with Thomas and Max together, what worked well tonight and what do you feel you still have to adapt to some of those bigger lineups?
JAMES BLACKMON, JR.: I feel like the rebounding went well first. Our defense, as well. We have shot-blockers. I have confidence with guys when I know Thomas and Max got my back. And our guards, we can interchange. Me and Yogi switched off so many times tonight.

It's just everything is a plus when we can do that.

Q. (Question regarding having bigs that stretch the floor.)
MAX BIELFELDT: It's key. If you have a big, you have to respect them out there. That's why Wisconsin was so hard to guard last year, because they had those guys that could stretch the floor. Puts pressure on the defense.

What I was saying earlier with the rotations, if you have a guy or two out there that you don't respect, you can pack it in, make it harder on the other guys.

Having the ability to stretch the floor, this entire team can shoot, having that ability is special.

Q. (Question regarding the defense.)
JAMES BLACKMON, JR.: I feel like it's really great because we work on it every single day in practice. I give it about a 90 or 85. So we want to get to 100 obviously.


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