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November 16, 2015

Tom Crean

Bloomington, Indiana

Austin Peay - 76, Indiana - 102

COACH CREAN: Hard to find a lot of criticisms when you make 15 straight shots. I don't think I've ever been a part of 15 straight made shots. I know in the 2003 NCAA tournament in the old RCA Dome my Marquette team made 10 straight in overtime against Missouri in the final 32, and I never thought I'd see that again. Different environment, different time of year, but 15 straight is pretty impressive.

But I think it came because of really good movement of the ball, and our spacing was much better tonight than it was on this past Friday night. Our defensive energy was really good, even when we made mistakes, we played with energy. We probably gambled a little bit too much, a little bit too reckless. There is a give and take to that.

We had 14 steals, which is big for us. We had 57 deflections, which is big for us. But at the same time, we gave up too many points in the paint, and that combined with us giving them the ball back, and then we didn't capitalize on the turnovers we took from them as much as we needed to. So, answer my own questions, we're finding the criticisms right now.

But we can get a lot better. I have no doubt about that. We can get a lot better on both ends, and we can get even more consistent depth as we go along. The good news is that we continue to play hard, and we played in a much more efficient clip in the second half, and that's what you want to do. You want to improve why you're winning so that's what happened for us, and that's what we've got to continue to strive for.

Q. Talk about criticisms at the same time the steals. It seems you were getting in there easy, but some of the turnovers you were creating when they got the ball made the transition better. How much is that a teaching point and how much is that just kind of the way it is?
COACH CREAN: Well, we want to have great activity. We've got to have a better rim presence, and we know that. We're trying to adjust to the rules. I thought tonight a little different feel to it than even on this past Friday night, and that's all part of everybody getting used to it.

It was a very physical game tonight, and we want to make sure that we're not -- we had some fouls on the front line. I thought Thomas worked very hard down low. I thought Max did an excellent job. We've got to do a better job defending high-low to not let it in as easy as it was, and at the same time come with our digs.

We really haven't put a double scheme in yet, but to build it with coming down and being active on the ball. That's what you want. You want to make it really hard for them to get a clean look. Once they're inside, you want to make it hard for them to have a clean pass. And there were times we didn't do that, and they did an excellent job of playing to their strength, which was not only the high-low game, but movement. They're very, very quick.

We knew that Friday night's game, so we showed so little of it. I'm not sure the team did see any of the Vanderbilt game, to be honest with you. We watched it, but they might have seen some of it. We knew that wasn't the team we were going to get tonight. Dave's too good a coach, and those kids are high-level guys.

I mean, the films we had watched of them before was not indicative of the way they played on Friday, so we didn't fully expect to get that at all, and we didn't. They'll be a good team. But for us, it just continued building that level of half-court defense where we make it harder for it to go in.

Q. Can you talk about the ball movement?
COACH CREAN: Well, I was oblivious. I knew it was going in. J.D. said something late there, and Jade about the shooting. I didn't really realize it. So that part will be fun to watch. But it was a lot of that. It was getting the break. It was getting really good looks on the break. They're playing very loose but effective, effective and efficient.

Loose and reckless is bad. We got that a little bit in the first half loose and efficient, but really utilizing the whole court is where we're at our best. That was a product of that.

Q. What did you think with Nick's finger?
COACH CREAN: Yeah, that was -- my biggest thing was I wasn't going to try to fix it. Just make sure he wasn't dizzy, and be there to help him if he started to get dizzy, and not to panic because he looked at it. But they fixed it right away. So obviously it looked a lot worse than it actually was.

It didn't affect his shooting. Had he made a three before he had done that? Yeah, then he makes four. So that's good news. I was definitely excited when they said he's fine, so we don't want to lose him. We don't want to lose anybody, but we don't want to lose that guy.

Q. Your thoughts on Thomas' progress?
COACH CREAN: I thought he made good progress. I probably played him a few too many minutes from where we want. But I thought I played James a few too many. Not because they're not deserving, but in the whole management of minutes.

Thomas did a nice job, and he came back in after fouls and did a nice job. He played with really good energy and made a lot of strides from game one to game two. I thought he was capable of so much more on Friday night and certainly his energy is noticeable and people get excited about that. But I know about the energy. I want to see the efficiency, and I thought he played much more efficiently tonight.

Q. Having a team like Creighton in here Thursday before you go to Maui, how important is that to you?
COACH CREAN: It's going to be very important because they're really good. I have paid -- the coaches told me where they've been picked in a couple of their polls, and I didn't see that. I don't know that league as well anymore, but I know they're good. I know they can usually score inside and outside, and they put all skilled players on the floor. They run numerous actions and sets, and I think Maurice Watson is really good, really good. He brings another dimension to their team.

So they play tomorrow night, I believe right? So we'll have a chance to see more of the film. The coaches are way ahead on that. I did a lot of my personal work in the summer, but now it will be a matter of going back, digging into that and figuring out the best way to play them.

But they will come in here with a great mindset like they always do. They'll come in here physical, and they'll come in here really believing they can make shots.

Q. How do you improve the rim protection?
COACH CREAN: I just think we've got to continue to understand what it is. We've got three new guys inside plus Max who is new to us, and Max is in a different role than what he's accustomed to. So that will take some time. And Collin's getting back to speed.

But, again, you want to put really good pressure on the ball. You want to close up the driving lanes, we've got to continue to figure out who we're going to play in the post, and then you want to have really -- you want to make sure that you really rotate on the penetration. So there are a lot of things.

We've got to continue to build on what we're doing and just get better at it. We want to put pressure on the rim too, and there were a couple times where we weren't and the guys were noticing that. Right? It's Yogi did some tremendous things in the post tonight when we caught him off the block. That's the kind of action we've got to have. So it's just a matter of making it harder to get it in there, and then trying to do your best to understand how to help and how to cover with verticality without fouling.

One foul, I believe it was Thomas had a foul because they said he went into the offensive man, yet his hands were clean. That could be a game-to-game type of thing that we're going to see because the other night I'm not sure that would have been called, in the chest. I've got to watch the film.

I'm not being critical of the officiating. I'm saying it's new for everybody right now. So one way to take away some of it will be to play more zone. That's not what we want to do. Right now we want to get our understanding of how to move our feet and keep our hands outside of our body, and get our verticality right and get our help right.

Q. How can Yogi control the tempo?
COACH CREAN: Well, that's part of it. But I think what's really been good is the way they're talking in practice, and Troy stopped practice the other day or asked to stop it. And One time I think he just stopped it, which was pretty good, because he had never done that before. Really four times in a two-hour practice to make points.

Then you start to realize Troy's one of your veterans. So the more they talk defensively, the more they help reinforce what works, what we're trying to teach them and what they know works, the better it is. Then you want a lot of quick talking in the game. You don't want a lot of conversations in the game. Right? You want a lot of exclamation points and bullet points. You don't want long paragraphs. When guys are talking in the game, then you're not playing. I think as that continues to get better in practice, it will continue to manifest itself in the game.

But when it comes to your question about the pace and tempo, that's where James comes in too. That's where Rob comes in. That's where Troy comes in with the ball in his hands, it's decision making constantly. And that makes the game easier for Yogi who is good at those things.

Q. You talked about turnovers and it's sort of a line between reckless and efficient. Is this a team with the experience they've got, the potential to be explosive where you let guys maybe take chances a little bit more sometimes?
COACH CREAN: Yeah, I think it's the reads. To me it's like we've had a couple of these now. Straight-ahead passes on the break. You don't throw a straight-ahead pass. You have to create an angle. So that to me is make the same pass. It's create a one-dribble over to create an angle because you make it easy for a defender to get a hand on it when it's straight down the line. So that's just one example.

It's more angle driven and maybe sometimes one-dribble sooner driven drawing a crowd and then kicking it, rather than driving into a crowd and trying to make a play. But we spend a lot of time building our mindset of attacking, so we just want to be critical of when it was an obvious poor decision. But I don't want to put them in a situation where they're not trying to make plays, because that would harness a lot of play makers, and we have a play-making offense. Right? Make plays for others. The more we do that, it's amazing how it goes back to each other, we had five guys in double figures tonight. So that's a huge part of that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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