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January 10, 2016

Yogi Ferrell

Tom Crean

Thomas Bryant

Troy Williams

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana - 85, Ohio St. - 60

Q. How important was the defensive success today?
YOGI FERRELL: Basically, just getting stops, playing defense. We work on that every single day in practice. You know, just hard defense, especially guarding, the scouts did a great job preparing us and what they went for. I felt like we carried that over into the game today.

Q. Felt like it wasn't just you, felt like everyone --
YOGI FERRELL: Well, I think we were just realizing more how important it is for us to play defense, and especially in the Big Ten where anybody can beat anybody on any given night, we know how important it is for us to go out there, and you know, if we get stops, not turn the ball over, then we have a great chance of winning.

Q. Can you talk about Troy's play today?
YOGI FERRELL: Troy played phenomenal, with his head up. I like his decision-making. He didn't over-penetrate. I felt like he pick and chose his spots.

Main thing I saw better for him, he was getting out and running, which Coach has gotten on him about it. He has got to get out and run more, because when that happens, you see just like today, layups, anything he wants. He's too athletic and nobody can stop him.

Q. You weren't pressing today --
TROY WILLIAMS: Just got to read the plays. You've got to read the situation of the game. I mean, that's really it, just reading it. We followed the game plan, keep doing the same thing we're doing, keep the intensity up, keep the effort there, and we just read the situation.

Q. How important were the early buckets?
TROY WILLIAMS: No, I mean, it just kind of game. It was like in the flow of the game.

Q. Thomas, you had a lot of offensive rebounds. How were you able to box out?
THOMAS BRYANT: Mind-set that we have just in practice and then we translate it into the game.

Q. What improvements have you made?
THOMAS BRYANT: I would say I improved on, I think conditioning, and re-evaluating and learning the plays and also just learning from my teammates. Just like Yogi and Troy, they are patient with me and they push me to the limit because they know that I can be good and I just try and just stick with it.

Q. Sustaining the intensity in the second half --
YOGI FERRELL: Yeah, a little bit in the second half, we probably got a little fatigued. We hadn't really caught our second wind yet. That's definitely hard in the Big Ten but we eventually got that.

But you know, it's definitely hard to keep that intensity, especially in the Big Ten. But I felt like we went out there, they went on a little run and we found a way to come back and try to keep that intensity up.

Q. The big half-time lead --
YOGI FERRELL: Yeah, that was definitely the most fun basketball, a half at least, that I've played here. And playing with these guys, and you got guys like OG going to the offensive glass and dunking the ball, I think that's fun. I feel like when we get defensive stops, we have a little bit of pride to ourselves and we want to go down to the other end and score.

Q. What's the balance of playing hard and reckless?
TROY WILLIAMS: With the offense, we don't try to shape it around one person. We all shape it around what Indiana does. I mean, with that, just keep doing the same thing, watching film. We watched a lot of film together and we were reading -- with my teammates, as well, also reading what I have been doing and what I haven't been doing.

Just so much is harnessing -- I mean, of course, like you say, he doesn't want to, because he sees what I'm trying to do, just either have to be lower or I have to make a dribble sooner or just keep my eyes up, things like that.

Q. The ease of scoring today --
YOGI FERRELL: I'd say the key to that was moving the ball. We have more assists-to-turnovers; for the first time for us to happen in the Big Ten, I think that's pretty big for us. I felt like Thomas and Max did great screens for me, Troy and Rob, our guards; I thought we found the lane, and once we get in the lane and kick out, we've got basically anything we wanted.

Q. Can you talk about staying out of foul trouble?
THOMAS BRYANT: Just stick with the game plan. Just have a mind-set to where I won't let myself get into that situation again. It was bad that it happened at that time but I just stayed on a positive note and just kept improving.

Q. The way you guys played defensively rebounding, is that defensive tone --
YOGI FERRELL: Well, I feel like the way that we practice is the standard that we set, and early on in the season, we weren't playing up to that standard but I felt like that now we're taking a lot more pride, and we know what we're capable of. We know how we can play defensively and getting rebounds. When we do that, when we have that mind-set, and like Thomas says, we can go out there and be great.

Q. The first half living up to practice standard. --
YOGI FERRELL: Yeah, I definitely do. The coaches, they prepare us so well out there, knowing their tendencies. We basically want to go out there and know the other team like the back of our hand.

COACH CREAN: The most important thing for any team, especially ours, is just to keep understanding how much better they can get. And to be honest with themselves when they see the film, be honest with themselves in practice, believe their coaches, and the coaches's job is to make sure that we are putting improvement at the forefront of everything.

And today was a product of us getting better over the last few days, having great respect for our opponent. Nothing has changed on how good I think they are. It was just -- it wasn't their best day obviously. Everybody goes through that. But I'm really, really proud of the way that our team played, because we beat an outstanding team with a lot of talent, and that's a future Hall of Fame coach, I don't think there's any question about that.

And to me, I'm proud of the way they have worked. I'm proud of the way they have worked all week to prepare for this game because -- because it's -- you can trick yourself sometimes when you're playing well or you can trick yourself when you're not playing so well. And the most important thing is to shut everything out but how much you want to improve and get better and how willing you are to make your teammates accountable to that.

So if we can continue to do that, we are going to continue to improve. I thought our guys today did a great job of understanding exactly what we had to do. We had to get back on defense. We had to win the defensive rebounding game because they are such a strong, athletic -- they are so strong athletically and very aggressive on the offensive glass. Had to do a much better job of passing the ball sooner, one or two more passes more, not probe, not slow down. In fact, I think we've been playing too slow, and I think our guys saw that on film, too.

But not try to make things -- we're very unselfish and sometimes our turnovers have come from trying to be almost too unselfish, but we're not making great reads. And today we did a much better job of that because they practiced that way.

Those were the keys, 50 deflections was a huge key for us. Obviously some outstanding personal numbers but most importantly it was a team mind-set knowing that we were playing an excellent team, and our guys rose to the challenge and very proud of them.

Q. Basically how good is it for you to see this team, feel momentum and kind of keep pushing? It felt like every time something happened to Ohio State in the first half, particular, your guys were ramping up?
COACH CREAN: Well, they are playing with more passion and fire all the time, and it comes from that. Very committed.

Again, when you're aggressive on one end, you're usually going to be on the other end. We have great respect for how they shoot it. We wanted to be aggressive with our hands and not give them a lot of free looks. And you know, obviously in the second half, we gave up a few too many to guys like JaQuan Lyle, who had an excellent second half.

But the bottom line was, we had to have five guys around that glass to rebound, so the more that we could attack the ball, the better, and the more we got those defensive boards, the better chance we had to get our break going.

So they were committed to that and we kept that up. We needed to get our second wind a little bit after playing our guys so many minutes in the first half. So I went to some quick subs and I think that helped.

And it wasn't a matter of not sustaining intensity in the second half, it was really just a matter of getting that second wind for us. And because they played so hard in the first half, and they played extended minutes, because we rode it there for a while there at the end of the first half without much subbing. And then that was the moment that was there to be gained in the first half.

So they did an excellent job of when Ohio State would put a couple together in a row, they bounced back from that pretty quick and either got the stop in the basket or came down and we had a couple good runs ourselves.

They are growing up together, which is important, and the simpler you make the game the better.

Q. Troy's lack of turnovers --
COACH CREAN: I didn't realize that. I knew he didn't have many -- I know we only had 12. I had not really looked that far -- absolutely, because he was on the attack.

And again, we don't want Troy to slow down. And even with Yogi's turnovers, there's been too much probing, instead of just attacking. When you probe and you start dribbling it into traffic -- not today, but when you probe and you dribble into traffic and you're looking for that opening, that's not good.

When the ball gets reversed, you play in space and it's going to be different games because they have really good rim protection with Giddens and Trevor Thompson; and then Tate is really hard to deal with but it's not quite the same at the rim when he's at the five. So we had to have a couple different ways to play. But we wanted to get the ball reversed, have great spacing, have sharper cuts, better screens and then attack off that dribble, and Troy was a product of all of that. And the fewer turnovers was the result.

Q. The first half --
COACH CREAN: No, I think they were good, they were really good, and we just kept capitalizing. We are fortunate, I'm going to watch the film to see exactly how that all played out. But the most important thing is that we come here tomorrow and get better. And that's not coach speak, because if it was coach speak, we wouldn't be getting better.

The bottom line is that we keep coming in and improving, and I already have a list of four things that are concrete have to get better over the next couple of days as we get ready for the next wave of games.

But they are learning, and they are adjusting and figuring things out in the game, and it's like Bob Knight, we have this -- we don't have a lot of signs in our main locker room area, but we have one that "victory favors the team that makes the fewest mistakes."

Well, to add to it, is it also favors the team that plays through them the best and learns from them the quickest. And that's where we've got to continue to grow and that's what the film is about and it's the adjustments you can make in the game.

They are talking the game well. And I think they were excited. They kept gaining energy but I don't think any of them were awestruck but the fact that they were playing well.

We knew we were playing a really good team and there was not going to be any time to take our foot off the gas with a team like Ohio State because they have outstanding transition and because their length, they can get it, and they have a lot of ways -- why they are so good, they have a lot of ways to get easy baskets, whether it's the boards, whether it's the turnovers, whether it's the dunks, the drop-offs, things of that nature. We had to make sure that we did the best job we could every possession of staying connected.

Q. How was the defensive communication --
COACH CREAN: Yeah, it's a work-in-progress. Communication always is to me. We made a couple of adjustments based on their lineups with the screens and we weren't doing as well when JaQuan hit a couple of threes in the second half.

So to me, I want to watch the film from a 40-minute perspective when I coach them and we have to make sure that that communication stays 40 minutes. But it's getting better and it's been getting better and it can continue to get better. That's what we'll keep striving for.

Q. Can you talk about Robert's adjustments to James being out?
COACH CREAN: Rob is not healthy and that's a little bit of this, okay, so we really work through with Rob. Probably in answer to your question, yes, but we all moved better today. We miss James. Let's not kid ourselves. I saw it six minutes into the Rutgers game, it hit me that, oh, he's not here; he's down at the end of the bench. He's not out there. That's why we can't play slower and allow the help to get fixed earlier.

We've got to play a little faster. We've got to have a better set up for cuts. We've got to screen better. We've got to move without the ball better. He's not completely healthy and he has not been. But he's working. You can't keep him out of the gym. And I don't practice him every day fully, but it doesn't make any difference, he's out there. And we've got to keep working through it.

But he's cleared to play, but he's not anywhere near 100 percent. But he's working very, very hard on his shot. And we don't just practice things to get ready for the game, and even just some of the basic fundamentals that we need to get better. We really do try to take certain guys every day and create situations for them, whether it's in practice or whether it's in special, you know, work outs, which is going to change maybe a little bit now that we get back to school, because we've had some good time.

I'm proud that we never over-practiced these guys, but at the same time, we got a lot better and Rob is a product of that and you never have to wonder if he's working on the things that he needs to get better at.

Q. You never want to lose a player like James --
COACH CREAN: There's not.

Q. -- this team, is it at a place where it's comfortable without James?
COACH CREAN: I don't know if it's that. We played well today. We are getting better. You take James Blackmon, Jr., out of the lineup, you're taking 16 points a game out of the lineup. You're taking one of the best-shooting players in the country regardless of position in the lineup; and the guy was getting better. I mean, no grass grows under his feet. I mean, he works. He works.

And this is going to be a challenge. We've got to help him get mind-set -- he was playing excellent. I mean, he was well on the way to achieving his goal and a part of it for us. And even though it wasn't always coming out in the games, defensively or things like that, he's getting a lot better for us.

And you didn't see, OG's improvement all the time in games because it was starting in practice, starting to become more consistent, right. So same thing with James.

It's just a matter of us staying true to our fundamentals, and fundamentals: Overscheme as much as possible, never getting away from the improvement. And now when it comes to James, I've already got a list of things. We've got enough -- I don't need to jump into that. But I'm very anxious to get back to work with him and helping get stronger and keep him a part of this team because I miss the guy and he's just getting back into the state and hopefully we'll see him either tonight or tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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