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January 30, 2016

Tom Crean

Bloomington, Indiana

Minnesota - 68, Indiana - 74

HEAD COACH CREAN: First and foremost, I'm not sure how many times people listen to me as of late, especially with how much we missed James Black, we never made an excuse. We miss the guy and the stuff that he can create for us.

But I'm not sure everybody listened to me. I think my team did, I think they really did. They saw the film. Because they believe what they see. Not what they're supposed to hear, you know, what a record is.

Minnesota is good. They're a good team. And they are extremely well coached. They're right there. They easily could have won the Purdue game the other night. And I'm not making any excuse. But I'm really proud of the way we found a way to win.

And that's the bottom line. Because they've got good players. They got us in transition, where we defended the transition extremely well up at Minnesota. I think they were maybe 4-19 on the break, and here they were really good on the break. We just didn't get back as well.

But it wasn't for lack of effort. It wasn't for lack of want to. And it wasn't for lack of preparation. Because if you're not prepared and ready to play then you don't find a away to win the game. We're not a team that turns it on late. And I don't think that happened. I just don't think we were as sharp.

I think we let our lack of outside shooting at times affect us. We didn't get back obviously as well. And they're very good in the ball screen, and we lost our awareness a little bit, lost our awareness on the weak side.

But we fought. And they were resilient in finding a way to win. And before anybody asks about the shooting, I'm not the least bit concerned about that. I don't think we shot enough threes. And that's the last thing I get worried about with this team.

But they are focus and their ability to be resilient inside of this game, and refocus when they got so close, I'm very proud of it. So we'll take the win.

Q. Can you talk about Thomas' development?
HEAD COACH CREAN: I think he's getting better constantly because he's putting even more focus on his ability to get better defensively. So he made adjustments inside the game. He was always a presence. I think he got better as the game went on. I don't think he posted as strong at the very beginning of the game. And then I think the couple of rebounds, the dunks, a couple of the post moves got him going.

It was one of those games that you have to find a way to win, no matter what. And he did a lot of things in the game that impacted the game. He also had some moments that you want back. But that's all part of it.

Those three freshmen played -- I didn't really look at stats yet, but they played a considerable amount of minutes. I don't think we'd have won the game without all three of them.

Q. Can you talk about the freshman rebounding?
HEAD COACH CREAN: That's key, we made a lot of improvement on the glass, a lot of improvement. We spent a lot of time at it. They're athletic. They're getting quicker. They're understanding it more. Your greatest toughness level is your consistency level, right? So going to the glass consistently, that makes your team tough. It shows that they're pretty tough. And you show your toughness in different ways. And us getting to the backboards has got to be a huge part of it.

Obviously it's been a long time since we won as good in transition defense. It's not from lack of work at it, it's must maybe we missed more shots than we usually miss and they got out and went at it, which was strong.

But we got the rebounds that we had to get and the put backs that we had to get to win the game.

Q. Can you talk about Thomas carrying the offense?
HEAD COACH CREAN: I don't look at it like that, I guess that makes sense, he's got a lot of energy. Thomas is just one of the guys. He's a key guy.

I don't look at it like -- I think he's a big factor in that. But Thomas is a great teammate. We said that when we signed him. And that's done nothing but get better and better as he's gotten more comfortable all the time.

So Thomas is one of the guys. And I think we've got an interesting group in that they get along at a really good rate. Young and old. And that's really important.

So he brings a lot of energy to everybody, you know, and the key is -- when it's not going so well, that he doesn't get emotional the other way. That's where he's kind of continued to mature, but he is. I'm proud of him.

Q. Can you talk about Lyonel's sideline energy?
HEAD COACH CREAN: I'm really -- he was a key part of the group. So I -- you know what I'll do? I'll try to stand at the end of the bench, okay, where I can see everything going forward so I can see the bench better and I'll be able to answer your question better.

If you notice where I'm at, I'm usually up watching the game. So if Lyonel's energy isn't high some day, then Lyonel Anderson won't be as good. I'm trying to answer your question the best I can.

Q. Can you talk about the shooting struggles?
HEAD COACH CREAN: I'd agree rushing shots. But I also think we weren't spaced deep enough at times. We've got that NBA line down for a reason. It's not to shoot behind the NBA line as much, it's to space behind it. And that's the most important thing.

So there were a couple of times where we'll look at it and say we weren't -- our technique wasn't as good. I know Nick rushed a couple. But -- and we didn't shoot enough. We didn't shoot as many as we needed to.

And I'll have to look back at the film and look back at the possession charts and things of that nature. I'm not concerned about the 3-point shooting at all.

Q. Can you talk about the keys to the second half of the Big Ten season?
HEAD COACH CREAN: Yeah, I just have to watch the film and get ready for Michigan. I don't have any look back, book forward thoughts, I really don't. I'm not being evasive. I know a couple of records in the league, I don't know many. And I'm sure that I could figure it out. I don't spend any time on that.

So this is all about how we get better, it really is. And it's all about them understanding what their strengths are, how to play to them, what we have to get better at, take what the game has given us, and continue to find ways.

I'm proud of them. I'm proud of our staff. Over this period of time -- the first part of it we're trying to figure out how to play without one of the best guards in the country. And we'll do this, because he's not there. We miss that kid. And he is a huge part of our team.

So it's still an evolvement for us in a lot of ways on how we're playing without him, even going into this week, because the opponents have figured out he's not out there, too.

So we've just got to continue to improve and get ready for Michigan.

Q. Can you talk about Rob's rebounding?
HEAD COACH CREAN: That's big. That's when I miss James. James was doing a great job on the defensive glass. So for us to win we've got to get guard rebounds. We have a number to hit and we don't hit it very often and when we do we're really good. But that -- Rob is getting a lot done, and it's not always showing up on his scoring but it's showing up in other areas, and I think it will show up in his scoring as we go.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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