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January 21, 2017

James Blackmon Jr.

Robert Johnson

Zach McRoberts

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana - 82, Michigan State - 75

Q. James, you had the game winner at Penn State. Your team loses OG. Do you need somebody to step up, high 33 points. Take us through your performance.
JAMES BLACKMON JR.: Just really all of us had a mindset of we gotta step up, because losing OG, he's such a great player. He brings so much to our team.

So I think it was just not one person, it was everybody on the team changing their mindset.

Q. You mentioned everybody stepping up but in particular Zach. Can you talk about his impact?
JAMES BLACKMON JR.: We know what Zach can do. That's why we're confident when he's out there. He brings so much to the table. He brings that energy and he does the little things that we need.

Q. James, you scored 33 points. Defensively you were extremely solid.
JAMES BLACKMON JR.: Yeah, just buying into -- Coach Buck had a great plan for us, so just buying into that, and I feel like we all covered each other's backs today. If someone was in the wrong spot, someone else was picking it up for them.

Q. Zach, you played 32 minutes today, by far the most you've played all season. Did you ever feel tired at any certain point in the game?
ZACH MCROBERTS: I think with our practices I think we do a good job staying in shape. So no matter how many minutes, I think guys are ready. So Coach Crean always talks about playing. I was ready to play however many minutes, I think. So I wouldn't think I was fatigued at all.

Q. Zach, is it fair to call you a glue guy?
ZACH MCROBERTS: Depends how you define it. I just like doing the little things, helping my teammates out. I wouldn't throw any titles on it yet, just do anything we can to come together as a team and win.

Q. Question to Ron about low turnovers.
ROBERT JOHNSON: I think we did a good job of moving the ball, making the simple play. And offense got into a rhythm early, and I think it carried throughout the game.

Q. Rob, what's it like when James is sort of in the zone or whatever you want to call it? What's it like when he gets like that?
ROBERT JOHNSON: It's great. It makes it easier for all of us when he's hitting shots like that. Guys have to try to make a plan to stop him, and that just opens up even more for us.

Q. James, at what point did it hit you, how did it feel today?
JAMES BLACKMON JR.: Probably the warm-ups. I felt like I got a good warm-up in. And then after my first shot, probably.

Q. Michigan State makes it a much closer game late. What was the mindset in terms of just trying to outlast them?
ROBERT JOHNSON: I think Wednesday really prepared us for a game like this. We pulled it out at the end Wednesday, but I mean there were some things we definitely needed to improve on. And I think today we did a much better job of weathering the storm and finishing the game.

Q. Rob, you and James both spent a lot of time on Bridges. Started 1-of-6 and finished 4-of-17. What was the key to take his game as much as his offense away early?
ROBERT JOHNSON: We just wanted to make it tough for him all night. Like James said earlier, Coach Buck did a great job of getting us a game plan to go out and stop those guys, and we pretty much knew what the plays -- where he wanted to catch the ball. So we just wanted to take that away.

Q. You guys were not only down OG and now Juwan and Collin, what's the mindset of trying to overcome that?
ROBERT JOHNSON: I think it all goes back to playing on the man, as Zach mentioned. He's doing a good job at that. He played 32 minutes today. So that's big for us. Freddie gave us great minutes today. Devonte, Curt, so proud of the way they came in and contributed today. So I think it will take just them staying focused and locked in and giving that consistent effort.

Q. Question to Zach about his high school experience.
ZACH MCROBERTS: He was big on mental toughness. That was one of his aspects and always just playing as a team. He wasn't big into individual accolades or worrying about one guy getting his shots. He was worried about five guys, or 10, 15, however many are on the team, but those guys on the court.

And that's just what he preached. He always preached mental toughness, playing as a team. So he was big in my development there.

Q. A year ago could you have imagined yourself starting against Michigan State?
ZACH MCROBERTS: I don't know. I didn't really think about it. Definitely from where I was a year ago to be here now is definitely a special opportunity for me, and just the coaches have been great. The players have been great in my transition back. I want to thank them, and it's just been a great opportunity.

Q. Kind of a weird question, but how much did you play even just recreationally during the year between Vermont and IU?
ZACH MCROBERTS: I played a little bit just trying to stay in shape do something active, but nothing super serious.

Q. Question to James on the late-game scoring.
JAMES BLACKMON JR.: In the timeout we talked about getting a great shot. We needed a stop first and we just wanted to get a great shot, and I think that's what we did.

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