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INDIANA UNIVERSITY BASKETBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 12, 2017
Indiana - 86, Howard - 77
COACH MILLER: Good win for our team. First time out there on the floor playing against some different types of defenses. It's our first opportunity to go -- against whether it was matchup or zone. And I think it took us a while to massage the game, but I thought we did some good things by getting it down low. And there was a lot of unselfish passing and plays, I think, in the game that resembled what we want to be about.
And we take that as a positive. Obviously with a couple of guys going down with injuries, had some young guys playing a lot of minutes. It's good to get that experience for them.
And I think Justin had a decent night. Also think Al continues to show. And gotta get Clifton in there a little bit more now with our front court trouble.
But all in all, a good basketball game for us to win. Anytime you have an experience like we had on Friday night that was really tough to take, you question your confidence. You start to question your togetherness. You start to question some things.
So quick turnaround, be able to get up off the mat, come back and get a win is good. Now a quick turn around to get to Seton Hall.
Q. You said since spring that the freshmen have a weird leg up because everybody is sort of learning together with the new staff and new system and everything. Was maybe some of those performances, Al and Justin tonight, maybe a little bit reflective of that in your mind?
COACH MILLER: Probably a little bit. Justin had a good game for him to sort of play because he was given an opportunity to play inside and around the paint area. He got some catches in there around the bucket where -- that's where he's going to be at his best right now early in his career is either finishing, rebounding or attacking the basket in tight areas.
So he was able to show, I think, a little bit in those tight quarters what he can kind of be for us in the zone or maybe in the post at times.
Al is a high level IQ for a freshman. You can just watch him play and some of the plays he makes, he makes them look easy. And he's obviously got a good feel for the game. So as we continue to play and practice he's only going to get better.
But the other guys, you know, they're learning too. And the adjustment for those guys is to try to play a different style from something that they're used to. So, yes, I think the freshmen being on the first leg, being asked to do something they've never known is probably a little bit easier than the older guys who have been asked to do something else, then have to change. These guys don't have to change, the young guys; they just have to do what we ask them to do.
Q. What's the preliminary report on Juwan?
COACH MILLER: Sprained his ankle and as far as I know he's out until further due. I don't know if he'll play on Wednesday. I didn't get any report. We'll probably get something later in the week. He turned his ankle, I think they tried to retape him, and he said he couldn't play. We'll play it by ear.
Q. Two kind of uneven performances for De'Ron and Josh, (indiscernible) is it as simple as learning the new system?
COACH MILLER: I think so. It's learning what's a good shot, what's a bad shot, what's the flow of the game. I thought Rob did a nice job tonight, defensively. I think he played extremely hard.
I don't think he forced anything tonight. Forced just one turnover. Had 14 points and an uncharacteristic 2-for-6 at the line. I thought he had a good game.
Josh has struggled with his shot a little bit and he's getting some good looks. I think he played 28 minutes, seven assists, two turnovers. You make a couple of those open 3s and they go down, and he ends up with a real nice night as well.
Those guys have to keep hanging in there. I think they're going to be very important pieces to the puzzle.
Q. First couple of exhibition games, and on Friday night you guys kind of got off to a slow start. How would you assess the start you guys got off to tonight?
COACH MILLER: I actually don't remember it. Thinking about the beginning of the game, I think we got off to a really good start in terms of the first four to eight minutes of getting fouled.
I think when you take a free-throw line into account, probably the first 8 to 12 minutes, the score should have been a little bit different. Rather than it be one or two possessions, it should have been three or four possessions. That's probably the thing, looking at it the most.
We got fouled a ton early. You capitalize on the foul line, you extend that lead, probably grow it in halftime. But we hung in there really good.
We're not defending the 3. It's part of just being good at your system and doing what you're doing. Whether it's scouting or attention to detail on certain guys, I think we've given up 30 made 3s in two games, which is astonishing. Some of the ones that go in, they're hard.
Right now we have to work really, really hard defensively to kind of start to look at how we can eliminate the 3-point line a little bit better. Because if you give up 3s at the rate we're giving them up, it's not a good thing.
Q. What can you take away from tonight's game and going forward for the rest of the season?
COACH MILLER: I think anytime you get a win, you've got to celebrate it, number one. I think our guys are still probably a little shellshocked from Friday night on how to react and how to respond; what's it feel like after a win with the new staff and all that.
But we talked after the game. I think one thing right now is very new is the roles. And I think you see some guys right now trying to figure out where they stand. And for us, continuing to establish our rotation, continue to establish what we're asking guys to do is going to be key moving forward.
But to get a win, get it out of the way is great. Going on the road against Seton Hall is going to be a huge test for us.
So we just have to focus in in a short amount of time here, find a way to get a little better, and also find a way to see if we can stay fresh and maybe get a little bit more healthy. But we'll go with what we've got.
Q. Seemed like De'Ron made the most of his opportunity in the paint, 7-for-9 from the field, had 17 points. What impressed you the most about what he's able to do down low?
COACH MILLER: Sometimes against the zone you forget about the post. And De'Ron has an advantage there size-wise, and I think sometimes the guards especially against the zone can forget about him down there. I thought we did a good job finding him in the seams and hitting him with some good passes.
Devonte to start the second half, had a good one. I think Rob hit him with one. And if he gets it that deep down there, he's very crafty around the basket, can use the rim. If he gets position, you trust him.
And I thought he did a good job of really being a little bit pressure release sometimes in getting the ball to the high post and mid post, and he made great passes out of the post, too.
He had, I thought, a really good game. If you add in the free throws, and he's a better free-throw shooter than that, you add that in, he had a terrific game in terms of efficiency. I mean, he did his job.
Q. What did Al and Justin kind of do in practice to earn this (indiscernible) tonight?
COACH MILLER: Al's really been productive in terms of assist-to-turnover, quality shots. And defensively he's hung tough and he's done, so to speak, what we've asked him to.
But for the most part, he's made more plays for others in coming days. He hasn't just been a shot-maker. He's been able to get guys with an extra pass or get a bucket. He had a really good workout yesterday before practice, probably one of his best practices.
So getting a feel for him. And he hasn't even practiced half the practices compared to everybody else. We've been excited about him; he's just been out.
Justin got a lot of run tonight due to injury, obviously, and being the game was in the zone, it gave him some spots where he could catch the ball, like I said, kind of tight areas and show his athleticism and whatnot and play to his strength, which is finishing around the basket and whatnot.
But both guys did a really good job. And Clifton got his first action tonight. Hopefully we can build on that with him as well.
Q. With Josh kind of struggling to find the touch on his shot, where do you draw the line between wanting to let him shoot his way out of the slump and wanting to have the ball in the hands of hotter players?
COACH MILLER: Josh, I think, right now, early in the season, probably some of his percentage-wise is probably thinking is it a good shot or bad shot? He's got to get away from that.
As long as he takes the good shots, inside/out ones, the ones that are open, he'll make it. I also think fatigue in his legs, I think he's a little beat up right now. I don't think he has the legs he had maybe two or three weeks ago. Maybe freshen him up a little bit.
I'm not going to tell Josh to stop shooting. I think it's one of the best things he does is be able to catch and make one-two step for open 3s. Usually percentages come back around. He works at it so hard, the law of averages will probably come back around for him.
Q. In particular, how pleased are you with the way De'Ron and Justin handled the zone? You mentioned being in the post, being relief valves and things, but generally operating in more high traffic areas?
COACH MILLER: I thought they did a good job. For the very first time you're going up against the zone. Whether it's a match-up or regular zone, sometimes you get caught up in that.
I thought when we got it in there, the percentage of something going well was good. De'Ron, in particular, really carved out some space.
I thought the perimeter guys did a good job of finding him.
Justin, in the high post to the mid post had his opportunities and also finished on the baseline a few times. I thought those two guys were pretty efficient down there.
They gave us an opportunity to get it down there and get it in there without turning it over. De'Ron didn't turn it over, and Justin had two.
If you look at the amount of field goals they got and the amount of times they touched it and didn't turn it over, they were pretty good.
Q. You mentioned Al having a good workout on Saturday. But the team as a whole, were you pleased with how they came back Saturday following Friday night?
COACH MILLER: Yes. I think those guys were, like everybody, probably wondering what the heck was going to happen on Saturday morning when they woke up.
There's not a whole lot of time to turn around. And I think that type of a loss early in the season can really, not only knock you on your heels, but can shake you a little bit.
So we focused on moving on as fast as we possibly could, because we knew we were going to play against a system that was different. And we hadn't seen a ton of zone and worked on a ton of zone.
So we spent our time trying to get our offense organized because I thought our offense crushed us on Friday night. Inability to run good offense hurt us a lot.
So I felt that we spent our time offensively working against some of the things they were trying to do. If we could be more efficient, not turn it over and get off to a better start, that would help. So we did that. And studied some film.
You have the one day in between. It's hard to get out there and practice like that. Now that we have two days and we play on Wednesday, we have to find the best way to move forward going to that next one, which I think we're going to spend some time studying Friday night. And we'll look at tonight as well.
But Friday night, in particular, I think is going to help us moving forward. We haven't had a whole lot of time to sit those guys down and do that yet.
So over the next three days or whatnot I think we'll take some time to learn, see if we can get recovered physically a little bit, especially if we're going to be down two front court players going to Seton Hall. And make sure that we're ready to go.
We're going to have to get a lot more physical and tougher. And Wednesday is going to be a great opportunity to see how that works.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports