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November 22, 2017

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana - 87, Arkansas State - 70

COACH MILLER: A good win for our team. Arkansas State did a lot of things that challenged us, put us in transition defense quite a bit and you could see our inability to really get back tonight. And that was disappointing.

I thought that Simms and Cockfield were tough matchups that got below us and behind us and drove us a lot which was part of our problems. We were too spread out.

But I think offensively we did a great job on the offensive glass. Continues to be a strengths for us the last couple of games. And Juwan has clearly stood out in terms of what he's bringing to the team.

And all in all, to be able to play with eight turnovers and make 16 free throws to their 15 attempts, I think we did enough to win the game. And especially late in the last five, four minutes we capitalized on some really good opportunities.

So good win. Very concerned about our turnaround and our next opponent in Eastern Michigan, trying to get our team two feet back on the ground and ready to go for what I think is going to be a very difficult game.

Q. As the team tries to really put together that complete performance, how meaningful is it to have Juwan kind of follow up Sunday night with the kind of night he had tonight?
COACH MILLER: That's good. He's playing with some great confidence right now. And it has nothing to do with jump shots or anything like that. He's playing hard. He's got the ability right now to really get on the glass.

And I thought just in general he's finished better. And he's kind of done that not only this game. I thought we saw signs of it Seton Hall as well, where he was able to really mix it up and get on the glass and finish.

We gotta keep him going. He's obviously very important. He got off to a little bit of a slow state through the exhibitions and our opener, what not, but I think he's worked his way back. I think if we can get more consistent play with some other guys, game in game out, that's what we're hoping for.

Q. You talked about Juwan being a potential breakout player through the season. What has he shown you the last few games?
COACH MILLER: Energy. He's brought a lot of energy to the table. He's a versatile defender for us. He's done a nice job there. I think just in general right now his physicality on the glass and in the paint is much different than it was earlier in the season.

I think he's taken -- I don't know what he took last game, but you're looking at possibly 20 free throws in the last two games. You get 20 free throws in two games you're mixing it up pretty good.

And we're not seeing many man-to-man either. We're playing against a lot of zones, so he's doing a good job in tight spaces. And I think as we get going here he's going to be a big factor for us.

Q. How did you feel like you attacked the zone tonight?
COACH MILLER: I guess just from a percentage standpoint, if you look at what we did, I thought we shot a good percentage. We didn't turn the ball over. The one thing that is standing out is obviously our 3-point shooting. I think you gotta make a couple of open ones to make that thing really start to feel funny for the defense. I think Rob had a couple of good ones.

I think a couple of other guys got some good looks. They just didn't go in. You make a couple of 3s it can really balloon the game. I thought we worked the ball into the paint pretty good. They played a couple different types of zones. They weren't giving us the same look every time down, whether they were spread out or whether they tried to match up in the middle.

For the most part I thought we did all right. I have to watch the film to see but the zone we'll see on -- what day is it, Friday -- the zone we'll see on Friday will be the best zone we see all season.

Q. Juwan has also talked about being more of a leader. How much have you seen maybe being able to demand from his teammates and be more vocal?
COACH MILLER: He's been more vocal. He's one of the guys out there that has a good feel for what we're trying to do. And I think he's playing the right way. So guys are going to listen to him. Juwan has got to stay focused on the job at hand, which is obviously to bring great energy and do what he's got to do. The more he has a voice, the better off we are.

Q. You mentioned earlier you'd take 20 free throws in the last two games, he actually hit 19 of them. I think he's only hit two field goals in each of those games. He's (indiscernible) just hustle. Earlier you said he was trying to force things and be things that he wasn't and now he's kind of refocusing.
COACH MILLER: Yeah, I think we tried to center him on the game for him starts inside out not outside in. And I think that's a big part of it, whether you're playing against South Florida or playing against these guys here tonight, he's pretty much duplicated the performances, which starts with energy, tough plays, able to finish in and around the basket. And he hasn't taken very much jump shots. Hasn't had the ability to really even look at it.

But he's driving the ball better. We're going to be able to put him in good spots and that's what we want to do.

Q. How would you assess the play of your bench in terms of the depth you have?
COACH MILLER: Well, we're throwing a lot of guys in there. And we're getting a lot of different contributions, depending on the game, which is a good thing. You're not counting on every guy. Al and Justin have been pretty consistent for us in making sure they're impacting the game in a big way.

Al has played basically the last two games maybe with seven assists and one turnover, which is good. And Justin has done a nice job on the glass. Freddie got in there tonight and really did a good job more for us as well. Much more so in the first half when he was rebounding the ball. Getting 10 rebounds in 12 minutes, it's incredible. Some were zone but still he brought a presence and gave us something in the first half that we didn't have, and you need them all hands on deck. I'm not sure this will be the rotation as it keeps going.

We're still trying to tweak it and figure some things out on how we can get some guys in. You still have Collin who is going to be added to the mix. Zach, I'd love to find a way to make that happen. But it's hard to play 12 guys.

And especially when you're kind of going against a lot of different types of lineups to guard as well. But our bench has to develop. We have to be able to get something out of it almost every night.

I thought Curt had some really good plays at the end of the game, especially in the last four or five minutes, where he made a couple of drives to the basket and a couple lay-ins, whatnot.

Q. A little bit of a slow start both halves. Is that trend a little concerning at this point?
COACH MILLER: It is. First four minutes of each half haven't been good to us, especially out of halftime. Coming out of halftime tonight was disappointing, some of the lackadaisical plays and inability to stop the ball from being driven into the paint and score. We weren't as dialed in.

So the start is something that we're looking at. Changing up the lineup and all that stuff, you can do all that stuff you want, but what we're trying to do right now is get a chemistry and trying to get guys to feel like they know when they're going to be in there and what they're doing. That will help us more so than changing things every other game.

Q. There were a couple times you were pretty animated defensively?
COACH MILLER: Really? You noticed that?

Q. A little bit. What were the things that weren't happening defensively?
COACH MILLER: Transition defense. Didn't get back. Didn't get back, and there's just a lack of communication. They subbed a lot. They had a lot of different combinations of players in there. We were switching matchups on Simms quite a bit. When you are at the free-throw line -- and there's no communication from the bench on matchups. I thought that struggled tonight.

Our transition defense wasn't good. Just in general, if you look at our ball screen defense, probably one of the more confusing games that we've had.

We have been getting better and better and better, and tonight it was almost like they're coming downhill, coming right by us. We didn't have any resistance.

And part of it was very quick guards, but the other thing was very spread out, getting completely -- hit way too high on the floor, and we weren't able to adjust on that.

So, yeah, there were some plays out there that were mindboggling. The ones that are really getting us right now that drive you crazy is when there's a loose ball on the ground and you have it and for whatever reason it ends up back in their hands and they shoot it.

You reach; they don't, and you foul. First-to-the-floor type of plays. Loose balls, stuff like that that, we're not coming up with them. Whether that's a long rebound that bounces and they're just faster to it. But that's how you win tough games. You're able to get those 50/50 plays every time. You're able to tie the guy up on the floor and he doesn't get a foul on you or he doesn't shoot it.

And that's just the identity and some of the things that we have to keep working on.

Q. How critical is it going to be to get Robert to be more consistent? He had a great game last time, and tonight he struggled, 2-of-4 and 0-of-5 with about five minutes to go, then knocks a 3-pointer down and a couple of buckets.
COACH MILLER: It's going to happen. You want guys to obviously be there every single night. I think Rob had some good looks tonight that didn't go in. That's going to happen. But he had eight defensive rebounds, two assists, one turnover. He made big timely plays in the last four minutes, which is what you want your best players to do, regardless how they're playing. Felt he did a good job. Played a lot of minutes. Asking him to do a lot. He's a better shooter than he's shooting right now. That's the one thing. I think the law of averages hopefully will come back around and he'll start to dial.

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