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December 21, 2017

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana - 87, Tennessee Tech - 59

COACH MILLER: Good win. And it's been a tough couple days, not just for our players, but I think our entire program. And we went back to work and really challenged our guys to get up off the mat, so to speak, even though you don't feel right, but competition is everything. I think we really competed the last couple of days in practice and I think it showed tonight that we were a harder-playing team. We were a smarter team.

And the length of different guys we were able to get in there and play was good to see because Tennessee Tech has been a pretty good team on film. They're going to have a good season. They're an older team, and they're very good off the dribble. But I thought our guys did a much better job on the ball tonight.

Q. Speaking specifically about the defense, what did you think overall was better than Monday night?
COACH MILLER: Ball pressure. Working on the ball. Everything starts and stops with something. And in our program it has to start with the ability to really defend the ball. And if you watch the two games they'll be night and day.

Our Fort Wayne performance on the ball was as soft as we've probably had since Indiana State considering some of the teams we've played and competed with. And that's where it's got to start and stop with our team. There's got to be a nonnegotiable there when it comes how you work on the ball defense.

And I thought we had much more burst in terms of our workload, and I thought we were impacting the ball a lot more and that helps. You don't give up as many 3s when they're not as comfortable. They can't pass it on time. The ball's not getting to the paint, so you're not condensing, sort of caving into the defense.

Guarding the ball worked hard on the ball for the most part all night, and I thought we made them make some tough 2s and not many good 3s, I thought.

Q. This one game, but do you learn anything from how your team responded from Monday from the last couple of days in practice?
COACH MILLER: Yeah, I think I'm going to have to be a raving lunatic every day regardless whether you win by 30 or lose by 30. It's got to be the same. There's an approach here that is easy to come off of a high and make you feel good and a lack of responsibility to understand how every game is important. And, yeah, probably going to have a lot of headaches over the next couple of months.

Q. How much do you need to lean on guys like, I know people look at the 20 points from Josh tonight, but seniors I guess?
COACH MILLER: Without question. Without question. Your best players at the end of the day have to be your oldest players. Not that they're not going to -- what I mean by best players, the guys that get it done in the tough moments, the guys that require, are requiring the other guys on the team to follow their lead.

There's got to be much more of sort of like an alpha dog approach to the upperclassmen. They just can't let that happen on Monday. And it's almost perplexing. I wasn't -- a part of the first game against Fort Wayne it's almost perplexing that the approach wouldn't have been different from the upperclassmen.

I think those guys get driven harder, Josh Newkirk, he had a couple of hard couple of practices, and forcing him to compete, forcing him to get out of his, so to speak, foul trouble and just not being able to lead us out there more. And I thought he was very good tonight. When we have decent guard play we're a lot better.

Q. Zach almost matched his shots attempted on the season in tonight's game. Are you guys just trying to push him to take the open shot when it's there, remind him that --
COACH MILLER: Part of it may have been their style. They chose not to guard him. So he found himself open and he didn't hesitate. I think in the second half the shots he got were really good ones, and I was happy to see him make a couple because that's a big thing for him is being able to create a little offense out there. But Zach's done a nice job. He's been a really nice, bright spot for us in the month of December.

Q. You've got a lot more from McSwain tonight. (Indiscernible). Is that part of that competitiveness these last couple of days?
COACH MILLER: Without question. Everyone wants an opportunity. There's a guy on our team that doesn't want to play more. Freddie is no different. There's productivity and there's getting the job done every day and attitude is everything. And I think Freddie, the last few days in practice, did a nice job. And I thought in the game tonight he got off to a little bit of a rocky start but he kept with it.

And when De'Ron went out with his first-half injury he was required to play more. When Freddie plays per minute he's probably one of the best rebounders in the country, and I think he showed that tonight. And I was happy for him to get in there and bang around.

Q. Looking forward, what do you want to use -- what's the schedule, I guess, for this sort of week off and what do you want to use?
COACH MILLER: Christmas break, our guys deserve a little bit of a break here. And we'll be back on the 26th ready to practice. And those practices on the 26th all the way leading into Youngstown State will be similar to the practices we had this week. We have to go to work.

We've got to keep pushing through. And after you get through Youngstown State at that point you have another window before you start Big Ten play. And from that point on, you're not going to have a lot of practice time due to how the Big Ten schedule is. So this is an important time period to recover, an important time period when we get back how we have to practice leading into the Big Ten.

Q. Can you expand a little more on what the practices were like the last couple days leading up to this game?
ARCHIE MILLER: Challenging. Guys need to be challenged; everyone from Rob Johnson to Collin Hartman. Every single guy needed challenged this week. It’s not easy to be negative, but at the same time, the reality is that it’s unacceptable. It was just unacceptable what happened on Monday. The drive in practice these next couple days and hopefully for the rest of our time here that there is an understanding that when you practice, it is competitive. You have to win your minutes. You have to earn it.

We got back to the basics a little bit. We tried to improve on some of our mistakes. But like I said, there have to be some things that are a staple and are dear to our heart. In terms of defense, I thought we got a little bit better.

Q: Justin Smith got some minutes late but he hasn’t had a lot of minutes lately. Is that more of…

ARCHIE MILLER: All of these guys are caught in ups and downs during the season, whether it’s injuries or foul trouble, everyone has to be ready. And Justin got an opportunity here tonight and hopefully he has a chance to get in there more with what we are doing.

Like I said, playing time is earned and if you aren’t getting your job done in the game, you shouldn’t be in. Someone else has to get in. That was the problem the other night. The other night we kept taking guys out and the guys going in weren’t any better. I thought tonight that was a lot different.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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