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INDIANA UNIVERSITY BASKETBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
February 9, 2018
Indiana - 80, Minnesota - 56
Q. Devonte, you had seven assists and three turnovers tonight. Obviously, you've been playing really well lately. What was working really well for you, especially tonight?
DEVONTE GREEN: I think we just had an open man coming off the ball screens. Seeing the BIGS, and just playing simple.
Q. I think you said something similar after Rutgers. You said something about simplifying your game, that you feel simplifying your game has made you more successful. What does that mean in real terms?
DEVONTE GREEN: Not trying to make a home run play. Not trying to make a difficult play. Just seeing what's there and making that play.
Q. Juwan, these last three, four games with Devonte, where have you seen the big improvement in his play?
JUWAN MORGAN: Repeating what he said, just making the simplest play. He's playing within himself and playing within the system at the same time. He's just making plays for others, and when that happens, it opens up things for him. As you saw, he got hot from the line earlier today, and as they started closing in on him, he started to drive and making the extra pass.
Q. (No microphone)?
JUWAN MORGAN: Really just having one another's back, especially in rotations. I know because, after Purdue, that was a huge emphasis for us. Just helping each other in the rotations, and I think those last two games, we've done that. And just staying within the pack line, not trying to over extend, and deny our man, and things like that.
Q. Devonte, you're obviously back in the starting lineup and back to playing 30 minutes a night. How has that helped you getting consistency, getting in the rhythm, to bounce back?
DEVONTE GREEN: It's definitely helped. Coming over, just getting into a rhythm coming into the game, and mentally getting into a rhythm and staying consistent throughout the games.
Q. You're up ten at halftime and had a quick 6-0 burst to start the second half, all getting to the rim. Was that emphasized coming out at halftime?
JUWAN MORGAN: Yeah, it was. We just wanted to really not settle and not give up easy baskets so that they could get back into the game. We locked down on defense, and as we did that, it opened up our offense.
Q. For either of you guys, you had 21 assists on 30 made baskets. What's that say about how hot you guys were clicking offensively?
DEVONTE GREEN: We've really just been emphasizing sharing the ball and making the right read, driving to pass. So I think it's been a big help the last couple games.
Q. Juwan, what's Freddie done for you? Talking about maybe some of the changes in the starting lineup, having him next to you to start games. What's different maybe when you've got him in there?
JUWAN MORGAN: It's definitely a different look, being able to play at my natural position at the four and be able to just give help where it's needed with Freddie because he holds his own every single game. Just being able to provide that help and still be able to do my own job for the team, it's definitely a different look, but I think it's been helpful for us.
Q. Kind of piggy-backing off of that, how does he jump so high?
DEVONTE GREEN: You see his legs?
Q. You guys ever see anybody jump like that? He's got some lift-off there?
DEVONTE GREEN: It's a rare sight.
JUWAN MORGAN: I haven't seen it much.
Q. What was the work inside against Jordan Murphy?
JUWAN MORGAN: Really just trying to take away all easy angles for him to score, making every shot as tough as possible, and not letting him get anything easy. I think that kind of took him out of his game and didn't let him get too good of a rhythm.
Q. Juwan, the defense has obviously been improving progressively. But were there any aha moments for you guys or just the process finally helped you guys?
JUWAN MORGAN: I think it's the process definitely. It's nothing that we didn't work on every day. It was just finally breaking through that door, and once we did that, we've just been on a roll now.
Q. Devonte, how much did not playing much against Purdue maybe be the final catalyst to improve your game? Since then, you've played much better.
DEVONTE GREEN: I wouldn't say it had that much of an effect. I just really stuck with what I've been doing and mentally stayed with it and stayed in the game, and just came to compete every day.
ARCHIE MILLER: Good win for our team, continuing to build. I think you start to see a group that's really committed to playing a certain way right now. We caught Minnesota at a rough time for them with their injuries, but I thought our guys were locked in ready to play. They continue to establish the intensity level that we like. I think that we've established, especially at home, an energy level that we have to play with, and tonight was a really good job by our guys all the way around.
Sharing the ball was something we talked a lot about, especially after our Michigan State game, having so many shots at the rim blocked. To go into the paint starting here now, I think you're starting to see some guys really look for one another. That was a really positive thing on offense with sharing the ball.
Q. Devonte used the word simplifying, simplifying his game and having success, but at the same time, he still is capable of something maybe a little more intricate like that home run pass he threw to Juwan in the first half. What's the balance for a guy like that who can make those plays, but you don't want him to be constantly looking for it?
ARCHIE MILLER: That's the biggest deal. It's not always a home run. You can go for the single every once in a while, and I think he started to go for the singles. He's starting to make some really good decisions on pick and roll situations. He's starting to be a guy that has his head up and is looking for people, and then every once in a while, you're going to see him make a couple plays that a lot of people can't make because he's really talented.
For him to be playing the way he is right now is a really good step for our team. We're getting quality play-making ability, if you look at his last four games, maybe five, I'm not sure, his assist totals on those. He's a guy that can really start to make things better for us, and lo and behold, that's giving him confidence in other areas.
Q. Was there any sort of catalyst three or four games ago to get him to this point or maybe more so natural evolution on his part to get to where he is now?
ARCHIE MILLER: In his mind, I think he started to see to himself that his way wasn't working. At the end of the day, he started to come with a little bit more humbleness in practice, a little bit more approach that we liked. And with that approach, he got opportunity. Once he got his opportunity, he took advantage of it.
To me right now, he's playing as good as we've had a guard play all season just in terms of the ability to make plays. We haven't been a team that really has been a sharing team. It's more pound and ground. Now I think you're seeing the ball move a little bit more, and he's a guy that I think can see the game a little bit, couple steps ahead.
Q. Archie, defensively, you held Rutgers, I think, to 24 percent shooting. Minnesota had like 33 percent. What's been the key on your defense?
ARCHIE MILLER: The energy level is up. Guys are really working on the ball, which is something we struggled with at times this year, just not tough enough on the ball. From a positioning standpoint, from an energy level off the ball, guys are really aware. You see a lot more deflections, a lot more blocked shots. I think defensively we've done a better job just understanding how we play. We've got more experience playing with one another now.
I'll also say this. I have three guys on this team that are really good defenders. They've become better defenders. Juwan is playing out of position, but he's being asked to do a lot. He's blocking shots. He's defensive rebounding. He's covering ground. And Zach and Rob, those two guys have stacked up against every guy in this league, and they're playing really hard. You've got some talent over there right now as well.
It's a team thing with us. I think these last two games have been team approach. Our frontcourt players are doing a really good job making things hard for the guards to get open looks or clean looks, and I think our guys are playing with great energy. Like I told them, you can lose things just like you can get them. So we've earned our way to where we're at now, and we're going to try and earn our way until we play on Wednesday another round.
Q. You mentioned Zach defensively. Is it a luxury as a coach to have a 6'6" kid. Isaiah Washington is really quick on the blow by dribble, but you can put Zach on him and give him some trouble.
ARCHIE MILLER: Yes, that's what we've been able to do. We've been able to move Zach around from Bridges to Diop to Isaiah Washington. He's got great versatility, and he's got great instincts. Definitely, his length is something that gives him an advantage.
Q. This starting five has been pretty productive. What do you like most about that group, and is that your best five right now at this point in the season?
ARCHIE MILLER: I would say that's our best five right now in the season. That's why they're in there together. Freddie's brought a rebounding mentality. He's brought another blue collar guy that's playing hard right now. I think you're starting to see him be a little bit more confident offensively. He's an athlete on the glass. That's been big.
Devonte clearly has established the play-making ability here recently that's given us a little different dimension. To me, that five gives us the best chance. That's why we're working with that five right now to start the game.
Q. The guard rotation, and even off the bench from Al and Josh tonight, is that kind of the ideal production level that you like to envision from that unit?
ARCHIE MILLER: No, I mean, we're playing the rotation of the guys that are doing well out there. If a guy's doing well, playing well, doing things we're asking him to do, they can get more minutes. I don't foresee it being any type of minute restriction we're looking at. We're just clearly trying to play in rhythm with a group that's playing well. If they're playing well, we'll go with them.
We subbed a lot tonight. We got a little more out of our bench tonight, just in terms of the guys that were in the game. Justin had nine points and four rebounds in 17 minutes. Al hit seven points off the bench. We got some production off the bench as well.
Q. Juwan and Devonte stuffed the stat sheet tonight, but Rob led the team with plus 32. What did you like about the way he played tonight?
ARCHIE MILLER: Rob guards the other guy's best player the whole game. He's locked in on that end, which is great to see. I think tonight, if you look at him, he made a lot of really good passes -- four assists, zero turnovers, he was unselfish, and he defensive rebounded for us.
To me, 11, 5, and 4, 30 minutes guarding those guys was a really good performance by Rob. He's a leader. He's a rock. And he's earned the right to play well at this time of the year with how he's approached things.
Q. Coach, I'm sure you know the fans absolutely love Tim Priller. What do you love about Tim Priller being on this team?
ARCHIE MILLER: Tim is a really good guy, number one. He's a great teammate. He's here to do whatever we've asked him to do. His role on our team has been a big one. The amount of reps he takes in practice, the things we ask him to do in scouting, playing against other guys, he does a lot for our team. He's a valuable guy every day.
He's obviously a fan favorite, which is something that's overwhelming at times to hear, but he's a great guy, and he's got a great attitude, and he's helped our team a lot this year.
Q. You mentioned Rob's leadership. Has he kind of improved in that role?
ARCHIE MILLER: Definitely. I didn't know Rob a whole lot before I got here, very quiet and reserved. I think most people will tell you he's going to do the right thing and do his job. He's way more vocal than he's ever been, just in terms of being able to talk to the players, being able to communicate in huddles, the practice reps that he gets, he's been a stud in that realm.
The thing you want about Rob, you just want to finish, as well as a coach, you want to put those guys in a situation where they're enjoying themselves right now and they're playing and playing for one another, and they have another chance to play another game on Wednesday. Rob's definitely been a stud in terms of the leadership. He's done a really good job for us.
Q. Did it look like Collin maybe hurt his wrist?
ARCHIE MILLER: I'm not sure what it was. Maybe a thumb or a wrist. Not real sure of the severity of it. We'll get an idea moving forward.
Q. As a late arrival, you guys went through a tough stretch where you lost three to the top 15 teams, and now you've won back-to-back games to the top 20. How have you been able to keep your team resilient?
ARCHIE MILLER: I think the fight they're playing with -- win, lose, or draw -- hasn't changed. I think they understand what we have to do to be competitive, how hard we have to play in those games. You're playing against a Purdue. You're playing against Michigan State. You're right there. You don't get it done. I've never seen these guys quit. I've never seen it fracture. The locker room has never fractured. They're coachable.
This team gets better through losses and through ups and downs. I think the last couple games in particular, we're playing our best basketball. We're sharing it more than we have before. From an effort standpoint, we're really good. I thought we really battled in the Michigan State game as well. We just came up a little short.
For these guys, particularly at home, they need to establish how hard it is to play against them in this building. The effort level, the energy, some of the plays defensively, the hard plays that are being made right now, they weren't being made earlier in the year. We've continued to improve, and we've been a very coachable group.
Q. Coach, these guys have improved throughout the year, obviously. What does it feel like to you to have your team where they were earlier in the year and to now winning and competing after not winning to some of the best teams in the country?
ARCHIE MILLER: It's always as a coach, your quest is improvement. Your quest is to find your team at the right time of the year playing the best. That's always been this time. We have a way of doing things every day where guys have to bring it, they have to get better. If you're not getting better, you're not going to get rewarded.
I think the effort level the team is playing with right now is one of which they understand there's really not a whole lot of room for error. We have to be really good in certain areas if we're going to have a chance.
Now I just hope, as we continue to progress, we continue sharing the ball. Being more unselfish in our passing game, being more unselfish with assists. Guys thinking more about the assist than a bucket. That was a big step tonight. We took a big step at Rutgers, I thought as well, just getting easy baskets for other people and not make the game so hard, especially at the end of the shot clock.
If we can keep improving offensively, I know we're going to keep staying with it on the other end of the floor. Every game from this point forward really matters to our guys, and I think they understand right now that they have a chance to beat anybody they play.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports