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February 23, 2018

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

Ohio State - 80, Indiana - 78 (2OT)

COACH MILLER: Obviously heck of a night. Heck of a game. Two teams really battled. We came up short. Really disappointed for our fans and our seniors, in particular.

With that type of environment, you just hope they get an opportunity to close one out. Thought we did enough there at the end, 50/50 plays, we were right there and just a breakdown at the end to not be able to contest or be there on the shot.

Probably stopped the ball a little too deep. And I haven't seen the film yet to see what we could have done better. That's a special situation type of thing as a coach that will haunt you for a long time; that with no timeouts, or a made basket coming down full speed, you weren't organized or weren't able to get the spot, looked like a broken play.

But credit him in making a great shot. And they've had a heck of a season. I think that for us we've really improved coming down here through the home stretch.

We're playing pretty good basketball as a group, and I'm proud of our effort tonight.

Q. You guys have played some big teams here, Ohio State. Michigan State, battled to the wire. How do you use that with the players going into the Big Ten Conference?
COACH MILLER: I think on a neutral floor it's about energy, it's about confidence, it's about wanting to play, wanting to be there.

And I think our team will be that way. We haven't changed all season long, whether it's up or down or a team -- we've lost -- they've always been able to come right back to practice and take what we're trying to do and get better. And I think that's what we've done.

But we've been in some really, really tough games. A lot of them in here that we weren't able to close, something that's going to eat at you in the offseason, when it's all said and done.

But I think our guys are excited. And they'll be happy to get to New York, having another opportunity to play.

Q. You touched on it a little bit during senior night about these five seniors and how appreciative you are that they bought in to what you guys were doing. How much has that played a role in your first year as a head coach and how much have they helped and bought into what you --
COACH MILLER: They've been a great group from day one on campus until right now. They've been unbelievably coachable. They go to work every single day. All of them had some moments where they've had some downs and they never went away from it.

Sometimes when you lose some games early in the season, guys can listen to the outside clutter and sort of fight the process. Those guys are all about helping the process continue to go.

Our improvement as a team, our ability to compete, our defensive numbers, getting better offensively throughout the course of the season, has really contributed to a group that's been all in.

And it starts with your older guys. And those guys have been studs. Rob's been an absolute stud for us all year. I think the other guys, Josh or Collin, have had their moments where they've all been there.

But they care a lot about one another and they're very coachable and they've given us a chance to play pretty good basketball here down the stretch.

Q. I know he's not a senior, but we've asked about Juwan a lot of different ways this season. You talked about him even as far back as spring or summer, about a guy that could thrive in your system. At what point did you look at him as being a guy as a leading man, a guy you would look into for key positions and big buckets?
COACH MILLER: I think in December. Once we were in December, if you saw us start to play the higher-level competition at Michigan, at Louisville -- trying to think -- just Notre Dame. Starting looking in December, he was playing some really good basketball and you start to say we can really play through him.

When the injury happened to De'Ron, it shuffled our team a little bit. And we had to figure out how to play through him in different ways with different players around him. And he's continued to do a really great job.

He's given everything he has. He's probably running on fumes right now here at the end, the amount of minutes he's played, what we've asked him to do defensively and offensively.

He's had a great year. I hope he's rewarded for that in the next couple of weeks because he's earned obviously an All-Big Ten player. If there's a guy that's more valuable to their team than he is to ours, that's going to be debatable there.

Q. Bates-Diop had 24 points, took him 24 shots, what did you guys do well?
COACH MILLER: I think Zach really is he's more of a guard than he's a front court player. Facing up to the basket is really a strength. He's got unbelievable length. He shoots over the top of you. But I think for the most part we did a pretty job of just trying to keep him in front and challenging everything that you possibly could.

He's a very difficult cover. I would be surprised if he's not the Big Ten Player of the Year, just what he had to do.

But we tried to make him work. But he hurt us down the stretch with a couple of post-ups which, to his credit, is starting to work around the rim.

Q. Going off that, what makes Zach such an effective defender against some of these --
COACH MILLER: One, he plays incredibly hard. You won't find a guy that's given more effort than he has. He's good at it, too. Sometimes you have to be a little bit talented.

He's got great feet. He is a little bit longer than you give him credit for. And he plays extremely hard. It's a good combination of a guy that believes in himself. He believes in it. He plays hard. He doesn't back down. And he's really added a different dimension to our team this season. We've really counted on him.

Q. The fact that you played Purdue, Michigan State, Ohio State here down the stretch, really tough. Does that give your guys some belief heading out east?
COACH MILLER: I think so. I think our guys -- I don't care who we play or when we play them. Especially on a neutral site, we should have great confidence that we can do some stuff. And I think we're playing extremely hard. And when you win one game, if you're able to win one, feels like a million dollars, you get a lot of confidence. That's something we look forward to. We really want to stay in New York a little bit longer than anticipated.

Q. With Justin's contributions over the last four or five games, how valuable has that been not only over that stretch, but how valuable is it for your team heading into the postseason with a young guy playing as well as he is?
COACH MILLER: He's probably playing career-best basketball for him. He's had double figures in a lot of games.

I think you're seeing a guy with a lot more confidence, physical around the basket. I mentioned he's playing tougher on both ends of the floor. He had some moments tonight where he had a hard time guarding Tate.

But as a freshman versus a senior, you hope one day you look down the line and he's able to do that to somebody. But he's building confidence that in the offseason that he should go into the offseason ready and motivated. And I think he can obviously be a game-changer as a sophomore with the amount of experience he's got.

Q. Josh started the second half and down the stretch there point guard, what did you like from him?
COACH MILLER: He was solid. Six assists, one turnover. Thought he played really hard defensively. He was engaged in the game. He did everything in his power to help us in this one. He was the most solid guy out there with the ball. So we kept him in.

Q. For Josh, especially, is it important to get a performance like that from him heading into the Big Ten Tournament?
COACH MILLER: I think that our team has really -- we've got a couple guys playing well. When we step up, get another guard in there that's playing well, we're a little bit harder to play against.

And I think he gave us some really good bursts tonight, he and Rob, and if you add in Justin and Juwan, those guys -- that's why we were able to score, I guess, 78 points or whatever it was. Overtime. Obviously two overtimes. But we were able to score in the second half because of those guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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