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November 1, 2018

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

Southern Indiana - 62, Indiana - 96

ARCHIE MILLER: Some good and some bad. It's good to play in front of the fans for the first time. I think that really gets the jitters sort of off the plate for the rest of the season.

Conditioning played a good role tonight in terms of some of that fatigue in terms of who is available for the game. There will be some good, some bad, really teachable stuff.

First half defense, pretty locked in. Second half defense, not really locked in at all. Then I think first half offense, not doing a really nice job of sharing it, moving it. Second half much more efficient in terms of how we played.

There's some good and bad. We'll break it down. Have three days to get ready for our opener on Tuesday. We're looking forward to Chicago State.


Q. From a shooting standpoint, last year three-point shooting was something you were missing. Tonight 50% of them. Something positive there.
ARCHIE MILLER: It was encouraging. I think in the second half, obviously Damezi showed a little bit of what he can do from behind the line. He's a big guard, can shoot the ball. Zach knocking two down was really good to see. For the most part I thought most of the shots were pretty good. So we got to keep developing that.

Clearly right now our guards are thin. As we get a couple guys back in the near future we can continue to be better from the perimeter.

Q. How much is Rob staking a claim to the point guard position?
ARCHIE MILLER: He's taking advantage of opportunity. It is what it is. Right now it's come to the level that he's that man up. He has to be able to step in and do a good job. I think you saw a little bit of a glimpse of what we kind of see every single day: solid, really, really tough-minded defensively, smart. Offensively still has to learn how to play the college game. Doesn't really know how that feels yet. For the most part he's been pretty impressive.

Q. Points off turnovers?
ARCHIE MILLER: Defense to offense. Defense to offense is always something we've prided ourselves on. The better you are on defense, you have a chance to really be good at offense. That's the hardest thing to stop, is transition.

For us, in our Loyola scrimmage, I can't remember maybe 10 or 11 steals. Tonight we had 10 more steals. We have a long team. We have a quick team. We have an active team. As we become better defensively, a little bit more locked in, hopefully we're a team that does a better job of being able to convert off those things.

I didn't think in the first half we were very good when we had our opportunities with numbers to take advantage of. We didn't advance the ball. We didn't make an easy look for somebody wide open. We dribbled one too many times which let them get back. We'll kind of show that on film.

Q. Romeo picked up a few steals tonight. How key is he in what you want to do defensively?
ARCHIE MILLER: He has to keep getting better defensively. I think he knows that. He's been getting better week by week. Naturally he's gifted in the passing lane, has a long arm. Can get his hand on a lot of balls, deflections. As we get better, you'll see him out more in transition being able to finish.

Q. With so many scorers on the team, how will it affect how you find your rotation?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, kind of trial by error a little bit. Part of it's who is available. We have to play who is available. I think right now, just in terms of the rotation that's coming in, we're starting to feel a little bit better about it.

With Al going out tonight, obviously a couple guys not available, you're having to throw some guys in there that maybe you wouldn't. Hopefully they get better from this and they take advantage of it.

We have to develop a better chemistry offensively. I think just understanding what our identity is, how we want to play. We have to continue to do a good job of really trying to teach it and play a little bit like we did in the second half rather than just the first half sort of was a little bit just not smooth, not smooth.

We've been feeling that way as a staff here early part in the year, that's where we're going to have our biggest climb, is offensive identity. I think defensively it is what it is. We're going to play the way we play. Offensively we have to get these guys in a situation where they're successful.

Q. You mentioned the second half not being as good offensively as you were in the first half. Anything stand out?
ARCHIE MILLER: Fatigue. Fatigue. Guys play too many minutes. Second thing would be transition defense, having guys take the ball to the basket, whether it's Romeo, Rob, Justin, guys on the baseline, not having rotations getting back. That was a big problem.

They made six threes. They shot a good percentage from three. Their front court players hit a couple of them. Just stops and starts to transition defense. If you're going to give guys easy baskets, whether you're not organized, running hard, that's going to kill you. Second half a lot of stuff to talk about in terms of transition defense.

Q. Juwan had six points at halftime.
ARCHIE MILLER: He's got to demand the ball, get the ball where he wants it, when he wants it. I thought the start of the second half put him in the focal point of what's going on. Got him the ball, guys found him. He wanted the ball. That kind of got him going a little bit in the first part.

Put six fouls on him in the first five minutes. That's a good start for him. He has to do that earlier in the game where he doesn't free-lance as match.

Q. De'Ron had a couple of baskets in the second half where he worked his way in there. Thoughts on how he played? Is he okay?
ARCHIE MILLER: I they he may have rolled his ankle, tweaked his ankle, I'm not sure. I wasn't told anything that anything was coming.

It's tough. It's conditioning, man. He's having to play himself into shape during the games, which is really hard to do. I don't know how many he played tonight, but he's picking up quick fouls. Some of the stuff you expect him to be. Just a little bit rusty.

But he's got to find a way to play himself into better shape. That's a big thing, him being able to play longer stretches.

He commands attention. He's a good player, great feet, hands around the basket. It's conditioning level on both ends of the floor where he's going to have to try to work hard through it. It's difficult to get in shape during games. The month of November will be hard on him physically.

Q. Damezi, streaky shooting in practice or just this one time?
ARCHIE MILLER: No, he can shoot the ball. He's a good shooter. I think once he made a couple tonight, probably made him feel a little bit better.

His struggles are like all young guys. He's learning how to play defense the first time a certain way. Offensively he's learning how to play a new style. He thinks a lot at times. But I thought tonight it was nice to see him let it go. He has that ability, the skill level behind the three-point line. He's a big, strong kid. I think the better he gets defensively, the more minutes he'll get.

Q. You talked more generally about the defense. You want improvement there. Do you feel younger guys are picking it up better from the older guys this year?
ARCHIE MILLER: Without question. It's easier to learn by having guys tell you where to go or seeing it on a film done correctly, whether that is practice or games. I think Rob and Romeo as freshmen playing that amount of minutes, you are you're looking at two guys doing a pretty good job right now early in their career, not making a ton of mistakes.

It's going to be a work in progress all season. I think this team can be pretty good defensively. We have a lot of length. I think we're quick. Part of it's going to be just that competitiveness.

I think start of this game, it's tough sometimes when you play like a Southern Indiana, they're undersized, five out, you're not dealing with true size, you're not getting stuff yet. They tried to space it out. We knew they were going to try to shoot a lot of threes. We did a decent job in the first half. Second half not so good.

Q. (Question about Romeo and Rob halfcourt offense.)
ARCHIE MILLER: Without really watching the film and seeing it, I think Rob really had some nice plays. I thought he was in the paint a few times. He's attacking the rim. With Rob, what we're trying to get Rob to see is see the floor a little earlier in transition where he can get guys like Romeo or Juwan the ball a little bit ahead of the defense where they have some more room to attack. Advancing the ball a little bit more for him.

Romeo is a naturally gifted scorer. He's going to learn how to play through contact better. At the end of the day, as we get and smoother running our stuff, he's going to be able to make some more plays. He's a natural transition type of a player. We're trying to find more ways to get in the open court. Those two guys are doing a great job, they're very coachable.

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