home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 2, 2019

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana - 63, Michigan State - 62

ARCHIE MILLER: Just another hard-fought game. Michigan State obviously is a terrific team, and being down a couple guys doesn't help their cause. But they clearly are tournament ready and also a Big Ten championship type of a group. They played that way for good portions of the game.

We had to fight and hang in through some ugly times, especially in the first half. I thought defensively we were much better in the second half, and then as about the 12-minute mark, the 8-minute mark started to come around, you could feel our guys have a different vibe about them just in terms of their energy level, and the last four minutes being able to get some key stops, some big offensive rebounds, and Juwan sticks that one in.

But you know, feels good. I mean, it honestly does. It feels good to watch the guys right now just in terms of their mindset, their disposition and how they're doing things, and you've got to play tough, and you've got to play really hard, and you've got to make some things happen for yourself, and we did that today.

Q. I don't think Justin played after halftime at Iowa, but he steps in for De'Ron on Tuesday against Wisconsin, obviously hit some shots today. What happened in the past six, seven days, anything that allowed him to refocus or take stock of what he needed to do better?
ARCHIE MILLER: Attitude is everything. I mean, that's everything. When your attitude is great and you're focused in on just doing whatever you can to help, good things tend to happen, and I think that's where Justin really changed his mindset after Iowa, and with De'Ron being sick and not really being available this past week, he was thrust back in there.

Today obviously I wasn't going to take him off the floor very much. He had a career day.

Q. This is probably some of the answer, just in talking about this whole team, but what is it about this group when you think about maybe the last month plus, obviously these last two games, just they aren't allowing the season to get away when it probably would have been pretty easy for them to?
ARCHIE MILLER: There's no lay-down in them. We've talked a lot about it. We've had some disappointing moments, but at the end of the day there was a lot to play for with our schedule, and this was a huge week for us just in terms of earning more confidence, finding a way to play your best at the right time, and like I said, our everyday approach really drastically needed to change. It really did. And it has, and it's led to good things just in terms of how hard we're playing. So really the only thing that has given us confidence all year in our big wins is how hard we've played.

I think the fact that we're back sort of at a level in terms of the competition and the competitiveness and what we're doing, it's brought us around to have a chance. You know, I think it's great attitude by the guys. I think it's great commitment level, and they sort of are just dialed in a little bit more so. They've gotten away from the worrying and feeling sorry for themselves, and they've gotten back to work, and it's good to see.

Q. Cassius Winston obviously is a tremendous player. What were your thoughts on Phinisee's defense against him, the whole game, especially that last possession?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, they probably set as many screens for him as any player you're going to guard, so when you're guarding him, you're getting nailed. I mean, you're getting nailed for 40 minutes. I thought Rob's on-ball defense was great. I thought our ball screen defense wasn't as good as it needed to be.

Late in the game we really were -- last six minutes, last four minutes, I thought Juwan and a couple guys did a much better job of helping Rob contain him and he didn't get down to the rim as much the last four minutes. But the last possession was very fitting for Rob. That's the guy that we all saw very early on in his career was going to be a special type of a player, and the way that he guarded in that last situation, it can't get any better. If he would have made the shot, he would have made it over a challenged guy in his face. But luckily it rimmed out for us, and the horn sounded.

Q. We've had so many conversations with you after games this season talking about the scoring efforts of guys like Juwan. He had the winning point today, but when you get a game from a guy like Justin or Devonte, maybe guys who weren't necessarily the primary options or look-tos for scoring, how much does that complete the team aspect and maybe just give you guys added elements on that end of the court?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, without question it was a hard game. I thought Romeo had a slow start in the first half. He wasn't playing as well or sometimes that happens. He didn't have it in the first half. He had it in the second half. He was much better in the second half.

Juwan, things are hard on Juwan right now. There's not a lot of room to move, and there's big bodies around the basket. But if you watched him this week, the way he rebounded, the way he defended, he's playing winning basketball, and he's not concerned at all with how many points he scores.

Both guys, they're on the scouting report. The other guys, they stepped up today. Devonte and obviously Justin had really big games. Devonte hit some really big shots for us in the game to keep us hanging around, hanging around. You know, some other guys obviously didn't get as many minutes here today, but I just thought the way that Justin was playing, he was a guy that was going to be out there quite a bit today with the way he played. But I wanted to get Race in there. De'Ron, unfair to him. He's been sick all week, and he did a better job in the second half than he did in the first half.

Q. The keys to sustaining this now, you kind of addressed this a little bit, but what has to happen next week, this week and the rest of the way?
ARCHIE MILLER: Just can't change who we are. Can't let a -- can't work so hard to sort of bring yourself out of the hole and you're a certain way every day trying to do that, and then all of a sudden some good things happen for you and then you change. That's the killer. We can't change. We just kind of have to stay with what we're doing. We've got to be about us and keep working to improve on all elements.

But the big deal will be how ready will we be on Monday, and having guys really ready to go on Monday is a very, very important thing for us.

Q. We know a lot about Devonte's ability to score, but a few stretches there he was quick hands on defense, forced some turnovers. How much do you like him on the defensive end, as well?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, he ended up getting three steals today. He dug a couple times as the ball was in the post and driven, and then he did get his hands on a couple of deflected passes. But when he's engaged, he's as talented of a guy as you can have. When he's not engaged, obviously he's like everybody else, it sticks out, and I think he was engaged today, made some plays.

Offensively he was good for us today, had four assists and one turnover. That's what we're harping on him the most is to take control of the ball, don't turn the ball over, and he was good. He got out with three in the first half off a skip pass, he came off a ball screen late in the game, got fouled, made two big free throws. It was important for him and all of our guys when they come in the game to obviously give us something. But Devonte was good today.

Q. As you head into the last week of Big Ten play, what are a couple tangible things you can take from the last two games into the last week of play?
ARCHIE MILLER: How hard we're playing. You know, that's the only thing we're dealing with right now, can we find a way to muster up and compete even harder when we play the next team because I know Illinois, I know exactly how that game is going to be. That's one of the hardest playing teams in the country. They're much improved, and their defense is something you never see, and turning the ball over on the road would be something that is really important, so we're going to have to go back to work and be ready.

Everyone is playing for something right now. Everybody has got something to prove, and with our league, it's always going to go down to the last day, and we'll see. We've got two this week.

Q. You guys won the fast break point battle 15-2 against a team like Michigan State that emphasizes that so much. How important was that in this game?
ARCHIE MILLER: It was really important, it really was. We had some defense to offense. We started to get some opportunities in transition. I mean, if you look, I think they had 14 turnovers, but we ended up having 10 steals in the game. 10 steals is a lot of steals in a game, and those steals I thought got us out in transition, especially late in the game when we were getting defensive rebounds and we were stopping them. The ball when it was advanced, I thought we got some early offense, which is needed against them.

I thought we did a decent job getting back, and part of it was we didn't turn it over. We didn't give them seven, eight possessions where we just turned the ball over. We had eight turnovers, and that helps your defense against their push.

Q. Do you think this win puts you guys back in the conversation for the NCAA Tournament, and is that something you even want to discuss at this point?
ARCHIE MILLER: You know, I think our resume at the end of the day will speak for itself. We have two more games. You have to control what you can, and that's the only thing you've got to worry about right now. Then you have the Big Ten Tournament. But we have a unique resume. Our schedule strength is off the charts. We have some big wins against really, really highly regarded teams, and if you take the name off the front, obviously you're going to look at a stretch in the season that doesn't look very good, but it's all about how you finish. You can keep controlling what you can control right now, which is being ready for the next one. But we have to win. I mean, we have to win, period.

Q. What halftime adjustments were you able to make in regards to the Michigan State pick-and-roll?
ARCHIE MILLER: We did a better job I thought being way more aggressive on the ball. I think at times you can get consumed with the roller getting the ball and all this stuff, but at the end of the day, the guy with the ball, he needs to be dealt with, and I thought we did a better job in the second half of at least taking away the rollers and some things. Cassius obviously got downhill a number of times and got around him, but he's a really good player. He keeps his dribble alive like nobody else. He waits for guys to leave. He's seeing the floor the whole time he's dribbling it. And we were trying to get back in front of him the best we could, but again, good player, obviously very, very well executing team, and he's doing this every game. The ball is in his hands as much as any player you're going to play against, so his line of 20, 11 and 3, that's pretty much what he's doing right now.

Q. You had 15 offensive rebounds, three games in a row you guys have put up big numbers. Is there anything you're doing schematically taking advantage of them, hoping to get out in transition?
ARCHIE MILLER: I think when you start with Michigan State, it starts obviously with their great push and all their execution, but at the end of the day, if you don't rebound with Michigan State you have no chance of winning the game. You can throw the scouting report out, you can throw everything out of the play. If you don't rebound, you're not beating them, and we were down heavy in the first half, 7-2, 9-2. I think we finished at halftime 19-11 down and then in the second half being able to be up 31-30 at the end of the game I think speaks volumes about why the game may have changed. We got stops. We were able to rebound the ball, and then we got some timely transition opportunities. But you have to be consumed with it, not just when you play them, but you have to be consumed with it every day, and I think we're a better rebounding team right now in the last few weeks than we've been.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297