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March 19, 2019

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

St. Francis - 72, Indiana - 89

COACH ARCHIE MILLER: Well, a lot of credit to Saint Francis. Obviously they had a terrific season being able to win their regular season championship and I thought they came in here and in particular -- in particular Jamaal King really played well. That first half, he was fantastic, and he got them going.

The end of the day, defensively, we weren't very good and then we were very apprehensive on offense and I think that happens at times when you play this first game.

You don't really know how it's going to go. It's a different feeling, and we looked that way in the first half. We did a better job in the second half, and Juwan clearly established himself, and that's what we needed to do, you know, pretty much the entire game.

So other guys stepped up and made some plays. Al was very good tonight. Devonte continues to make some good plays. Justin got on the glass a few times, but you know, more importantly, the first one is down. Feel a lot better to kind of get into the tournament now, and Providence and Arkansas will be a much different feeling on probably Thursday.

Q. What did you appreciate most about how your guys played here tonight?
COACH ARCHIE MILLER: Well second half was much more like I'd like to think that we can be. I don't think we're playing very well defensively as a team here in this last, maybe three games. We've sort of let our guard down.

I don't think our perimeter guys right now defensively are locked in as much, and we have to try and figure out a way to get that back, because you're not going to score a ton of points every single game.

You know, the next one against Providence with their size, or Arkansas with their quickness, which we have already seen this year, they can give us a lot of different types of problems. We are going to have to find a way to get back that confidence level on defense, that toughness level on defense, which at times in the second half, we got it going. But we're going to need it from the jump ball here kind of moving forward.

Q. About Juwan establishing himself in the second half, was that a point of emphasis of yours at halftime or his or where did that come from?
COACH ARCHIE MILLER: That came right from us, staff, at halftime. We wanted to get it established. In the first half, they played a lot of zone, and he picked up two fouls which took him off the floor. We were doing all right when he was on the floor in the first half, but when he came out it, hurt us.

Second half, I mean, there was a clear message to establish, and with the new rules with the fouls, you've got ten minutes; if you can pick up that fifth foul before the tenth minute, you go two shots every time, and that was much more the philosophy in the second half. And he wanted ball; we got it in there to him and that was a good sign and it was able to neutralize sort of the game. We didn't have to shoot as many jumpers.

Q. How did you balance tonight whether to play Romeo, sore back, NBA draft stock; am I making too much calculus of the occasion or is that all part of it?
COACH ARCHIE MILLER: No, he tweaked his back early on in the Ohio State game. He dealt with it through the Ohio State game and post-Ohio State, he's had multiple treatments a day and he's not feeling very good, so he's uncomfortable.

If we played in the NCAA Tournament tonight, he wouldn't have played. So I think that's one thing to state.

Romeo would like to come back. There are short turnarounds right here with these games, so I don't necessarily know if one day is going to make a lot of difference for him. Maybe it takes us into that second week.

But hopefully he starts to feel little better, he can start to move. He hasn't done anything since Ohio State on court, but definitely in talking to Romeo he wants to be out there and play. He's very uncomfortable with the alignment, or whatever is going on with him which popped, sort of spasmed out on him during the Ohio State game.

We're hopeful we can get him back. If it's a short turnaround coming in on Thursday and he's still not able to do anything, he won't play. When he's ready to play obviously he'll get back to work, and hopefully we have an opportunity to get him back.

Q. The tech at the end of the first half, what were you mad about? It seemed to energize this crowd and really spark you to start the second half?
COACH ARCHIE MILLER: I just thought Rob went down, and I thought he got fouled and then I thought the play that came back him was no different. I mean, I didn't see the difference on the call. You know, we'll see on film. I think the officials at halftime regrouped and told me Rob didn't get fouled. So, you know, I got a technical.

Q. You mentioned the slow start but once they got going, 18 assists on 35 shots and only seven turnovers, two of the most critical part of your team's success?
COACH ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, against the zone, we had to take care of the ball. We got a little sloppy in transition I thought at times in the second half, but most of the time we got the ball where we needed to get to, and also thought our guards did a better job penetrating and kicking. We had more assist-type passion in transition.

We had more in the second half than we di in first, but it all kind of started with the ability to establish the post. We were able to establish catches in the post, and good things usually happen when you can work inside-out.

Q. What did you tell the team during halftime to inspire them?
COACH ARCHIE MILLER: A lot of things I can't say right now, I promise you that (laughter) it was a very, very poor performance in the first half and I knew it was coming.

I mean, you can sense the attitude of your team. You can always sense the vibe that's going around, and I didn't feel that we had four or five guys, you know, completely locked in and it showed, and we got more locked in in the second half.

But I think as we moved through, like I said, you get this first one under your belt, we've got a another one coming, so we should be much better prepared in the second one. The opponent is going to be a lot better, obviously, in terms of the league and the size that they are coming from.

Q. You nearly had all five starters going double-figures tonight. How pleased were you with the balance there? Juwan and Al, obviously scored most of those points but the balance overall from them?
COACH ARCHIE MILLER: We were better in the second half. You could tell we much were much more aggressive getting the ball to the paint.

We drove it more. We scored more around the basket. We were able to get a lot more two-point shots. First half, we're a team that shoots I think maybe in the 20s from three, so when you watch us jack threes up, the result usually is transition defense and having to get back and guard.

When you work the ball into the paint, you can get fouled. If your guards can put it down and get to the paint usually that's better. I thought the second half makeup of our team was much better.

Q. Can you talk about the importance of doing well in this event, maybe even winning this event?
COACH ARCHIE MILLER: I mean, be honest with you, we're taking it very, very serious right now. Maybe the first half, we didn't, but this is a tournament that has teams that could advance in the NCAA Tournament, I feel like that.

Once you start to get through a round and play that second one you're going to see the intensity level go up because you're a step closer to getting to Madison Square Garden. And if you get to that third one, obviously there's a lot of pressure in those games. Guys got to play.

Anywhere in postseason play, like I said, doesn't really matter. When you learn how to win here, find a way to have a couple good games as a player, it helps you. It helps you moving forward as a player.

Q. You mentioned them jacking up threes in the first half. You got that fix in the second half. How do you just stop that during the first half just to get them --
COACH ARCHIE MILLER: Juwan needed to stay on the floor. I think his second foul eliminated our post presence. We didn't have another guy really wanting the ball there in the second half, and it didn't work in the paint, and when it did, the guy that caught the ball in the paint was very apprehensive to turn around and look at the rim and attack and score.

And we needed a different post look when Juwan went out. That's why we struggled I thought shooting so many threes. Second half, as you can see, he was a guy that we established very early, and he kept at it.

Q. How huge was it for Al to score 22 points that he did tonight, especially with Romeo being out and one of the big offensive cogs being out of the game?
COACH ARCHIE MILLER: Al did a nice job. I thought all of our perimeter guys from an offensive standpoint did a pretty good job. Al in the second half, Rob and DeVonte, I thought drove the ball much more than they did in the first half.

DeVonte pops in another six assists, Rob has four to one, so you get ten to three from those two guys; that's a good sign.

Q. Was the decision not to play De'Ron in the second half just based on how Juwan was playing?
COACH ARCHIE MILLER: That was part of it, and also De'Ron didn't play very good in the first half. I don't think he felt very good. He didn't look the part the last couple days. We've got to get him going here. He can't move like he moved out there in the first half.

You know, Juwan was able to play long minutes in the second half. If he wasn't able to do it, obviously De'Ron would have probably gotten a second crack at it, but he was playing too well on offense to take him out.

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