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November 9, 2019

Archie Miller

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana-85, Portland State-71

ARCHIE MILLER: Happy with the win, obviously. Portland State, very difficult style of play, especially early in the season. A ton of different looks they give you. For our guys, had some new guys in there. It's going to be a work in progress at times to figure some things out.

But two things coming into the game was taking care of the ball and rebounding. Against that team, if you turn it over, give them second shots, they're able to cause some problems. We held serve, went 41-24 on the glass, really only turned the ball over 10 times. That's a big reason why we won the game.

In talking to our team after the game, 2-0 is the objective. However you want to look at it, individually or as a team, you have to be really happy you get another win. Hard to get. Played against a team with two really good guards. I thought those kids did a fantastic job making things hard on us, put pressure all game long.

To be honest with you, first week, if we don't get our defense going in another direction here, we're going to experience some really hard moments in games. We can't get stops. The free-throw line, all you have to do is look at 32 free-throw attempts in the game. I know they ended up shooting 41% from the floor, their two guards end up going 8-14 from three.

Some alarming things out there defensively. This team has to grow up a little bit faster on the defensive end. We are going to have it a whole lot tougher.

There were some really good things to take out of it. Some individual guys getting in there for the first time. Jerome and Race were great in terms of getting in there early in the season and impacting the game.

Race, 10-9. I thought Jerome hit some really big shots in the first half to give us some confidence. Really happy for those guys in particular, not that I'm not happy for everybody.

For this team, we're 2-0. We have some time here to regroup. Hopefully we can start to make some steps defensively to start to look the part that we're going to have to.

Q. You mentioned this, but the rebounding, 41-24, what allowed you guys to have the success on the glass that you had?
ARCHIE MILLER: Trying to block out. Obviously on one end you try to do a great job. Our guards got to continue to do a great job. They got some long ones.

It's a big focus for this team to win the rebounding battle against anybody you play, especially the teams we're going to play, conference play. Our rebounding has to be a strength. Our depth has to be able to help that.

From an offensive rebounding standpoint, that's something that's being emphasized, something that's obviously very important to who we are as a group. It's something that we have to pay attention to.

Q. 26 minutes for Rob tonight off the bench. Is he getting back to where you need him to be physically to give him bigger minutes? How much do you feel like he sets a tone defensively?
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, we need Rob. In Rob's defense, he's playing more minutes in the game than in his practice. I think you're seeing a rusty Rob in terms of his decision making, some of the easy things that will come to him as he continues to go here.

Defensively you saw glimpses. When we needed to get some things done, he was really able to sit down and guard. In his defense, he's probably practiced 1/10th of what everybody else is. He is basically being tossed out there and let's get going. Conditioning level, the rhythm of the game.

Played more minutes tonight, which was good. You're going to get in tough ones. When you get in tough ones, you're going to go with the guys that have been there. Rob has been there. Hopefully he feel goods after the game.

As we go into Tuesday, continue to play a role. Hopefully here we get Devonte back and it eases some more pressure in the backcourt with those guys.

In general, Rob definitely sets a tone for us.

Q. You mentioned Jerome hitting those shots. Grabbed a defensive rebound. How important was it for you to see him get in a rhythm?
ARCHIE MILLER: I don't think is important for me. I think it's important for him. He's reteaching himself how to play. Not only did he not play a year ago as a true freshman, he also didn't practice. There's a big difference when you're a redshirt or you can come back off the injury, get back into practice at some point, you're familiar.

Jerome did neither. He's not only a true freshman right now, he's teaching himself how to get back out there and play after a year off.

To watch him come out there, he's fearless with his shot. I know that part of it. He mixed it up. He's able to get some offensive rebounds, get a big defensive rebound at the end of the half where he blocked out which we didn't do in the possession before.

Great positive steps for him. He's a really good player. I'm happy he's out there playing. Knock on wood, we keep going with him, he continues to stay healthy.

Q. Your thoughts on Trayce and Race, one gets a double-double, the other one is really close, what are your thoughts?
ARCHIE MILLER: Race in his 16 and a half minutes was very impactful. Offensive rebounding, huge. He had five in 16 minutes. He was able to grab nine rebounds in 16 minutes, which was good. Some of his baskets we needed because we were playing ugly for most of the game offensively. It wasn't a smooth game for us offensively. We were having to think too much.

Trayce has got to be more forceful. He's got to learn to be more forceful. He's got to play with more energy and speed. He's so gifted and so talented, when the ball finds him around the basket, he's got great hands, he's going to be able to finish.

At the end of the day I'm watching Trayce not now, I'm watching Trayce so I can continue to watch him grow up and develop. He knows he's got to get better. He's very coachable. He'll continue to work at it.

Q. You mentioned ball security. Turned it over 10 times. How encouraging is that facing Portland State?
ARCHIE MILLER: Coming into the game, press alignments, being organized was very important. Just not playing too fast as you cross halfcourt, not getting carried away with numbers, charging.

Didn't see a ton of offensive fouls with us being out of control. Didn't see a ton of just really bad shots. I thought we were very comfortable with it. At the time maybe we took sort of the speed of our break out of it. At the end of the day we still were finding a way to score baskets and do some things.

Taking care of it was huge. I haven't really looked at it yet, but I know Rob had seven assist and three turnovers, which was great. Al added two more. Good assist-to-turnover ratio, which is good. Continuing to play.

As I said, Devonte plays a big role in what we're doing. Getting him back, adding to our depth, getting another ball handler is big.

Like I said, there's a lot of positives to take out of the game. As a coach you're always trying to figure out what you can do better. Right now for me this team defensively is not there yet. That's got to be our quest. With this team we got to find a way to get better fast on defense.

Q. Seemed like early on they were throwing some looks at you guys defensively. It was slowing down the pace a little bit. Is that something you think as you get healthier, more experience, you hope to see that improve, or it is early in the season?
ARCHIE MILLER: I think it's early in the season. You're going against pressures for the first time. You don't really know what the team is going to bring to the table. They're doing what they do on film, mixing it up. They mixed it up. Think they switched one through five on and off ball. That's something unique. You don't see that a lot. For the first time you have to get used to that feeling.

We didn't take advantage of the switching very much. We didn't have very much movement, which was hard for us to get going. We did hit the glass, which was a positive thing.

Their full court press, full court stuff is going to make you do something different. That's what they do. We knew that coming in. In our next game, we're going to see similar approaches. Presses stopping zone, which we haven't seen. A lot of styles early with a lot of guys with lack of experience against it. Need to see it.

At the end of the day, look at the stat sheet, don't take anything away from it. 10 turnovers for this team is good.

Q. You talked about the need to improve defensively. Anything specifically you've seen early in the season that has you concerned, areas specifically you need to grow in?
ARCHIE MILLER: I would just say in general we don't have the toughness or the pressure on the ball right now that we're going to need. The team methodically can move and do what they want to do real easily. At times you can see it. The other night Justin got us going a little bit. In this game we got a couple.

Them shooting 32 free-throws is a byproduct of lack of guarding the ball, undisciplined fouling. There are some things right now, getting back. They expose you. It's a fast-playing team, two really good guards. Their forwards inside are not true big guys. They're not on the perimeter. You have to guard on the perimeter with your bigs.

In general our team's toughness level on the ball, its ability to really sticky on the ball is not there. Also I think just in general for a team with great size, we're very spread out. It's not hard around the paint right now.

We got to make some improvements. I think eight of 16 from three. We gave two of their best players, eight made threes. You do that on a given night, you're going to get beat.

Defending the three in our second half defense in general just wasn't very good. I know the percentages will say. You kind of look at our deflections, we only had four steals, only four blocked shots. Not a very active defense right now. That's going to have to pick up.

Q. You said in the pre-season you were encouraged by the growth Al made.
ARCHIE MILLER: He's greatly improved. Has a maturity level about him, experience level about him. Very, very, very proud of Al and where he's at right now regardless of who we play against. We're comfortable with him, how we trust him, how his teammates trust him.

His work ethic, he put himself in a situation. Some guys are self made. He takes great pride in his own development. In general where he's at right now, proud of him. He's doing a great job for our team of giving us a guy that stabilizes us at times.

Q. De'Ron only played four minutes. Is that just due to load management?
ARCHIE MILLER: Load management? What is that?

Q. Coming back from injury.
ARCHIE MILLER: Load management? Load management, is that something they got going on in the NBA or something like that?

Q. Correct.
ARCHIE MILLER: I think Doc Rivers got fined $50,000 for talking about load management. I don't think I should talk about load management.

There's no load management in college basketball. You play every minute you can play. In De'Ron's case I thought his minutes in the game were pretty good. I told him after the game, he should have got a little bit more run there. The way our team is built now, you have to find a way on the floor with your opportunities and cash in. He'll do that.

Load management?

Q. Devonte Green, how close is he to being back?
ARCHIE MILLER: He's not anywhere near playing in game because you have to practice. He moved into some non-contact stuff. Number one, being cautious with him. Don't bring him back too early because of setbacks. When he does come back, we want him to be ready to roll full go so we can get the reps he needs.

Hopefully tomorrow he'll start to increase that load. As we approach Tuesday, hopefully he has some reps under his belt. Doubtful for Tuesday. As we keep moving forward here, maybe another week.

In Rob's defense, you have to practice to kind of have your rhythm and play. It's unfair to him to be able to say, Hey, go out there and play 20 minutes. Got to feel like he can do it.

With that being said, he's got to get back in there when he's cleared. I think he'll be cleared to do a little bit more coming up. That's good. Same with Damezi. Damezi, very precautionary with him. In and out of practice yesterday with a sore leg. This morning was iffy.

I think with Damezi, more along the lines of let's see how this things react with a couple days here to get him back. It wasn't anything that he did wrong. It was very precautionary with Damezi, as well.

Every team in the country is going to deal with it. Right now it's our turn to deal with a couple of these things. I'm hopeful we get them all nipped in the bud, get our full allotment. I think it will be fun to see these guys grow together if we can get it.

Thank you.

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