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March 5, 2014

Tom Crean


COACH CREAN:  Bottom line is we did not shoot well enough tonight.  When we moved the ball well and kept it moving from side to side, we were really hard to guard.  We just didn't do it enough.
They made some big, tough shots, and we made a couple of ‑‑ the mistake late of leaving Pitchford baffles my mind, to we all felt like we were going to be able to get over the hump.
Again, you just can't have‑‑ you can't have defensive mistakes.  You can't have a mistake where you haven't made them all game and then all of a sudden make one late.  It never comes down to one or two things, but they do get magnified.
And this team has got to continue to grow up in the sense of doing what it takes each and every possession.  It never means that each and every possession is going to go great, by any stretch, but you can't make defensive mistakes.
Again, bottom line is we did not shoot the ball well enough, and we never got exactly where we needed to be with getting the ball through the paint.  And, again, the shooting numbers speak for themselves.  We just didn't make enough to put us over the hump at any point in time, even though we had a couple of good comebacks.
But that combined, like I said, with a couple of defensive mistakes at crucial times defies imagination, but it happens.  And it did, and now we've got to regroup and get ready to go play Michigan.

Q.  Talk about the ball movement at the end of the game. 
COACH CREAN:  Well, I think, when we made our run, we were down 11, and it was stagnant.  Then all of a sudden, it was moving great.  There was no need to change what we were doing.  The zone didn't have anything to do with it, just keep moving.  Play out of the corners, and that's what's most important, that we do that.  And with that, we keep the penetration.
We made our comeback, and they made some big plays, they really did.  We had a couple of times‑‑ I mean, Pitchford shot the ball over us, but there are different things we did defensively bothered them.  We had some guys step up that‑‑ like Devin Davis did some really good things tonight.  Troy Williams continued to play better.  We told Troy before the game, somehow you've got to find a way to get ten rebounds.
Guys were trying, I mean, there's no question about it.  We didn't know Noah was not going to play until the end of walk‑through, and he just didn't feel comfortable with his foot.  So we had to regroup.  We had to change.
But I thought our guys did a good job of trying to do that, but you've got to‑‑ you've got to continue this game.  I mean, the margin for error for our team already is so small that you just can't make defensive mistakes late.  You know, you can't leave a shooter when you're switching.  You just can't.  We've got to continue to grow up, there's no question, and regroup in a hurry.

Q.  Has this team left you scratching your head more than any other team you've had?
COACH CREAN:  That's a hypothetical.  I don't look at it that way.  So can't help you with that one.  I come in here, and I'm telling you what I see of the game.  I haven't watched the film yet, but I'm not in the reflective mood of the season.
What it is is we've got to‑‑ the self‑inflicted mistakes are always going to bother you, and so that's the kind of stuff that we've got to overcome.

Q.  Talk a little more about Devin and the way he battles inside.
COACH CREAN:  Yeah, he did a really nice job, no question about it.  Now we just need him to be consistent.  That's been the number one thing of our team.  Anyway, we've got to get to a consistent place and consistent minutes.  We're asking these guys, especially guys like Devin Davis, who didn't even play that much the other day, to play considerable minutes in a game like this and to be very productive.  They'll be better for it.
But the bottom line is we've got to continue to take it on into the next game, and I thought he did a good job inside of that.  He was straight warrior tonight.  That's exactly what we need from him.
I thought Troy did some really good things.  But when you're playing a lot of minutes and there's high expectations for‑‑ no matter what their age is.  When we're playing them, we're not thinking the fact that they're freshmen and haven't played a lot of minutes.  We just want to play better basketball.  There's times we have, and there's times we haven't.  But I thought he did a nice job.
I think we'll be surprised if we don't even feel better about it when we watch the film.  He was giving up some size, and he did a really good job.

Q.  How much do you think about it before you watch film, the difference in a game like Wisconsin or Iowa where you still close out that game with plays you make, and then the game like tonight where you do bring it back to a tie and just missed some of those plays, I guess?
COACH CREAN:  I don't understand.  What do you mean?

Q.  I guess the difference, in two tight games, being able to close one out.
COACH CREAN:  You mean Wisconsin back earlier in the season?
That's so far back.  We're such a different team.  I think it's one of those games where it comes down to a couple of plays.  It's the game where really, win or lose the game, throughout the game, we made the great comeback.  I thought, we're over the hump.  The ball's going to move.  Then again, every possession now as you're going down the line, it gets magnified.  You've got to be strong.
So that game we're pretty good about what we need to do defensively.  Same thing with the last couple of games.  We were pretty good about carrying out what we need to do defensively.  These games come down to such a minute thing.  You leave a shooter like a Pitchford open or you block out late, those things get you.  They get you.
When you win, you do a better job than when you don't.  That's what it comes down to.  You make more plays in close games over that period of time.
And today when it got close, we didn't make as many of those plays.

Q.  With Noah out, how important have these last two games been for guys like Connor, Devin, for them to step up?
COACH CREAN:  I think really important.  I thought Stan Robinson did a good job tonight.  We're asking a lot of young guys.  You don't coach with perspective, but every once in a while, you've got to sit back and look at it.  I thought Troy did some really good things.  He's gaining confidence all the time.
Stan was on top of it.  Devin was really good.  Connor the other night, not as much tonight.  Bottom line is will it be better for them down the road?  Absolutely.  We're not thinking about down the road.  We're thinking about how to win this one, and now we're thinking about how to get ready for Michigan.

Q.  Do you think Yogi was forcing shots?
COACH CREAN:  I got to watch the film on that.  The ball didn't move the way that it needed to.  He's got to continue to use screens.  He's got to continue‑‑ when he came off and was in movement and when we're utilizing the corners the way that we have been, that's the most important.
You can't‑‑ where we struggle is when the ball sits inside of those slots, those elbows.  That's what he's got to continue to grow out of, in all honesty.  He's got to ‑‑ we can end up in there, but you can't be in there a lot at the beginning.  It's got to move.
Eventually, when we're shooting it better, it will be a little bit easier, but today, again, use the movement, use the cutting, and continue to space them out, especially when they didn't want to space out.
But a couple times, we came in zones, and we missed a couple shots, and we missed the next pass, those type of things.  I'll have to watch the film of that.  He's just got to be in constant movement, and that means, a lot of times, without the ball.  So the ball can come back and get him.  So he can come back and get the ball.

Q.  Does Nebraska have the look of an NCAA tourney team? 
COACH CREAN:  You know, I don't know.  Nebraska is really good.  I'm not real reflective right now, but they're really good.  They're a legitimate team, and they've got a lot of pieces.  I'm going to worry about my team.
But they did a great job, and he's a great coach, no question.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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