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March 20, 2015

Nemanja Djurisic

Mark Fox

Marcus Thornton



COACH FOX: Hard fought game. Michigan State is a very good basketball team, and we congratulate them. Took us a while to settle down offensively. We turned it over in the first half, not so much in the second. And then late in the game we kind of, I thought our defense began to stabilize but I never really was comfortable with how we were defending most of the night, but we competed and we just had to play uphill. We had a very good start and then we burped there for a minute in the first half and we had to play uphill, which is so hard to do. They have a very good team, we wish them well and they certainly earned the win.

MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes, please raise your hand.

Q. Two questions for the players. First, were there early game jitters at all, and also, did it seem like you guys did sort of struggle to get into a flow offensively?
NEMANJA DJURISIC: I think we started the game very well. I think we were ready to compete. I think emotions got us throughout the game because there were up and downs every game. But throughout the game we just couldn't, first half especially we couldn't stabilize. Our defense dictated the tempo and we just gave up a lot of easy buckets in transition, which hurt us definitely and put us behind and it's very, very hard to play against such a good team behind.

MARCUS THORNTON: I thought we came out stronger, like Neme said. We didn't deal with our first bout of adversity very well. Michigan State, they played like a team that's been here before. So when you're playing against a team like that, there's only a very limited margin for error. So it kind of caught up to us in the end.

MODERATOR: No others? Thanks, guys. Questions for Coach Fox?

Q. Coach, was Kenny injured or did he re-aggravate his foot in the second half?
COACH FOX: Well, Kenny is injured. We knew he would be injured today. There's no way to get him a hundred percent right now, and I thought under the circumstances, it's very hard to play this game when you don't practice, extremely hard to maintain your conditioning, your timing, and everything else that you need to do. Under the circumstances, I thought he gave us a heck of an effort. He's certainly fatigued. He was not nearly the defender he's been this year because he can't cut and change directions. I give our trainers credit and Kenny credit for getting as close to being able to play as he could. But obviously we had some in and out and he wasn't quite as effective as he's been earlier in the year but that's part of it.

Q. Was that why maybe it was so hard to handle Trice?
COACH FOX: Trice is a really good player, and when healthy is a great defender and Trice requires a great defender. They have a very good team with he and Valentine, they can spread you out and obviously they're very confident shooting the ball. So it's one of the things we hoped to do was slow those guys down, which I don't think we did very well in the first half. I thought there were spurts in the second half we did a little better shot.

Q. Branden Dawson picks up his second foul and I think you guys are up 11-5 or in that range. Did you think at that point that was a major break but at that point Marvin Clark came in and almost seemed to give them a boost offensively?
COACH FOX: I don't think Michigan State has bad players, I think they have quality depth, and so we didn't see it as a real advantage quite frankly. It was not something that we focused on obviously. Dawson's a very good player, but it was just part of the game. I thought we had -- had both of them been two fouls, it might be a little advantage for us but their depth up front certainly showed.

MODERATOR: Any other questions? Okay, thank you, Coach.

COACH FOX: Thank you
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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