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December 16, 2017
Indiana - 80, Notre Dame - 77
ARCHIE MILLER: Our guys, we've been hanging tough here the last couple weeks and just haven't had the ability to find a way to win. I thought today's effort was outstanding. A lot of guys stepped up and made some tremendous plays on both ends of the floor. It was a team win against a really good team.
Without saying, we're very excited and have seen our improvement week by week and continue to get confidence that our guys are starting to understand a little bit more, playing through mistakes, continuing to play hard. Whether you're up or down is a good sign right now that we're able to hang in there and claw our way back. We have a quick turnaround to get to Monday.
Sort of excited to get out of here and get back home and get a little rest.
Q. Zach McRoberts, you talked about him yesterday, but 9 rebounds, 7 offensive rebounds today.
ARCHIE MILLER: Winner. Tremendous effort all game long. Playing really, really hard. He's an important piece to what we're doing right now. Like I said, you don't have to score a lot of points to be a terrific teammate, to impact the game. He plays really hard. He's giving us a bigger defender on the floor at times against bigger teams, and I think just happy with him staying with it.
Early in the season he wasn't really playing much, but he was the same guy. It's a credit to his work ethic, but very, very proud of Zach. He's really stepped up for us.
Q. Does he have a knack for getting his hands on the ball?
ARCHIE MILLER: He's got a great motor. If you watch him in games and practice, it's the same. He pursues balls. He'll come from all over the place, whether he can get a hand on it or not. Today he went up and got a couple, above the rim even. The last one on the free-throw line was an incredible rebound in traffic. But he pursues the ball. He's got a great motor. It's an instinct that a lot of guys don't have.
Q. (Inaudible) turned the ball over, shots weren't falling. Second half, shots were falling. 16 turnovers for the game. Did you ever imagine you could beat Notre Dame with twice as many turnovers as they had?
ARCHIE MILLER: Well, I think the first half, I think we had seven in the first half, probably had nine second half turnovers. Without watching the film, I can't really -- I didn't think turnovers were playing a big -- I thought being able to continue to score was important. That was important.
First half -- the first half deficit should have been more, to be honest with you. We were able to get a couple threes to go down late in the first half to make it workable.
And in the second half, when we got down by double figures, we found a way to make shots. Rob stepped up and made a couple. It was nice to see.
If you look at the field goal percentages in the second half, 57%, 50 from three, shot 17 free throws, probably pretty efficient. Definitely taking care of the ball is something we have to do a better job of; you know, 16 turnovers is too many. We were able to outrebound them by nine, so maybe we got a little difference in the possessions.
Q. Arch, you've been in close games on the road in Louisville. Did those eventually pay off being competitive with those teams?
ARCHIE MILLER: Without question. We've been in the pressure cooker for about four weeks. You're going against Duke. I think four, five games ago, whatever it may be, you're right there and disappointed you weren't able to get it done. Struggled on the road against Michigan. Battled back and had a good win against Iowa. At Louisville, I thought we were prepared to play. Guys competed and played really hard. We just weren't sharp enough, being able to finish it off.
I thought in this game we were sharp enough to finish it off, and we also did it on both ends. We had key plays, being able to get key stops, and continuing to score when we were down.
Juwan had a lot to do that. I thought late in the game, us being able to ride him for most of the second half offensively was a great sign he continues to get better.
Q. Archie, about Juwan, what discernible skill does he have that allows him to score the way he did tonight? And then really the way he's been scoring lately. Like not shooting threes, not above the rim dunking everybody. What's he doing?
ARCHIE MILLER: He's got good footwork in and around the basket. He has good footwork. And I think the thing that he has right now is he has great toughness around the basket. He's not falling away, he's not getting knocked to the ground, there's no flailing. He's playing through the other guys, and he's got good contact. He's got good footwork around the basket as well.
I think what he's figuring out is the more he can get down there and get to the foul line and the more he's offensive rebounding, the better he plays. Even today, I wish he would have taken one three. I thought he had a good look. He didn't even think about it. To me he's playing exactly how he practices. When you have guys that come in every day, you watch the practice film and look at the statistics and watch the guy in the game do the same thing. He should have good confidence with his approach.
Q. Coach, I know you're focused on today, but in 48 hours you play Fort Wayne, who beat Indiana last year, and about five or six years ago, you had a great game with them at Dayton. I was wondering what your thoughts were on Fort Wayne?
ARCHIE MILLER: We have to be ready to play against Fort Wayne. I think everybody is probably going to remind everyone about last year's game, which is fine. I'll remind our guys. We didn't start the season off very well against Indiana State as well. As soon as we get out of here, we're on the bus back, but we're moving on to Fort Wayne. That's a very, very big game for us and our team.
As it stands right now, it feels good, but we have to get back to work. It's an important game, very important.
Q. Coming off that Louisville game last week, did you sense that Rob was maybe taking that a little personal, just want to go get back?
ARCHIE MILLER: Without question. He's a prideful kid. He's worked extremely hard in the off-season to put himself in a situation as a senior. He's led great. He's playing tremendous defense for us. He's giving everything he has. And to watch him sort of try really hard to make a shot -- every player goes through it where you want it to go in so bad it just won't.
He was almost going three-a-days this week. Finals with no classes, you see him every morning shooting, then practice, then you see him after practice shooting.
He definitely had a chip on his shoulder about last week's game. And he delivered today. He made some big shots. They weren't easy ones. He definitely made some big ones for us. The guy plays 43 minutes, he guards Matt Farrell the whole thing, you expect him to play. He plays hard. It was a nice breath of fresh air for him to knock a few in.
Q. Coach, you talk about the pressure cooker running (inaudible) a little bit. What would please you in terms of progress during that period of time?
ARCHIE MILLER: Individual improvement. I think it's the time of year, if it's a college player, that you really enjoy Christmas break. Your coaches, they spend 15, 20 minutes a day with you on your individual game and see if you can't raise the confidence level of your group individually, that collectively will help you.
So I think have a chance to take a step back, look at some of our guys and what we can improve on individually. Go to work as a staff in terms of individual instruction. And then continuing to carve our identity out. We're not anywhere near where we have to be, but I do think, as we've watched ourselves improve, we have some things we can hang our hat on right now. We're playing a lot harder for a lot longer stretches and understand what we're doing a lot better.
So this holiday, as we get ready to head into January in conference play, can we take another step up? I think the answer to that is yes because we do still have a lot of inexperience playing with one another. As I said to the other guys, there's going to be days where other guys need to be in there. The individual improvement is a big thing, and also keep developing our team and our niche.
Q. Just a follow-up to that. What do you need to be next? You talk about guys gaining confidence. What kind of comes next after a performance like this?
ARCHIE MILLER: I think the great thing is to get back to work in the practice gym tomorrow and figure out how we can recover, number one; and then, B, come off the clouds. This say team that won its first truly ranked game, a big game on TV that had a great environment. So the one thing is get back off the clouds and get back to work. We have some guys that aren't playing particularly well that, if they do start to play a little bit better, then our team gets better.
There's got to be a focus right now on improvement. There's got to be a focus as a group that we can become cleaner in our stuff. But I thought we had a lot of winning plays. We had good execution today ahead of time-outs. I think for the most part, to be able to win that game the way we did, it gives you a little shot of confidence that what we do works. We just have to continue to get better at it.
Q. How amazing is it for your team to play in an event like today, especially with conference play starting up soon?
ARCHIE MILLER: It's a great event. Indianapolis is a tremendous city for our fans and our program. The environment in there today was just like a tournament feel game, and to be able to play the quality of opponent we played, it was great.
We've played a lot of good teams this season. Notre Dame is right up there at the top. It's always an unbelievable opportunity when you have these types of battles to come out with a win. It gives you a lot of confidence that you can play.
Q. Juwan, it seemed like the second half, you guys went to a smaller lineup. (Inaudible). Is that what was going on?
JUWAN MORGAN: Yeah, a little bit. We found out that lineup was really working for us, both defensively and offensively. As we kept getting stops, they just kept feeding me the ball, putting me in great positions to score. That was the result.
Q. Zach, talk about the offensive rebound in overtime, but also the pass that you made to Juwan.
ZACH McROBERTS: Yeah, just a good bounce off the rim. I was able to get it and just looking for somebody. J. Mo made a good cut and was able to finish that. So that was a good play for him.
Q. What did you see and just how valuable was what Zach gave you?
JUWAN MORGAN: Just first off, the minutes that Zach gave were incredible. His defense on ball, off ball, I think he got two or three times where he was just in the right spot for helping guys, got a few turnovers for them. Just when he came off, I was like dang, I just missed it. Then I saw Zach got it, and I just ran off. I was just hoping he saw me, and he did.
Q. Juwan, are you a little bit sick?
JUWAN MORGAN: No. My voice is just really deep (laughter).
Q. Well, aren't I the idiot? So the real question is it looks like this team needed somebody to become what you became today. So why have you -- have you kind of consciously made that effort to sort of become the guy?
JUWAN MORGAN: I wouldn't say I've just been consciously trying to make the effort, but just every day in practice bringing it as hard as I can and just showing everybody like this is how we have to play in order to get these wins. And then just everybody on the team just follows suit.
As we just keep going down, I think you just saw that we put together a full game, and as we keep building off of one another, I think good things will happen.
Q. Coach said you were doing three-a-days this week. Obviously, you knocked down five threes and played 45 minutes, a lot of that guarding Farrell. Did you feel like maybe after Louisville you got to where you wanted tonight?
ROBERT JOHNSON: First, I want to thank God for the game. I think I try to go back to the drawing board and see where I was making some mistakes and not being as aggressive as I needed to to help us. I think today was a step in the right direction.
Q. Robert, you obviously have seen Juwan ever since he's been at Indiana. What has he done that's gotten him to the point where he can have a performance like he did today -- 30-plus points, double digit rebounds -- against a top 20 team?
ROBERT JOHNSON: I think he's really playing within himself. Once he saw that he could do that and get results, I think he just got better and better, and that gave him a lot of confidence. We're behind him 100 percent. I know he'll continue to get better.
Q. Rob, you shot two at 80 percent (inaudible). Did you make any adjustments at halftime to start shooting better?
ROBERT JOHNSON: I just wanted to stay aggressive. I was getting good looks in the first half, and that was one of the things that we discussed, just trying to get good shots. If you get those, you'll eventually knock them down.
Q. Juwan, a lot of guys bounce the ball forward or into a jump shot. Can you explain how you learned to bounce the ball in the post and go into a post move?
JUWAN MORGAN: I really don't -- I don't know. Just working on it as a kid, just because -- growing up, I was a bigger guard, so I always shot the post over the little guards.
As I got bigger, I guess I just kept that skill. We work on it every day, just perimeter post driving in and turn our backs so we can get the good post-up. It's just something I keep working on.
Q. Juwan, I know it wasn't one-on-one (no microphone). Did you take that as a challenge?
JUWAN MORGAN: Definitely. Just from the time I knew we were going to play Notre Dame, I just knew that he was going to come in and going to put up a great fight, and then just all the coaches were telling me this week while we were going through film and things like that. It's like that's going to be your job. You got to take the challenge, and you got to do something with it.
Q. What is your most obvious skill? I mean, you scored 30 whatever you scored. How did you do that?
JUWAN MORGAN: I guess just being in the right spot at the right time. I think today was the first time I actually got a play to just drive it, but other than that, I was just getting on the offensive glass and just posting up in the middle of the floor in random possessions. When you do that just randomly, people usually aren't ready for it. And then my teammates found me.
Q. This is for Rob or Juwan. Fort Wayne comes up in 48 hours. What do you guys remember about that last year? I mean, how important of a game does that become now?
ROBERT JOHNSON: Last year, obviously, it wasn't a good feeling. You never really forget what it feels like to feel like that. So we'll definitely be prepared.
Q. You guys came close against Duke, came close against Louisville. This game you're down 14. You never could get the lead in the second half until overtime. What's the biggest area of growth in this team? Why were you able to win this game?
ROBERT JOHNSON: I just think we never went away. Once we made mistakes, I don't think we consecutively made the same ones. It still wasn't a clean game. You always can get better, but I think the encouraging thing was we never went away as far as our defense. Down the stretch, we started to execute better.
Q. A lot of people mentioned Juwan, kind of your own growth. Was there anything you can trace back to (no microphone)? Anything you can trace, things you picked up or were able to learn through that experience that you can apply this year?
JUWAN MORGAN: Yeah, just seeing how different -- that was a camp with the best players in college basketball. Just seeing a lot of them, how they played, I just was watching -- whenever my team wasn't on, I was just watching and seeing how they operated and kind of picked up a few moves from each of them and just put it in the arsenal.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports