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December 15, 2018
Indiana 71, Butler 68
THE MODERATOR: Coach, go ahead and make an opening statement.
ARCHIE MILLER: Just a heck of a college basketball game. Another amazing environment in here for the Crossroads. Got to give Butler a lot of credit, they're a heck of a team, battle-tested. Have a lot of guys that have been in a lot of big ones and won a lot of big games.
Our guys for whatever reason, they just keep finding a way to muddy it up. However many games it's been now in a row, seems like we're in those huddles feeling the same way every game. They have a confidence about each other. Sometimes it's a different guy. Sometimes it's the same guy. A lot of different people, a lot of great attitude throughout a very tough game. I give our guys some credit, as well.
Rob obviously will be the hero with the game winner. But clearly there's a lot of guys that did great things. Juwan Morgan had as good of a game as I've been involved in in a long time.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Take us through what you were looking for on the last possession.
ARCHIE MILLER: We've run the action a few times in the game. Give them credit, they really tried to do their best to take the ball and not let Romeo get a catch, which is what we were trying to get. Either we didn't screen, because I didn't see it, or it got blown up.
They definitely tried to take the ball out of his hands, which it did, it happened. Devonte was stuck, didn't panic a little bit. As the clock wound down, he kind of got rid of the ball. Obviously Rob had the wherewithal to let it go. I'd be lying if I said when he shot it, I didn't think it had a chance to go in. I just didn't know the time.
They definitely blew the play up. We weren't strong enough to execute it, get the ball where we wanted to. It's part of getting better. We got to keep getting better.
Q. What do you enjoy about coaching Juwan Morgan?
ARCHIE MILLER: Every day is the same. Game day is no different than practice. Very few guys that can eliminate moodiness, the ability not to feel tired. For about two years straight, through about 150 practices, that's what I get to see every day. Not that his game days are perfectly. But the guy plays the right way.
To his credit, he's turned into a really good leader, vocally, he's the guy that is kind of really evolved over the last year and some change.
Q. Everyone is going to remember his three, but the possession before when he drives the baseline.
ARCHIE MILLER: Yeah, he kind of probed it, baseline, kept his dribble, didn't panic. Justin circled into the area. He delivered a really nice bounce pass on that. Tried to get a two-man game going on with that one with Romeo and Juwan. Give Butler credit, continued to blow up actions and screens. He got around the corner, he was able to make an assist.
Q. On the final play, was Romeo supposed to get the ball in time to do a two-man game with Juwan?
ARCHIE MILLER: We wanted to get him open, get him sort of on a sweet spot there in the top, see if he could have gotten downhill with his right hand. If he would have caught it, I think he would have been able to. Again, give them credit. We have to do a better job of executing the screen action.
Q. You've talked about Juwan, but especially with this young team, how important has he been?
ARCHIE MILLER: You got to give him all the credit in the world. He's vocal in huddles. He's really an extension of the staff. If you can communicate something to him, he can get it communicated to the other guys. He's a smart, smart basketball player.
But definitely in huddles, you hear a guy talking, it's encouraging. I think he gives everyone confidence on the team when he's engaged.
When you see the face, the oldest face on the team, being the guy that everyone sort of looks to when things aren't going really well, I think that has to give people confidence. He definitely does that for us.
Q. You mentioned you keep finding a way to muddy it up as a team. Is it the same thing over and over or is it different areas?
ARCHIE MILLER: I think the same thing over and over on the negative is our lack of movement, our lack of action on offense. It turns into a standstill game. You got to take care of the ball. Those two things really kind of get us in tough spots. When we're sort of good, or we're better, we're able to execute, we're able to get better possessions offensively because we shoot a decent percentage.
The thing that you got to hang your hat on at the end of the day is your defense can hang in there when things aren't going well. When things have not gone well for us, we have not quit, just stuck with it, and not that you're perfect, but you're at least getting, hanging around, keeping yourself in it.
If you look at the last 12, 16 minutes, I don't know what the score was, but started to really consistently get some stops. I thought Rob on Baldwin, although he's a tough guy to deal with, I thought Rob kind of hung in there around the basket a few times, didn't bail out, kind of walled up and made some tough stops. We got some rebounds. We were able to get the ball, at least run a play.
First half in particular, again, long rebounds. I think 23 points at halftime where we second chance or we turn the ball over. Give them credit, second half, I don't think that was the case. I think we only turned it over six times in the second half. I believe we won the battle on the glass.
It comes down to the little things. I think our guys believe if we continue to play and work together defensively, we can win a game when we're not playing real well. We've had to do that. I think when we get to the last eight, last four, guys have some confidence that we're okay.
Q. When the offense seems to be struggling early, Romeo has done a good job of letting the game come to him, not forcing stuff, but he didn't score a hoop till five minutes left in the first half. Do you need him to start hunting shots earlier?
ARCHIE MILLER: I think Romeo does a great job of just playing within himself. In the first half, sometimes when the ball is going away from us, as a staff, the ball is going away from you as a coach, you have to watch those guys and let them play. When you're not doing real well working together out there, you don't have the movement, you don't have the sharing, then he's not going to get -- or any of them are not going to get the touches or the angles or reads they need to go ahead.
That's the things you need to get better at as a team. He hung in there. A couple times I told him, You have to get yourself going on the glass, a couple offensive rebounds. Butler is a tough team to drive on, just drive by your man. They help, they're good on defense, big at the five.
When he started to get rolling, he got going. He made some good plays for us in the first and second half.
Q. On Rob, what is it that's made him good late in games?
ARCHIE MILLER: He's got confidence in himself. He's very competitive. It's a quiet competitiveness that he has about him that he believes in kind of he can get it done. I thought early in the game, I got him a quick blow early, I thought he was a little bit jittery with the ball to start. As the game goes on, you start to go with him. You have faith he's going to be able to get a stop, hang in there defensively. For whatever reason, he's not afraid to take or make a play when we need him to. He's just a solid, solid dude. He's a good kid. Works his butt off. Hangs in there regardless of the circumstances in the game.
You watch a guy here recently in the last probably three games make some huge plays for us.
Q. You inherited this spot in this classic. Do you want to keep doing this?
ARCHIE MILLER: I tell you what, the environment in here is so NCAA tournament-esque. It's so passionate, it's kind of hard not to want to be in here. For Indiana and Indiana University, the city of Indianapolis, my feel is in here this is a great environment for our team.
I also think it's a hard, hard game for Indiana in here because I do think you come in here and you get that bullseye put right on you regardless of the circumstances that you have to play through that. It's a great opportunity for the other two teams in the state. You're not going to get a chance to play them often if it's not set up like this.
For us, I've been in it twice, won two crazy games, clearly it feels really good when you win. If it was on the other end, I probably would tell you the opposite. But the environment for our players, though, is incredible to play in. I would say that. It's an incredible venue. The fan base is obviously I think very excited for it. So for us, to me this is nothing but a positive for our university, our fans and our players most specifically. It's a great chance for them to play in here.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you. We'll continue with the players.
Q. Rob, the obvious question: take us through the last shot.
ROB PHINISEE: Obviously it wasn't drawn up like that, but I saw Devonte holding the ball. I slid over, put it up, prayed to God it went in (smiling).
Q. Juwan, it's four straight games you have won now, all of them by one possession. This is the widest margin of victory. What is it about this group that keeps finding a way whatever the circumstances?
JUWAN MORGAN: I just think we have a trust into each other, trust in the system. We're all bought in. I think we'd like to get a couple, you know, wins where it's not within the last 10 seconds where we win. At the same time, you know, it's the ones that you grind out that are the best feeling. Come March time, those are the ones you're really going to need.
Q. You must like shooting in this building. When you see a freshman get up and hit a shot like that, you were the first to congratulate him on the baseline, but what did you see on that play? What was your perspective when you saw the shot go in?
JUWAN MORGAN: I saw a breakdown in the play we originally called. I saw him go up and make a veteran shot. Like I said earlier, they're not really freshmen any more, as you can tell from that shot, how they carry themselves. That was a savvy move by Rob, and he knocked it down.
Q. What is it about Juwan that in these tight games, how important is he in huddles with his leadership?
ROMEO LANGFORD: He's very important, just him being a veteran. We can lean on him when times get rough to maybe get us going in general. He's not one of the veterans that leads by example, he leads by example and his voice.
Q. Rob, on Juwan, why do you feel he was so good today?
ROB PHINISEE: Really we just tried to play inside-out. Once we knock down threes, they have to help off of them. I feel like that opened up a couple things for him. After that, he just did his thing. It worked out.
Q. Rob, when the play broke down and Devonte had the ball, how conscious were you of how much time was left when you got it back? Did you look at the clock before you got it? Did you know there wasn't much time left?
ROB PHINISEE: I knew there was probably around, I think, two or three seconds left when he picked up his dribble. I just ran over because I saw Romeo being denied.
Q. Juwan, the Butler coach was talking about how when you're hitting threes, making free throws, it just takes your game to a completely different level. Talk about that.
JUWAN MORGAN: I mean, it's what we work on every day. I've changed my free throw up a lot this year. I think I found something that really works for me. As you can see from tonight, I just stepped up with confidence, knocked them down.
Q. Juwan, what is it about this building that brings out the best in you?
JUWAN MORGAN: I don't know (smiling). I mean, I approach every game the same way. Some games, the shots are going in. Usually if they're not going in, I try to look for my teammates more, give them a shot.
Q. Juwan, you scored your thousandth point this game. What does that mean to you?
JUWAN MORGAN: It means I guess I join a list of great players to have scored a thousand before me. It's a great honor. But, you know, it's just one small piece of the puzzle going forward.
Q. Juwan, Butler coach said Rob was one of the best guards he's seen. What has impressed you the most about his play?
JUWAN MORGAN: Just how he carries himself. Like I said earlier in the season as well, I said he's like the pitbull of the team. Starts with him. As soon as the ball is tipped, he always has the first defensive or offensive possession. We go as he goes. That's how I think about it.
Q. Romeo, I thought you did a really nice job on their scoring leader today defensively. Offensively you didn't get a bucket till maybe five minutes left, only your second shot. You let the game come to you. Do you feel like you need to start hunting shots a little earlier?
ROMEO LANGFORD: Wouldn't necessarily say 'hunt for my shot'. You can always be a little bit more aggressive. I feel like I need to start doing that, maybe get our team going whenever they need me.
I'm not just going to start hunting my shot because I haven't got a shot within, like, three minutes. I'm going to keep letting the game come to me.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports