Northwestern head coach Chris Collins discussed a 66-62 loss to Indiana on Wednesday night in Bloomington. His comments are below.
Indiana (12-3, 2-2) will host Ohio State on Saturday at Noon ET.
“Well obviously for us, a very disappointing result tonight. I was very proud of our team’s effort. I thought we did a lot of good things for long stretches. They jumped out on us early in the game, which they do a lot of at home. I thought their pace really knocked us back. Then we settled into the game and I thought for the next 25 or 30 minutes, we really played good basketball. Even withstood the run when we got up 50 to 40. They hit us with the run to come at us, we were able to withstand it and come up with a couple big shots and get the lead. I think we had a five-point lead with three in change. Give Indiana credit, they made plays and got to the foul line. They turned us over a little bit in that stretch and did the things you need to do to win the game, and that’s kind of where we’re at right now. We got a real young group that’s trying to learn how to win and sometimes it can be tough in a brutal league like the Big Ten. We’re on the right track, we got to continue the effort and we got to find a way to get over the hump and start closing some of these games.”
What was the most dramatic thing that turned around when Indiana was down 10 and then they went on that spur?
“I thought we had a couple turnovers during that stretch that lead out to some runouts. Obviously, I think Justin Smith had two offensive rebounds for layups. They got us with 15 offensive boards. I thought when we got our defense set, we were doing a pretty good job guarding them. When they got us in a broken floor, whether it was a turnover or some kind of attack, that’s when we had our struggles with their speed. I just thought to the attrition of the big guys, with their physicality we were in a lot of foul trouble. We were trying to rotate our bigs. I have to look at the film, but I thought they had some active hands where we had some guys and they had some deflections. A couple times we drove in and they stripped us when we were at the basket. Things that if you’re trying to win on the road, you got to be able to complete those plays.”
You’ve been close with a lot of teams and a lot of games, how agonizing is it to be that way?
“Yeah, it’s tough. You want them to taste winning. We put a lot in this to prepare, you don’t come here to just lay down and lose. You come into these games to prepare to win. I thought for 35 or 37 minutes, whatever it was, there’s going to but ups and flows of the game. To have all those young guys out there in this venue, I mean this is one of my favorite venues in all of college basketball. A great crowd, great fan base, electric atmosphere. I’m playing a lot of freshmen and sophomores out there. For them to come out and execute the way they did, it put us in a position to win the game late. There’s a lot of positives from that. But now, you got to get over the hump. Being close can’t be enough. It can’t be okay to just play really well and lose a close game. That’s where we’re at. We have to go back to the drawing board, we have to learn from this, we have to get a little bit tougher, little bit grittier late and hopefully the experience of these games will help our guys as we move forward in the conference.”
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