Below is video and transcript from Indiana’s 66-58 First Four NCAA Tournament win over Wyoming on Tuesday evening in Dayton, Ohio.
Indiana (21-13) will now travel to Portland, Ore. for a Thursday game against No. 5 seed St. Mary’s.
See also: Three keys, highlights, final stats.
THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Indiana.
COACH WOODSON: Great effort on everybody’s part. I thought Wyoming, you know, their staff did a great job with their team playing extremely hard and really pushed us. And I thought our guys responded. I thought our defense was really the key when we were struggling offensively to make shots. But we just kept grinding, and I found another player tonight off the bench and that was Geronimo who gave us a major, major lift tonight. And Trayce was who he’s been pretty much all year.
Q. Trayce, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the way Jordan played and the lift he gave you guys tonight?
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: Honestly, even throughout the Big Ten Tournament, I think Geronimo has been a key to our run. So I wasn’t surprised at all. He’s an energy guy. He’s going to go rebound. He’s going to go get things at the top of the backboard and dunk it hard. So I’m happy for him because he’s performing at a really, really high level for us. And without him we probably would have lost that game. So credit to him.
Q. Trayce, what do you remember about JG when he came to campus as a freshman?
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: JG always had a smile on his face. He was really goofy. His first year he struggled a little bit, but he stuck with it. This past summer he was working super hard, working on his jump shot, working on everything to get ready for this year, preparing for this moment. And I couldn’t be happier for him because as you can tell the work he put in in the summer, he’s reaping the benefits.
Q. What does it mean to be able to, after a six-year NCAA Tournament drought, what does it mean to get a win continue playing in the NCAA Tournament?
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: It’s huge. It’s surreal. This environment, even just for the First Four game it was a surreal environment. I’ve always dreamed about playing in this tournament and finally being able to live out that dream and just performing at the highest level, I’m truly grateful.
Q. Jordan, you went out on Friday with the injury. Can you just tell us a little bit real quickly sort of what’s happened with you physically from then until now and how good you felt tonight? Because it looked like it didn’t slow you down any.
JORDAN GERONIMO: I give thanks to our team trainer, Tim Garl. He helped me through plenty of treatment sessions just getting my ankle right. Rehabbing and all that kind of stuff. And just my teammates, just keeping me confident, and just telling me to breathe, calm down, because I’m going to be able to come back. I just kept that with me. I was able to come back.
Q. To keep going on that story, at what point today did you know you were going to be able to go? Did it limit you at all because it didn’t seem like it didn’t. Tell me about the feeling there how you were able to play with that level of explosion coming off that injury.
JORDAN GERONIMO: Like I said, Tim Garl has been doing a really good job getting me better. As the days went by I started feeling a lot better and better. I even surprised myself how good I felt today. And I just trusted my feeling, trusted how I felt. And I just played how I usually play, just explosive.
Q. You two combined for over half of your team’s points. Can you touch on the contributions from the rest of your team in term of hustle on the floor and on the boards?
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: It was all-around effort by all guys. It might not all be in the scoring column but there was tough shots that people hit down the stretch. I remember Parker hitting a pull-up jump shot.
And all the combo guards doing a really good job on their number — I can’t think, what’s his name? Hunter. Did a great job on him, especially with him backing down, he had his ball in his hands 80, 70 percent of the time. It’s not always going to be your night offensively, but defensively I thought we did real good.
Q. Trayce, you’ve been waiting for this moment for such a long time. How did it kind of live up to what you thought it would be going into tonight?
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: It was honestly surreal. We didn’t want to be in the play-in game, but sometimes the ball doesn’t roll your way and some things happen. But just playing in front of our fans and almost like a home crowd one more time, I thought it was awesome. And then just being on this national stage, I thought it was really cool.
Q. Trayce, you talked about maybe this be a launching point coming to the First Four. How can a game like this, when you’re playing a team that’s also the same win-or-go-home mentality, maybe serves you better going out to Portland?
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: I honestly think that helped us a lot because I think the last three days before this or four days we were playing our best basketball. It’s almost a sense of we get to step on the court before everyone else and we get to continue playing pretty well.
Even though shots didn’t fall tonight, just being able to get our feet wet with the tournament, kind of what’s going on with the balls and everything, I thought it was good for us.
Q. Trayce, you just mentioned the work that Jordan had put in over the summer. For either one of you, but Jordan, what was the routine kind of like over the summer in terms of you getting in work? And, Trayce, what did you see Jordan do over the summer?
JORDAN GERONIMO: I guess one thing I tried to keep up was consistency, just trying to get in the gym every day no matter what I did. If it was free throws that day or getting shots up or working on my dribbling. Whatever it is, just trying to be consistent, because it goes a long way.
And every time I work out, I work out with Isaac Green, one of our trainers, he tells me to go hard every single time. I just kept at it. All the other trainers, the rebounders helping me out. I just had a whole support program with me. This program is really good at building their players up. So I just used what I had.
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: Kind of what he said. Just watching him the repetition, how hard he works and even doing things on the gun at night. Seeing him come in here work on that. I think it really just boosted his confidence. He comes into the game ice cold and he’ll come in shooting that middy with all the confidence in the world and he hits it 95 percent of the time. You reap what you sow, and he’s reaping the benefits.
Q. Jordan, how much does a tip dunk get you going. When you’ve been out and all that basically and the offense is going slow and you get an opportunity to get like that in the break, how much did that do for you and how much did that get you started?
JORDAN GERONIMO: It does a lot for me. It gives me a lot of energy. Gives the team energy. And it’s just an energy play. A tip dunk is an energy play. And it does a lot.
Q. Trayce you’ve talked about Jordan’s impact on defense. Do you still maybe have a moment where you shake your head — I think there’s a point where you took the ball out of Maldonado’s hands in mid air. It wasn’t a block basically just took it out of his hands.
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: He’s a freak, that’s what we call him, freak of nature. Sometimes even in the huddle he’ll do something and I’ll look at him and say you’re a freak. Because some of the things he does is just out of this world. He’s blessed with God-given athleticism and talent. And you get to see it on display, and I think that’s really cool.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach.
Q. I know you’re going to talk a lot about Jordan and what he did tonight. But most importantly the offensive rebounds, you guys had at one point a 15-4 lead in that category. And half of his points came off of offensive put-backs. How critical is it to have a guy that cannot only go up get the rebound but put it back in?
COACH WOODSON: Very critical. Race had a couple of them as well. We knew once the big fellow, Ike, had a few fouls early, we had the advantage on the inside. And I thought Geronimo and Race and Trayce kind of had their way throughout the game which we needed it because we were struggling to get points.
Q. Maldonado, 10 turnovers, he also has 21 points. Was there something you saw in him particularly on film that caused you guys to cause him the kind of trouble you did in the first half when he turned it over seven times?
COACH WOODSON: Again, we tried to stay at home with the shooters. And I figured if they were going to beat us he would have to be the one. We did an excellent job the first half on Ike. But his back-downs, I just try to tell our guys not to get so over long. I mean, if we left the 3-point shooters and doubled him, then that exposes us in that category. And I thought we did a great job in guarding the 3-point line and limited them to 2s.
Q. It was your first game in March Madness as a coach. What did you learn today? What was the experience like?
COACH WOODSON: I still got a long way to go (laughter). No, it was fun. I mean, being my first time in. But again, guys, this is not about me. It’s about these guys that wear this uniform and my staff and helping me try to push these guys over the top. And I thought tonight they answered the bell loud and clear.
Q. You had a two and-a-half-minute stretch with no Race, no Trayce, no X and they gave up five points to Wyoming. How big was that stretch and how did you limit the damage?
COACH WOODSON: Again, we’ve been great defensively all year. I thought early on we couldn’t find offense and they couldn’t find it. And I told the guys in the huddle, hey, it’s going to be a grind, one of those ugly games. But we’ve just got to stay the course.
And we did. Finally we got a little spurt here and there. And then coming down the how much stretch we got the spurt that we needed to push it over the top.
Q. You guys have played Big Ten Tournament in front of a lot of Hoosier fans in Indianapolis, a lot of Hoosier fans in Dayton. Now you’re traveling three time zones and I doubt seriously there will be 8,000 Hoosier fans in Portland. I just want to know how you’ll compensate without all those fans in Portland, keep that energy level the way these kids have been playing?
COACH WOODSON: Can I say, Hoosier Nation, I need you all. I need 8,000 people in Portland. Can we do that?
Q. You can say whatever you want to say.
COACH WOODSON: I hope we have a heck of a crowd out there. I hope they travel. We travel pretty far. But with that being said, we still gotta play the game. Can’t run from it. Saint Mary’s is a great program. They’ve had a hell of a year. And we’ve got to go down and break this game tape tonight and learn from it and then get ready for Saint Mary’s.
Q. I wanted to stick with the theme of playing in Portland in basically 48 hours. What’s your plan for the next couple days? You’re obviously going to get in very late tonight or early tomorrow morning. You’ve got to practice, prepare, media obligations. What is your plan to keep your guys fresh?
COACH WOODSON: We already got Saint Mary’s kind of — we planned ahead in case we did win. And we felt good about coming in here. And so we already got them ready to go. But I never let our players get by from the game they just played.
So we’ve got to break this tape down and learn from it and our mistakes. And move on to Saint Mary’s. We’ll get in sometime tomorrow. And we’ll spend the whole day getting ready, try to find a gym where we can do some work and get ready to play on Thursday.
Q. I’d like to get your take, what did you think of Jordan Geronimo’s play tonight? And why do you think he was so impactful for you guys in the NCAA Tournament in such a big stage?
COACH WOODSON: Again, it’s a big stage for everybody that’s wearing that — it’s a big stage for me. This is my first go-around as well. But I just thought sometimes — I call it play-off basketball, tournament play — you find a guy that steps up for you. And he was the guy tonight.
And it could be Galloway the next night or Tamar Bates. That’s the kind of team we’ve had all season. I’m happy for the young man because we needed the 15 points he gave us and his defensive presence on the floor. It was a total team effort and we’ll need it moving forward.