Watch as Indiana head coach Mike Woodson meets with the media after an 84-79 win.
The transcript of Woodson’s comments follows the video.
Indiana (18-10, 9-9) will host Rutgers on Wednesday evening in Bloomington.
On the play of Xavier Johnson and overall impressions.
He’s playing well. He’s got confidence. I think the supporting cast played great, Geronimo and Rob, having him back was huge. We had to limit his minutes, but the ten minutes that he played, it was solid as hell. It really helped us when we built the lead, he was a big part of that. But we’ve just got to learn to close though, but I’m pleased, I can’t be more happy for a group of guys. I’ve never won here as a player, so I’m thanking these guys big time for fulfilling a dream. In those days (Kevin) McHale, and Mychael Thompson they were really good. But we beat them at home though but we could never win here.
On Indiana’s three-point shooting.
It’s important, when we were defending like we were defending, we kind of dropped it at the end where they were able to get back in it, but you have to give them credit because they made tough shots. But when we’re defending and able to make the long ball when guys are open, we become a pretty good ball club. We’ve struggled in that area this season, but tonight we were really good on the offensive end I thought.
On Minnesota’s late run.
I did call a few timeouts, but again guys it’s learning how to win. That’s kind of been our, I’m not calling it a problem because guys we’ve been so competitive this year. I can point to five games that I wish I could have back. We’ve been so competitive, but we’re still learning how to win. And you’ve got to give them credit. They didn’t quit. And most teams don’t quit in the Big Ten. Being up 27, and the way they’ve shot the 3-ball, they made a game out of it in the end.
On playing Rob Phinisee.
He told us before we left to come here that he was going to play. But I knew his minutes were going to be limited, and he hadn’t practiced so I couldn’t burn him. So I figured I would play him five in the first half and five in the second and they were a great ten minutes. His minutes were up to me. I need him for the long haul, and the fact that he hadn’t practiced, it would be crazy for me to try to give him 20-25 minutes. That wouldn’t make sense and probably end up hurting him more than helping him.
On getting more from Trayce Jackson-Davis late in games.
“That’s what you guys see (a lack of production). Trayce has been great all season for us. His numbers may not be as high as they were last year, but at the end of the day he’s played some pretty damn good basketball for our ball club. It can’t just be Trayce. Race has got to his job, and Parker and Miller. This is a team that I came in saying everybody’s got to contribute. It just can’t be Trayce. There’s nights when we’ve rode Trayce’s coattails all the way through the end, and there’s some nights when we haven’t. So I mean Race has been the guy. The last two games it’s been X. So I’m not concerned about that. He’s still growing as a young player, and we’ve just got to put him in the best position possible to be successful.
Does this team play better with its back against the wall?
I don’t know about that. This is the first time I’ve been in this situation with this team. At the end of the day, we know what’s staring in our face. We know that Rutgers is next, and we’ve got to win another game. It’s just that simple. Rutgers is next coming into our building. They’re playing great basketball, so we’ve got to commit to playing 40 minutes and see if we can get another game.
What were the conversations like as Minnesota rallied late.
We called a timeout. The bottom line is we had enough cushion. They were making threes. I thought we were defending the threes. It wasn’t like they were just wide open. They made some tough shots. They had to foul and we had to make free throws, and we were able to make enough free throws to do what we needed to do to secure the win.
On Xavier Johnson’s play as a complement to Jackson-Davis.
X is starting to see things again. I thought he went through a stretch when things started to slow down for him and he was really playing well. And then he kind of hit a wall again, and now he’s back playing extremely well. We’re going to need everybody as we continue this journey with Rutgers, everybody has got to pitch in and do what we need to as we go to the next game. It’s all about Rutgers right now.
On the progress of Bates and Geronimo.
They are still growing. That’s part of college basketball. That’s part of the game. Young players grow, they’re young, they’ve got to continue to work to get better. And I’ve got to help them get better. I thought Geronimo was great tonight. And Tamar played some pretty positive minutes. He didn’t hurt us.
On Trey Galloway.
Still dealing with his hamstring, groin area. Don’t know when he’s going to be back, don’t know when Khristian (Lander) is going to be back. We’ve just got to ride the guys in uniform that are ready to play.
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