Indiana coach Tom Crean and player Yogi Ferrell after beating Kentucky 73-67:
Tom Crean’s opening comments:
“We’re obviously elated to win a game of this magnitude, not just because it’s the NCAA Tournament and the round of 32 but because it’s against such a great program. We got a lot of respect for Kentucky, obviously got a lot of respect for John and admiration for how he coaches and what he does. That team was every bit as good as what we thought they were from watching them on film. Saw just a little bit of it the other night, but really the film didn’t lie.
“Our guys did a great job in a short period of time of getting ready for what we knew would be a tremendous physical and mental battle and they really stayed locked into the concentration. I think the fact that we rebounded so well and kept them from getting second chance points. We didn’t have a lot of costly turnovers, for the most part, and this group of guys right here along with guys like Troy and Nick Zeisloft has gotten so much better, and I hope somebody asks me about his defense in a bit. I don’t want to talk for too long, but it is an absolute honor for me to coach these guys, to work with this staff, and I love it.
“The bottom line for me is what drives me right now is that I want to just keep coachin’ ‘em, and I want to keep game planning and preparing and going to meeting with them and going to practice with them and getting on the bus with ‘em and I just want to be around them because they inspire me so much with their resiliency and the way they want to be coached and the way they care and love each other and it’s fantastic.”
Q. Does this rank as the most satisfying victory of your tenure at IU?
TOM CREAN: “I don’t know about that. I haven’t had time to think that way. It’s obviously up there, especially the way we won today. With losing Robert and then losing Juwan. The fortunate thing is Juwan wasn’t hurt as badly as he’s been a few other times, but he couldn’t go back into the game. But there was not a way for Rob to go back in.
“But I think the satisfying thing for me is as concerned and even sad when I knew Rob wasn’t going back in for him because I know who he’s done to come back in this. It never — I never overreacted to it. I have a lot of belief in these guys. As a coach, when you are around people that you believe in them and the biggest reason you have confidence in them is because of the confidence they have in each other and the fact that they can continue to get better. I thought we got better inside of the game.
“So satisfying wins for me are when we make improvements, when we learn, all right, when we are really concentrating and when you get into an environment like this and with everything on the line that’s on it and the time of year, it’s obviously a great feeling when you walk out of there with a win knowing that they put everything into it, under adverse situations and the adversity being the injuries that we dealt with in the game.”
Q. Yogi, you guys got it tied at 50 late in the second half, you guys hit a couple of quick threes. Did you feel a momentum shift? Take us through the rest of the game from there.
YOGI FERRELL: We knew it was going to be tough having to defend Kentucky, so we just tried to stick to our keys on defense, take away what they wanted, and I felt like when we got those multiple stops in a row, that’s when our break happens and good things happen with that.
FERRELL: “I feel like we shared the ball really well in the second half, and, you know, Nick hit a three and we were just driving to the rim playing inside out. We’re unstoppable.”