Michigan Head Coach Tommy Amaker
On what his players brought to the game tonight ... "I have great faith in them and I just feel like these kids have worked hard in this program. I believe in them, and always have, and for good reason based on how they performed tonight here at home. They held serve here in the opening game, our seniors played big-time basketball and we said all along we don't need our seniors to play that way for us for us to have a successful season. I was so proud of our seniors, Dion (Harris) and Lester (Abram), leading us offensively, Courtney (Sims) on the backboard, Brent (Petway) doing a great job offensively on (Warren) Carter at times when we needed it in late game situations. There were a lot of good things there for our kids, things that we need to continue to do this season."
On how different the team looks when Harris and Abram play well ... "It's totally a different ball club when we have those two kids playing in sync, playing in rhythm, having fun out there. It's not going to be where they're going to score 20 and 25 points, 22 and 25 every night, but you saw how aggressive they were making plays, attacking the basket and getting to the foul line. Lester on the backboard, it was nice to see. Those are the kind of efforts from those two particular kids."
On Dion Harris ... "We tell them to keep attacking and being aggressive. I thought even though he was 0-5, I thought four of the first five shots were bad shots. I thought he wasn't going after it; he wasn't trying to get to the rim. I thought in the second half he gets his rhythm, he gets his confidence and you can see how difficult he can be to defend because he has you on a string where he can get to the basket, make foul shots when he gets fouled and he was making his three point shots as well."
U-M Fifth-Year Senior Wing Lester Abram
On how inspired the team played ... "I thought we came ready to play. It's Big Ten season and our coach told us -- and our seniors already know -- that every game is going to be a grind-it-out game and nobody wants to lose in conference play. He basically told us that it was up to us to go out there and get the job done, but I thought our young guys, especially Ekpe (Udoh) and Reed (Baker) came in and gave us some big minutes on the floor."
On how much the home crowd made a difference in the game ... "It's always good when you can have your crowd back there. I'm glad the break is over and everybody's here in school, and that helped out a lot. Our student section, I thought they were great today. We had a lot of fans and it was a good atmosphere today for our team."
U-M Senior Guard Dion Harris
On how big it was to start conference play out with a win ... "It's always big to start the conference off with a win because wins like today are going to be hard to come by every night. It doesn't matter if you're at home or away, so it's very important to get off to a good start, especially for us. Being at home, we want to protect our home court and that's something we pride ourselves on."
On the difference of his play from the first half to the second ... "The coaches pointed out to me that I looked unsure of my shot, like I was hesitant shooting it. So I closed out the half hard, I made two strong drives to the basket and got off to that start by finishing off the first half. In the second half I just wanted to continue to be aggressive and be sure about everything I was doing."
U-M Senior Senior Courtney Sims
On the importance of establishing a presence in the paint against Illinois ... "It was very important. They have good big men C Warren Carter's playing well this year and Shaun Pruitt's playing well so we knew a lot of their points and a lot of their rebounds were off the big men so we had to establish ourselves. We have good big men and pride ourselves in the front court too. It was a battle between the two front courts."
On what this team can take from this win to build on ... "I think we were down a little bit because the real challenges we had this year with NC State, UCLA and Georgetown we came up short, so it's a big win for us and it's in conference play. Conference play is the toughest games on our schedule. Our freshmen got to see how tough it is in conference and I think they're going to get better and we've got to get used to it."
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