2001-02 BKM vs. Purdue -- quotes

U-M Head Coach Tommy Amaker

Opening statement "It was certainly a fight to the finish. We talked about going against a Purdue team and a Coach Gene Keady team that is always going to be tough and be a team that is coming off of a home loss. It was really big for us to dig this one out and I thought our kids showed great poise and composure down the stretch in the second half. We got out to a really good start defensively in the first half. I thought we were really aggressive and that translated to the offensive end. In the second half they made a late surge which made it very tough for us to hold on but going 10-10 from the foul line in the second half was very big for us. We have been shooting free throws well as a team and we continue to use that as a weapon for our ballclub. Bernard's (Robinson) overall performance was outstanding. He defended their best perimeter player and still delivered for us in a lot of key situations. It is nice to see him be aggressive and attacking. I was really pleased with our seniors. Leon Jones was big for us defensively and Chris Young's performance in the second half gave us a big lift. He really gave us a shot in the arm offensively in the second half. For us to be 2-0 and have some confidence is really fortifying our team right now."

On point guard Avery Queen ... "Avery has done a great job and been really solid. I think his understanding has really improved, his willingness to buy into how we want to play, and he has been under control and taken care of the basketball for us. I am really pleased with him. His recognition at the end of the first half was very key for us. His understanding has really improved and he is making other people better. That is the mark of a good point guard. He has been very instrumental in our wins."

On using the Penn State win as springboard for today ... "That was our strategy to see if we could continue some momentum. Our kids were very excited and proud of themselves after that win. I thought we prepared very well for today and came into this game knowing we were going to be at home but not relying on anything artificial. We knew that we had to have the energy and the effort and it would have to start on our defense. Now that we are seeing some success from those things our kids are starting to gain some confidence."

On winning the tough games ... "There are going to be a lot of close games. I think if we continue to make free throws and meet passes and do the little things that help you win games, now that our kids are having success with those things their confidence is going to take off. They were doing good things earlier and now we are starting to see some of the fruits of our labor."

On LaVell Blanchard emerging as a leader ... "He is playing better for us. If you look at his numbers he had a really solid game today. I think we have asked him to do other things than just score and he is responding to that. We have added a lot on his plate and some other things may suffer as a result of that. One of those things has been his shooting percentage but no one works harder on his shot."

Senior Center Chris Young

On staying out of foul trouble ... "We just emphasize being smart. We don't want to commit stupid fouls. If you have to commit a foul, then do it. If you don't have to put your hands on them and put yourself in a position to foul them then don't. Sit down and play good defense."

On battling back when trailing early on ... "We just sat down and we decided not to let them score. We're going to stick to our defensive principles and play our defensive game and create some turnovers which turned into points on the offensive end."

Sophomore Wing Bernard Robinson Jr.

On getting points out of the flow of the offense ... "Yes, Coach (Amaker) really stressed to us today that if we made the extra pass that we could get a lot of easy shots."

On how much the win at Penn State meant to the team's confidence ... "A lot. We started out 1-0 and that gave us a lot of confidence going into this game. A lot of people don't understand how much a victory like that can give you confidence going into the next game. Hopefully we can keep it going."

On the increase in the number of shots he's taken lately ... "Coach (Amaker) just told me to be more aggressive and play my game. I'm starting to feel better and better with my game. I'm just going out there and playing more and more basketball."

Junior Forward LaVell Blanchard

On how he is being asked to do different things rather than just score and rebound ... "I just want to play. If Coach (Amaker) asks me to play defense and rebound, or guard this guy, or score I'm going to do what he says. That's the most important thing."

On being 2-0 in the Big Ten ... "It's a very big win because wins on the road in the Big Ten are tough and wins at home are very crucial because everyone is trying to win at home. We have a lot of enthusiasm and energy and excitement in the locker room right now. We need to keep it going. A lot of guys have been stepping up. Chris Young, Bernard Robinson Jr. and Dommanic Ingerson have all stepped up and they did that again today. It's going to be a process to listen to what Coach (Amaker) is saying and do what he says and continue to win."

On the team continuing to take good shots and avoid bad fouls ... "With Coach Amaker on our side I think we can do that. The whole coaching staff in general has been getting us well prepared. As long as Coach stays with us and keeps telling us what to do I think we should be all right."

Purdue Head Coach Gene Keady

On losing to Michigan ... "They played very well and made the plays they needed to to win the game. Our start was good and our finish was good but between we did a lot of things that are not like a Purdue team. Even though our seniors did a lot of good things, we need them to improve. The rebounding was encouraging. We shot the ball well enough to win, but we just did not get stops. Defensively we are not playing Purdue either so there are a lot of things we need to work on."

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