2003-04 BKM vs. Northwestern -- Postgame Quotes

Michigan Head Coach Tommy Amaker

Opening statement ... "I have been saying we have not shot well to this point. Certainly this evening, being able to put the ball in basket gave us a lot of confidence. We didn't take care of the ball as well as we would have liked. We are disappointed in the turnovers and the careless play at times. Yet, with the conference opener we're pleased and proud of the way we played. Lester Abram's play on offensive end was outstanding. He had some defensive lapses at times, as we all did, but he was just tremendous on the offensive end."

On if being able to win without Daniel Horton scoring is a sign of growth ... "I think it is. It is a sign of growth of team and of the program. We are not as one-dimensional or need the focus to be on one person. We need Daniel and we need him to play up to his capabilities and he will. I was impressed with Daniel tonight, even though the offense was going to other players, namely Bernard (Robinson Jr.) and Lester (Abram). Daniel didn't force his play. He did a good job of being the quarterback of our team even though he was in foul trouble. He was not selfish. Although he did not have a great game offensively, he played a decent floor game and impressed me with his maturity."

On if he was pleased with the way the team played with a lead ... "I am very pleased with that. It was a point of emphasis for us this week and coming into this game. We did  a better job of it against Fairfield. We are building, learning and growing. I was pleased we shot free throws the way we did. If you can get a few guys going you can get some confidence and that can become contagious. But, as we have seen this year, it can go the other way too."

On why the shooting was so good tonight ... "We have worked on it. We talked about being ready to shoot. That has been a real point of emphasis, especially if the defense is in a sluffing man-to-man or a zone. We want to be able to make and take shots with confidence. We have some good shooters on this team. We didn't show it so far, but it came through tonight."

On Lester Abram's performance ... "He was terrific on the offensive end. His decisions were very good tonight. He did not put himself in a position to get bad plays or force shots. All of the shots he took were good looks. To score 27 points on eight shots is incredible efficiency. Lester is a very consistent player. He has not been as consistent this year, but he showed that consistency tonight. He also rebounded the ball well and put everything together tonight. It was a nice way to start in a conference opener."

On the state of the team ... "I am happy to get our 10th win and conference win at that. We are growing. The players are getting better and they have responded. They are a great bunch and we love coaching them. I think we have a lot of energy and spirit that is contagious. They are a fun group and I want to keep them having fun and keep winning.

U-M Senior Bernard Robinson Jr.

On the game ... "I thought we played a complete game tonight. Despite the turnovers, I thought we were ready for Northwestern. We did a good job of passing the ball and spreading the floor."

On the team's shooting success ... "I think our defense has taken care of itself the entire year, but our offense has been up and down. When we play the games where we knock down our shots, I don't think anybody can beat us."

On getting the first Big Ten win ... "It definitely feels good. It's big for us to start off 1-0 in the conference. It was a big win for us."

U-M Sophomore Lester Abram

On his career-high 27-point performance ... "My teammates did a good job of finding me open shots and getting the ball in my hands. I found my spots on the floor and I was able to hit my shots."

On the team's improvement from the free throw line ... "We just practiced and practiced. It's a matter of concentrating and practicing. We have been working on that the past couple of days."

On playing a full 40 minutes ... "It feels pretty good We played a complete game against Fairfield, but this game feels even better because it is a conference game. Getting this first conference game was important for us."

Northwestern Head Coach Bill Carmody

On Lester Abram's performance ... "He never missed, what can you say  The whole team just looks very comfortable on offense. (Bernard) Robinson (Jr.) is the guy I think, he's a veteran. (Daniel) Horton's terrific too, and Abram."

On Michigan's zone defense ... "They are very long, so shots that look like they are going to be wide open aren't wide open. You don't have a scoring threat inside and we didn't want to take as many threes as we took, but what are you going to do"

Northwestern Senior Jitim Young

On the game ... "That's a good team we played. As Northwestern, we just need to do a better job of challenging guys and stepping up to the challenge. That's what the Big Ten is, guys are going to come out and challenge you every night."

On defending Lester Abram ... "He made open shots, and college guys make shots. He stepped up, got open and has great players around him. Robinson penetrated, Horton penetrated, and shots were open for him and he made shots."

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