2004-05 BKM vs. Illinois -- Postgame Quotes

Michigan Coach Tommy Amaker

On the team's effort ... "I am really proud of our kids. I mentioned that to them just a few minutes ago in the locker room. I also wanted them to know that in order to come through tonight, we can't shoot 50 percent from the free throw line we can't allow them to take the ball from us and run down the court and get an easy lay up and we know that. I though we laid it on the line. I thought we saw why that team is as good as it is, because they had a chance to fold and wilt under pressure, but they just dug it out. We give them credit for it."

On the play of Dion Harris and Courtney Sims ... "I was really happy for both of those kids. I thought they showed the form they had in the past of being key guys for us, go-to guys. They came through big time for us, no question about it. I thought they played outstanding basketball. We just didn't have enough during the key stretches and the key situations to hold the lead."

On if the team got tired ... "There's no question we got a little tired. I thought it showed when we were careless with the ball, not that they didn't good things to take it from us, but we helped in that regard. I thought we got fatigued. We got tired and careless and we let down there and they took advantage. That's what outstanding teams will do. They'll make you play for a miscue and they certainly cashed in."

On how the game can help the team ... "I hope it will. It shows what we are capable of against the very best team in the country. It shows our kids really followed through with everything we asked them to do and they played their hearts out. I am hoping they can see this is the brand of basketball we can play if we have our minds in it, our hearts in it and we go out and execute. That's what we did almost for the full 40 minutes."

U-M Junior Guard Sherrod Harrell

On the game ... "I think we executed today. That was key. Just stick to coach's game plan, which was a really good one, and we came out and we executed. We stuck to it and it was working."

On whether the game helps the team's confidence ... "I think so. I think it really does. Because of all the stuff that went on with the game - it being a big game - and us coming out and playing well, I think it does give us a boost of confidence going into Saturday and going into the rest of the Big Ten."

U-M Sophomore Guard Dion Harris

On the game ... "I think we followed our game plan right down to the tee. I think we tried our hardest tonight, but down the stretch we had a couple turnovers that cost us. We missed a lot of free throws tonight. I think that was the difference."

On his aggressive performance ... "I think I just came out and just played - played hard. I tried to win - we all did."

On the experience of playing the No. 1 team ... "It's always a great opportunity to get to play the No. 1 team in the country. I think, for the most part, we came out, and we just gave it our all against them. But they were a great team, so we just tried to come out and give it all we had. I think we did that, but we came up short down the stretch."

U-M Sophomore Forward Courtney Sims

On the team's defensive performance ... "I think our defense came because we were patient on offense. They had troubles because they had to chase us around on offense for 30 seconds, or 25 seconds, sometimes. It made them tired on offense and they didn't make the shots they wanted."

On winning the rebounding battle ... "We knew that was important. We couldnt give a great team like that second-chance points. We just knew we had to do something to reduce them to one shot."

On what the game does for the team's confidence ... "I think we were always confident, we just weren't executing what the coach was telling us. Today we executed, and we had a couple slips, and that cost us the game. But I think that if we listen to coach, we'll be fine, like we were today."

On the crowd ... "They were our sixth man. They really helped us out. If it wasn't for them, I don't know. They really gave Illinois a tough time, and they really pumped us up, so it was great for them to be there."

Illinois Coach Bruce Weber

Opening statement ... "It's pretty obvious that Dee's (Brown) defensive energy and effort in the second half got us back in the game. It was a game where Tommy (Amaker) really pulled out all the stops. They changed their system. They delayed us, the put us on defense and they took it to the end of the shot clock and tried to keep it a low-possession game like Indiana did and other people are going to go. Again, we had a good lead at the start and maybe a little letdown. After making all the threes early we couldn't make them down the stretch. I think we scored one out of 15 possessions to end the half which isn't very good for a supposedly good offensive team. But, we found a way to win. To Tommy's credit, they've been down and he found a way to get his guys motivated and they played a good ball game. We were just able to make enough plays down the stretch."

On Michigan's slow-down tactics ... "We didn't know they were going to delay. We had heard some rumors from some people that they were going to make it a possession game, and like Northwestern, they just ran a fake motion and they went down at the end with ball screens or some kind of play. I thought we did a good job early, but as the half went on, we weren't into it, we got tired, I'm not sure what happened, but we didn't adjust to their stuff and they made some threes. To their credit, they stepped up and made some plays."

Illinois Guard Dee Brown

On the game ... "I just tried to come out and make plays. Coach always says if you want to be a player you have to make plays. Fortunately, I got a couple of steals that got us back."

On Michigan using the shot clock ... "That was smart to make us guard and try and make plays. We just have to stick to what we do and get stops. It was a great strategy. You have to do something to try and get away from our transition and they did a good job of executing."

On the play of Dion Harris ... "Dion Harris is forced to do a lot now that Daniel Horton is out. He played good basketball and made key shots for them. He just tried to put his team on his back and made good plays for them."

Illinois Guard Luther Head

On the game ... "We knew they were going to give us a tough game like everybody does. Being No. 1, everyone wants to beat us. We weren't surprised at all. Every team that plays us does the same thing."

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423

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