Michigan Head Coach Tommy Amaker
Opening statement ... We were very pleased and excited to have the chance to continue in this great tournament here in Chicago. I felt these four seniors in particular gave us great effort in various ways to allow us to come away with this hard fought victory this morning. Obviously it wasn't a pretty game in a lot of ways. Certainly we had to do some things in terms of loose balls, blocking out. I'm very pleased for us to continue on in the Big Ten Tournament."
On if playing early in the tournament is an advantage ... "Well, I'm sure you can get a number of different theories as to what is the best scenario. I think, in my experience, the mindset is to get there and try to get momentum in the tournament. By winning our first game and hopefully getting a point of reference in the arena C the floor, the court, all the things around being in tournament play. I like the fact that we've been able to say that and have the victory. We're going to try to use it to our advantage. I'm sure the teams that has a bye is selling it to their team that its better to have an extra day of rest, to view the teams and have another chance to scout and those things. Certainly we feel good about winning this first game and trying to advance and do well in the tournament."
On the play of the bench ... "I mentioned to our kids in the locker room that I thought our bench gave us a great boost today. I thought that the three by Ron Coleman, the jump shot he made late, was a big bucket for us because we had been struggling offensively and the lead had dwindled down. I thought that was a big basket. DeShawn (Sims) gave us great minutes, especially in the first half trying to get out of the blocks. Both teams were struggling to score as we did the whole game but I thought his aggressiveness, his energy around the basket, getting rebounds, put backs, making foul shots allowed us to break the ice and get a little more comfortable in this environment."
On the teams struggling to score ... "I think you can look at a lot of different things. Sometimes you see it happen in tournament play where teams struggle offensively to score and shoot. I was pleased that we didn't allow that to become a crutch to keep us from digging down defensively. Loose balls, Jerret Smith was down on the floor throughout the ball game, getting loose balls. I thought that the way the teams were struggling, maybe the team that would hit their stride there (would go on to win). I thought we hit that in the second half and opened it up gave us the cushion we needed to win the ballgame."
On what the win means to him personally ... "It's not about me personally. It's about our team, trying to see if we can advance in this tournament. I thought our kids came in with great spirit, obviously coming off our loss in the final game at home. I was very pleased with our kids today. For us to get 21 wins and advance is a great feeling for us."
On the team remaining focused ... "I'm pleased that they are. It goes to show that we have great kids. These four seniors in particular have been tremendous with our ball club and doing things on the floor, being solid citizens in the locker room and taking care of our team. I just think our kids have been able to respond to what we're trying to teach and staying very focused. I don't think we care about the things going on and swirling around us, we're focused on what's right in front of us."
U-M Senior Guard Dion Harris
On the offensive struggles for both teams ... "I guess both teams struggled to put it in the basket, but we don't just look at the offensive side of things and base our performance off of that. We really dug down defensively. I don't think we'll worry too much about what we had going offensively. Obviously, we wanted to and we said we had to convert going into the second half. The main thing was trying to get easy baskets since both teams were struggling with shooting from the outside. That's what we did."
On Minnesota's late run ... "They got it back down to six. We had to take it upon ourselves as seniors to finish it off strong and come out with the win no matter what. Obviously we don't want to let the lead get down to six after we had it up to 15, but it's up to us to do whatever we have to do to finish strong."
On if the team pays attention to their NCAA tournament resume ... "We're not paying attention to any of that stuff. We know what we have to do as far as taking it game by game. We're just focused on playing Ohio State, that's it."
U-M Senior Forward Brent Petway
On Michigan's rebounding edge ... "We knew coming into the arena that there'd be a lot of long rebounds. NBA arenas usually have a harder rim so we knew everyone was going to have to get on the glass. We talk about it every game really, everyone has to get on the offensive, and defensive, glass. We did a good job of having a balanced game today."
On the chance to play Ohio State again for the second time in a week ... "It will be another fun game. We get to play the number one team in the country and that's always an opportunity you look forward to. It's tournament time and it will be fun. We're looking forward to it."
On if the last result against Ohio State affected their preparation ... "We had a couple of days to get ready for this game, so that helped a little bit. Coming into tournament time, it doesn't matter what you've done leading into the tournament. You can always start to get things rolling once the tournament starts. We feel like we have been playing our best basketball in the past 10 days or so. It always starts with the first game of the tournament."
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