2003-04 BKM vs. Central Michigan -- Postgame Quotes

Michigan Head Coach Tommy Amaker

On the Central Michigan comeback
... "I am sure it was a case of a lot of things, but the biggest reason was this Central Michigan team. They played a tremendous last 25 minutes of play. They put a lot of pressure on us. They can spread you and shoot the ball well. I give our kids credit. We were not pleased with how we lost the lead, but they had something to do with it. We made some big plays when we needed them the most. I thought Graham Brown's play in the late stages of the game was good; he played very intelligent, smart basketball. I like the growth of our team, but the next step is to be able to handle a lead and handle the situation much better."

On the difference between the first half and second half ... "I thought we played the same way in each half. We shot very well in the first half. I have always said that good shooting makes your offense look pretty darn good. We made a lot of transition baskets in the first half, helping our shooting percentage. I mentioned to Dugan Fife during the radio show, it was like a tale of two halves. I really liked the fact that we came ready to play. We needed every one of those points we scored in the first half."

On his feelings on the season to date ... "Overall we are pleased. We knew this was going to be tough for us, but given the stretch we just went through, with exams and everything, especially for our freshmen, I am very pleased. We are 6-1 and looking to get our seventh win before the holiday break."

On Lester Abram ... "Lester carried us offensively. Without his play, especially on the offensive end, we would have been in trouble. I think it was a breakout game for Lester. He had been struggling with his shooting, but now his confidence is there. I would like to see him rebound more, but his stroke was on today and we needed every one of them today."

On his team's play ... "I think we play at spurts in stretches. That is something a youth team will do. I think once we get to the point where we can play an entire 40-minute ballgame, I will be extremely pleased, but we still have a little way to go."

U-M Senior Bernard Robinson Jr.

On how the team's defense translated to offense today ... "Coach wanted us to be in the passing lanes a lot today. We knew they were going to do some guard-to-guard screens; that's why we were able to get out there and get some easy steals. We did a good job of rotating and playing the post. I think that's what allowed us to jump out to a good lead. It started on the defensive end and then we were able to make our shots."

On contributing with points, rebounds and assists today ... "My shot was falling and guys were moving and getting themselves ready to take the shot and knock them down. Guys were getting on the glass. We all collectively as a team wanted to make sure we were on the glass today."

On the importance of free throws in the final minutes ... "We knew it was going to come down to free throws once the game got tight with five minutes to go. Coach kept talking to us about continuing to hit our free throws and we stepped up. Graham Brown did a good job. The other guys did a good job knocking them down."

U-M Senior/Junior J.C. Mathis

On collecting 13 rebounds and U-M's outrebounding CMU by 15 ... "I believe we were outrebounded the last two games. One of the big points of emphasis for the coach and team was trying to get back to rebounding better. I know before the last two games we were outrebounding oponents. That was something we wanted to get back to and gladly today we got back to it. We had an advantage in the front court with our size, being a lot taller."

On the importance of playing a 40-minute game ... "That's one of the things we talked about as soon as we came in. If we could put together 40 minutes of how we started the game in the first 10 minutes the game wouldn't have been as close as had been. That's one of the things we just talked about actually. We're trying to do that in the future. When we were undefeated we were doing that, so we're trying to put together a good 35-40 minutes of basketball."

On his efforts coming off the bench ... "Coach Amaker talked to me about coming off of the bench with energy. Some of the rebounds were lucky; they just came my way. It's one thing Coach Amaker talked about me coming off of the bench and providing some energy. We knew Brandon Voorhees was a very good shooter and player and we talked about energy and defensive rebounding."

Central Michigan Head Coach Jay Smith

Opening statement ... "First of all I would like to thank Tommy (Amaker) for playing us. On the game we came out star struck and we did not perform. We missed shots, and free throws ... it was like we were back playing Purdue where we just could not score. But we have been teaching and preaching team toughness and want this kids to out work other teams."

On playing Michigan in Crisler Arena ... "Its nice to come back to a place where I spent seven years. We were here during some good times and some bad times. Like I told Tommy (Amaker), they are going to be very good. It is an honor to come in here and play these guys. It is going to help us when we get into the MAC season. We are a better team now than we were a month ago."

On the game ... "We have a deficiency rebounding it, because we are missing a certain 7- footer. The play that really hurt us was when they missed a shot and it kicked out to Dion Harris, who knocked down an three-pointer that put them up six when we had the lead cut down to three. That play kind of broke our back."

On what he told the team when they were down 28-2 ... "I just told them that we couldn't shoot any worse. We were 0-for-10 a one point and there is no way to go but up, so we kept clawing and scratching and fought right back into it."

CMU Senior Gerrit Brigitha

On if Coach Smith said anything to spark the comeback ... "It wasn't really anything he said. We had to dig down. It was all about pride. We got down, I think it was 28 in the first half, and that's embarrassing. We knew we had to keep working and that's what we did."

On what he was thinking when Central Michigan pulled to within three ... "We just had to get some stops. We kept stopping them on defense and getting good shots on offense. Then they scored a couple of easy baskets and got right back up. Basically, we just ran out of time."

CMU Sophomore Brandon Voorhees

On getting behind early ... "We just have to come out with intensity right away. We came out flat and had to fight back. Once you get to that point against a good team, they are not going to let you back."

On what the turning point in the comeback was ... "We knew what we had to do. We weren't geting it done and we had to come out and play hard. We just came out and played hard."

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