EVANSTON — As the clock wound down on Northwestern's 76-45 loss to Michigan State, and the Wildcats' reserves labored through a late offensive possession, Chris Collins just stood there. He didn't react to a scrappy offensive rebound or an errant pass. He just stood there, one leg crossed over the other, emotionless.
When he walked into the press conference, Collins actually cracked a smile. But it was more of smile to hide frustration.
- Here was Collins' entire opening statement: "Obviously a tough night, and it's hard to win when you can't make shots. I can sit up here for an hour and we can talk about a lot of things, but if you can't put the ball in the basket, you're not going to win against really good teams. I'm open for questions."
- Collins: "They got 26 open threes and made 16, we got 23 open ones and made 4. That's minus-36. Do the math. It's not brain surgery."
- Collins: "Our effort level was tremendous. This game had nothing to do with effort, nothing to do with preparation. It was one team shot the crap out of it, and one team didn't make anything.
- Collins: "If you're playing your butt off, and you keep getting open shots, and you miss 'em all, it wears on you mentally. I feel badly for our guys... and it just wears on you, and other parts of the game go south... it's demoralizing."
- Collins noted that after getting blown out by Michigan State last year at home, the 10th of 10-straight losses, his team beat Iowa and won five of six.
- Collins: "In the first half, our defense was decent. We had a couple breakdowns... I thought they hit some at the end of the clock that were real daggers."
- Collins said Olah doesn't practice at all, and "has a broken foot. But he's a senior, he's trying to gut it out. He's trying to give what he can." Collins said he thought Michigan State's size bothered Olah. Olah scored 4 points on 0-for-6 shooting.
- When asked if he was satisfied with the other aspects of the offense other than the shooting, Collins said he was.
- Collins: "We're not gonna be a team that's gonna get a ton of calls against a team like Michigan State. We gotta fight through that stuff. The play at the end of the half was huge. McIntosh gets crushed, [the refs] swallow the whistle... But look, we gotta earn our respect." Northwestern was called for 9 fouls. Michigan State was called for 21.
- Collins: "I don't think this was [about our] defensive gameplan. You gotta score, guys. You can't shoot 12 for 58 and 4 for 23 from three. This game was not lost on the defensive end.
- Izzo on Northwestern: "We made shots... I think that's Chris [Collins]'s problem right now. Those two poor guards... who were shooting it so well early have fallen into a slump." Izzo seemed to make a point to empathize with Collins.
- Izzo called Northwestern's zone "really tough." Michigan State shot 16 for 26 from three.
- Izzo, speaking as if his team gutted out a four-point road win, said his team "found a way to get a game."
- Izzo said the gameplan was to show hard on Northwestern's ball screens, which is what teams have started to do to McIntosh after he hurt Wisconsin in pick-and-roll situations.
- Izzo said he "feels for teams like" Northwestern because what the Wildcats are doing reminds him of his second and third years at Michigan State.