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Northwestern-Wake Forest press conference notes

Collins, B-Mac and Lumpkin were all in good spirits after the big win.

Following a gutsy 65-58 win over Wake Forest in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, Chris Collins, Bryant McIntosh, Sanjay Lumpkin, and Demon Deacons coach Danny Manning met with the media. Here’s what they had to say.

Chris Collins

  • “I’m really proud of my team. That was a good old-fashioned fist fight. I thought both defenses were terrific tonight. That was a team that was averaging close to 90 points a game. I can’t say enough about Sanjay Lumpkin. [Bryant] McIntosh was fantastic, dominant all second half, but for people who know basketball, to see the plays Sanjay was making in the second half against John Collins, giving up six inches, he was magnificent tonight in his own way.”
  • “I thought Gavin Skelly was fantastic as well, coming off the bench doing a little bit of everything. We’ve become pretty difficult to guard with his ability to pop out and shoot or pass.”
  • “It’s our seventh game in 14 days, I don’t think anyone has played the level of competition that we have in the country.”
  • “I really like how my team is playing, I love coaching these guys. We’ve been making a lot of headway, it’s been fun coaching these guys.”
  • On water fight in locker room: “The guys think its funny to mess up my suits. I learned to take off my coat and tie and let the shirt take the brunt. Those are fun locker rooms, when you’re in games like that and everyone knows you’ve been in a fight, I love being in the locker room after games like that.”
  • “The thing about Bryant is he’s such a good player. He’s a perfectionist. One of the things with him is getting over to him that there is no perfect game in basketball. If you make half your shots you’re a terrific shooter. I think the key thing is he got some layups. He had three or four layups that got him going that led to threes and floaters. He was unbelievable in the second half.”
  • On how his team pulled away down the stretch: “It was toughness. We had to will that game. That wasn’t going to be a pretty game. We had to will it out with our defense. 30% shooting for them, 19 turnovers, our defense won that game. We got a lot of stops late in the game, we made enough baskets to win.”
  • On Pardon’s injury: “He banged his hand a little bit, we’ll get it checked out, hopefully it’s nothing serious. He wasn’t able to go back in.”
  • On finally winning the close game: “It’s a step-forward, you gotta start winning these games. We’re in year four now, it’s time to start wining. We have a confidence to us, it’s not an overconfidence. Our guys believe we’re a good team, and I like that. I think it’s an evolution from where we’ve come from, a mindset, a culture. I think it’s the older guys driving that, not me, that’s when you know you’re getting somewhere. It’s the guys on the team driving that message. At the end of the day they’re the ones out there, it’s their time, those guys give me everything that have, they try to do everything I ask them to do. When you have a group like that, they’re really fun to coach.”
  • On Jordan Ash playing in favor of Isiah Brown in the second half: “I think Jordan gave us a really nice burst, we just have a team like that. I believe in all the guys, I felt good about what Jordan was giving us, it was a defensive battle. But I’m not down on Isiah.”
  • “They were really hugging our shooters and it opened up some lanes for Bryant. They were trapping all our pick and roll stuff. As the game wore on, their big guys got a little tired and Bryant was able to get around them.”
  • On hosting DePaul on Saturday: “Being from Chicago, both schools understand that’s why we have a long term series. It’s a great game for the city, a game that should be played every year. I have great respect for Coach Lato. Anytime you play local teams there’s more at stake. We’re the two schools in Chicago that get all the attention, and the last time they came here they beat us. Our guys are going to be motivated. I’m glad the games on Saturday so our guys can get some rest.”

Bryant McIntosh

  • Starts out the session by asking “How’s everybody doing?” McIntosh had visible blood on his upper lip from an elbow he took in the second half.
  • “I felt good in the first half. The pull-up jumper that went in on transition, I think I was a little passive in the first half and then I got kind of on a roll with those couple layups. Just seeing the ball go in the basket always helps.”
  • On the atmosphere tonight: “It’s great to see what a student section can do, the atmosphere was incredible. When you get a great student section, it can be a great place to play in. It’s a great environment.”
  • On his three point play: “I came off the ball screen and I just saw a lane that you could drive a semi through, so I just drove and got it off the glass high enough to keep it away from Collins and got a call.”
  • On going 8-for-8 from the field in the second half: “It’s about time. I don’t take a shot I don’t think I can take. I always have confidence in the shots I take, it was nice to finally see it go in. Coach [Collins] was telling me this week that the law of averages will come out.”
  • On going off in the second half: “It feels nice. I put a lot of pressure on myself because I want to win and play well for my team. When I’m not playing up to my capabilities it’s frustrating. It’s a credit to my coaches and teammates for getting me out of it and challenging me.”
  • On the play of Law and Lindsey: “Coming into the season, everyone was talking about who would take pressure off of me. I feel like I need to take pressure off those two. I’m really proud of them. Their growth is tremendous. They make us really good, they’re two terrific scorers that make us really difficult to guard.”
  • On the cut on his upper-lip: “I’m a big Hoosiers fan, so when I came out, I heard Coach [Collins] say ‘patch him up, patch him up’ so that took me back to the movie Hoosiers. I think that woke me up. It was off an elbow, Collins got an offensive rebound and I dug for it, he just caught me.”
  • On the play of Sanjay Lumpkin: “He guarded Collins incredibly the last 10 minutes. Gavin was tremendous, he’s a great decision maker at the 4 or 5 spot. Sanjay’s always been a dirty work guy, his two layups to seal the game were really big.”

Sanjay Lumpkin

  • On guarding John Collins: “It’s tough, you gotta do dirty work, it was kind of like when I had to guard (AJ) Hammons a few years ago. I told Coach James to put me on him, I just had to battle him.”
  • On why Collins was a tough matchup: “He’s always trying to post me out, I had to push him out as far as I can. Obviously I had to box him out, he’s super athletic. It takes all five guys to do that.”
  • “We definitely locked into the game plan, stopped them in transition, and found their shooters especially in transition. Obviously we had to battle on the glass, I think we did a great job of that. Some key stops down the stretch, guys stepped up.”
  • On energy of team: “We really rally around each other, our bench is amazing. Throughout this season, I’ve been on the team looking at our bench and looking at other teams’ and it’s night and day. We have great spirit. The fans were amazing, it’s great to win in front of the home crowd and give them a win like this.”
  • On winning close: “It’s great. That’s what we talk about every day. Making those plays, we had a few tough games early this season where we were a few plays away, to make those plays tonight, it was what we talk about, it was great. Something we need to keep doing and something we can do.”
  • On second half difference: “The first half they kind of hit us early with the run at the beginning and got to the free throw line a lot. We knew going into the half that we were right there and we had to put a great second half together, and we focused on the game plan and guys stepped up and made huge plays.”
  • On when McIntosh gets going: “We all know that’s what BMac does. He’s had huge games. We all expect that out of him. He seizes that moment and it’s great to see him play like that. We need him to be a leader, he’s making a lot of decisions, he knows we all trust him, it’s great to see him have a great game tonight.”

Danny Manning

  • “I thought tonight was an early conference game for both teams, to be honest. I thought the atmosphere was really good, there’s lot of attention placed on the series we’re in.”
  • “I think Northwestern came in down the stretch and made some good plays. With three minutes to go in the game we were right there, Northwestern didn’t let us make enough plays to win the game.”
  • “I think Chris [Collins] is doing a tremendous job here building the program, the way they play night in and night out is really impressive.”
  • On Bryant McIntosh’s 19-point second half: “I’m not surprised. He is certainly capable of taking the game over like he did down the stretch.”