EVANSTON — John Groce, Chris Collins, Tre Demps and Scottie Lindsey addressed the media following Northwestern's down-to-the-wire 58-56 victory over Illinois.
John Groce, Illinois head coach
- Groce took a very glass-half-full approach to his team's loss. He was really proud of how hard his guys played. He noted that his team out-rebounded Northwestern by nine, which he thought was really impressive given that the Wildcats rank fourth in the conference in offensive rebounding.
- Groce said he had to burn a timeout mid-way through the second half because his guys were tired, and that's why he didn't have one left to use in the final possession of regulation.
- Groce thought that Scottie Lindsey's back-to-back threes and Tre Demps' four-straight threes were the "biggest moments in the game" and that his guys could have defended the perimeter better down the stretch.
Chris Collins, Northwestern head coach
- Collins was "really excited about the win tonight. It wasn't necessarily the prettiest game but I thought my guys left everything out there on the floor."
- He also thought it was a tale of two halves for both teams: "I thought the defenses dominated in the first half and both offenses were a little overanxious. And then in the second half both teams had trouble stopping each other." He also noted that Northwestern only had two turnovers in the second half compared to 10 in the first half.
- Collins was really pleased with Scottie Lindsey's performance. Ever since Lindsey was benched against Michigan State, Collins said, "he's had a renewed fire and he's really played well for us and he was a huge reason we won this game... If he's playing like that I need to have him on the floor...He's got a bright future."
- Collins wants both Illinois and Northwestern to keep improving so that the rivalry can blossom. And he wishes that they played twice a season. He thinks Michigan and Michigan State, Indiana and Purdue and Northwestern and Illinois should play twice every year to protect the best rivalries in the conference.
- Collins says his players tend to overreact when they don't make shots early in games so he has to remind them that their shots will eventually fall. That was the case tonight.
- Even though McIntosh didn't score much, Collins thought his point guard played really well. McIntosh finished with 4 points and 9 assists.
- Collins thought Sanjay Lumpkin did a really nice job defensively on Malcolm Hill on the final possession, and the whole game.
Tre Demps, Northwestern guard
- Demps credits Alex Olah for setting him up well on those barrage of threes down the stretch. "When you see the ball go in once it gives you a lot of confidence."
- After the Michigan State game Demps, like his coach, noticed a positive change in Lindsey's practice effort.
Scottie Lindsey, Northwestern guard
- Before the Michigan State game, "I wasn't doing everything I was supposed to do to help my team. I needed to come out with more energy and help the team out more."
- Lindsey said he's been putting extra work in on his shot in practice and thinks the added reps have given him more confidence in games. He's shot over 50 percent from three in the last four contests.