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Northwestern-Minnesota press conference notes: Collins, players pleased to end skid

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Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

EVANSTON -- Northwestern got back on track with a dominant 82-58 win over Minnesota, ending the team's five-game losing streak. Here's what Gophers head coach Richard Pitino, Wildcats head coach Chris Collins and players Bryant McIntosh and Tre Demps had to say about the game:

Richard Pitino

- Pitino spoke to the media for a grand total of one minute and 29 seconds.

- On his team's offensive play: "We couldn't make shots tonight and you can't win like that...We let our offense affect our defense." Minnesota shot just 16-of-48 from field (33 percent).

- Although the Gophers came into the contest on an 11-game losing streak, they had been playing better of late as they had dropped their previous five games by an average of just 5.4 points per contest. On his team's performance, Pitino said: "We were playing with toughness...Tonight we took a step back."

- Pitino said Northwestern's offensive success was due to a combination of factors. First, he noted that Northwestern's shooters are better than how they've been performing in conference play. Along with that, he laid much of the fault with his own team's defensive breakdowns.

Chris Collins

- When Collins entered the press conference, he immediately began looking for a cup of water. He went through two in his short, six-minute press conference. "Sorry if I'm a little bit hoarse. It's been a long couple of weeks," he began. Collins said he lost his voice during the game.

- On the decision to start Dererk Pardon over Alex Olah and Joey van Zegeren: "It wasn't to punish any of the other guys...I just wanted to switch it up." He added that he had been looking for more energy to start games and that Pardon's length and mobility gave Northwestern the best chance to do that. The freshman finished his first start with 4 points, 4 rebounds and a block in 18 minutes.

- On the play of guards Bryant McIntosh and Tre Demps, who combined for 43 points: "Whenever a team's two best players are playing well, that carries over to the rest of the guys."

- On the mentality of his team before and during the game: "Anytime you go through a tough stretch and get beaten down and hammered a few times like we did, it affects you. It affects everybody. You start questioning your confidence and how good you are. What we really tried to focus on is our whole body of work. We're not the team that lost to four-straight top 20 teams, three of them on the road. We're the team that has 15 wins. We tried to focus on that. I thought it kind of re-energized us a bit. All we talked about was getting that 16th win and I thought all our guys did a great job of carrying that out tonight."

- Collins was also "proud" of the way Northwestern moved the ball offensively. After playing high-caliber defenses, Northwestern saw holes in Minnesota's 2-3 zone and exploited it. The Wildcats finished the game scoring 1.24 points per possession.

Bryant McIntosh

- On the way he and Demps played: "It's nice when we're both clicking together...It was nice finally having one night where we were both clicking on all cylinders. I thought we played really well off each other."

- On breaking Northwestern's all-time single-season assist record: "I knew it was there [before the game] just from our athletic media [department] just kinda tweeting at me and stuff." He says he didn't let it force him into making selfish passes. McIntosh finished the game with just three assists and didn't have his first until well into the second half.

- McIntosh said he consciously tried to push the pace when Northwestern had the ball: "I really wanted to run. I thought that's when we're playing our best."

- On what Northwestern can learn from this win: "I think the one thing we can take away from this is that we responded...We could have been beaten down and could have been 'mental midgets' as coach Collins says."

- On Collins' demeanor during recent practices: "He's been more intense. And just us not winning, it kills him." McIntosh continued to talk about how he and Collins were able to figure out a few communication issues this week: "I think this was the best we have communicated since I've been here."

Tre Demps

- On working his way back from a major shooting slump: "When you have that kind of support, you can't quit."

- On McIntosh's leadership and how it changed over the past week: "We established that only one guy talks in the huddle and B-Mac is our leader and he's the guy we're going to follow behind. He has a strong voice that relaxes us and gives us confidence."

- On how Collins tries to yell even without a voice: "It's funny. He still tries. Even at the end of the game he was still on us about keeping habits...He still finds a way to get his voice out."