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Northwestern-Indiana press conference notes

Bryant McIntosh gave some honest thoughts about changing the Northwestern culture, and more.

Northwestern continued its romp through the Big Ten on Sunday night, beating the Indiana Hoosiers 68-55 at Welsh-Ryan Arena to improve to 7-2 in conference play.

Indiana native Bryant McIntosh led the way with 21 points and eight assists while Sanjay Lumpkin added 15 points on an uber-efficient 4-of-6 shooting. Here what Indiana coach Tom Crean and Northwestern coach Chris Collins, as well as McIntosh and Lumpkin, had to say afterwards:

Indiana head coach Tom Crean

  • On the play of Bryant McIntosh: “We didn’t guard him well, and we let him get to his right hand too much. There’s no question we should have brought more pressure.
  • On his team’s trouble scoring: “I thought we weren’t making enough shots. We didn’t get the ball inside as much as we could have, but the key was that we let them get a couple of run-outs and build some confidence.”
  • On his team losing the turnover battle: “The story of the first half for us was the difference in the turnovers.”
  • On James Blackmon Jr.’s injury status: “No, I really don’t [have an update]...We’ll see how it goes.”
  • On the missed opportunities: “What’s relevant to me is that we left a lot of points on the floor tonight...We had opportunities we didn’t take advantage of, and they did. They’re a really good team. Chris is doing a great job.”

Northwestern head coach Chris Collins

  • On his team’s defensive effort: “The defense was the story in this game. We have such respect for Indiana...We got a little fortunate [with the Blackmon and Anunoby injuries] but the guys they do have are really good. I thought our team defense was really good...It was a great effort by a lot of people.”
  • On his point guard’s strong play: “I’m just really proud of McIntosh, he really controlled the game. He did a great job of leading us all night.”
  • On Nathan Taphorn’s injury: “Tap rolled his ankle at the end of the first half. He tried to give it a go and our trainer said he’s a no-go. It’s a sprained ankle, but we’ll run more tests.”
  • On McIntosh bouncing back from his bad game against the Hoosiers last year: “Indiana is one of the best states in the country for basketball. It’s such a basketball-rich state. Bryant grew up rooting for these teams, so we try not to make too much of it. Last year, he let his emotions get in his way a little bit.”
  • On his team’s progression: “In my first year, we couldn’t score at all. The last two years, with the youth, we got beat up a bit. Now, we’re not just a one-man band.” Collins mentioned how Dererk Pardon and Vic Law didn’t do much offensively, but they were backed up by the rest of the team.
  • On the rebounds guys like Law and Lumpkin grabbed: “With the matchups, we knew that our guards were going to have to pick up the rebounds considering that our big guys needed to stay down low and box out.”
  • On Lumpkin’s strong play: “Sanjay was awesome tonight. He hit big shots when we needed him to and made his free throws. He’s all over the place, and he’s a favorite of mine. He’s the heart and soul of our team.”
  • On the atmosphere: “It was pretty cool. It felt like big-time college basketball. We have a ways to go but we really appreciate the fans getting behind the team.”
  • On the risks of his team getting overconfident: “I worry about [success] every second. It’s a fine line because I love that people are taking notice of what these guys are doing. But, the moment you soften up a little bit, you crash down to reality really quickly in this conference.”
  • On Barret Benson: “There’s no better teammate on the team than Barret. He genuinely enjoys the successes of his teammates, and you want nothing more than see him succeed too.”

Sanjay Lumpkin

  • On McIntosh’s continued resurgence: “That’s the B-Mac we know, the B-Mac we see every day in practice.”
  • On his steal and breakaway dunk: “At first, I wasn’t sure if the dunk went in or not, but then I heard the crowd erupt...The students were really good tonight, and they need to keep coming out to support us.”
  • On the defensive effort: “We locked in. They were missing some players but we got two days of prep, and whenever we get that, we feel that we can lock in defensively. We were all on the same page.”
  • On his crossing-up of Thomas Bryant: “That’s one of my favorite moves. I didn’t even realize he fell at first.”
  • On the allure of thinking about the NCAA Tournament: “That’s in the back of our minds. But, for each game, we try to find something to keep us grounded, that extra motivation.”

Bryant McIntosh

  • On playing Indiana, his home-state team: “I had maybe 10 family members and friends here tonight...It was certainly much more enjoyable this year. When I play at Indiana, it’s only an hour away from home so last year, I felt really jittery and got caught up in the emotion of that.”
  • On the effectiveness of the defense: “Our pack-line defense is really tough on teams. It’s hard to score when you can’t play inside-out.”
  • When asked if he recruited by Indiana: “No.” Would be have considered going to Indiana if recruited: “Yes.” His thoughts further explained: “It’s just part of how they recruit and its a part of the game. It’s a business.”
  • On changing the tune about Northwestern: “At the end of the day, there’s only two stories you’re going to write about. We’ll either do something different and special, or we’ll be like every other Northwestern team.”
  • On the box and one Indiana employed against him in the second half: “I was kind of surprised and it wasn’t something we were prepared for. Teams and coaches in this league are really good, so if they think it bothered us, they’ll use it”
  • On having the chance to end Northwestern’s NCAA Tournament drought: “It’s special, and that’s the end of the story. I really believe we’re good enough to. We have to get a little tougher. We’re good now, but we can be really good...We have to make sure this is over, that this isn’t the same Northwestern.”