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Northwestern vs. Minnesota: Press conference notes

Hear what the Wildcats had to say after a tough 70-66 loss at home.

Head coaches Chris Collins of Northwestern and Richard Pitino of Minnesota addresssed the media after the game along with the Wildcats’ Dererk Pardon and Bryant McIntosh.

Chris Collins:

  • “Disappointing result. I thought we played really hard and it was a game where two good teams battled it out for 40 minutes.”
  • “The pivotal point in the game was the 10-0 run. We weren’t able to combat that with scores and our guys were tired and they kept bringing the energy.”
  • On the offense stagnating down the stretch: “At the end I thought we actually executed well and got some really good looks. Gavin had two good looks, so did B-Mac out of a timeout, as did Scottie in transition. In games like that you need to make the big shots if you want to win.”
  • A message to a packed Welsh-Ryan Arena: “I want to thank the crowd. The students and the fans were terrific and the atmosphere was unbelievable. I hope they stick with us ask we keep going because we need them.
  • On his point guard breaking out of his shooting slump: “I thought we saw vintage B-Mac tonight. He made plays, shot the ball with confidence, and I was really proud of him. We’re going to need him to play like that if we want to be successful in our conference.”
  • On what went wrong during the Gophers’ 10-0 run: “I don’t think they changed anything. We just shot 1-15 from three. I have to look at the tape but I’m pretty sure 10 of those were wide open.”
  • “Minnesota is very good, they have a lot of length defensively down low. I thought they were giving us the drive and kick threes for open looks. They just didn’t go down and that was tough.”
  • On Gavin Skelly’s rough shooting night: “Gavin is a good shooter. He can make outside shots. He was 0-6 tonight but we need him to keep shooting those.”
  • On the return of Pardon: “I was really proud of Dererk. He hasn’t played in five weeks and came out and gave us energy and scoring in the post. When you have a hand injury you can still run and he’s done a great job of staying in shape and that showed tonight.”
  • On Minnesota’s second half defense: “I thought they did very well in terms of forcing us into end of shot clock situations. I think it’s a matter of us finding ways to get some points in those situations that will make a difference.”
  • On why his team lost: “We didn’t get out-fought. We got outplayed. That is a very good basketball team. They just won at Purdue, they have great guards and great bigs.”
  • On bouncing back: “We gotta rally and regroup. When you lose one at home you have to find a way to make one up on the road. And that is not easy in this league. Every team is really good and we’re playing a really good team on Sunday in Nebraska.”
  • On a tale of two halves: “I thought our offense was fantastic in the first half. We were efficient and the ball was moving. I think in the second half it really became a grind out game and that not only showed in our shooting numbers but in theirs as well.”

Bryant McIntosh:

  • On finding his stroke offensively: “I had a good talk with coach, got in the gym a lot this week, quit thinking about everything and just tried to play. I watched a lot of film of the Michigan State game and just tried to do more of taking what the defense gave me tonight.”
  • On the team’s mentality after another close loss: “We gotta quit feeling sorry for ourselves. No one’s gonna fell sorry for us. We didn’t make enough plays down the stretch. They made the plays down stretch and we didn’t and that’s how you lose games in this league.”
  • On the cause of his team’s second half struggles: “We had some fatigue in the second half which led to us not executing as well. We ran great offense but we just didn’t run it sharp.”

Dererk Pardon:

  • On getting back on the court after missing eight games with a hand injury: “I felt great. It was good to get the rust off and now its time to get a road win against Nebraska.”
  • On staying positive: “We know its a long season. We have another 15 games left in the conference and can easily turn it around. Look at Wisconsin last year, they started 1-5 and they ended up fine. We’ll be alright.”
  • On what led to the loss: “We just didn’t make open shots tonight, plain and simple. We’ll make those eventually though, law of averages.”

Richard Pitino:

  • On what got his team the win: “A lot of respect for Northwestern tonight. They were doing so many great things offensively, and we really had to dig in in that second half defensively to slow them down. I’m very proud that we held them to 28% in that period.”
  • On his team’s drastic improvement from last season: “The guys that we brought in are really helping us. We’re a totally different team. To get two Big Ten road wins is huge and shows our progress.”
  • On what changes he made during the second half: “I just made it a point of emphasis to get out on Northwestern’s shooters, but our guys executed terrifically on the defensive end to hold them to 1-15 in the second half from three.”