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Northwestern at Wisconsin: Press conference notes

Chris Collins was incredibly proud of his team after a monumental win over Wisconsin.

Read what Chris Collins, Bryant McIntosh and Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard had to say following the Wildcats’ historic 66-59 win in Madison:

Chris Collins

  • “Just really proud of the team tonight after a very tough loss. When you lose a home game in this league you gotta go on the road and you gotta get it back somewhere.”
  • “I thought our defense was the story of the game. I was really proud of our team defense against a team with so many weapons. I thought we did a really good job communicating on our double teams and getting out to shooters.”
  • “I was incredibly happy with the way we responded to [Wisconsin’s] run at the beginning of the half. It’s not easy to come back from a 10-0 spurt, but I thought us weathering the storm was really key for eventually getting the win.”
  • “I am just so proud of how our guys have shouldered the load of learning on the fly of how to play without Scottie.”
  • “If you’re gonna take away Happ and Nigel, you need to rely on some help. We sort of allowed for those open shots by Koenig and Vitto Brown and got some help the fact that they were missing.”
  • On how his team came through with the win: “I think we learned from our early season struggles at the end of games. I was really confident in our team the whole night that we would be able to see it out and get the job done even against a really good team.”
  • On what this win means for the program: “We’re trying to build a program to emulate what Wisconsin has done. We’re trying to build a program with the right guys who want to fight for each other and believe in something bigger than themselves. More than anything I think it was big that we had just lost two in a row and we were able to get back on track with this win. It was huge for the here and now, regardless of any historical implication. Really really proud of how the guys bounced back.”
  • On outscoring Wisconsin in the paint: “We made a conscious decision to get in the paint and make things happen and I was really happy with how our guys executed against a defense like that.”
  • On the performance of his center: “There’s nobody I would rather go into battle with than Dererk Pardon. His effort and his energy, especially against a player like Happ were tremendous for us tonight.”

Bryant McIntosh

  • On playing all 40 minutes: “Certainly before the game I was preparing for it. After the under-10 in the first half I sort of knew that I was going to go all 40 after I asked for a blow and Coach was not having it (laughs).”
  • On Sanjay Lumpkin’s dunk in the final seconds: “It probably was not the right play to make sportsmanship-wise, but it was the punctuation. It was the dagger. I was really excited and was finally able to relax and appreciate this amazing performance and amazing win.”
  • On how he helped rally the troops after the Illinois loss: “We talked in our group message and in the locker room about stopping the bleeding. A lot of teams can fall apart when they have lost two in a row and are without their leading scorer, but we recognized that we couldn’t feel sorry for ourselves and that resolve showed tonight.”
  • On how he managed to overcome his early air ball to have a big night: “Sometimes shots don’t fall, but I had the confidence and worked my way back into that game. Got lucky with the glass three right before half, but I think it was just persevering and being confident. It was the same thing that happened with Sanjay after he air-balled a three early and then hit a huge one from the corner in the second half. We told him in the timeout that if he’s open we need him to shoot it and shoot it confidently, and he was able to do that as well.”

Greg Gard:

  • On Northwestern: “I knew they had a good team coming into tonight, and I thought they played really well. They defended the paint incredibly and we did not take what they gave us. Chris has a really good team and they beat us.”
  • On where the game was lost: “They went on a 16-0 run in six possessions in the first half which was a big factor. They also did a great job of getting timely rebounds and timely buckets.”
  • On McIntosh: “He’s a heck of a player. Best player on the floor hands down. He’s worked on his game. He was under-recruited and overlooked, and now he’s one of the toughest covers in this league. He gives a lot of people fits and, like a said, he’s a tremendous player.”
  • On where his team went wrong: “I think we played well when we played from the inside-out, and when we got away from that is when they made their runs and the game was lost.”