Nebraska Postgame Quotes vs. Western Illinois

By NU Athletic Communications

Nebraska Head Coach Tim Miles 

On the energy
“I thought our first 24-25 minutes were pretty good. I think the kids came out locked in. Shavon (Shields) really made some good plays early. Walter (Pitchford) made some really big plays early. I thought we kind of seized control, but then it evened out. We then had a nice run. We got it up to 23 I think was the biggest lead. Jim Molinari is a friend of mine. He’s really a good coach. He’s been on the bench at the Final Four with DePaul. He’s taken his Bradley team to the NCAA Tournament. He’s been right there in the championship game of the Summit League with his Western Illinois team. So you know it’s just going to get mucked up out there and they’re not going to stop. They’re not going to stop. And that’s what happened. We kind of got a little tired. They stayed on the attack. They make a couple threes and they get physical with us. We sort of start whining a little bit and don’t play the way we can. It was a good lesson to learn because there’s a stark contrast the last 14 minutes of the game I thought. If that lead isn’t so big, we don’t win. There’s going to be a lot to learn on tape for this team. This team is trying to learn how to win and how to sustain intensity and how to execute well. This is a good lesson for us.”

On Walter Pitchford
“I think from the get go we knew he could shoot. We had to fine tune his shot a little bit and it’s better. It still needs a little work. I don’t think he made one in the second half, did he? Fatigue, some of those things…playing through that. When he’s fresh, though, it looks like he’s hitting nothing but the back of the net. I think in time he’ll understand that mental capacity. How to keep playing, how to keep competing and we need to get him in the blocks some too because he’s really hard to stop. He doesn’t love physicality. I don’t know that that’s a mystery that any of our opponents haven’t figured out already or can’t watch. We need some more inside scoring and he can provide that.”

On what Pitchford gives to the offense
“Just look at the look on the other coach’s face and that will tell you all that you need to know. It’s a frustrating thing. You feel like, ‘O.K., how do we match up then?’ Any pick and pop five is tough and Walter is not a natural five but that’s what he has to play for us at this point in time. A pick and pop four really stretches the floor. I think when we get all of our guys out there and you add Ray Gallegos and Deverell Biggs to that lineup and you play Shavon (Shields) or Terran (Petteway) at the four with Walter (Pitchford) there, it can be an interesting group too. If they can rebound and defend the way they should, that team can be hard to guard at times. We haven’t turned it over, which is good. We usually take a bad shot before we turn it over.”

On the defense
“(I liked it) early. The first 24 minutes I really didn’t have any complaints. Even building the lead back up to 24 and we just, whatever the last seven and a half minutes, we kind of went into a non-compete mode."

On maturity
“I’d like to see it done in practice. It will be a good lesson. Sometimes that’s the way you have to learn the lesson. It will be a good lesson. It’s not one we want to accept readily.”

Sophomore Forward Walter Pitchford
On where he learned to shoot the three

“I’d have to say in high school. One of my coaches really stressed to me and told me I needed to be versatile so I started by working on my mid-range shots. He even told me I needed to be even more versatile than that. I brought it back to the three and worked on it every day. Once I got here to Nebraska, Coach Tim Miles really told me how big it’s going to be for me to be able to shoot. So I practiced it every day and just listen to what coach had to say.”

On why the second half was slower
“We got a little sluggish but it was just mental stuff. We’ll be better. We just need to lock in for these next couple of days because we’ll be playing even better teams.”

On the new foul calls
“I just have to adjust. I really can’t complain about it, so that’s what I’m going to do.”

On if it is hard to adjust to the fouls and if he’ll get into foul trouble this year
“No, because I don’t want to be a problem for my team. I don’t want to be a problem for a loss or anything like that. If I have to stay in and talk to coach and listen to what he has to say about rules and stuff and show me film, what I can and what I can’t do, then I’ll do it. I want to do anything to win.”

On how it makes him feel for coach to trust his shooting abilities
“It feels good. Anybody who gets told to shoot obviously will be happy. I just don’t want to abuse it and keep shooting and not go into the holes. Some people don’t know that I can drive so I need to show them that I can drive. Like I said, I need to be versatile and shoot and drive.”

On how tonight compared to Friday against FGCU
“The main thing is that we have to come out how we came Friday, for every game.”

On if he thinks he played well tonight
“Parts. Bits and pieces, but I mean that’s just learning experience and for these next couple of days I’m pretty sure coach will be stressing to us. We’ll just be taking it in and listening and making sure we’re doing it.”

Western Illinois Head Coach Jim Molinari

Overall thoughts on the game
“I thought we had a hard time matching up with that team. Our strength was Michael Ochereobia, he can score down low against Walter Pitchford. The weakness was that (Ochereobia) couldn’t guard him on the floor. We have to look at that. Give Nebraska credit though. I thought Tim Miles did a great job. This is a beautiful place, there’s an energy in here and Tim Miles is an energized guy. There’s an energy through the whole program. I thought they were extremely well prepared and took away a lot of us. They didn’t give Garret Covington any looks. They play excellent defense. They did last year and they did this year. I think we played too conservative at the start. I tried to slow the pace down and that really hurt us because we didn’t play aggressive. In the second half, we played a little bit more aggressive.”

On Adam Link
“One of the things that has happened to Adam is that he hurt his ankle bad and he’s lost a lot of his explosiveness. I just have to do a better job of figuring out what we’re going to do with Adam to make him effective. I have to do that, obviously, I have no excuses. It really hurt losing Remy (Roberts-Burnett) because we really don’t have a true No. 2 guard now. In basketball you always want to have at least three ball handlers on the court at one time and now we don’t. We don’t have three really good ball handlers on the court, so we have to figure that out. Who knows, Remy could be out for a while. When we lose Remy and we lose Billy Molinari, we don’t have our starting and our backup. We’ll see. We have to look at it and we have to see what we have to do. We have to keep getting better. I’m not discouraged, I think we have a good team. I really think Nebraska will be the best team we play all year. That’s kind of the standard of what we have to do.”

On starting his big guys Michael Ochereobia and Tate Stensgaard
“I’m trying to use Michael because of his presence. I thought that Michael played well. I just think he gets very tired very quickly. He had eight defensive rebounds and I really have to figure out how to get him even more in shape. It just wasn’t a good situation for us, matchup-wise. That’s something we have to really look at to see how we can put ourselves in a better situation. You have to remember what this game is for. You come here to try to play a great program and see what it’s like at the highest level of the BCS and learn from it. That’s what we’re going to do.”

On Mike Miklusak and the post game
“I think we really missed Mike on Saturday. I really think we would have won with Mike on Saturday, because he would have made a much better matchup. We have to get more shooting on the court. We’re taking too many threes. I really have to figure out how we’re going to do that, how we’re going to take less three-pointers and get better shots and get the ball inside more. However, that’s on me. I’m trying to figure out this team too. It’s different than we’ve ever had here. It’ll be fun to watch at home because we really can run up and down and bounce around a little bit. Nebraska just switched everything then we couldn’t go around them either. That’s bad. They switched and did a good job of keeping everybody in front of us.”


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