Nebraska Head Coach Tim Miles
On how Nebraska got back on the trolley (a tribute to the throwback game with a throwback questions):
“I didn’t expect the trolley. What happened I thought really was we were having trouble getting a rhythm and I really think our zone defense helped get enough stops in a row then to separate and then get on our own trolley.”
On coming back from the Illinois loss
“I didn’t think frustration set in as much tonight. You could see guys were struggling and they knew they weren’t at their best, but it didn’t overwhelm them tonight. Maybe that’s being at home and the crowd really cheering. And hopefully it’s a sign of progress. I’m hoping, you know? So we’ll see. We’re going to find out on Wednesday for sure. I don’t know how many games in a row we’ve held an opponent in the 30s in defensive field goal percentage, but we just said if we can be a dominant defensive team, we are going to win the game. We are going to win it with defense. And we kept that mantra going too. We just said ‘we’ll find enough offense. Don’t worry about it.’”
On Benny Parker
“I thought Benny Parker’s charge was the biggest play of the game. There’s no doubt about it. And then Shavon Shields’ either before or after jumper. The two key moments in the game I thought. We needed both those guys to step up. Kansas City, I’m loving him tonight. You know how it is.”
On Shields’ aggressiveness:
“It was funny. I went to Terran (Petteway) once. Another action another time. And Shavon is yelling at me, ‘give me the ball! Give me the ball!’ And he was right by the way. We gave him the ball and got out of his way and he hit a big bucket and he was like, ‘keep giving it to me.’ But then they started fouling and stuff. He’s a guy that tonight, he was going to carry us. There was just no doubt. There was that look in his eye. His jumper looked great. He looked really fresh. This is the right time of year for him to look that way.”
On Terran Petteway
“He felt a body or two bodies every time he entered the lane. And he got to the foul line three times. If you are able to stand and chest him up and be able to move your feet enough and it’s not a foul, then he’s got to be able to counter, play off two feet, an occasional shot fake, something crazy. Get fouled, you know? And play off two feet. I think we need to work with him on that. We show it to him in film all the time, but I think we need to create some special situations for him, too, whether it be in practice to understand those moves and whatever that feels like. I don’t think I’ve done a good enough job with him that way.”
Sophomore guard Shavon Shields
On the expectations of the game:
“We knew it was going to be just like when we played them last time. They did the same thing (today). If our shots weren’t falling, it was going to be a tough night. We had to get in transition and get stops. We ended up starting to get to the rim a little bit better in the second half. Things like that got us going. But we knew it was going to be tough. It’s the Big Ten. It’s going to be tough every night.”
On the final charge call of the game (Benny Parker’s charge):
“It’s a huge momentum swing. We’ve been talking about this the last couple weeks. Benny’s been a huge spark off the bench and huge catalyst in order to get us going on defense. He’s made plays like that this whole time, so it’s no surprise to us. It’s just a huge momentum swing when he makes plays like that. It allowed us to get a stop to win the game.”
Sophomore forward Walter Pitchford
On teammates making key plays:
“We feed off stuff like that. Everybody wants to do whatever they can to help the team win. That’s what we did tonight. Something that stood out was Benny (Parker)’s charge. That helped us win.”
On his consistency scoring first for Nebraska:
If I’m wide open, I’m going to take the shot. I’m confident and my teammates trust in me. I trust anyone else to take the first shot too. We’re all confident in each other.”
Sophomore guard Benny Parker
On the charge he helped create in final minute of the game:
“I just saw him put his head down and decided to go for the charge. And the ref ended up calling it. The coaches told me to keep up the defense during the timeout. I just had to keep doing whatever I could. So I got the charge call and that was it.”
On the role of the crowd during defense:
“It just shows that the crowd really appreciates how hard we’ve been working on defense. Coach (Miles) said coming into the game that we need to be able to defend for thirty-five seconds. We practiced this whole week just defending the ball and running multiple plays. Coach said we need to just bear down and defend for thirty-five seconds until we get a rebound.”
Head Coach Chris Collins
“I thought today was just a battle. It was just like when we played these guys a couple weeks ago. I have so much respect for what Coach (Tim) Miles is doing with their team. They play really hard. They're very physical. It was my first time coming here to Lincoln. What a cool atmosphere to play college basketball. I've been fortunate to be in the best environment in college basketball for the past almost 20 years. Walking around that floor today, seeing all that red and seeing the energy and the hunger in the crowd was a really cool thing. Even though we lost, it was a really fun game to be a part of because of the atmosphere and the way both teams were competing. Just like when we played these guys last time, it always seems to come down to a make or miss here or there. I felt like we got two wide-open threes back to back that we just missed, and then (Ray) Gallegos hit a big three for them. We hung in there and cut it to four. We had a chance with the ball, but I thought Nebraska did a good job communicating, defending and forcing us into a charge, which was disappointing. But I'm really proud of our guys. I think everyone's seeing that even with our injuries. We only dressed eight scholarship guys today. We came in here to a hostile environment, after losing JerShon (Cobb) a couple days ago, and came in with a mindset of still trying to find a way to win. I'm really proud of the fighters I have in my locker room. We have to be able to score a little more. A lot of it was their defense, but we were 4-for-9 from the free-throw line in the first half. We missed some open shots. When we do get open shots, we have to be able to make a fair percentage of them. I thought they did a good on Drew (Crawford) and Tre (Demps), forcing them into tough nights. Alex Olah continues to play great for us. He just keeps getting better and better, and I'm really proud of how he's come on here at the end of the year. It's a sign of great things to come for his future. It was a tough day for us. I'm not a big moral victory guy, I never have been and I never will be. The bottom line is that we lost the game. It always hurts. When it stops hurting, I shouldn't be doing what I'm doing. Players shouldn't be doing what they're doing when losing doesn't hurt. It was a great win for Nebraska, and we have to move on to our next game."
On Alex Olah's performance
“I was really surprised about it last weekend when we played Indiana. He's a young guy, he was in boots for both feet last week, and I didn't know if he was going to play in our Indiana game. Going up against a great player like Noah Vonleh, he gutted it out and played very well. Fortunately for us, we didn't play in the midweek. It gave us a few days to kind of get him healthy. He was feeling pretty good. He's very confident right now. I think the thing he's doing now is shooting the ball well from three. When you have a seven-footer who can score in the block and roll out and make threes, you become a pretty darn good player. You're a pretty dangerous offensive player. He also rebounded, blocked four shots, got two steals and played a tremendous game for us today, no question about it."
On defending Terran Petteway
“(Terran) Petteway's a hard guard. Any time you play against a guy who can score against great defense, those are guys who are super dangerous. Fortunately for us, he got in a little foul trouble early. That maybe took away some of his aggressiveness. I thought on the whole we did a good job of making him shoot tough shots, and then sometimes you just have to hope he's missing. He threw in some shots like he took tonight against us last time at our place down the stretch to beat us. I thought we fought him. We made him take tough shots and we were fortunate that maybe he missed some he normally makes."
On defending the on-ball screen
“If you look at their numbers, we played pretty good defense. They shot in the 30s, they were 4-for-17 from three and 19-for-52 from the field. I don't think the issue was our defense at all. We held this team to 54 points and 36-percent shooting. The reason we didn't win is that we didn't score enough. Our defense was fantastic. I'll take this defensive effort every game. We just have to find a way to manufacture some more points."
On Nebraska making the NCAA Tournament
“I hope so. They're a good team and they're confident. That's what I like about them. They carry themselves with the swagger of being a good team. Coach (Tim) Miles, I respect the heck out of him. You get a chance to see it when you watch a lot of film and study these teams. These guys are well-prepared. They play hard. They're locked in defensively. They play physical. I hope they make it. I want teams in our league to make the tournament and do well. You want to win when you're in battle with them, but at the end of the day, I'd love to see these guys rewarded. Hopefully, they can finish the season strong and have a chance to go to the tournament."