Michigan State-Southern California Postgame Quotes
March 22, 2009
Michigan State - 74 USC - 69
MICHIGAN STATE QUOTES
MODERATOR: We're joined on the dais by Michigan State student-athletes from my far left, Goran Suton, Kalin Lucas, and Travis Walton and Head Coach Tom Izzo. We will begin by taking an opening statement from Coach Izzo followed by statements from the student-athletes. COACH IZZO: It really is the players' game. And these three guys, they exemplified everything we wanted to do today. G did a heck of a job on Gibson. Travis hit shots and Kalin ran our team and made some big, big plays. Big kick-outs. And, you know, we got a little shaky at times, but that's because it is a good team. That is a very well coached, a very good basketball team, with a lot of mismatches and a lot of issues and a lot of problems they gave us. And I was amazed by how physical they were. I think the job on Gibson, and you have to give G a lot of credit, was a big, big factor in the game. But we just had some -- we had foul trouble, too. We had different guys step up. I feel fortunate to win, but really excited to win, because it was kind of like our Iowa State game where I know Tim wasn't there, but he had built that team with the toughness he did. It's kind of reminiscent of that game, just a war, and I am just proud of these guys. It's their game. MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Kalin, could you tell us what happened on that sequence there at USC's end where Hackett had the ball and then he didn't? KALIN LUCAS: Hackett, you're talking about -- when what?
Q. The play late in game the where Hackett seemed to be going in for the tying basket and all of a sudden you had the ball in your hands. Run us through that sequence. KALIN LUCAS: I don't know if it was me or if it was -- I don't know if it was me or if it was one of my teammates that did hit the ball. But, you know, I did come up with the ball. And then after that the next thing you know, you know, we were down on offense. And then after that they fouled one of us.
Q. This is for any of the three. You guys knew that you had the advantage with the depth, and you almost evened the playing field because of your foul troubles as far as your depth. Whenever you guys had to respond, you seemed to respond. What does that say about this team? And what does it say about the fact that you guys had 20 assists to go with those 22 field goals? TRAVIS WALTON: You know, you got to take your hats off to them. Like Coach said, they had a heck of a game plan on us. They had a triangle two and box and one, but they left some of us open and we knocked some shots down. Kalin Lucas but the ball in my hand a couple of times on the money and Chris Allen hit big shots and so did Durrell Summers. I think our depth paid off in the end. Their players came in and stepped up also. They had some players that came in, No. 5, he came in and made some big plays and stepped up in the absence of Gibson.
Q. Travis, did you go into this game thinking you would reinvent yourself as go-to guy? And how much did it mean to you to kind of carry it when things were getting a little dicey? TRAVIS WALTON: You know, I have to take my hat off to the Player of the Year in our conference, Kalin Lucas. Time after time he put the ball in my hands at the right place, you know. When you are trying to make a shot, especially for me, you want the ball right at your shooting position. And time after time when he was getting pressured and he was coming down, when the clock was ticking, he put the ball in my hands at the right time. And, you know, I missed a couple shots early and he came up to me and said don't stop shooting the basketball, keep shooting, and I listened to him and they fell through today.
Q. Kalin and Goran, can you talk about, you know, how a guy like Travis can help you keep your poise in a steady game when he's sitting shots like that? GORAN SUTON: I think of Travis as the engine of this team. Whenever he goes, we go. And whenever he is bringing the energy and he is down and locking up, you know, we were down and locking up. And, you know, he's our leader and we just follow what he says, what he does. And he's great at it. And I think, you know, he can make some big plays and he showed that today. KALIN LUCAS: I do agree with Suton. Trav played big for us today. One thing we try to do is just create. And we did create it for him. And knocked down some big shots for us.
Q. Travis, you spent so much time yesterday talking about your defense. Is that to throw off USC at all, and to have an offensive game like this in the tournament, how much does that mean to you? TRAVIS WALTON: I think it's big for what we're trying to get to. You know, we have a special team here. We always talk about a scouting report for another team can be hard, you know, because you have to prepare for Chris Allen, Kalin Lucas, Raymar Morgan, Durrell Summers, Korie Lucious, go on and on. Me as a defensive stopper, like I said, I practiced on my shot and Kalin put the ball in my hands. And I had confidence and I shot them and they went in.
Q. This is for Kalin. So Travis isn't hitting shots early and you go to him and say keep shooting. He's not your go-to scorer typically. Why did you do that? KALIN LUCAS: He was wide open. He was wide open. So one thing I did was when I did create, you know, he was open. And, you know, he did miss some shots at first, but I just went up to him and told him keep shooting, you know. He kept doing that and he started making shots.
Q. Kalin, when they came out with the triangle and two, you may have been expecting No. 20 to guard you. And did it change your mindset, first of all, as box and one and then triangle two, does it change your mindset as player, do you have to shift into being more of a distributor knowing there will be more of a crowd around you? Did you have to do it differently than any other game of the season? KALIN LUCAS: Yes, I did. One thing Coach already told me was they was going to run a box and one or was going to run the triangle and two. My main goal, one thing I had to do is get my teammates involved and I think that's what I did as point guard.
Q. Goran, what was your strategy tonight against Taj Gibson? And why do you think you were able to shut him down like you did? GORAN SUTON: I knew he had the advantage of quickness and speed over me, so I tried to beat him to every spot. Try to be physical inside. Just front, front him using my hips. And, like I said, be physical with him.
Q. Travis, you -- seemed to be playing like you don't want your college career to end anytime soon. Talk about your mindset going into the game and what you felt you had to do and did you even surprise yourself with what you did? TRAVIS WALTON: Like I said, I didn't want my career to end on the note where I feel I can't give my all or I've not given my all to this team. You know, I feel this team has a lot to grow. We still have a lot of growing to do. So we made big plays. It wasn't just me, it was Kalin and, you know, Draymond Green stepped up for us big-time. He had big rebounds, hit some big free throws for us. So, you know, I think it was a whole team effort of not wanting our seniors to kind of end a career with this type of game. And also, you know, our seniors not wanting to lose.
Q. Travis, on that note about Da-Da, can you talk about what he and Delvon did at the free-throw line toward the end of the game, the kind of mettle that they showed hitting those shots? TRAVIS WALTON: It's huge. It's funny because you come into the season and you talk about Day-Day and Delvon, you know, shooting free throws and they are one of the worst free-throw shooters. And you see them in practice hitting free throw after free throw and Delvon getting better every day. And today he stepped up and made some big free throws. And, you know, Day-Day is one of those type of guys that talks to you and talks a lot of trash. And, you know, toward the end of the game he came up and made big plays and big free throws for us, and that was key.
Q. Travis, can you just talk about the last few minutes, the defense and what you guys were able to do to really, you know, make things tough for those guys? TRAVIS WALTON: You know, it was a great team defensive effort. I think in the first half it was up and down. And the type of game that people thought we couldn't play, and we went away from our defense, was kind of playing bucket for bucket, you score, I score. I think in the second half, especially toward the end, we had some intense huddles. Coach said all we have to do is make some stops, get some stops. I think at that seven-minute mark, everybody came too the huddle and there was 7:36 left, said we got to make some stops right here. And I think from there Day-Day came in and made some big rebounds for us, some other players came in and stepped up and made some big defensive stops and we came down and made some big shots, also.
Q. For any of the players, could you talk about the emotion of the last seven or eight minutes of the game? It was anybody's game at that point, and it was obviously back and forth a lot and it looked like there was a lot of tension and emotion out there. Could you talk about what was going through your minds? TRAVIS WALTON: You know, whenever you're playing at this level, trying to get somewhere special that only 16 teams will get to, there is going to be emotion, there is going to be tempers flaring, everything. You see the coaches on the sideline stomping, running up and down, calling the plays, telling you to get back on defense, slow it down on offense. It just goes with the play. Playing at this type of level, playing for something special. So that last seven minutes it was anybody's game, you know. And they would have made big shots and they had some defensive stops, also. But, like I say, you have to take your hats off to us and our coaches that did a great job of knowing every play call they had. And toward the end I think our depth kind of took care of the game for us.
Q. I'm curious about whether it's the big dance or sandlot; it's a team game, but a lot of conversation goes on about personal matchups. And I am wondering about the center position. Is there anybody in particular you do or don't want to play against? GORAN SUTON: No. I mean, I don't really care who I play against. You know, I'm up for any challenge. I think Taj Gibson was a challenge. Not just for me, but for all my teammates. And, you know, you have to give credit to them. But down the road I would like to play the North Carolina game. MODERATOR: Okay, guys, thank you very much. We're going to excuse the student-athletes back to the locker room. We continue with questions for Coach Izzo.
Q. Tom, like we kind of asked them earlier, the 20 assists with the 22 field goals, which obviously means team play, there was always guys taking different roles. Walton scoring was a defensive specialist, Green doing what he did at the line and getting rebounds, Summers who is not a big rebounder getting you a bunch of rebounds. What does it say about this team where they kind of stepped up in different roles to get this win? COACH IZZO: Very unselfish. As I look at these stats, and I didn't realize that stat when I was in the locker room, that was incredible. But like Travis said, Kalin, we knew they would put -- we thought they'd put their best defender, who was Simmons, on him, and when they didn't, we almost figured we had planned for a box and one, triangle and two, as they told you. As I told Travis, it was one of our last meetings, it seemed we had a hundred of them, but he said the last one may have paid off, because that's what we talked about, the triangle two, box and one, and some things we would run against it. And I think we had some things that did work. And I think he was also right that guys were sharing the ball a lot. We were getting it inside. They collapsed real well. Like I said, they are very well coached, they do a lot of good things. And, yet, we had some kick-outs and some open shots. And we found the open person, and that was big.
Q. Tom, can you remember in your career a player kind of coming out of nowhere to have an offensive performance like that in an NCAA tournament game? COACH IZZO: It's funny. I told my team the other night I talked to a friend of mine and he said, you know, one play can make the difference in a game and one game can make a difference in a season. And, you know, when I talked to my team all the time now during tournament time, I always try to go over things that have happened. Because when I talk about Cleaves, I talk about Magic, all the things in the past, some of these guys weren't born then. So when you can get right to the point, and the point I used was the kid from Memphis the other night. He's averaging ten minutes a game and 4.4 points and hits ten 3s, you know, if doesn't hit those, they lose. And I said that's what the tournament is all about. Somebody has to step up and somebody has to do something they're not capable of doing in some people's minds. And today I thought we had guys that did that.
Q. Can you just talk about, you know, Travis Walton being kind of a glue guy for this team and how important it is to have senior leadership and such a steady game and even game. COACH IZZO: He is a glue guy. And it was funny as we were walking up the steps I was about to tell him that we weren't guarding as well, and he turned to me and said, Coach, I gave up three shots, that's ridiculous. It's always prettier when a player can tell a coach, compared to when a coach can tell a player. It goes back to my oldest theory in coaching that a player-coached team is better than a coach-coached team. That's what Travis does. He can see and understand the game. He is tough enough to take some abuse and also tough enough to give some out. And for me, I am the type of guy that I can enjoy that and I enjoy the challenges and he enjoys the challenges. So I am proud of the fact that he did it, but I am also proud of Kalin for getting the ball. He's back to seven assists, one turnover, and I thought made some great plays. And, you know, Trav wasn't even saying come to me or this or that, just letting the game come to him. And he was the best in the huddles, as he always is. And we had some guys, Raymar getting in foul trouble. And I gave G all that credit and find out he is 1-10 and I might take some of that back. But at the same time the job he did on Gibson was unbelievable. But it wasn't done by himself. I thought we sagged pretty well. And, you know, we gave up something. I thought it was a great move by Tim. He puts in -- I can't remember his name now, No. 4, Washington, who is a strong, tough kid. And I think because he thought we were going to be good on the boards, and that kid had a heck of a day, but part of it is because we put a man and a half on Gibson, so it wasn't just G.
Q. Tom, they start the half, the second half 10-2 run and then I believe you have a 10-0 all sophomore run there. Summers three, Allen three, Lucas with a couple boards. How important was that stretch and just to have those three guys all kind of playing off each other at the same time? COACH IZZO: You know, that's another thing that happened, you know, when have you a player-coached team you kind of listen to them. And, you know, we weren't going to shoot today. A couple of players came to me because Durrell was struggling, as everybody knows, and I think it would be good, we got a half hour of time, from 11:00 to 11:30, and he said I think the guys wants to shoot. I said if the guys want to shoot, I'm all for it. So we came over and shot. And Durrell and Chris hit some shots, and some key shots in that time. And I think Durrell maybe more than just the shots, the rebounds he got today, and I told him, hey, if you're not making a shot, you know, I can live with it as long as you put the effort in defensively and rebounding. He gets eight boards, and that's a lot of boards for a guard. I think in some ways, you know, the sophomores grew up a little bit today and understand the intensity of things. And even though the point when Chris kind of didn't come to the ball and travel through it and they picked it off and went down, and I reiterated my statement that one casual play can cost you a game and he responded. And I think that's all you want as a coach, is the people you coach to respond to what you're telling them and then it's easier to tell them.
Q. Tom, again back to Gibson a little bit. What was the key to being able to control him? Obviously you got him in foul trouble, but was the strategy just to kind of go at him and make him work on the defensive end like you did? COACH IZZO: Two strategies. Number one, way wanted to go at him, you're right. We wanted to go at him. But they make it difficult, because they're about as good a defensive team in ways that we played against, too. They really swarm the ball well. But the other thing we wanted to do is get help from other guys. We had Delvon really helping in there. Depending who they had, we went by personnel and who we were sagging off. And I think that speaks voluming of a team, too, that in one day they can get through all of that and figure out who they have to guard, who they don't. They did a great job, USC did, with the out-of-bounds plays, and I thought we handled that pretty well. I'd say there are a lot of players that deserve credit, but I think there are also some assistant coaches and video guys and managers that deserve a lot of credit. Because for the last 40 hours it was an interesting hotel.
Q. Coach, just looking at Kansas, they got a big guy in the middle that had a triple-double today, 10 blocks. And they have Sherron Collins. Quickly, it seems like a different kind of team that you're going to have to get ready for here and maybe just some early thoughts. COACH IZZO: Are you into ruining the party or what? Nah, I understand that. We played them, you know, in January. And I don't know if we were as good then, I don't think they were as good then. You know, Bill has done a very good job with his team, too, considering how much he lost. And there's know question, they have an inside and an outside threat, too. Collins is an incredible guard. And it will be just another wicked day of prepping, you know, for a week. At least it's a team we have played, and we know them a little bit. And we have some film, of course, on them. So I played against Bill, our teams have since he was at Illinois. Good friends, we're on a board together. And I know it will be a dogfight again. But I'm just so excited to be in Indianapolis and get this team to a Sweet 16 that I don't care who we play. We could play the Celtics for all I care.
Q. Tommy, you did talk about knowing that it's going to take players giving efforts that maybe you didn't expect to succeed in the tournament. That said, were you surprised at all by Travis' shot-making, not just the points, but when he was making those shots? COACH IZZO: Well, Jud Heathcote would tell you it is all good coaching. But I am not a liar. It is not. I was shocked that he did make some of those shots. And I can just imagine what went through Tim's mind. I can imagine what went through the guys' mind in the Memphis game. I mean, there are certain times when guys just step up and do heroic things. And, you know, we had a motivational tape today about how to make yourself, make your team legendary, you know. And I always talk about having memory-making moments. And there's no question that of all the players on our team, Travis wants to keep playing probably more than anybody. He's the only recruit in the years that have been here four years that haven't gone a Final Four. And I think that drives him. But I was surprised. I am sure Tim was. I am sure their players were. I am sure, if you are honest, our players were. Because he really hasn't shot the ball well lately. And the other guys, Durrell especially had a big game. And that's what you have to have, you have to have guys step up. Because we played a team that is -- man, I really like that team. I mean, they have got mismatches all over. And, you know, Gibson, it took an army to keep him off. It wasn't one man. And so we feel very fortunate to win.
Q. At the start of the season there was a lot of high expectations on the team, then came the injuries, then the illnesses, the media started to call this team inconsistent and you yourself called this team fragile. What does it mean to get to the Sweet 16 with this team? COACH IZZO: All it did is tell you the truth. It was a little inconsistent, it was a little fragile, but I always ended it by I know the reason why. Just that it was hard for all of us and we are still fighting through some things, to be honest with you. To get this far, to win our league like we did and to get this far in the tournament, because contrary to what you think, as you have seen by teams that are already out, it is not just about being good enough. You have to be good enough, and then you have to play good enough and then sometimes you have to be lucky. If I look at a day like this with Trav hitting all those shots, maybe we were lucky a little bit, too. And I don't mind saying that. That's just part of what has to happen. I've moved on in this tournament enough to know it is not all on skill, it's definitely not all on coaching. There are so many factors that come together and the harder you work, the more those come together. But, they still have to come together. And the team we played today, to be honest with you, was as good as any team we played except North Carolina probably. But we were so bad that night I am not even sure how good they were. They were just a lot better than us. But this team could compete with anybody in the whole country. And I was just impressed and happy to be moving on. And thank you all. See you in Indy. MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
End of FastScripts
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA QUOTES
MODERATOR: We are joined on the dais by USC student-athletes, from my far left Dwight Lewis, DeMar DeRozan and Daniel Hackett, in addition to Head Coach Tim Floyd. Again, we will start with an opening comment from Coach Floyd followed by questions for the student-athletes. COACH FLOYD: Well, we played a fine Michigan State team that, you know, we knew was terrific in rebounding areas and offensive transition. They defended us very well tonight or this afternoon. We didn't shoot it particularly well in the second half, 33 percent from the floor. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we were unable to continue playing through the inside with the loss of Taj Gibson. We use him as a play-maker, we use him as a poster for cheap looks. And, you know, we've had the same thing in our three trips to the NCAA tournament, we've lost him, you know, with a 16-point lead to North Carolina three years ago. We lost him last year to K-State and lost him in this game. And he has been a guy who really haven't been foul-prone through his career. They did a fine job on him in the minutes that he had. I thought that was a real key to the game. And Walton played exceptionally well for them. He surprised us with his ability to make 17-foot jump shots. MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes, please.
Q. Daniel, can you take us through that sequence where there were a couple of turnovers and you had the ball and you were going to the basket and it looked like you were about to tie the game and what happened there. DANIEL HACKETT: Saw the cross-court pass and ran through it. And I was going for the basket and, you know, the ball just slipped out of my hands, you know. It was unfortunate. That's all I can tell you.
Q. Dwight, were you surprised by a guy like Walton who, you know, really wasn't an offensive threat for them for most of the year making the shots that he made? DWIGHT LEWIS: Yeah. We were kind of caught off guard with that. You know, he is a good player and had a great ability to get to the basket. But we didn't think he could knock down a 17-foot jump shot consistently, and he proved us wrong today.
Q. For any of you. Can you talk about how deflating it is when Taj is on the bench and obviously you guys played well at the end of the first half and part of the end of the second half when he went out with the fifth foul. Can you talk what the mindset is with him on the bench. DANIEL HACKETT: The mindset is to keep playing basketball. We can't put our heads down. It happened before, and I think that this year we acted in a positive way. And we didn't put our heads down. We kept fighting. And, you know, these guys had a tremendous effort. And Leonard Washington they called on and Marcus Simmons. It was great minutes off the bench.
Q. For any of you guys. You know, this is a back-and-forth game, very close, tight at the end. What in your minds tipped the scales just that one way? DEMAR DEROZAN: You know, just any play could be the whole change to the whole game. It was a couple of plays like for instance when Danny lost the ball. It's little things that can happen that can change the whole transition of the game. And we had a couple of those late in the game.
Q. DeMar, the last few minutes it's tied and it's going back and forth, lots of lead chances and stuff. Did you have it in your mind that you guys were going to pull this out? How confident were you that it was going to go in your way? DEMAR DEROZAN: You know, we have been in this position before, all season. We had games where we fought our way through it, you know. And that's the mindset that anybody had on this team is that we was going to give it all to fight through and give it our all and that's what we did. Unfortunately we came out with the loss.
Q. Dwight, what do you guys lose when a guy like Taj isn't on the floor? What isn't there anymore? DWIGHT LEWIS: Like Coach said, we lose Taj as a play-maker. We lost a play-maker when we lost Taj to foul trouble and lost a great poster that demands respect in the post who can make plays for us. He fouled out, we lost that. But we kept fighting and just didn't pull it out.
Q. Daniel, can you talk about Walton, some of the shots he hit? I know once you kind of punched the air and obviously seemed really frustrated. Was it more that you guys didn't think that obviously that he was going to have a night like that, or just that he was making these contested shots? What was the frustration? DANIEL HACKETT: I mean, I heard Coach Izzo from the back saying that he has been struggling all year long making shots, and the game plan was to help on drives and still having an awareness on him. I thought we did a pretty good job closing out, but he was able to rise and make shots. And, you know, he felt good all night long. But, you know, it's tough. It's tough when it happens like that and when a kid get it going. But I thought we fought and played hard.
Q. DeMar, obviously it's a tough loss right now. But if this team stays together and everyone comes back, do you feel like the future's bright for this program and this team? DEMAR DEROZAN: Definitely. We had a lot of ups and downs where a lot of people didn't get a chance to see our true talent, you know. We have a great team. And it's nothing but great things that can happen for this team. MODERATOR: Okay, guys. Thank you very much. We'll excuse the student-athletes back to the locker room and continue with questions for Coach Floyd.
Q. Coach, I know you're not supposed to talk about the officiating. Were you surprised at all that Taj got the fourth foul and fifth foul on plays that really didn't look like, you know -- that they were anything more than incidental contact or -- compared to the rest of the game? COACH FLOYD: You know, you're never surprised. You've done this a long time. It happens. It happens. Both teams were aggressive. They're aggressive defenders we are aggressive posters and it's a difficult game to officiate. You know, it forced us to play -- we had three freshman that played 83 minutes tonight. Our front line, DeMar, Leonard and Nikola, was on the floor for 83 minutes. That is a big difference in this game for us, although I thought that our two -- all three freshman played exceedingly well.
Q. Coach, my apologies if I missed this during the opening statement. But I was just wondering what you thought about MSU's defense on Gibson, both Suton and the whole team collapsing in on him? COACH FLOYD: I thought they did a fine job. That's their -- there are so many things they do well. They convert offensively with those little guards. They just keep putting pressure on you by driving it and driving it and driving it in the open floor. They rebounded as we all know at the highest level of anybody in the country. But they've always been outstanding defensively. They had a stretch in Big Ten play this year where they held three opponents under 50 points. They do that very well.
Q. Tim, decision to start Washington instead of Simmons, was that just a matter of having to deal with their bulk? COACH FLOYD: It is a rebounding game, a rebounding game. You are playing the number one rebounding team in the country, and they just pummel people on the glass. Just -- Suton had 17 the other night in 24 minutes. And we felt like Leonard could play in this game with his size and strength and his aggressiveness. I thought he played extremely well for us. I wish we could have kept him out there longer. He picked up his fourth foul early, at the 15-minute mark. We got out of the box really good in the second half, both halves really. And those two fouls kind of -- it changed it for us, you know. They got ahead, they got -- where it really hurt us is in the open floor in transition. Having those guys back to Phil to where they have to kick and make them a jump-shooting team versus a driving team.
Q. Tim, explain Taj going out to watch your team hang in there and really bring it down to the wire, what were just your impressions overall of the way they were able to, you know, stay in it? COACH FLOYD: Yeah, really proud. Really proud of them. You know, we're a team that has talent and it's young talent. Maybe that's the nature of college basketball today. But if there is some way we can keep them together and add what we have coming back next year, we've got a chance to be, you know, a special team. But we could have said that last year with O.J. and Davon coming with this group and could have said it the year before with Nick and Gabe coming back with O.J. and Daniel and Dwight and Taj. But that's the nature of the college game right now. And hopefully these young guys will return and we will improve as a basketball team. And I loved the heart and spirit that we played with against, you know, one of the elite programs in the country.
Q. Coach, do you feel for Taj? I mean, he certainly has been such a huge part of your team the last three years. Doesn't go out the way I know he would want, that you guys want for him. Do you feel for him? COACH FLOYD: If I did I would be the only one. They're not going to feel for him in Michigan and our guys. But I've just done this a long time and I understand it's part of the game. And, you know, he is a great competitor. He really led this basketball team when we went through six losses in seven games. You know, he wouldn't let us die and set a standard in practice by working harder than anybody in practice. You know, brought that effort to the floor. Played extremely well through the Pac-10 tournament and, of course, through Boston College and the previous games against Oregon and Oregon State. He is a great player and it's been a lot of fun coaching him.
Q. Can you talk about Dwight Lewis's tournament? Two big scoring games, shutting down Tyrese Rice and doing a pretty good job on Kalin Lucas today. COACH FLOYD: Yeah, you know Dwight's -- we talked about it early in the season, felt he was one of the most improved players in the Pac-10. He's a good athlete, a guy who can make shots. He got his confidence back about the time he started playing well. Really started shooting in the Pac-10 tournament. And we needed that extra shot-maker. We were 10-30 and only 1-10 from the floor in the second half. 1-10 from the 3-point line, 10-30. But Dwight was able to get himself to the line. He's become a better driver and finisher, in addition to his ability to make the perimeter shot.
Q. Tim, you said you were surprised by Walton's performance. Coach Izzo said he was. COACH FLOYD: By his own players' performance. That doesn't make me feel so bad, then.
Q. I was wondering how difficult it is when you game-plan for everything and something like this happens. A guy that is averaging 5 scores 18 in the biggest -- COACH FLOYD: Yeah. Well, I bet you, you know, we had, what, 48 hours between games somewhere in there. I bet you we watched 36 hours of film, you know. Phil had his group of films, I had my group of films. And we came back with the same thing; that we could provide help to a great poster in Morgan, a great poster in Roe, you know, a great driver in Kalin Lucas, and provide help in fill and try to make them a jump-shooting team. And, you know, he made some jump shots. And he had open looks, you know. We watched him shoot the first couple in this game and he didn't look real good either. Felt like maybe this is going to work out, but it didn't over time.
Q. You mentioned the 1-10 on the 3-pointers. And 0-for-something in the second half. Did you want them to slow down on those in the second half? COACH FLOYD: You know, a couple of them -- I think three of them were desperation late. Daniel took one, we got the offensive board with Nikola and kicked it to Dwight and he missed one, and we took one late. And DeMar took one, so three of them were desperation. We took basically, I guess -- they all count. But we got ourselves in great position to start the second half with five quick team fouls against Michigan State. We got ourselves into 1-1 and that's where you try to play through Taj. It just so happened it coincided with the time when Taj picked up his fourth foul, and then we became, you know, a drive-and-kick team trying to draw fouls in that area.
Q. Coach, Michigan State obviously demonstrated their depth this weekend. What can that do for them going down the line, do you think? COACH FLOYD: Well, I think it will serve them well. They have a lot of belief in all of those guys that come in and play. They play fresh minutes, they play live minutes and I think it allows them to continue their assault on the boards and continue their assault and conversion, in terms of getting it from one end of the floor quick to the other end. You know, three have difficult matchups, I am sure, as they move forward. Everybody can play this time of year. But they are a fine basketball team. A well-coached basketball team. They guarded us at a high level. They deserve credit for that. The foul trouble did not beat us. You know we got beat by a very good Michigan State team. MODERATOR: Okay, Coach. Thank you very much. COACH FLOYD: Thank you.
End of FastScripts