THE MODERATOR: We'll ask coach for an opening statement.
COACH GARD: Obviously hard-fought game. Extremely happy for our guys the way they responded throughout the back half of the season here and they just continue to get better and better. And I think today's game was kind of a epitome or microcosm of how we've grown when you only shoot 30 percent for the game and you get to the line that many times and do the job defensively that we did, take care of the ball, rebound the ball the way we rebounded. It's a credit to these guys to my right and also the guys back in the locker room. How they've grown over the last month has been fun to watch and hopefully we've got a lot more basketball yet to play.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Speaking of that growth over the past month, seems like you guys have figured out how to win close games during that stretch, too. What's been the biggest difference there how are you doing it today.
BRAD DAVISON: I think it's just buying into the little things that Coach has been preaching all year. I think, especially at the end of this game the possessions are magnified. When you do things right those final possessions you can really turn things around and kind of everyone sticks together and we can do it at the end.
ETHAN HAPP: Brad said it well, but also we've got guys knocking down shots. Brevin has been clutch and at the end of games Brad hit a couple ones. That helps, too.
KHALIL IVERSON: I think Brad said it well. I think we've been playing together for longer stretches. (Indiscernible).
Q. You get Michigan State next. Obviously you just played them the other day. I think, Brad, you might have mentioned losing to them the other day doesn't really matter because this week is a bigger deal for that. I guess what is your mindset knowing that you just saw them, you played them tough? You feel like this is a game you guys can win going into tomorrow?
KHALIL IVERSON: For sure we just played these guys and we went toe to toe with them, punch for punch. I personally figure we just have to string together an entire game for 40 minutes and just staying toe to toe with them like we did last game. I know we'll be ready for them.
Q. How are you guys able to maintain things defensively when you're struggling offensively and shooting 36 percent from the field.
ETHAN HAPP: We didn't do a great job of it, but try and keep the ball out of the paint and limit their open 3s is something that we always work on here at Wisconsin. But I think just being tough. You saw Brevin flying around, (indiscernible) on the ball and the same with Khalil.
Q. Khalil, during that final possession were you surprised by what you saw? Seemed like Maryland was confused trying to get the ball in. I guess what did you see there?
KHALIL IVERSON: Looked like they probably tried to get the ball to Huerter. When he came off like the down screen he just kind of stopped. Everybody was looking around. Guy throwing the ball in just threw the ball in (indiscernible).
Q. Looking at the matchup with Miles Bridges, what did you do effectively against him last time and what do you want to do against him this time?
KHALIL IVERSON: Just last game I think we kept him -- we contained him from the perimeter, really good outside shooter. And he got a dunk the first play of the game, but I think we also played defense as a whole and we kind of cut off those driving lanes and things like that that usually get him going. It wasn't just one guy playing a one-on-one, it was the whole team. That's how we stop a guy like that.
Q. What were you expecting them to do in terms of players? Were you trying to just deny Huerter and Cowan on that last possession?
COACH GARD: No, we had debated whether we were going to foul or not. Up three and we decided not to, or I decided not to. So we were going to play it out. Khalil made a heck of a play. Made a read on the pass that maybe got -- have to look at the film because I was watching obviously some stuff off the ball, too -- but we happened to get a hand on the ball, get a deflection, and go knock down two free throws. So that was a good play on his part.
Q. What was your game plan against Maryland? Was it based on what you saw against them when they played Michigan last week, kind of like very similar first half with them where they could not score?
COACH GARD: Well, we couldn't either. So I think obviously you watch other teams, but you still rely on your philosophy and your game plan. I thought it was very similar to how we played at Maryland. Thought we were a little better down the stretch today than what we were there. And we did -- even though Huerter and Cowan got loose on us a couple times, I thought we were better defensively keeping the ball out of the paint, made it a little bit harder for them.
And we were more aggressive on the glass, did a better job rebounding. And obviously getting to the free-throw line was big, when you can get there 24 times. Those were things that -- and we turned the ball over less.
When you get to the foul line and you're a little better defensively and you don't turn the ball over, your odds shoot back in your favor.
Q. With the quick turnaround in a tournament setting like this, does it help you that you've just played Michigan State a few days ago so prep might not be --
COACH GARD: Obviously, yeah, it's the last game before we got to today that we had. So it's fresh in everybody's mind. Don't have to dig back through previous games. But that game was Sunday and tomorrow's will be a different game. They're a terrific team.
They're two deep at every position. Very talented. Obviously been playing really well. So we know we'll have to play really, really well.
Q. Going back to that game and what you did defensively against Miles Bridges, how critical is that to shut him down and make guys be -- do you have just to expect him to do something?
COACH GARD: I don't know if we -- I mean, we got him to miss some shots. But they had -- Ward was doing a lot of good things inside. Jackson was a handful. Jackson really affected the game defensively I thought. And I think the one that nobody talks about as much is what the evolution and growth of Cassius Winston, how he's involved and that was him going 6-for-6 from 3 and hitting some tough shots. Some were wide open, but some were tougher. That was the difference.
But you can't focus just on one guy with that team, just like hopefully you can't focus with one guy on our team. It takes a group effort like Khalil mentioned in terms of what we need to do. It won't be just about Miles Bridges. They've got a locker room full of really good players.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, an opening statement.
COACH TURGEON: Well, I felt like we were fighting uphill all night. We had the lead 24-23, that was the only time we had the lead. We tied it a bunch of times. Really came down to two things: We fouled too darn much and we couldn't get a rebound when we had to get a rebound.
And I thought we tried hard. I thought we competed. I thought we did a great job on Happ who is absolutely a terrific player. Didn't get a rebound. And so disappointed in the outcome. I thought our guys were dialed in a little bit more, especially defensively today.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Coach, what were you hoping for there on the inbound at the end? I know you guys were wary of Iverson's defensive rep.
COACH TURGEON: Not what happened. That's not what we wanted. We ran the play -- had a guy run the play wrong. So not what we wanted.
Q. Is it surprising that that was, something like that would happen so late in the season?
COACH TURGEON: It's disappointing, yeah. Disappointing. But it's disappointing.
Q. In terms of trying to get the lead, you had a number of chances. Do you think like in a game like this getting the lead would have, with your team, made a difference, even a small lead?
COACH TURGEON: Yeah, it would have been nice. We just couldn't get stops. And I think for the most part our defense was pretty good. We just fouled too much. I thought Davison made a really tough shot on the baseline. I think another one they made was another tough shot. But we just fouled them too much.
Getting the lead would have been nice, but we just couldn't get it. Whether it was a rebound or a missed shot or whatever it was, we just couldn't get it. It's kind of the way the year's gone.
Q. What was that last huddle like? Did it seem like you guys were going to -- you being down three, going to finally break through?
COACH TURGEON: No, because they only had five team fouls and we had 12. So we knew they were going to foul us, which makes it -- takes more time off the clock. So you were hoping. Really, a minute 22 you were hoping you'd get a rebound. That's what you were hoping, when the score is tied, and have a chance to take the lead.
We gave them two offensive rebounds and they finally scored and then missed a free throw. Had a chance to tie it again with 8.9 or whatever that was and we missed a free throw.
Q. In terms of the start of the second half, you were talking about fighting uphill, is that what you were talking about when they jumped out seven right at the beginning?
COACH TURGEON: I just felt like we were always behind the whole time. We never took the lead. Whether it was fouls, them shooting more free throws or whatever it was, I just felt like we were fighting uphill all day. It is what it is. It would have been nice to get the lead. Might have helped.
Q. Defensive effort against Ethan Happ, excellent today. Did you change a rotation. Saw a lot of guys flying at him?
COACH TURGEON: Yeah, we've gotten better at doubling the post. Our timing was better. And I think we made him work harder to catch it. And once he caught it, I think our timing was better and our rotations were better tonight in it. But obviously we just didn't get enough stops.
Q. Kevin, just the quickness of Iverson to make that steal on that last play, were you aware that he was that close to you?
KEVIN HUERTER: I was. Unfortunately, it's a play that we were supposed to be running that I wasn't the look, so I wasn't really expecting the ball. And Dion taking it out, had to get the ball in and didn't have a timeout. When it broke down, I should have tried harder to get open.
Q. During those last free throws, looked like Ethan Happ was talking to the officials, buying time. What was going through your head as you were waiting to get the ball?
KEVIN HUERTER: I didn't know why we weren't shooting yet. I don't know what was happening under the basket. But I'm not going to say too much. I just don't know why I wasn't shooting, and I was getting frustrated, just that I was getting taken out of rhythm.
But that's not an excuse for missing. I just didn't know why I wasn't shooting the ball. I don't know why it took so long to get the ball.
Q. Some of the games this year where you've fallen behind early in the second half, come back, and then couldn't make the plays down the stretch. Did this feel the same, or did you think it was going to be different at the end?
KEVIN HUERTER: Felt different. We were making plays. We were kind of going back and forth. We never got over the hump, never made the shot to go up.
But similar thing happened that's been happening all year. Coach Turgeon is going to take a lot of heat for it. Everybody is going to point to him; everyone's going to look at him.
I'm sure he probably took the blame up here a couple of minutes ago. But Coach Turgeon doesn't miss rebounds; Coach Turgeon doesn't miss a free throw. Coach Turgeon doesn't throw the ball away. Coach Turgeon doesn't execute plays when we're supposed to execute plays that we practiced multiple times. That's all on the players.
And so this loss is on everybody, especially the players, because we didn't make the plays down in the last minute 12 seconds to win the game. So everybody can say what they want about him, but we didn't make plays for him.
Q. Did Mark talk about what you guys are going to do the next week, whether it's wait for the NIT or just what -- how hard is it going to be to wait for the next week, just about the postseason and everything like that?
KEVIN HUERTER: We haven't gotten to talking about that. We really don't know what's going to happen.