Penn State Quotes
THE MODERATOR: Coach, an opening statement.
COACH CHAMBERS: Really proud of this team. We played without Mike. And we heard all the noise. And these guys really responded and stepped up, played really good Penn State basketball.
We defended and rebounded when we had to for most of the game. But really at the end, the last four minutes when we went on that run, just everybody really buckled down and got some stops there.
And then on the offensive end, obviously these two guys played terrific basketball. But they stayed in that zone and dared us. And these guys stepped up to the challenge.
I thought we really did a nice job sharing the ball but more importantly we didn't turn it over. I thought we did a good job of playing small and rebounding the ball, because at Northwestern they had, if I recall, 17 second-chance points and today it was only 11. So that's big when you're playing the lineups that we are.
So really proud of this group. For us to get to 20 wins, just shows you where these players are taking this program.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.
Q. How do you like Madison Square Garden, bright light, big city? Seems like you're handling it pretty well. Tony, had a little flagger there at the end of the game when you hit the second 3 in a row?
TONY CARR: We definitely love playing here. Madison Square Garden is a great gym. It's every child's dream to play here. And just for us to be playing a Big Ten Tournament for a great university like Penn State is great. We just want to keep it going.
SHEP GARNER: It's always great to play in New York. I love playing here. Madison Square Garden is a great arena. A lot of history here. So it's always good to get a win here.
Q. Talk about the last four minutes and being able to close out a game like this that was close all the way down to the last four.
SHEP GARNER: Like Coach said, we buckled down on the defensive end. We knew that that was going to win the game for us. Defending and rebounding is our staple. And that's what we did at that stretch of the game. We knew we needed it. That led to easy offense for us.
TONY CARR: We definitely know all these games are going to be a possession game. So we just want to buckle down, like Shep said, and Coach always preaches about (indiscernible) and rebound, and that's what we did down the stretch.
Q. What can you guys take away from the two games you guys played against Ohio State as you get ready to play them again?
TONY CARR: We just want to defend and rebound like we did those past two games. To be honest, I haven't thought about it. I just want to celebrate this with my team and my coaches. We earned it and we'll talk about that tomorrow.
SHEP GARNER: I mean, those games, it was in the regular season. This is a brand new season for everyone. So we're going to enjoy this game tonight, focus on Ohio State tomorrow.
Q. Tony, 19 wins is nice, but you had lost three in a row coming into this one. Down the stretch, were you sensing if we don't win this, we not only will be out of the tournament, maybe out of the NCAA as well?
TONY CARR: I don't think like that. I always think positive thoughts. You think positive thoughts, positive outcomes come out. And I was just thinking going to take the game one play at a time. I wasn't thinking about the outcomes or if we lose this or if we win this. I just want to play basketball.
Q. With Northwestern going with that zone, how much did you think that 3-point shooting was going to be a factor throughout the game?
SHEP GARNER: We knew we would have to hit a couple of shots for them to come out and guard us and create some lanes. But they stayed in the zone. They stayed in it.
And they made it tough for us. They're led by seniors. They're a great team, great coach. And they made it tough for us tonight.
TONY CARR: It's definitely tough to play against the zone for 40 minutes. But we have great shooters like Shep, Josh and myself. And that kind of loosened the zone up for us, and in the second half for us to get down hill and penetrate and find some easy shots.
Q. You said that you -- you reference that we heard the noise that was out there. So what was the noise? And to the question that Tony was asked, too, about what the scheme means in terms of what you're trying to do going forward. How did you feel about it?
COACH CHAMBERS: The noise is can you win without Mike Watkins. The naysayers thought we were slumping and lost our confidence and not sure if we could do it. And we believed in ourselves. And I thought we threw some great lineups out there and played small.
I thought Johnny Harrar did a great job for a freshman. To throw him in his first career start at the Garden at the Big Ten Tournament, I thought he handled himself well.
But you saw Julian Moore's production. He did some good things. Huge block. Seniors stepped up.
Shep Garner, that charge to foul out Scottie Lindsey, nobody is even talking about that. That was a huge swing play for us.
Those guys did some really great things down the stretch. I was really proud because I played some different lineups and different guys at different spots. They really responded.
Q. The 3-point shot, couple years ago -- that was 45 percent from 3 tonight. Couple years ago that wasn't always the case for you guys. Could you talk about the development of guys like Josh from his freshman year to now; Tony jumped from last year to this year from behind the line?
COACH CHAMBERS: Shep -- Shep shot 32 last year. Now he's well above 40. I think it's player development. I think it's the effort that they put into it. I give a lot of credit to the players. Then you give credit to your staff for helping these guys along their journey. And just staying positive.
That's the other thing we do. We try to be positive. They're never going to look at me after a bad shot. They're never going to look at me if it's a poor decision.
They know, on the offensive end, they're going to have some freedoms, as long as they're buying in, sharing the ball, playing to our concepts. We've got to defend, rebound and play hard and we've got to compete on the other end.
I think because you give them that freedom and that confidence, shots are going to go in.
Q. With that charge by Shep, how does that represent the kind of player that he is and being one of your lone seniors?
COACH CHAMBERS: He embodies what a Penn State player is. That's Penn State basketball, to take a big-time charge at that point of the game where it could go either way. And he put his body on the line for his teammates, which is critical. That's what seniors do. That's what leaders do. But that also shows you where this program is headed.
We're willing to make those winning plays. That's what I told them in the huddle, that's a winning play. And the huddle was absolutely outstanding, the energy and juice that we had in that huddle is terrific.
Q. You were talking about progression and where the team's going. Talk about being able to close out a tight game like this, this isn't something that has always been able to happen in past games, and an environment like this and coming down to it and being able to finish of strong and seeing the Final Four.
COACH CHAMBERS: Good question. Early on, we didn't finish these games. But I think we learned from those setbacks. We learned from those experiences and we grew from them. We still have sophomores leading us.
So with every little failure, you're going to get a little bit better and you're going to learn from it. And I think they did.
Even though Northwestern went up there, I didn't see any panic in the huddle. I saw guys completely dialed in, focused on the next possession. And that takes a long time to do.
So you know what encourages me about this group is we can still get a lot better, and it's going to be fun coaching them.
Q. Question about the tournament, do you talk about that elephant in the room; that we need to win these games to get ourselves back in this conversation?
COACH CHAMBERS: No. You know the fabric I'm from, we don't talk about that. We talk about getting better. We talk about next game. We talk about next practice. We talk about next possession. We talk about every rep matters.
Why would I want to put that pressure on these kids? Everybody else is doing it. Social media is doing it. I just want to try to get these kids to the point where they're maximizing their potential.
Q. You've obviously had success against Ohio State this season. I know it's a new part of the season, tournament play is different. But as you prepare for a third matchup against a team like that, what's the confidence level like in a matchup like that and how do you approach playing a team that, they lost three times in the conference and you gave them two of them?
COACH CHAMBERS: It goes back to what Shep said. Those games are in the past. And Ohio State finished the season really strong. So they're a very confident bunch as well.
I think about the game at Indiana with the big 3 from C.J. This is a new slate, new game. We've got to prepare for everything. I'll enjoy this for the next I don't know 30 minutes we'll start working on Ohio State. We're going to throw the records out and be ready to compete against a very well-coached team in Chris Holtmann.
Q. How long do you continue to build off the momentum you had from tonight going into round three against Ohio State?
COACH CHAMBERS: We'll watch film at some point tomorrow. I'll let them see some successes because I want my team to be positive, upbeat and confident. Just really try to get better. That's our goal, try to get better. Don't worry about outcomes, like Tony said. We don't talk about outcomes. We talk about just getting better and control what we can control.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, an opening statement.
COACH COLLINS: It's always a tough night when your season ends. And I've been lucky to coach these guys sitting next to me over the last four years. And I couldn't have been more proud of the fight that we showed, undermanned, banged up. And we had every reason, even early in the second half, we had every reason to kind of lay down when they hit us with a little spurt. But that's not who these guys have been. I'm not surprised. We kept fighting.
We gave ourselves a chance, and then give Penn State credit, the under-4 timeout, it's a one-point game, they made two big 3s and got a couple of stops. They were able to get a charge on Scottie and hit two big 3s to get it to seven which was the separation in the game.
So I thought we played incredibly hard. I thought we gave ourselves a chance. They're a tough team to play against. Terrifically talented. Obviously Tony Carr is a great player and showed that with his 3-point shooting.
Although I'm disappointed to lose the game, I'm more disappointed I won't get a chance to coach these guys anymore.
Q. Bryant and Scottie, Chris is choked up, he's emotional. What's it like to hear him and what emotions are going through you now?
SCOTTIE LINDSEY: Kind of raw right now. I don't really know how to feel. Obviously this is not how we wanted the season to end. So I think we're all a little bit emotional.
But like Coach said, I appreciate all the guys fighting until the end, even everything didn't go the way it was supposed to or how we planned.
BRYANT MCINTOSH: Obviously it's disappointing how the season ends. Every year there's only one team that, as seniors, that you can go out as winners. Everybody else, you generally lose. There's not a lot of -- to end your career, you don't usually end up winning.
Obviously we didn't want to end it this early. It's the start of March. Not what we envisioned when we started the season. But I think all of us are just very emotional and upset that this is the last time we get to put on the jersey.
Q. Dererk, you and Barret were very productive on the interior today. What allowed you two to be so successful?
DERERK PARDON: I think Coach Collins put in a good offense to help us get in our spots where we practiced, so just getting the touches, our teammates saw it and I think that put us in good position to score the ball.
Q. Dererk, you're going to be a senior next year. What lessons have you learned this year and how will you apply that going forward?
DERERK PARDON: First off, I want to thank the seniors for everything they've done for the program, also me, taking me under their wings and just preparing me to be a senior, be a senior and I just want to thank them from the bottom of my heart.
And a lot of lessons was learned. We've been through a lot of ups and downs, just to stay level-headed and always put the work in and just be ready for the next obstacle.
Q. Bryant, the second half, I think, for the first 13 minutes Tony Carr didn't score. What happened at the end where he just kind of picked it up? Did he just feel it or what?
BRYANT MCINTOSH: They went to some of their favorite action and just got him in ball screens. And he obviously knew it was winning time, and he stepped up and got aggressive offensively and was just looking to make plays. To his credit, he did.
Q. Barret obviously showed a lot of life there. Why did you decide to start him and what did you think of his game?
COACH COLLINS: He played very well in our last game against Iowa. We had a big deficit in that game. And I thought he came in and just gave us a nice boost of energy. And I noticed that his size was a factor in the game, especially when he was with Dererk.
I think our main goal was we had a couple of days to figure out how can we win the game? And that's how I always approach it. Like, what can we do with what we're doing -- we have no Vic Law, Bryant is hurting. Like, what can we do to give ourselves a chance to win?
And I just felt like going with the two big guys playing a power game with Bryant being hurt with his shoulder and not having Vic would, especially with Watkins not playing, I thought it would give us a chance to maybe cause some problems for them.
I thought those guys played great together. I'm really proud of Barret. Throughout the course of the year he had his ups and downs, and he finished the year really strong, which I told him in the locker room afterwards should be a great motivator for him heading into the offseason now in the spring.
Q. Do you think that Scottie's fouling out with three minutes left sort of took the air out of the team that led to that Penn State run?
COACH COLLINS: It was a big play, yeah, it was a big play. And they're good officials. So he left his feet. I'd have to see a replay. I'm not sure if it was a charge or not. But that's what was called. And when you're only playing seven guys, you know, and your leading scorer goes out in the last four minutes in a four-point game, it's going to affect the team.
I think we tried to keep fighting. But I think they came down then and Carr hit a big three, long three, late in the clock. It was still a four-point game. When he hit that three to get it to seven and we didn't come down and we didn't score, that's when I noticed our guys, the wind in our sails start to go a little bit.
Q. Seemed like a recurring theme this year, you'd be right there at the end and the other team would pull away. Do you think that was because Bryant was banged up or what might be some other factors for that?
COACH COLLINS: Yeah, we have to be better in those situations. I don't want to put it on one guy. But I mean, yeah, the last few games kind of makeshift, different kinds of guys handling the ball and trying to figure out where to go to late in the games.
That's what you do at the games, like what Penn State do, you play to Tony Carr and you play through him and he makes plays. This season we didn't take advantage of those opportunities. We had our chances. We had a stretch there in the middle of the league, we were 6-6 and we lost three or four games in a row that were right there for the taking.
I think when we went through that stretch we lost confidence then we started losing players and bodies and made it tough.
But, again, I thought our guys' fight tonight -- I wasn't surprised and I was hoping this wasn't going to be the case -- but a lot of teams get to this point and they don't see a lot of hope, and you kind of just fade to black and you want the season to be over.
And I was proud that our guys didn't do that. I thought we came to fight. I thought we came to win. I thought we laid it on the floor, and Penn State just made more plays in the last four minutes. It was a one-point game, we're shooting a one and one to go up one. And I think we had one field goal the rest of the game.
So there's no question that's got to be something as we move forward, closing out games has got to be a focus of ours if we want to get back to where we want to go in this conference.
Q. This is -- your first recruiting class is done essentially. Despite the hardships, have you had a chance to put it in perspective what those guys have accomplished in the last four years?
COACH COLLINS: Absolutely, and I get it. It's always the focus on the now and the present. And none of us are happy about how our season went. None of us are excited about what we did this year. We're all very disappointed that we didn't have a better season.
But that being said, I told these guys in the locker room what they've accomplished over a four-year period is incredible. I mean, back-to-back 20-win seasons, getting to the Big Ten semifinals last year and the tournament, going to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 70-whatever years, winning an NCAA Tournament game.
There's so many things that these guys, the notches on their belts, that they need to be proud of. And it stings right now because you always remember the moment you're in, but I'm confident, in time, that these guys will be extremely proud of what they accomplished.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.