HEAD COACH TOM IZZO: We got our mojo back. We talked about it for two or three weeks. But no secret that I haven’t been pleased with our defense. And I’d say 32 or 33 minutes I thought it was exceptional.
We had a little stretch there when we were 10 up. They came back. And part of that was scouting. Big guy, (Joshua) Morgan, hit a shot that we didn’t think he could hit. They hurt us on some ball screen slips. And I think we got a little tired with our bigs there for a stretch.
But these guys, especially these two guards, the job they did was incredible. And A.J. was right in there with them.
We haven’t played against as many guards as good as (Boogie) Ellis. I love him. He’s great job. Keeps his mouth shut, does his job.
And (Drew) Peterson too is a very good player. I thought that’s where the game was won.
We gave up a few other things, and — so our guards did the job there. Joey rebounded pretty well. What did you end up with, Joey — eight. He had some big rebounds. They found him for some big shots. He hit big shots.
But Malik Hall played a lot better defensively and offensively. And other than A.J. getting in foul trouble I thought he did a good job defensively and running our team.
So everybody helped, whether it be Jaxon getting a — Kohler getting a bucket. We got a lot out of Tre. Hits a big shot and hurt his knee a little bit, but it’s not twisted, just banged.
And I thought that Carson Cooper did a good job. He’s big and sometimes size matters.
Other than that, I’m just happy we’re moving on. And I’m happy we’re moving on the right way.
Now, free-throw shooting — go ahead, you comment on it.
TYSON WALKER: It was a bad day.
COACH IZZO: Well said.
Q. Talk about focus on (Boogie) Ellis and Tyson steals and you and A.J.
TYSON WALKER: Just we knew coming into the game he can really score the ball. Makes tough shots. Just tried to make every shot he took tough. Keep your hand up, no fouling, no reaching because he’s really crafty with the ball. He plays with it. Just trying to lock in and just play solid defense. And we did a good job. Every shot he took was contested.
Q. The anticipation?
TYSON WALKER: That was just making people pick up their dribble and being in the pass lane. We didn’t get too far in the gap. We were up high enough that we could get it.
JADEN AKINS: Coming in we knew he was the engine…
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