TKR TV: Rutgers Hoops HC Steve Pikiell talks win over Indiana
Rutgers Scarlet Knights men's basketball coach Steve Pikiell and guard Geo Baker recap today's victory over Indiana.
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Opening Statement: "Great environment again. I'm thankful to our fans who came out and make this a tough place. I have a ton of respect obviously for Indiana -- their program, coach (Archie Miller), the players. Good team win. Everyone chipped in today. (I) got my three captains up here. Great leadership. The last couple of days haven't been easy. they really stepped up in practice. Came back with a great approach after the Illinois game. I'm just very thankful. Great team win today."
On team's defense: "When our guys are connected, the voices today -- I could see it in the huddle. They were locked in . Coach (Karl) Hobbs and Coach (Brandin) Knight do a great job preparing. We couldn't defend the free throw line the other night against Illinois. We kept these guys -- they lead the country in free throw attempts -- kept them off the free throw line. We had to defend without fouling against some really good, elite front court players. We were locked into the game plan. Everyone jumped in, did their thing. It was great. We were connected."
On tempo of game: "We always want to get up and down, we really do. We turned the ball over a little bit, a little bit sloppy at times. I want to get up and down. But the other team doesn't always allow you to do that. We picked our spots to get up and down and then we had to execute. A great exclamation point too on the play down the stretch by Geo. We got some things to clean up and I think this team can get a lot better."
On Geo Baker returning from injury: "He's a captain, he's a veteran guy. He went to the doctors, the doctor said he was good and then I asked him if he was good. With shoot around, he said he was good. When the doctor says it and he says it, then that's when I find out. I wasn't planning on having him, but it was a really nice bonus."
On Geo Baker and bench's play: "He's good and he's a leader. I think we play with some pretty good emotion. Having him come off the bench -- Jacob Young, Paul Mulcahy, Shaq (Carter). Our bench really helped. Great lift for us."
On Indiana Coach Archie Miller complimenting team: "Coach Miller does a great job. It's nice to hear. We got a long way to go. That's my reaction."
On bouncing back after Indiana took 22-21 lead in first half: "This league is all about taking punches. 12 teams in the top 35 (of NCAA NET Ranking). It's a gauntlet. We took a good punch. We knew they would. We responded well and then we took another punch and we stayed in the ring. Guys are getting better at responding to runs from other teams. It's a good feeling but again, guys all chipped in and guys were locked in."
On Akwasi Yeboah: "I like when he rebounds, first and foremost. He got some bully baskets and shot the ball well. Made a real timely basket when we needed one. He gives us maturity, he gives us a lot of different things. Today you saw a little bit of everything."
On environment at The RAC: "It's loud. I love the RAC. I think the environment's great. I love that our students -- even though they're not back in school yet -- came out. I appreciate that. The Riot Squad, our band is awesome, the cheerleaders. It all helps us a great deal. These guys feed off that. We've been traveling in this league for a while and every place is so hard to play. Now The RAC is just like those places and it's a great advantage for us. I'm very thankful. A lot of marketing, a lot of people doing a lot of things to make sure that happens. I think they enjoy watching this team play too so I like that."
On 12-0 start at home and expectations: "I'm just gonna tell you. We got Minnesota who's really good -- on Sunday. I know you guys want me to say something else. We're picked 12th in the league and we're trying to beat Minnesota. When you start looking down the road -- You guys can write about that. It's great and I appreciate that you do. I appreciate the enthusiasm. These guys know how i feel about that stuff. We got a lot of basketball left. A lot of road games, a lot of home games. We gotta continue to be focused on just that."
On reflecting on team's progress this season: "This is not time to do that. We gotta just get better. Be well-prepared. We got two days to prepare for a good Minnesota team. There will be time for that at some point in time."
On Geo Baker's dunk: "I loved it. Whoo. He said his legs felt good, I guess. A couple days off, coach (David VanDyke) has been driving him hard. He has that. We're excited about his growth. He didn't have that as a freshman. He's just getting better and better in a lot of areas. I think all of these guys have gotten better and better. Excited to go to the rim on a little bit of a mission. It's a good thing. Timely, too."
On talking about being picked 12th in the league: Every drill. Yea. That's where were picked. Gotta try to work hard to move up in this league. Every team is great. We better stay that way. We've never been anything (higher than) picked 12th. We've been picked 14th. Those are the only places we've been picked. Hopefully our guys understand that and we've gotta continue to climb in the best league in the country."
Rutgers Guard Geo Baker
On returning to the floor: "It felt really good just to get back out there with my guys. I've been itching to play the last three games, in the wins and the loss. I'm just happy to be back."