Following a 70-64 loss to No. 6 Michigan State on Thursday evening, Nebraska (13-5, 3-4 Big Ten) met with the media to talk about what went wrong and where to go from here.
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Here’s the full transcript from that presser.
Senior guard James Palmer Jr.
On whether they proved something even in a loss?
“Each and every night we go out we just try to show we can compete with anybody in the country. Shouts out to them, they’re a really good team but I think we were right there with them. We just couldn’t get over the hump.”
Senior forward Isaac Copeland
On fighting until the end?
“We know we’re a good team. We’ve just got to eliminate some of the early easy baskets for Winston and use some plays down the stretch — I missed two free throws and stuff like that.”
Senior guard Glynn Watson Jr.
On guarding Michigan State point guard Cassius Winston?
“I think they just did a lot of things to get us off balance, to pay attention to their bigs and then he got off a screen or something like that. He got going early and I think that just git him in a rhythm to make easy shots or he banked on in and things like that. I think in the second half we did a better job on him and we’ve just got to learn from it.”
On the team’s poor shooting?
“I think we missed some easy ones. Their defense did some of it, but I think we missed some easy ones and we just never got in a rhythm.”
Head coach Tim Miles
On whether he was surprised by the poor shooting?
“We were 12-for-26 at the rim. Usually two-thirds of those are probably going in, at a minimum, so it’s just hard to overcome a night like that. Then you’re 5-for-26 from 3. We did have four or five probably rattle in and out, but you can’t have both.”
On tonight’s offensive performance?
“I wasn’t good with our shot selection overall. I thought that Michigan State did a good job, and they are long and athletic and strong. But, like I said, when I quoted the numbers at the rim and stuff like that [12-for-26 at the rim], we just couldn’t operate the way we needed to operate successfully to win the game.
“I thought, defensively, when you look and there’s 1:13 left and they’re still at 60, you shouldn’t be at home down 10 when they’re at 60. I wasn’t very pleased with our offense in any way shape or form.”
On tonight’s defensive performance?
“I thought we were solid. I didn’t think we were great. I thought Winston got away from us and they got us in some transition, which is their M.O. We were okay on the glass, not great. I thought we were solid. And they got some breaks, so Cassius banks one in and [forward Nick] Ward hits a shot-clock 3. He’s attempted two in his career. And they both go in. And you have to credit them. Those guys we're helping off of were 3-for-8. [Forward Kenny] Goins I think hit one. He was involved in that.
“I think when we got down seven, we lost heart a little bit for a few positions to allow it to go to 11 or 12. You just can’t. Especially when time is of the essence. There is three, four, five minutes left. You just gotta stay in there and stay with the plan.”
On trying to limit Michigan State’s weapons?
“I thought Thomas Allen did a pretty good job on Winston the second half. The choices you make are going to get you. I just thought we had to help to [forward Isaiah] Roby to keep him in the game and even Tanner [Borchardt] or Brady [Heiman] or whoever. Roby's second foul after that, you know, it was tied or we might've even been ahead and then they go up five [at halftime]. That was critical because we had both centers in foul trouble, and then we kind of let the first half get away from us.
“Then we battled back and take the lead again [early in the second half]. You need to build and play from the front with these teams. You have to credit Michigan State. they're a very strong, athletic team that defends. There's a reason they're one of the top teams in the country defensively. This is their sixth true road win and they're primed for this moment. It's not like they're an upstart. And coach [Tom] Izzo is as good as there is in the game of basketball. College or pro. And they did a good job, they did a really good job. And I think you have to credit them. They made the plays. We turned them over a little bit, but not enough and we didn't finish in transition and at the rim.”
On whether fatigue played a factor in the second half?
“I think guys got disappointed. Laying on those guys, there was some fatigue too, but I think we were really disappointed.”
On whether there are good takeaways from the loss
“There are no moral victories. I’m utterly mad and disappointed.”
On whether the players feel that way too?
“Yeah. We’re lucky. Last year, we had one more opportunity for a Quad 1 game, and that was at Ohio State at this time. We had had Michigan at home and we beat them. And then we were done. There wasn’t another one on the schedule. We have five or six more this year. We have a lot of games like this where we’re going to have to rise to the occasion. Tonight, we didn’t.”
On whether Michigan State did anything new that wasn’t in the scout?
“No, I think it was legitimate. They didn’t do anything different. It wasn’t like they came out and went zone or anything like that. I thought we had a lot of things under control except Cassius Winston in the first half. I thought we were playing pretty well even though we weren’t scoring great. I thought we had a chance to start building a lead and we just didn’t get it done.”
On the crowd and the atmosphere inside Pinnacle Bank Arena?
“I can’t say enough about our fan base. It’s been so good to us over the years, especially since we’ve been in Pinnacle Bank Arena. They’ve really made this a great place. I’m just disappointed we didn’t give them enough good offensive plays to enjoy it. But you can’t stick around and be disappointed because you’ve got Rutgers that just beat a ranked team at home and you’ve got to be ready to go.”