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They Said It: Nebraska on Roby’s Big Game and a Much-Needed Win

January 11, 2019

Nebraska returned home to Pinnacle Bank Arena Thursday night and secured a much-needed win over Penn State, 70-64. Coach Tim Miles, junior forward Isaiah Roby and senior guard Glynn Watson Jr. all addressed the media following the win.

Here’s the full transcript from that question-and-answer session.

Head coach Tim Miles

Opening statement:

“I just want to start with Isaiah [Roby]. You can see why he’s such a special kid and a special player. He was the one the guy that I thought had great energy, great body language and was aggressive the whole night through and you can see in his line — 22 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks, one assist, no turnovers — and then the last five or six minutes, we switch him onto [Lamar] Stevens, and I’m not sure if Stevens got another hoop, maybe one. Isaiah got a steal in that time and just made some really big plays for us on offense and defense.”

On how tough it is to win when you get out rebounded:

“[Assistant Coach] Jim Molinari said something to us, just today, he goes ‘you know the hardest thing when you have a good team but you’ve lost a couple in a row, the hardest thing in the world to do is win a game’, and it’s true. I just thought we were a little uptight, and you could see that. So, I think that’s what was hard, was just to win the game and you try to just stay in the moment but you could see frustration from the guys. It was quality win. I thought with Pat [Chambers] back, Penn State was going to play after a game where he wasn’t with them. They’ve got a lot of pride and you knew they weren’t going to go down easily and then when they started making 3s, you know you’re up against it.”

On when he decided to not substitute anyone in the second half:

“Nana Akenten had been sick the last two days so he missed all the prep, and Amir [Harris] is just starting to practice again full. So I played them [in the first half]. I decided at halftime, ‘Well, I don’t love it.’ So I thought I’d play Tanner [Borchardt], but every time I brought it up those assistants talked me out of it.”

On Watson’s late 3:

“The first thing I thought was it was in, I really did. Even though it hit the rim three or four times, it was just so soft. It was just one of those, ‘I think it’s going in.’ And then there was that ruckus. He had gotten knocked down and then Copland got knocked down under the basket, and it was just a ruckus, and the ball’s still on the rim. I really did think the ball was in; I was just trying to figure out what the heck was going on.”

On Watson creating late in the clock:

“His refusal of the ball screen and then taking it on the reverse side away from the shot-blocker was a huge play where he spun the one in on the reverse layup. That was something we even talked about — ‘Listen, if you refuse that, he’s there.’ I thought Glynn made just a great play because that’s a hard play to make wen we needed it. He got hit in the mouth right away — I don’t know if everybody saw that, but he had a lot of blood in his mouth — so he had a slow start, but I thought he really got better as the game wore on and you could see it in his numbers. I thought Roby was good the whole night. Tom Allen was good early. Those other two guys will get going. We went to Cope a little bit and it didn’t quite go. Cope’s the kind of guy that if Stevens is getting him when he’s playing defense on him, it affects him on the other end; it really does. He cares about winning. James, we’ve got to get him going a little bit more. I thought Reaves is one of the best defensive players and makes life tough for everybody, and then Watkins at the rim, those are two string defenders so they can make it hard for guys that live at the rim. Good effort tonight, glad we got the win.”

On Roby picking up the slack for James:

“I just thought Roby’s energy level was so good, I really did. I don’t know if you saw his body language like I did, but everything was positive with him. You come sit down int he timeout, he’s the one talking. He’s the one making plays. Some other guys you could see were a little frustrated.”

On the 20 home-game win streak:

“I think the 20-game win streak at home is awesome. We don’t talk about it at all really except that we’re not letting this team beat us at home. I think it’s a tribute to our fans and the environment that they provide, the energy, the game management, everybody like that and certainly our players. I think they do a really good job. Our defensive numbers had been really, really good at home, far better than anywhere else. I think they feed off that energy from the crowd. It might hurt us a little bit on the road when you don’t have the same but that’s something we just have to figure out.”


Senior guard Glynn Watson Jr.

On the spark that Isaiah Roby gave the team near the end of the game:

“He gave us a big spark. He was active on defense and that helped our offense. He was just playing both sides, and he was big for us tonight.”

On how big this win was for the team:

“It felt good. We needed to get back on track. Coach Miles said they were going to come out aggressive just because what happened with their coach (Coach Pat Chambers missed the last game because of a suspension), playing for him and things like that. We just had to fight through. There are going to be tough games every night in the Big Ten, so we just have to fight through and finish it off.”

On if the starters expected to play the whole second half:

“We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do. Coach Miles believes in us to play a lot of minutes so that’s what we have to do and we just have to recover after.”

On Penn State’s rebounding edge and to what he attributes it:

“We just have to keep working on that. That’s one thing that Coach Miles has been on us about in film and practice and things like that. We’ve got to clean that up, and we’re still working on it. They had a lot of offensive rebounds today. We just have to keep finding a way to win, but we’ve got to clean that up.”

On how were they able to close things out on defense:

“Just stay locked in. The last couple of games, we were just playing to try to win, we weren’t just playing the flow of the game and that’s when we start making mistakes and turning the ball over or taking bad shots and things like that. We just have to play our game from the jump and don’t think about the score at the end.”

On bouncing back from his early shooting struggles:

“Just my teammates — Johnny [Trueblood], Dachon [Burke] and all those guys — they just kept talking to me, telling me I can get going. I’ve just got to make one and just stay confident. I listened to them and my teammates kept encouraging me so I just stayed positive and tried to do anything to help the team.”


Junior forward Isaiah Roby

On if he felt he was going to have a big scoring game after his first three pointer:

“I felt like that the past couple of games to be honest. I felt pretty aggressive and pretty confident. That first 3 definitely helped. Making your first shot is always a good sign, so that definitely helped.”

On hearing how good the team can be and if that’s a compliment or not:

“It kind of is, it kind of isn’t. That’s what the coaches kind of challenged me to do this year is take that as less of a compliment, because obviously I’m a junior; I should be the type of stuff I’m doing now. They tell me to take it badly now.”

On changing roles every season:

“Every season for me has been different. I’ve had different roles now on every team and this team’s a lot different than last year’s. I think it just took me a while to find my spots and it took some of my teammates a while to find their spots as well. I think we struggled early on offensively as a whole and I think now we’re just starting to roll a little bit better and people are starting to find our spots. Just progressing through the season, I think we’re trying to get even better.”

On the coaches in his ear about being more aggressive:

“For sure. They know I’m plying out of position, so teams are going to try to exploit my being undersized, so they want me to exploit them the same way they’re trying to exploit us.”

On what he saw in his teammates to come out and win a game like this after two straight losses:

“It’s been tough, these past couple of days. We lost two in a row and it’s been real rough just because you can see that everybody’s frustrated. We want to win and the coaches want to win, obviously. We put in a lot of time and to go not he road and lose one game that we felt like we should have won and then to go at Iowa and play how we felt was bad, it’s just good to pull out a win like this. We knew most games were going to be close, but we can’t lose those games.”

On the 20th straight home win and why Nebraska plays so well at home:

“I think we just finish better here, I would say. At Minnesota we played really well and didn’t finish and then also the same thing at Maryland — played pretty well and then didn’t finish. I’m not sure why we finish better here, but we’ve just got to make that translate on the road as well.”

On the rebounding issues:

“I think mainly it’s positioning and just seeing the shot. A lot of times we’ll run in too far and it will be a long shot. Those are things we’ve got to see. Unlucky bounces, but you’ve got to be able to see that and those are the signs of good rebounders.”

On getting back-to-back stops late:

“That was huge. We talked about defense pretty much 80 percent of our practice the last couple days because we know that we can score with anybody but in order to win, you have to play defense. Being able to finish the game this time and not blow our lead, that was huge for us.”

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