Indiana men’s basketball head coach Mike Woodson addressed the media following the Hoosiers’ win over Michigan State
Here’s what he had to say:
Q. Trey had a big role in the second half, obviously he played well. How has he grown into being a guy that can be — sort of captain the offense on the floor, maybe not an out-and-out point guard but give you those point guard type minutes and point guard type impact?
WOODSON: You talking about Trayce?
WOODSON: Trey. It started back again this summer when he was on the second unit. He and Tamar Bates had a lot of duties in terms of handling the ball when X was playing, so I had X and Jalen matched up against those two, and they had to bring the ball up the floor like point guards do, and you know, they had to be — they had to be basketball players, that’s kind of how I look at it, and we look at a lot of ball handling drills with our — with all of our players, to make them feel comfortable about handling the basketball when they get on the game floor and they start playing for real.
So it’s the work that he’s put in this summer that’s put him in the position to be able to get the trust from me and the coaching staff to let him run our point.
Q. When you guys scored ten straight, it was Bates, Reneau, Bates, Galloway, Kopp. In an important part of the game, just illustrate the importance of not just having to depend on Trayce, and those guys stepping up in a big moment and doing their own production?
WOODSON: Well, again, this team was put together from last season for that reason alone where everybody had to play a role, and you know, we’ve had our ups and downs in terms of guys stepping up but these last three games, man, everybody that’s played, has played a major, major role in us winning, and it’s not just Trayce.
Trayce is kind of the guy that’s driving the car, but the supporting cast has really pitched in and done their job as well.
Q. Michigan State paid a lot more attention to Trayce than what you guys have done the last couple games and still had 31-15. Can you talk about the good decision-making and being in the right spots?
WOODSON: Well, again, they didn’t really double. They kind of just dropped everybody and was in and out from a defensive standpoint. I thought early on, he missed about three or four when I call “chippies” that he normally makes but make no mistake about it. It was our defense that held us. At the ten-minute mark, I think they had 7 points.
So I just thought from a coaching standpoint if we could find some offense eventually, we would get back in the basketball game, and we did.
Q. Trayce Jackson-Davis ties Jeff Newton for IU all-time career-leading blocked shots, back to back 30-point games, 40 career double-doubles. What are we looking at when we are seeing like a guy like Trayce Jackson-Davis play at this level?
WOODSON: I think you’re looking at a complete player, man, for four years that has done it at a high level. I mean, can’t a lot of players say they have averaged 18, 19, 20 a game every year in college.
You add his rebounding, his ability to block shots, his assists, his ability to handle the ball and pushing him to initiate the break, I mean, there’s nothing the guy can’t do on the basketball floor. He’s making his free throws. I mean, he’s a beautiful player to watch and he’s done — I’m just glad he’s on our ballclub, put it that way.
Q. Even though you’re still without a healthy Race Thompson, he was in today, and Xavier obviously out, it looks like they are playing as good as they are playing all season and the defense seems to have returned. You lost three straight Big Ten games during a stretch and now you’ve won three straight. What has been the difference? What was the switch that changed things? Because this team is obviously playing with more emotion and more tenacity.
WOODSON: Well, guys, when you lose two starters, and I go back to the Iowa game, you lose two starters, it’s a shellshock to everybody, and especially when now you’ve got to depend on the Malik’s and CJs and Jalen who has never played at this level a long period of time. And that’s where we were.
I’m not using it as an excuse. You know, those guys, mentally, we were smacked in the face. When we started to go into the tailspin, the only way to get out of a tailspin, I’ve always believed this as a coach, you’ve got to work your way out of it.
So practice became even harder. And I became more demanding. I wanted more. We needed more, and we responded in the Wisconsin game and it’s been a nice carryover to Illinois and now today. That’s kind of where we are.
Q. In that second half, you subbed Jalen out and you left that lineup of Trey Galloway and Tamar for 11 minutes without Jalen in the game. What does it say about those two that they are able to get a run going, even without the starting point guard in the ballgame?
WOODSON: It’s all about trust. You know, Tamar, he had been struggling the last few games, and he stepped up and played tonight. Gallo has been solid. He’s been solid from day one. I like Gallo because he plays hard and does all the intangible things, things guys don’t like to do. The trust factor is there. Jalen took a big blow and he was kind of hobbling around, so hell, I didn’t think he had much in the tank at that time, so I rolled those guys.
Q. You mentioned the defense carrying you guys. Michigan started the game 7-of-11 from the field and only shot 38 percent the rest of the game. What did you figure out defensively?
WOODSON: Well, they made some shots. Hauser made some tough shots off the bounce as well as post-up play. Trey gave up a couple of buckets underneath on post-up plays.
So those are things I was screaming about the rest of the game, not giving up, and I thought we did a pretty good job on their perimeter play. So it was a solid team effort I thought.