Northwestern 79, Utah 57 – Post-game quotes & Wooden chips

Coach Chris Collins, Northwestern – (On his team’s performance): “I was really proud of my team today. These are big game, when you come to these tournaments you want to win the championship. When you lose the first game, your focus then becomes trying to get out of here with a winning record. We were able to play really well against LaSalle on Friday. It was a quick turnaround, third game in four days. I have so much respect for Coach [Larry] Krystkowiak and the program they run, they’re so well coached, well-schooled. To be able to defend them the way we did. I was really proud. We forced 21 turnovers, did a great job on [Sedrick] Barefield. In the 2nd half our offensive execution was really good, we made some shots and got the ball where we wanted to get it. I was really proud of my team today.”

(On an early season win): “It’s big early in the year, these are games and you come into these events. We’ve got an ACC Challenge coming up and we have some other nine key non-conference games and you want to try and build your resume. I always tell our guys “Everyone always wants to do something in March” but, a lot of times you don’t realize that the games you have in November can help you get to that point.”

(On his new personnel’s defensive performance): “Our defense has got to be our calling card. I think we have very good length. We have big guards and big wings. We also have an active big man in [Dererk] Pardon. I think we can be a team with deflections that can cause some turnovers and we did that at a very high level today. We forced that team into 21 turnovers, they don’t normally do that because they are so well coached, and they run their stuff well. It shows how active we were.”

Coach Larry Krystkowiak, Utah – Opening Statement: “I thought it was definitely a much more physical game on their side. They took us out of cuts. I didn’t think we were playing very hard on offense in the first half. Thirteen turnovers and yet we were only down four, it was encouraging. I think for us it’s the importance of having five guys on the floor that are all connected, and it seems like at this point, we just aren’t getting enough consistency. There’s one breakdown and you’re only going to be as strong as your weakest link. Inability to handle pressure, wrong coverage, we just have to make some plays. We’re putting ourselves in too high of a risk category because it seems like we have a number of cases where there’s a guy that isn’t doing his job and it hurts us collectively. Those things added up today. Number of shots is key, and I think we just shot ourselves in the foot with the number of turnovers we had. We just almost 50%, it wasn’t glaring that way, but we just didn’t get enough shots. We have to get back to Utah, back to the drawing board and we have a lot of work to do as a coaching staff to make some improvement and we look forward to that process.”

Wooden Chips

Northwestern (5-1)

Utah (3-3)