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Coach Q&A: Mike Woodson reacts to the Indiana basketball’s 87-66 loss vs Purdue



Indiana basketball

Indiana basketball head coach Mike Woodson spoke to reporters following IU’s loss vs Purdue on Tuesday night at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Woodson discussed the fouling, what led to the  loss, Zach Edey’s dominance, and much more.

Below is the full video Q&A and transcript.

Q. I guess at least in a broad-strokes way, what do you say to your team in the locker room at halftime to try and pull them back together to try and kind of get them back on their feet after a half like that first 20 minutes?

MIKE WOODSON: Well, we got smacked the first half, and you’ve got to give them credit. I thought they were more tougher. Yeah, there were a lot of fouls called against us, but they set the tone. I thought we came out with good intentions back and forth there, eight, nine, ten points. And then we couldn’t make shots. You know, that was a big difference in the first half, and they made shots and they got to the free throw line and Edey had a lot to do with that.

Q. When you make good intentions there, were you trying to play defensively that way and just sort of weren’t allowed to, or just how would you describe that?

MIKE WOODSON: I can’t sit here and complain about the officiating. It’s what it is. You know, we couldn’t get to Edey quick enough. I thought the way they set him up versus how we played him last season.

You know, again, Trayce and Race, they are not here. I’ve got to get my two big guys a little more tougher. That’s got to help. I didn’t think we played tough enough, and Edey kind of had his way. We’ve got to work on that. It’s a work in progress.

Q. You’re not talking about the officials but in terms of navigating the foul trouble, how tough was that when you had Mgbako and then Ware, but then Cupps as well. Was that difficult for you to figure out how you wanted to approach as they stacked up like that?

MIKE WOODSON: Well, again, you know, you just — it’s kind of like the Next Man Up. I probably should have played not Ware, but Mac a little more even with the two fouls, but I elected not to do that.

You know, that’s hindsight. I hate coaching that way. Or thinking back to what I should have done. But at the end of the day, you know, they played extremely well the first half. I thought we came out with big-time energy the second half to cut it to nine, but when you dig a hole like that, you know, against a pretty good team, it’s hard to dig your way out.

Q. You said you thought about or you should have brought Mackenzie back a little bit earlier and sat for 12 minutes. When did you start to think about bringing him back in the game since he was one of the only ones making shots early?

MIKE WOODSON: Again, it’s a long game, but we fell back so quickly, you know, I figured I brought him back I think around the two- or three-minute mark right around the half, and when I think back to it, I probably should have brought him back a lot sooner, but I didn’t.

Q. Seeing Edey over the last three years, where is his biggest point of improvement this season?

MIKE WOODSON: You know, I think the fact that his angles that from a defensive standpoint you can’t give him, ` he’s getting the angles. Really, the last four times we played him, I thought our pressure on the ball helped us. Whoever caught it, we had really intense pressure to the point where they just couldn’t make pinpoint passes, and once it goes from the angle or top down to the big fella, it’s tough to get help there quick enough.

I think Ware could have done a better job in battling but he didn’t, and you know, it’s something to learn from. The beauty about this, we’ve got to still go to Purdue and see him again, so maybe we can regroup and see what happens when we get there.

Q. The way you guys played at the start of the second half, do you feel like that’s something that’s repeatable or is that you guys taking more risks or chances because of the situation?

MIKE WOODSON: Again, you’d like to think that — I thought we came out ready to play. I think the fouls kind of slowed us down a little bit. But you know, again, I don’t call the game. You’ve got to try to overcome it, but we didn’t. We fell in the hole and it was tough digging out.

Q. You kind of mentioned falling into a hole there offensively. When offense goes stagnant like that, is there something that you’re seeing that isn’t happening versus when the ball is going in the basket?

MIKE WOODSON: I thought in the first half we got some good looks. I charted, there were eight or nine open shots that we just didn’t make. Those empty possessions that you leave on the table, and you come down and either we fouled or they scored, I mean, it wasn’t a good combination for us the way we were playing. You know, so we’ve got to move forward and get ready for Wisconsin now, and see where we go from here.

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Kyler Staley is a Basketball Recruiting Analyst for Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Kyler has been in the basketball recruiting industry since 2019 and is a credentialed media member. He has covered Indiana since 2021 while continuing to also work for Prep Hoops Indiana. He has previously worked for Rivals.