Jan. 16, 2008
NORTHERN ILLINOIS MEN'S BASKETBALL 2007-08
NIU vs. Eastern Michigan -- January 16, 2008
DeKalb, Ill. - Convocation Center
Eastern Michigan Head Coach Charles Ramsey
"We hit a lot of threes late in the shot clock and that was by design and tonight, we hit the shots. Fortunately, tonight, we were able to get some good looks. It was a heated game, it was an emotional game. We thought that at halftime we made some adjustments defensively. They were killing us with dribble penetration in the first half and we made some adjustments to address that. I think that was evident in the first 12 minutes of the second half, we held them to seven points.
"Coach Patton has them playing and they're going to play until the final buzzer. We had to do a better job. They have young guys who are athletic and who can drive the ball.
"Number three is our best player. He didn't play like it tonight. We have to get better production from our post guys and 19 turnovers is too many but some of those they forced us into.
"The kids did a great job executing [on the late three-pointer which game Eastern a seven-point lead]. Very seldom do we get that play defended, we just usually don't hit the shot. It happens in the flow of the game. That gave us the cushion we needed.
"Coach Patton is godfather to my oldest son. I know him better than anyone in this room. You have a very good basketball coach. They are going to play hard. I'm very impressed with [NIU's] young kids. Everyone has bought into their role, everyone is contributing and they are not worried about minutes or anything."
NIU Head Coach Ricardo Patton
"A fight broke out and we ran - evidently that's what happened from how we got pounded on the glass. I'm disappointed, I thought it was the softest exhibition of play we've had all year long. You should never let a team come in and be more physical on your home floor. We've played bigger teams, we've played better teams but we've never appeared to be intimidated. We allowed offensive rebounds and we didn't get any.
"Any coach will tell you rebounding is an effort category. They did an excellent job of beating us up on the glass.
"Axon got some open looks. His team did a nice job of finding him. He made us pay.
"Young guys can play too. You don't have to be a certain age to fight back, to fight for a rebound, to fight for position, to fight through screens.
"Eastern is a good basketball team. They are a season team that has been together a while. They came in and popped us in the mouth and we didn't respond.
"It's always tough to catch up to a good team. They got to the free throw line, they capitalized. I thought if we picked up our intensity we had a chance, but we had some turnovers - only 14 in the game but some crucial ones down the stretch.
"Basketball is as much mental, probably more, mental than physical. We're headed in the right direction. Any good team has to learn how to win close games. There is too much parity in college basketball to believe you're going to be able to blow people out. Those teams are in the Top 25."