Jan. 22, 2008
NORTHERN ILLINOIS MEN'S BASKETBALL 2007-08
NIU vs. Ball State -- January 22, 2008
DeKalb, Ill. - Convocation Center
Ball State Head Coach Billy Taylor
"It was a hard fought game tonight. I'm proud of our guys and their effort in battling back after having that significant deficit. Give credit to Northern for not folding and continuing to play hard after we made our run. We made one run and then they extended the lead again, then made another run and they made enough plays down the stretch to win.
"[Coming into the game], I thought we were capable of better [play] on both ends of the floor. Our post defense wasn't good and we did not handle their transition. I thought our defense turned things around. We have some mature players who understand what defense is about.
Ball State Forward Anthony Newell
"We were more energized [after the comeback]. Our guys were energized. We knew we had the game there for the taking and just couldn't get it done at the end."
NIU Head Coach Ricardo Patton
"It had to be a great game from a fan's standpoint. Early on, I hoped we would continue to make shots. We hung in there, grinded this one out and found a way to win which is what you have to do. It was close, as most games are, and you have to find a way to win these types of games. I'm pleased that the guys didn't drop their heads and think the game was over [after Ball State took the lead].
"These two teams mirror one another. Their coach does an excellent job. His kids played hard. He's looking for guys, he's had some injuries. There's no doubt in my mind both programs are headed in the right direction.
"[Ball State's comeback] was a combination of both NIU's miscues and their playing better. Their guards got into our guard's and forced turnovers. Nineteen turnovers is far too many. They had five and we were pressing them. So either our press wasn't very good or they handled it very well. We were careless with the basketball, give them credit.
"We were stagnant on the offensive end at times. My big concern was we made too many mistakes.
"We rebounded the ball well. This team has rebounded against everyone but one or two opponents so I am pleased with that.
"I think we started the guys we should be starting. Jarvis Nichols now understands the starting role and what it takes. I'd like to stick with this line-up we played tonight. I felt comfortable at this point in time [Jarvis] can handle the starting position. We need him to be consistent. He's ready to do that now, he's ready for the challenge."
NIU Forward Egan Grafel
[On what he thought when he got the pass on the game-winning shot]
"Go up with it. It was a good pass and I was able to hit it."