June 19, 2024

ATLANTA, Ga. — It was not a good day for Mike Woodson’s Indiana basketball team on Saturday. In a nonconference neutral-site showdown with Auburn in Atlanta, the Hoosiers were embarrassed 104-76 at the State Farm Arena. Auburn made 14 three-pointers in the game, and quickly erased an early 12-point Indiana lead. It was the worst regulation defensive performance by an Indiana team during the two-plus seasons under Woodson. Indiana gave up 112 in a double overtime loss to Syracuse in 2021. Indiana coach Mike Woodson met with the media after that game. Here’s the full transcript from his press conference:

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QUESTION: “Mike, there was a big change. What happened at that point where Auburn started to turn the tide on this game?” MIKE WOODSON: “I thought both teams came out ready to play from a physical standpoint. We couldn’t really move that ball. I just look back at the very first play we tried to execute. You know, that’s just how they play. But even with that, we overcame early their physicality and made shots and got stops and got rebounds.

“And then, I made some substitutions, but I’m not putting it on our bench because when I put our starters back in the game, the score was tied. And then they just physically took us out of everything we wanted to do, so you have to give them credit. “I’m not happy with the way we played tonight. It was just kind of like a carbon copy of our UConn game, where they couldn’t score and we couldn’t score and we were back and forth and then finally we just caved in. That’s something we’ve got to get better in that area in terms of putting a 40-minute ballgame together. I thought we came out ready to play. I mean, up 12, you can’t have a lopsided game like that, and that’s kind of on me.” Q: “Mike, you gave up 104 points but you only forced three turnovers. What was the problem specifically? Were you not physical enough?”

WOODSON: “That was the difference. You just kind of hit it on the head. Three turnovers? I’d say they were the most physical team tonight. In a game like this, you’ve got to force more turnovers, get more stops, the rebounding wasn’t that big of a difference. I just thought physically they were the better team tonight.” Q: “Yeah coach, like you said, you got up 22-10 and after the starters came out, Auburn went on a 20-4 run. What there any thought of not taking Ware and Reneau and Mgbako out at the same time?” WOODSON: “Was there any thought of me not taking them out? I kind of substitute pretty much the same way every game. You can’t just burn them. Bottom line, when my starters got back in the game, it was close to a tied game. The same guys that were on the floor when we started the game went the other way. that was the difference in the ballgame. You can’t play them for 40 minutes. You’ve got to play some of your bench guys, and I believe in my bench. I went to bench in the Michigan game, and that helped us win that game.”

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Q: “Mike, Kelel and Malik were both listed questionable before the game, but they obviously played. First of all, why were they questionable, and secondly, anything you feel like it affected them in being able to play physical?” WOODSON: “No, I’m not using that as an excuse. They started the game, and we didn’t play well as a unit. I’ve got to get us in a better position, especially when we’re playing teams like that. We’ve got a big game coming up this week with Kansas, and we’ve got a week to prepare. I’ve got to get us in a better place where we can play a better ballgame against a really elite team.” Q: “Mike, in terms of the second half, you said you caved in a little bit. Do you want to see similar to UConn, more fire from your players in those moments, or leadership on the court. Do you think that’s been kind of lacking and going against you?”

WOODSON: “Again, not having X, and I’m not using that as an excuse. But he’s a senior point guard that can score the ball and make plays for us, especially when we’re being pressured like we were. That hurt, but again, but we showed some wonderful signs tonight against a good team early on, but we didn’t sustain it over a 40-minute ballgame.” Q: “You mentioned UConn earlier, and you ripped off four straight wins after that. What do you feel like this loss says about where you guys are right now?” WOODSON: “We’ve still got a lot of work in front of us. I’ve always said that. We’ve got to take it a game at a time, a practice at a time, and build. This won’t set up back. We’ll rebound from it and keep marching along.” Q: “You mentioned the full court pressure that you faced, and maybe having X would have helped you, but that’s how Auburn plays. What sort of situations was that causing for you guys?”

WOODSON: “They didn’t do anything differently than we thought they would do. They pressed us right from the start and we were able to get the ball in and make plays. I don’t know if fatigue set in. Malik threw a couple of them away as the guy who was taking the ball out of bounds. We just didn’t execute in certain situations. Once we got the ball in, the pressure was relieved and we’d get the ball up, but we didn’t execute in the half-court set.”

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