Oakland University head coach Greg Kampe
"Any time you win a league game you're happy. You have to win your league games at home and we did. I thought we won the game tonight with our offense, I thought we were really good. We weren't very good defensively in the second half and the last two minutes of the first half. We made some big stops when we had to make them. We played some man-to-man down the stretch, and that kid they've got is a pretty good inside and I thought Benson guarded him extremely well. (Benson) blocked his shot a couple times and got some great rebounds for us. I thought he really patrolled the lane the way you're supposed to when we went man-to-man. I think you can see some of the reasons we don't play man-to-man, as young as we are and we're still trying to learn to do some things. I was very pleased. Again, I just think we won with our offense. We did a great job of executing. We made shots at key times. We got the ball where we needed to get the ball. We got some shots at key times. We forced it inside and got it in there to Keith a lot. Will Hudson did a nice job off the bench, battling in there as well. When you can control the inside like that, you are usually going to be successful."
On having a big man come through on the free throw line late in the game
"Keith can shoot the ball. I've told every kid that's ever come to my camp, my own kids, every team I've ever coached; there's only two things in life that don't last - dogs that chase cars and teams that can't shoot free throws. So the free-throw shooting has been important. You have to be able to do it, it doesn't matter whether you're 6-11 or 4-11. You've got to make free throws. (Benson) made some big ones tonight, but I knew he would. He's a better free-throw shooter than his numbers show, because early in the year he was trying to create a spot for himself and grow and prove that he can be as good as he's getting to be, and I think that you struggle early sometimes when you do that. Now that he's comfortable and knows he's going to play, and knows he's going to go to the line five to ten times a game, I think you'll continue to see him shoot well."
On Benson's overall play
"He's beginning to believe in himself. Confidence is a very interesting thing. If you don't have confidence on an athletic playing field, you're usually going to struggle; and he's never had much confidence. I've probably never given him any confidence, either. But we have a saying on our team, it's not my job to give them confidence, it's their job to give me confidence. He's doing a great job of giving me confidence, so we're going to continue to get him involved. Like I said, there aren't a lot of people, if anybody, in our league that have a player like him. He can control a game, he can dominate a game, and he's young. He's still a young kid. Six months ago we didn't know if he'd play for us. I'm excited about him. He had 23 against Michigan, 20 against (Michigan) State, and we wondered what he was going to do in our league. He had 19 and nine tonight, with three blocks. That's a great performance."
On his assessment of the team thus far having played top-flight opposition
"One of the things I think we have to understand is just because the teams in our league aren't Michigan or Michigan State, they're still good basketball teams. They're still scholarship kids, they were all all-state. I mean, (Callahan) shot the ball as well as anyone I've ever seen shoot it, and (Dane Brumagin) from UMKC came in here last year and shot it pretty well too. They're still good basketball players. The difference now is that we're at home, the kids you're playing might not be as big, or as long, or as athletic, but they're still good players, good teams, and good coaches. Another thing in league play is that you know each other really well. Michigan State only spends three days getting ready for us and we spent three days getting ready for them, and then we move on and never think about them. But we think about (South Dakota State) all year. Our preparation in the summer is to get ready to play the teams in our league, and we've played them so many times that we feel that we know everything about them. Maybe it didn't look that way with Callahan tonight but he made a lot of tough shots, and I give him a lot of credit for doing that."
On Erik Kangas' increased ability to penetrate and dish
"Erik had five assists and 20 points, and then he missed the free throw, and I can't believe it. I was going to take him out. (laughs) He's 30 of 32 now for the year. That's what they're going to do - coaches are smart. They know he's one of the best players, if not the best player in the league. They're going to game plan for him. Tom Izzo said after our game with them that (MSU) planned for Kangas the same way they planned for A.J. Abrams from Texas. That's a high compliment for a kid. What Erik has learned this year, and the reason he's blossoming into such a good player, is he doesn't just catch the ball and pass it if he doesn't have a shot. Now he catches it and gets in. He shot seven free throws tonight. He had five assists. He has turned himself into an all-around player, and that's a credit to him. It has nothing to do with our coaching. That's just being smart, and learning."
Freshman Guard Drew Maynard
On stepping into his defensive role
"Every day I improve. As the days go on I feel like I'm understanding things better and being able to anticipate what's going on."
On his crashing the offensive boards
"With my spot out on the wing, I just go in there and crash and try to see what balls are going to come off the rim, because we've got really good shooters with a soft touch and we know that the ball isn't going to bounce far off the rim."
On whether or not he's becoming more comfortable in the OU system
"Yeah, once I finally started to calm down a little bit. I know at the beginning of the season I was still a little nervous."
On the difficulty of adjusting between playing an athletic team like Michigan State to a perimeter-oriented team like South Dakota State
"There's all different types of teams, so we practice in the days before how they're going to do things as we work towards that."
On the continuity of the offense today
"We ran our set plays and it started working for us. Kangas got off a big shot. (Benson) was in there working hard. All the plays we ran helped us to win the game."
South Dakota State University Head Coach Scott Nagy
On Erik Kangas
“(Erik) Kangas is a very good player. He has a lot of athleticism, he’s a tough kid and a good defender.”
On whether SDSU was switching around the screens Kangas was rolling off of
“No, we just stayed with him most of the time.”
On any offensive strategy for tonight’s game
“No, we weren’t overly concerned about that. You look at our stats and you’ll see that it’s as good of an offensive game that we’ve had in a while, in terms of assists. We did commit 10 turnovers in the first half, which hurt us. Offensively, we’re fine, but our game can’t be an offensive game. You can’t give up 80 points and beat people. We have to be a lot tougher, we can’t be outrebounded and give up 53 percent shooting and expect to win. We lost by five points, got outrebounded and gave up 53 percent shooting. It’s amazing, honestly, that we didn’t get beat worse, but we shot the ball well and that’s why we stayed in the game. Every big offensive rebound, they got and every loose ball they got. That’s not going to win games for us.”
On if Oakland’s size was a concern for the game
“No, we’ve played big teams all year. We lost to a 6-9, 250 pound kid in the beginning of the year to a serious injury and we don’t know if we’ll get him back. So, it makes us smaller, but big deal. We aren’t concerned with that and we don’t talk about that. We just play and we expect to outrebound everybody we play and don’t care how big they are.”
On shooting 15-30 from the three-point line
“Somebody told me it was a school record, but big deal. We lost the game. We weren’t expecting to shoot that many, going against Oakland’s zone and we expected to get some open looks in the corners, and fortunately, we shot the ball well. But to make 15 threes and lose is ridiculous.”