Quotes: Maryland 75, Penn State 69

Maryland Athletics
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Maryland Head Coach Mark Turgeon  

Opening Statement:

“That’s a great win for us. Where we are right now as a program and for Kevin [Huerter] to pick up two fouls before the first media [timeout]. And you guys all know he’s our smartest player. You’re trying to adjust to different lineups, made it tough on us. Thought we really guarded well the first half until like the last three minutes. Didn’t finish the half the right way. Just talked about believing. You know, it’s been tough. Because we had to reinvent ourselves so practices have been long. And I thought we were a little mentally tired at the end of practice yesterday. So we just talked at halftime believing that we can get this done. I thought we really attacked the rim in the second half, we executed well. And we defended well enough. We didn’t rebound quite as well. If we just would’ve limited them to one shot, it wouldn’t have been as close down the stretch. But we didn’t, and give them credit. They’re a good team, guys. They won at Iowa. That’s a good team we beat today.”

On Michal Cekovsky and Bruno Fernando and how that lineup is different:

“I knew Ivan [Bender] wasn’t good the night we played UMBC. When I went to bed that night, I decided I was going to do that. I think I even told Ceko before we left the building that night that I was going to go with a big lineup. I feel confident with Ceko guarding a perimeter guy with his length – he’s smart, he’s been around. We’ve really worked hard. It’s been hard for Ceko because he had to learn the four spot offensively because we don’t want to confuse Bruno. Ceko hadn’t practiced the four, so in two days he had to learn it. So we’re a little limited on what we can run but he did a nice job tonight. Thought they both played well. I thought Ceko was much better in the second half than he was in the first half. And I thought his dunk kind of set the tone for the end of the game because we weren’t playing as tough as we needed to play, and that was a big time play by him.”

On what Darryl Morsell’s second half three-pointer after struggling in the first half says about him:

“He believes. And for the most part, he drove it, but he was open by 20 feet. And he works at it. He probably works too hard at it. Probably been part of the problem with his shooting. He actually ices his wrist and has a heat pack on before the game because he practices his shooting so much. But that was a big load off his shoulders and our team. I feel like when that went in, we were going to probably win the game. I think it tied it at 61. That was a big time shot. Good play by [Anthony Cowan Jr.] to get him the ball. I can’t say enough about Anthony. He played 40 minutes, he was terrific. He guarded, he was just… couldn’t take him out. He was great.”

On having a 34-4 free throw advantage:

“Yeah I’ll have to watch the film but I do think that we play without fouling. I think we do a nice job of that. We work on it. We work on playing shots with the correct hand. And then in the second half, we just talked about attacking. And we did. Did we get a good whistle? Probably. But I think we deserve it.”

On Kevin Huerter driving to the basket:

“Well, we just talked about it. They were switching things and I said, ‘If we get the matchup we like, just drive it.’ And that’s what we tried to do. We tried to isolate Darryl a few times doing that. We just went a little bit too quick. But I think Kevin – to play without fouling in the second half, I’m not sure I took him out, I’m sure he played 20 minutes in the second half – just tells you that he’s a great player. He really is. Unfortunately for us though, because he was a little bit out of the rhythm, we couldn’t really get him going. He really wasn’t in sync with some things that we’ve worked on. But give them credit, they did a good job guarding Kevin.”

On having five turnovers:

“Yeah, we played slower. Yeah it is great. We took a couple bad shots, I thought, in transition, panicked a little bit. But no, five turnovers was nice. We played slower, and Anthony had a lot to do with that. And we tried to dictate the pace a little bit with our offense, we’re still trying to figure that out. But no, I was really happy with that. I don’t know how many we had in the second half.”

On Anthony Cowan Jr. playing 40 minutes and if it concerns him that he has another game to play in 48 hours:

“Not at all. Anthony could go play another 40 right now.”

On if he anticipates Cekovsky and Fernando to have increased roles following Ivan Bender’s injury:

“Well, I think it all depends on who we’re playing. Obviously we’re playing a pretty big team on Thursday. The key is tonight that they stayed out of foul trouble. That’s big, moving forward. But I thought Josh gave us good minutes… Tomaic. It’s going to be a slow process with him, getting him in there, getting more confident. But I thought he gave us good minutes tonight. I hope so. They’re both really good players. I hope so. I think we can figure it out offensively to be efficient with that lineup, that’s the key.”

On the importance of this win:

“Yeah, you know what? You guys know I never say a must-win type situation. Because you just don’t know what lies ahead, with what’s happened so far this year. I was just proud of the guys. Penn State came in here with confidence, made some shots, and we just kept battling, and kept battling, and we figured out a way to win it. So yeah, they’re much more confident right now than they were 24 hours ago. So yeah, this was big for us.”

On how much of a challenge facing Michigan State will be:

“Yeah, I mean, every night is going to be a challenge for us. You watched us. We played hard as heck tonight. And we tried as hard as we could. We were lucky to win. Yeah, we’ve got some challenges that lie ahead of us. We’ll figure it out. I’ve got a group that’s willing and even if Michigan State played three nights in row, they didn’t play us. It doesn’t matter, they’re a heck of a team. So we’ve got to be ready. They’re playing at a high level right now and we’ve got to figure out a way to keep the game at a pace that we’re comfortable with.”

Sophomore G Anthony Cowan  

On what this win says about the team in terms of what they’ve been through and not having an easy night:

“Coach always says that we don’t have any time to feel sorry for ourselves so through the circumstances all we can do is play hard now and we just have to figure out ways to win like we did tonight.”

On what was different defensively to be able to hold Penn State to 3-13 from the field the final minutes of the game:

“I think we really locked in. I think [Darryl Morsell] keyed in on Tony Carr, which really helped. Then all of the others- we just made sure we tried to box out as best we could so that they didn’t get any second chance shots.”

On how does playing with the two big guys change the dynamic of this team:

“I don’t know what the rebounding was, but I think we rebounded pretty well tonight. I know [Mike Watkins], he was a load for them, but I think [Michael Cekovsky] and Bruno really came and had a good game today in terms of rebounding. We just have to keep doing that.”

On what kind of difference Bruno makes on how the team can finish inside when he plays like he did tonight:

“He’s one of the best bigs I’ve played with so far. Just the way he defends and how much energy he plays with and how he finishes around the basket. I have faith in him and I have confidence in him that he’ll be able to play like that throughout the season.”

Senior C Michael Cekovsky

On what tonight’s game say about the team:

“Obviously, everybody knows we got unlucky with the injuries…I think we’re still kind of deep, even with those injuries on the bench. I think we had a really good game, so it feels good.”

On if he is playing for Junior F Ivan Bender, like he said last season that he was playing for him when he got hurt:

“Actually, I was asking for his socks, because last year when I got injured he was wearing my number on his socks. I will get them maybe next game. But yeah definitely, for [Justin Jackson], [Andrew Terrell], and Ivan- I’m really close with Ivan, everybody knows that. It’s sad to see your teammates go down, but it’s a part of the game and we’re all going to be here for them.”

On what tonight’s game says about this team’s mental toughness:

“We had Kevin Huerter in foul trouble in the first half, like I say, ‘we always adjust,’ and I think we did a good job. We went down four at half time and we came back strong with the mindset that we want to win the game. We never think that we’re going to lose. I think that’s the right mindset and we’re really mentally tough.”

On how big of a challenge it will be Thursday to go up against Michigan State:

“It’s going to be a good game with their crows and Michigan State is always a big game every year. I’ve been here for four years and I know it’s a great game day every time. It’s going to be a great challenge and like we always do, we’re going to take the challenge and try to win the game.”

Freshman F Bruno Fernando

On how it feels to have his first double double:

“It feels good. I was looking forward to that. It feels great.”

On what was different defensively to be able to hold Penn State to 3-13 from the field the final minutes of the game:

“Coach preaches to us about defense a lot, so we had to lock down and just make sure that we get a lot of stops and we did get a lot in the second half...we got a lot of stops which helped us on the offensive side.”

On what he thinks is the biggest advantage of having him and Ceko in the game together:

“I think we’ll get a lot more rebounds and we’ll be able to stop a lot more people on the defensive side. This is one thing that we’ve probably worked on for just a few days and its actually good to be out there on the court with him at the same time. It gives us a lot more of an advantage against other teams.”

On if we’re going to see him extend his range a lot more in conference play:

“I’ve been working on my game a lot, I don’t stop working on my game. This one thing I know I have in me and after practice and before practice I just keep working on those shots because I know the opportunity is going to come. I’m really not rushed just to make sure people on the outside sees that I can shoot, I just keep working on that and whenever I get the opportunity, I’ll take it.”