COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Postgame quotes following Maryland's 62-56 win over American Friday night.
Maryland Head Coach Mark Turgeon
"First of all, let's give American a lot of credit. They were terrific tonight. They gained confidence as the game went on and defensively their game plan was tremendous. They had a lot of big threes from their five man which was hard for us to guard. Give them a lot of credit. I thought we really guarded them well. It's hard to guard. A couple times they got us but overall we guarded them really well."
The thing I'm most proud of, and I'll use a Big Ten team, I told our guys this last night. Last year I watched Wisconsin, who lost a lot of players, lose their home opener to Western Illinois, and they had a heck of a team. They won a lot of games, went to the sweet sixteen, and game into our building and beat us. We figured out how to win. We slowed it down, we executed better, and we made a jump shot, Kevin Huerter made two, one really tough one in front of our bench. That helped our guys take a deep breath and relax a little bit. Positives: we rebounded great. We just have to play a little better offensively together, that's one thing this team does. We didn't do that tonight."
On the performance of L.G. Gill:
"He was great. That's why I started the funny lineup. I couldn't start both Damonte (Dodd) and L.G. I knew Ivan (Bender) was going to play a little bit but I couldn't put them both out there because then we'd have all kinds of problems. L.G. maybe sitting on the bench, getting a chance to look at it, he was a little fresher. He had some big time rebounds. Defensively he was great. He moved better out there for us. Second chance points, free throws, and big offensive rebounds. I was happy for L.G.
On if he's still learning what type of rotation he's going to use:
“It’s a guessing game. The guys that finished the game I thought were doing the best and I looked up and there were four freshman and Melo on the floor. I must really believe in this group. I thought they we’re playing the best. The good thing is that I have choices. If someone’s not playing well I could just go with somebody else. In the end we figured it out. It just took us a while. We are a definite work in progress. It’s exciting. I think we’re going to be a heck of a team before we’re done. We’re just trying to figure it out. Playing lineups we’re not used to, but guys adjusted. We’ll get better.
On if he was calm during the second half:
“I don’t know if I was calm. I tried to be as best I can. I just tried to give them confidence. Just because people have us ranked, we don’t know who we are. American’s a good team that played well tonight that’s extremely well coached. It’s okay. In the end we won. It’s okay to have a tough game. In the end we’re going to be better from it. We’re going to learn a lot more because of it. I imagine we’re going to be a lot better in practice on Sunday because of tonight. Was I calm? Yeah, because we have a lot of new guys out there. But I really believe in this group. I was a little disappointed by some things we did offensively, but it’s all correctable.”
On the freshmen’s performance:
“I thought all the new guys played well. Anthony (Cowan) really got it going defensively. He got a couple steals and deflections. That was big on his part. Justin (Jackson) was just trying to find his rhythm. I thought in the second half he did some good things. Kevin can make shots; we all know he can make shots. He also defended their best player. Kevin did a nice job defensively too. Ivan’s a new guy too, he hasn’t played a lot. We have a lot of good pieces."
On how he chose the starting lineup:
“We started them because of who we’re playing, injuries, where we are, practice. At the end, it’s not like my assistants we’re yelling in my ear ‘take the young guys out’, we all felt the same way and that was the group we were going to go with. It might be different Tuesday. Tonight that’s what we went with."
Junior Guard Melo Trimble
On the key to the 12-2 run in the second:
“Just getting stops and not worrying about beating a team by 20 points or 10 points. We just went out there and got stops and played basketball. We stopped turning the ball over during that stretch.”
On whether the freshman were nervous during their first NCAA game:
“Last time we played an exhibition game here, but you know there wasn’t as much excitement as there was during this first game. I could see it on the freshmen’s faces that they were just excited to get out there. I was a bit nervous myself, but I was just excited to get out there. We just had to relax and play basketball.”
On a couple of Kevin Huerter’s clutch shots:
“They were really big. He was 2-2 from three and they were both from deep. Those shots were really big for us.”
On taking control late in the basketball game:
“Coach Turgeon trusts me and he knew the situation. My teammates also trust me with the ball. I knew it was time to take over and lead the team to a win, not only with points but my overall leadership out there.”
Senior Forward L.G. Gill
On the freshmen being nervous tonight:
"I wouldn’t necessarily say nervous, more so just anxious to just get out there and play their first game; I know that feeling. I get that feeling before every game, and I'm a senior. I know that they were just anxious to play in their first college game."
On what the whole program, including the coaches and players, have done to help the freshmen:
"From the coaching staff, just building their confidence in practice. Allowing them to do the things that they can do in practice and then it carries over into the games. Me, I just talk to them on the side and just let them know to play their game and just stay poised throughout the whole game and they'll be fine."
On coming out and playing as almost an entirely new team:
"It's definitely tough, but I think we're doing a great job. Practices have been great for us, to see how we play together, to see each other's strengths and weaknesses and the summer was great for us too. Out there, you could see that things got a little bit antsy, but we're still starting to figure out how to play with each other. So it's been great."
On Melo's performance helping the newcomers down the stretch:
"I think that Melo definitely came out and set the tone for the freshmen to follow and he's a great leader. We kind of laugh and joke that he's not more of a vocal leader, but he's definitely someone that the freshmen can look up to.
American Head Coach Mike Brennan
“I thought the guys competed hard. We didn’t know what to expect so I’m glad we competed the way we did to stay in the game and be in a position to win the game. We did so many things right but obviously we made too many mistakes to win it. Guys have been working hard and I’m happy with where we’re at right now.”
On the play of their freshmen:
“That’s why we got them. Obviously they have some work to do, but I think there’s so much more there that we can get out of them. They’re used to playing in big games and big stages like that.”
“They’re hard to guard and they’re a really good team. Trimble and those guards are a handful. They have a lot of shooters and their guys did what they had to do. They needed that three at the end — that one crucial play — and they made it. It’s just so difficult to not only guard Trimble, but all of their guards because they’re so good and crafty with the ball. And then obviously we got hammered on offensive rebounds, but they’re a terrific team and for us to be able to hang in there is an accomplishment.”
On their rebounding struggles:
“We needed more guys to be involved in the rebounding effort and we didn’t have that. It’s something we need to work on.”