UNC-UMd: Gary Williams & Player Quotes

Inside Carolina
Posted Feb 25, 2007


COLLEGE PARK, Md. --- Maryland coach Gary Williams and players D.J. Strawberry, James Gist and Greivis Vasquez spoke to reporters after the game. Read their comments.

GARY WILLIAMS

Opening Statement:

When you play North Carolina, you know you have to match their intensity level. They are still the best rebounding team in the ACC. Somehow, you have to get your players to work as hard or outwork them. I felt the game was going to be close because we were playing at home and everything. I just felt we had to match their intensity on the glass going into the game because they are too good and they rotate too many people.

On the rebounding strategy coming into the game:

It wasn’t any great thing I did. It really was the players’ effort trying to rebound and that’s all you can ask your players to do, is to try. We really made the effort rebounding wise. Our guards got in there as the game went on and even if they didn’t get the rebound they were in there taking up space where they couldn’t get those running starts for dunks like they did at the start of the second half.

On D.J. Strawberry:

(D.J.) Strawberry was just a force. I thought he was really a senior today. We got jump shot happy there for a while and he took the ball to the basket a couple of times to make sure we all knew how tough it was, how we expected to play if we were going to win this game.

On pulling out the win late:

Of course, our free throw shooting down the stretch was excellent. Our guys had a lot of courage stepping to the line. I know that’s not an easy situation to be in. I’m really pleased. We didn’t play perfect. We started to make plays necessary to win the game.

On the comeback:

We have a pretty good belief in ourselves this year. The seniors knew the game wasn’t over at that point and they knew we had some time to come back. The big thing was we had to stop them from scoring. In other words, when you get to that point, you can’t trade baskets. You have to figure out a way. We stopped them a couple of times and got it down to six and you feel like you can win the game. You work hard in practice from October to get to where you can play these games. You just don’t walk out there with talent. We have a good defensive unit where guys play together.

On Eric Hayes:

He’s a tough guy. He knows when he plays badly I don’t have to say anything to him. He’s a basketball junkie. He really loves everything about the game. He goes to high school games and all that stuff. He thinks it through. I think he thought a lot about what he had to do. It’s a learning experience. We’ve won some games now with Eric and Greivis (Vasquez) down the stretch.

On the energy at the end of the game:

This time of the year, you have to be in shape where you have to be able to run on adrenaline and I think we did that today. We had eight guys in double figure minutes so that really helped us and hopefully now we can get our wind back for Wednesday night.

On why he believed in the team all season:

I saw practice everyday. We weren’t playing great, obviously, but we were trying. You say things as a coach sometimes but you don’t know if it’s going to happen. You say if we keep working hard we will get better. Good things will happen, but that’s hard to do if you lose. For the loyal Maryland fans, this is our team. We’re going to be good in the future and we plan on being around a long time.

D.J. STRAWBERRY

On the game:

North Carolina plays at a fast pace and we try to play at a fast pace, too. It was just up-and-down the whole game and it wears you out. We could have given up; they had us down by 12 and they were hitting a lot of shots and they were on a roll. We just toughed it out and it shows the heart of this team. We just wanted it more than they did.

On beating a top-five team:

Beating North Carolina, a top-five team at home, showed the toughness that we have. Today was probably one of the best wins that we’ve ever had. It was a great feeling to get this win today.

On Coach Williams’ reaction after the game:

He was real emotional. He said he’s had a lot of great teams, but he doesn’t know if any team has ever played harder than that today. That’s an honor coming from him considering all of the great teams he’s had.

JAMES GIST

On the win over North Carolina:

It’s a great feeling to beat the No. 5 team in the nation and to beat North Carolina, it’s such a traditional team. For them to come in here tonight and for us to get this win is really great.

On the wins against Duke and North Carolina:

It’s really exciting and we go back down to Duke on Wednesday. Now we just have to prepare for that and we if we can finish out the season with a sweep off them it will be really good.

GRIEVIS VASQUEZ

On the win over North Carolina:

We played hard and we came back. Mike Jones put us back in the game. We wanted it more at the end than they did and we got the win.

On the season:

We’re doing great. A lot of people were criticizing at the start and now we’re 22-7. We just have to keep working hard.


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