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POSTGAME QUOTES: Penn State 74, Maryland 70

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Feb. 7, 2018

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Penn State 74, Maryland 70 
Bryce Jordan Center (University Park, Pa.)
Attendance:  8435

Penn State Scoring Leader: Lamar Stevens (25)
Penn State Rebounding Leader:
 Josh Reaves (9)
Penn State Assist Leader: 
Tony Carr (6)

Patrick Chambers || Penn State Head Coach

Opening Statement
First I want to thank all the fans who came out in this tough weather, especially the students. I really appreciate how they were loud and into the game and I can’t thank them enough. That is three straight home games I felt like we had a great crowd and a home court advantage because of what they did. I give Maryland credit; they played great and did what they had to do but we found a way and that’s what good teams do… they find a way. We looked a little slow and that’s what happens in February: your legs are a little shot and you have to dig a little deeper, get a stop and get a rebound. We found a way and Lamar Stevens really stepped up for us and we needed every one of those points he had tonight.

Can you elaborate on Lamar’s night and what kind of impact he had?

PC: I felt like in practice yesterday Lamar [Stevens] was ready to go. He had some energy, juice, his legs looked really good and he was really bouncy. They had a couple of big men that are hurt and we felt Lamar could really take advantage of his size and athleticism against Maryland.

What can you say about Jamari Wheeler making what he has on the stat sheet count?

PC: I thought he provided a critical spark when he came into the game. Our team looked a little slow and he came in and took it up a notch. We desperately needed some of that energy and what he creates. I feel his 11 minutes were great 11 minutes to provide the team with what they needed at that point.

Neither team had a ton of rebounds, but it sure seemed like you got some when you needed them on both ends of the floor. Can you speak to the importance of that?

PC: In this league you have to rebound. Last year, we were a poor rebound team and it has been the point of emphasis since the foreign tour. We have to rebound the ball and find bodies… timely ones and we did a good job of that tonight.

Did James Franklin talk to the team before the game and if so, what did he say?

PC: Obviously James and I have become very good friends. He just wanted to hang around and watch. He invited me before one of his games into the locker room to watch and take everything in and he wanted to do that with us. I spent time with him on the court one-on-one and he watched us present the board and my final presentation. He just wanted to be a part of it, which I thought was pretty cool because he had a big day and he did not have to do that. Of course I congratulated him a thousand times on Rasheed [Walker], but he wanted to talk about everybody. I think it is critical for our guys to see the support the coaches have for each other. He was just hangin’ out.

You are 4-1 since getting Josh [Reaves] back. What kind of difference has he made?

PC: His leadership is number one and then he does not need the headlines. He does not need the credit because he is just one of those guys that is going to go out and play as hard as he can. He is going to defend and rebound, guard the best player on the other team, and then when he has opportunities to make plays, he is the guy that does it for us. He always makes big plays, gets a big rebound, or makes a block; just something positive. His energy is starting to become the identity of this team.

Defensively, Shep [Garner] was “up in their grill” despite only having six points. What did that mean to have his defensive effort?

PC: I think that’s why he didn’t shoot as well when he had some of those open threes. He was really trying to guard and I know he was not happy with the way he played last time at Maryland so when he is playing against [Anthony] Cowan and [Kevin] Huerter he takes great pride in trying to stay in front, do a good job, and not get scored on.

This is the first time Satchel Pierce has played extended minutes. What have you seen from him in practice that warranted giving him some time tonight?

PC: You look at [Bruno] Fernando and he is every bit of 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, and I just felt like Satchel has earned it over the past few weeks. He is getting extra shots up; he is working hard in practice. It is very easy to play the victim and say, “I’m not going to practice hard, I am not going to really bring it,” and he has not done that. He always brings it, has kept a good attitude, and goes after Mike Watkins as hard as he can. Mike [Watkins], John [Harrar], Satchel and Julian [Moore] all push each other in practice and once I see Satchel’s attitude points go up in practice, I am going to get him in and I thought he gave us four great minutes.  

What went into the defensive game plan tonight with having Josh on a guy who was a little smaller than him and Shep going against a guy like Kevin Huerter?

PC: The last few games Shep has gone against [Joshua] Langford from Michigan State and some other bigger guards, and I felt like he has done a pretty good job for the most part. I felt pretty good about that and I felt Cowan is that good. We want to have our best defender on Cowan and slow him down if we can. It is tough to do that because that kid is a really good basketball player.

Do you feel like this was a smart game offensively?

PC: I did. The few times we got stagnant, we corrected it by making calls. Tony [Carr] made some calls too and when you’re on the same page with your head coach as a point guard, things are going to happen. We knew there was a good shot, but there was a better shot, and there was a mismatch over there, let’s just take advantage of it. We had some really good opportunities.


Lamar Stevens || So. || G

You are one of the few guys in the Big Ten that can make baskets from anywhere.  Do you feel that when your game is on that you can score from anywhere?

LS: Yes, because my coaches and my teammates have a lot of confidence in me and I feed off of that. Their confidence to give me the ball in the right positions and coach always knows my spots and puts me in the right spots. So really I credit that to my coaches and teammates.


How would you express your team’s defense today? It was a high scoring game, but were able to get some key stops when you needed too.

LS: I think that is a huge step for us. The best teams always find a way to win and tonight we did. We locked down when we had to and got huge stops and rebounds. I just think that is a huge step for this team.


You guys are 4-1 since getting Josh [Reaves] back. What kind of difference is it having Josh playing again?

LS: Josh is really the heart and soul of this team. His energy is unmatched, his defense is unmatched, and he really is our defense leader. Having Josh back is huge. He just gives the team some extra confidence. When he was out we learned that we can play. We had a really good team and we added back that piece and he is a really huge piece for this team. So it just boosted our confidence.


Do you feel that you are playing some of your most consistent ball so far in your career? And if so what is leading to it?

LS: I think I definitely do. I think that I am playing more consistently and I think it comes from off season work. You have to take advantage of that time to work on your game and just find holes. Also watching film with my coaches I am learning when I’m making mistakes and where to find spots for me to score. I think it is credited to off season work and watching film with my coaches.


What was it like having Coach Franklin hanging around today when today is signing day for college football? What does that mean for you guys how he took time to come watch you guys?

LS: It means a lot to me. It is a huge day for Penn State Football and for him to take some time out for us we are really appreciative of it. He has been to a couple of games so far and we are really cool with him and everybody on the team, so having him come by was really cool.


Does he [Coach Franklin] ever eye you up as a tight end?

LS: (laughs) No, I can’t go back to football.


Coach [Chambers] has said in the past that this team is maturing. Where else does this maturity show not just on the court but off?

LS: I think that is it really just our approach to practice and just having like a business approach to everything we do as a team. I think that is something that we have really adopted as a team. Everything is important. Film is important, getting treatment is important, and you get good karma doing everything on time and doing it hard. So like I said, we just really focused on being business-like when it comes to playing basketball. Knowing when we can play around and knowing when it is time to be serious and get locked in.


Coach [Chambers] said earlier that with Maryland having a few injuries tonight that you can really take advantage of that. Did you feel that way that coming in tonight you would be able to take advantage of that?

LS: Yes. They have suffered through a lot of injuries, which is unfortunate. I’ve watched Maryland play without their bigs, and I just saw spots where I would be able to get in the post and score and just get close to the basket. It just opened up the rest of my game.


Do you take it as disrespect when teams leave you wide open from the three or try to guard you and give you space?

LS: No, it’s not disrespect, it’s just the easier shot for me. So I don't find it disrespectful, just take the shot.


How close are you guys to being as good as you can possibly be this year?

LS: I think that we have a lot of room for improvement. Going down the stretch of this Maryland game we made a lot of mistakes. Those are things that we need to clean up. I don’t think that it is anything major that we need to change to be the best team that we can be. We just really need to focus on doing all the little things right and that will get us to be the best team we can be.



Mark Turgeon || Maryland Head Coach

Mark, it seemed that every time you got close enough to maybe take the lead, they'd get a lead on offense, a rebound score or make a pretty good defensive play.

MT: Yeah, they’re good. Their starting five is terrific. Lamar Stevens was off the charts tonight. We had no answer for him. Besides that, I thought we competed, but you’re right. It’s a couple of games now when we absolutely have to have rebounds, we can’t get them. We’ve got to figure it out. We’re playing four guards. We got to figure out how to get those rebounds, but we battled. I didn’t think we competed in the first half defensively. I thought in the second half we really tried hard.

Mark, with the smaller lineup, how difficult was the matchup with [Lamar] Stevens, and what are some of the things you try to do just to slow him down?

MT: Well the ones I was disappointed with, we gave him two wide open threes, and we’re not supposed to guard him like that. That kind of gets you going a little bit. He’s made 18 all year, but we can’t be six feet off of him acting like we’re not guarding him. He’s a heck of a player. Those hurt, but then, after that, he made some incredible shots-fade-aways, fifteen, seventeen footers overhand. I did think we gave him a few layups early. He was terrific. He was so efficient.

About five seconds left after that last free throw miss, one timeout left, what went into the decision to not call that one.

MT: Down four. It had nothing to do with the game.

It seemed like Kevin [Huerter] got off to a pretty good start, and then it looked like, whether he was just out of rhythm or tired or both, he just couldn’t get going until right at the end of the game.

MT: They got a really good defender in Josh Reaves. He’s terrific. He’s not kind of good. He’s really good. He blew up a lot of things out there, so I think you got to give him a lot of credit. Number five, I’m sorry I’m missing his name for them. Help me out, Zach. I can’t see anything. Wheeler, yeah he’s a great defender too, so he came in and guarded Anthony [Cowan Jr.] and pressured us. That’s why Dion [Wiley] and Jared [Nickens] were getting open looks. Tight game, but I thought those two had a lot to do with it. Kevin got a little tired, probably.

Mark, you guys have lost a few games this year, at least recently, close games on the road. Did tonight feel like those, and how then is that margin of error when you’re trying to get over the hump?

MT: My guys battled. Are you serious guys? Let’s be real. My kids battled. We had like four guys out there. My guys battled. Anthony [Huerter] makes the layup. We clear the side. It’s a one-point game. They got a heck of a team. They got maybe three NBA guys on that roster. They got a heck of a team. My guys battled.




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