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Patrick Chambers | Penn State Head Coach
I thought our guys responded after Maryland. Sometimes a loss like that, where you're winning for 36-minutes, and you come up short, it can fracture a young team, and that's something we talked about for two days, about toughness, about will, and about just taking little steps. We don't have to take a big, giant step. That's not how this works. Take small steps and continue to fight and compete on every possession and I felt like Wednesday in film, we did that. They were dialed in, specifically the starters, and then Thursday we had an incredible 90-minute practice where they just went after each other. So, I felt very good coming into the game that we were going to compete at a high level.
Was a playing a physical game something you thought would put you at advantage coming into tonight?
PC: I didn't, I think [Dererk] Pardon's terrific. He's been playing incredible basketball. Vic Law is one of the best defenders in this league. I put him right up there with Josh Reaves. I think Scottie [Lindsey] is a good defender, and [Gavin] Skelly plays hard so, I wouldn't say that. I just think we learned from Maryland where we took too many jump shots, and we had to do a better job of seeking contact, finishing through contact, and not worrying about the officials and going up and making layups. But, I thought we took too many jump shots against Maryland, so let's just mix it up a little bit, and I thought Lamar [Stevens] specifically did a very good job of that.
Do you think the team played with more of an attitude and forced the action tonight?
PC: I would agree. I thought we had a great disposition and I thought we had a great attitude, a chip on our shoulder and that's who we want to be. We showed a little toughness out there, and we need to do that, and it's very tough to do that with sophomores, but I think we did that.
What did you see that impressed you in the first half with the team shooting over 70 percent?
PC: Breaking down the film from last year, I thought we were a little too stagnant on the offensive end, and we made sure that wasn't going to happen. We had great movement, great flow. I think Lamar [Stevens] did a great job of picking and choosing his spots. I think his teammates did a really good job of finding him. As long as we pass, cut, move, screen, and the shots are going in; everything looks pretty good. Especially when a kid goes for 30 (points), so I think we learned from last year, and we did a better job tonight.
Lamar Stevens | So. | F
Q: Did you make more of a conscious effort to utilize your mid-range game and get to the hoop tonight?
LS: I think that's the bread and butter of my game and something I really work hard on so, I wanted to show it tonight, and my teammates really put me in the best spots for me to operate and so did the coaches.
What do you think the overall mood of the team was after Maryland?
LS: Every loss hurts our team. It hurts anybody, if you're a competitor, it's going to bother you, but we woke up the next day and got right back to work. You have to have a short memory when you're playing this game, and that's something our team is really developing, and we got back to work the next day and worked even harder, and for the next two days, we worked hard, so I think it was able to really show tonight.
What was the message from Coach Chambers about the response?
LS: That's one of his favorite words, just responding. Responding to him, responding to all the adversity. I think we're really starting to take shape and I think it's a credit to our leaders, Josh [Reaves] and Shep [Garner], because they control the locker room, they really help the young guys, and we're young, so they help us too, so credit to them.
What did getting off to a hot start
LS: It got me going. I just felt like I can make a lot more shots and my teammates kept finding me and coach just kept putting me in great positions, so I was just able to make my shots tonight.
Did the team feel a sense of urgency at 1-2 in the conference coming into this game?
LS: We look at every game the same way. I don't think we attacked this game any different than we would any other game. We set the standard, and we just play one way, and that's what we did.
Chris Collins || Northwestern Head Coach
Congratulations to Penn State's team. I thought they played very determined; I thought they played inspired, I thought they played with a lot of energy. They deserve to win tonight, they out-played us for sure. We got off to a really tough start. A lot of it was because of them; I thought we fought hard to get ourselves back in the game with that 9-0 run when we cut it to three, I thought, was a real back-breaker for us as they pushed it right back to 12. We had some critical turnovers during that stretch. Overall, their big guys, they are a really good team, they are athletic. I thought their bigs, [Lamar] Stevens and [Mike] Watkins, were dominant tonight - 48 points and 22 rebounds, on 19 of 22 shooting. So I'd say that's a pretty dominant performance. They were just too much for us; they beat us up in the paint on drives and post-ups. It was just too much for us to overcome tonight.
Penn State hasn't been this physical in the last couple of games - did you anticipate them bringing that aspect to the game?
CC: I did. We talked to our guys. We have two teams at 1-2, it was a high sense of urgency game. There's a huge difference when you're 1-2. You get a win, their at home and coming off a tough loss at Maryland where they played pretty well, and I knew that they were going to come out with a lot of energy and play very determined because that's what Pat's [Chambers] team's do. I've been competing against his teams for five years; you know you're in a fight when you get into the league with those guys. We did anticipate that, and I still thought it knocked us back a little bit. Give them credit. They out-played us tonight, out-fought us, and that is why they deserve to win.
Chris, Can you talk about how tough of a matchup [Lamar] Stevens can be?
CC: He's a really good player. We tried to take away his lay-ups and free throws and make him more of a jump shooter, but it's hard. He's a bull. He's strong, he gets that shoulder by you, and he's a tough cover. He had a lot of confidence tonight, I think he made his first five or six shots, and when a guy gets off to a start like that... and then he hits a three and a few midrange J's, it was his night. He's one of the better
For you [Bryant] McIntosh, how was he physically?
CC: I thought he was moving pretty well. I didn't think he was limping or favoring it. I thought he gave us what he could give; I thought he fought. It was good to have him back. Hopefully, there will be no residual effects from the game, but we don't play until Wednesday, so it will give him a couple of days to get himself back, but I thought he looked good out there.
What kind of impact did Jamari Wheeler have defending your two guards?
CC: Yeah, his energy is good. He really pressures the ball; he brings a lot of energy when he comes in. He's a great guy you can bring in off the bench, and he revs up the team, he revs up the crowd. He got a couple of steals and disrupted our offense. He does a really good job in his role for them.