March 10, 2005
Recap | Box Score | Photo Gallery
Clemson Head Coach Oliver Purnell Obviously we are thrilled with the win in the first round of the ACC Tournament. It doesn’t get much better than this, with the center of college basketball right here in Washington, D.C. We are thrilled to be a part of it. We have an opportunity to bring it all together here. We have had some tough scrapes during the year, but through it all this group has hung together. We are playing are best basketball of the season right now and have a feeling that we can beat any body. But we also know we must prepare and focus for 40 minutes. We are not good enough to play 28, 30 or 32 minutes and win.
(On Maryland’s Defense of Sharrod Ford) When we get off the bus we are looking to get the ball to Sharrod. You have to give Gary (Williams) and Maryland credit. They made some adjustments and made it very difficult for Sharrod to catch the ball. The biggest thing was Sharrod kept his poise. He kept playing and did not become frustrated. Sooner or later we knew he would be able to do some damage. In the meantime he was able to find guys like Shawan Robinson. I give Sharrod’s teammates a lot of credit for keeping the floor space and to continue to look for him.
(On Defense in the Second Half) I don’t really remember letting up. In our normal man-to-man defense we were really good. We denied them from catching it from where they wanted. (Nik) Caner-Medley was our focus in the second half with (John) Gilchrist out. We did a great job on both those guys as we have all three games (with Maryland).
(On North Carolina) We had a lot of turning points during the season and that (game at UNC) was certainly one of them. We got handled pretty good at (North) Carolina and with a two-day turnaround we came to Maryland and learned a lot from that. (North) Carolina is an excellent team. But the formula for us is the same. If we play good to great Clemson Basketball we have an opportunity.
Clemson Center Sharrod Ford Before the game we talked about coming out with a laser-like focus. We did that. We also talked about Maryland getting on those runs. We knew we had to withstand those.
(On Winning an ACC Tournament Game) It is special to win that first game. It is the first time we have won one since I’ve been here. It is not over yet. We still have (North) Carolina tomorrow.
Clemson freshman forward James Mays I am really excited, but we have to put this one behind us and get ready for tomorrow. We play the number two team in the country (North Carolina), so we have to go out and get some rest.
Nobody really respected us coming into this game, even though we beat Maryland twice in the regular season. Now somebody is going to have to give us some respect for tomorrow’s game.
Clemson senior forward Olu Babalola(On limiting Maryland runs) That is what we try and do, stop transition and take away momentum, because momentum comes from transition. If you do that the game will go your way.
(On seniors play) It is very important. It is key to our season now and its key to our young fellows, so when we’re out of here they will no how to do it too. It is a matter of leading by example, not just for wins, but also for their future too.
Maryland head coach Gary Williams Mike Grinnon has done a great job in his career. He’s a member of a national championship team and an ACC Tournament championship team, making him the only player from the University of Maryland to ever win an ACC Championship and a National Championship. He’s been doing all the dirty work for us the past four years, always working hard in practice to make us better and the way he played today is typical of Mike’s career. He is going to graduate this May and will be successful in the future.
(On the loss) I am very disappointed in our team. I thought we had opportunities there, we made some shots early, but we missed some opportunities as that first half went along. Clemson did a good job of fighting back and getting into position to make that three at the buzzer. In the second half we got away from running our offense. We shot the ball pretty quickly and defensively we just couldn’t stop them. That combination certainly made Clemson a better team in the second half than we were today.
(On Gilchrist’s injury) John got hurt in the first half, it tightened up during halftime, he went in, got taped, came out, tried to play and couldn’t play. He sprained his ankle, but good teams overcome injuries.
(On going 0-3 against Clemson this year) They played harder than us in all three games. They made some shots and we missed some shots. We can’t have lulls during our games and they played pretty consistently.
(On NCAA tournament possibilities) That’s up to the selection committee. The last 11 years, we’ve gone and I’d like to go to our 12th straight. Whatever we are, we are. You earn your way on the court and whatever happens is fine.
Junior Nik Caner-Medley(On today’s game) We came in with the mentality that we had to win. We started off well, but they shot the ball better than us, and just played better than us. You’re not going to win when that happens.
Junior Travis Garrison(On awaiting word on an NCAA Tournament at-large bid) Everyone’s really anxious. I really want to make it. I don’t want to be part of the team that is a disappointment to Maryland after making it for 11 years. It’s up to the selection committee to just give us a chance, and I just pray that we make it.
(On losing on the first day of ACC Tournament) It’s hard to win the championship one year and then go out in the first game the next. It’s real hard, especially when it’s [the tournament] is in your home town. Knowing another team is going to walk out with the championship on your home floor is just something hard to deal with.
Junior Chris McCray(On the Terps prospects of making the NCAA Tournament) Our fate is in somebody else’s hands. We had our fate in our own hands but we lost it. Hopefully we have enough good wins to get in so I’m still positive.
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