March 14, 2004
Recap | Box Score | Photo Gallery | 2004 Tournament Central
Head Coach University of Maryland
I would like to congratulate the players for their efforts the last three days. It means a lot, especially today, beating a team as good as Duke. I was thinking about that today right after the game. To win five straight ACC Tournament Championships is incredible. I don't think you will ever see that again in the ACC. That is one of those things that are looked over sometimes because of the importance of the NCAA Tournament. I don't think there have ever been many programs that pulled that off. I'm really happy for these guys. We worked really hard all year. We lost some games, but we never quit. We always came back in games that we had gotten down by a large margin. We had a chance to win, but we didn't always get over the top. You don't know this all the time, but we were getting better as time went on. It showed the last week of the season with the two wins we had and this week when we came in here and beat the #3, #2 and #1 seeds. It is a tremendous accomplishment for the players. I'm happy for them. I'm happy for the University of Maryland. They have been great. We will just try and keep in going.
(On winning the ACC Tournament in Greensboro)
(Where does this ACC Tournament rank in the ones you have been involved with and what does winning mean to you and your program)
I kept wondering why we would come down here and not play well. I would say the last 10 years we have had some pretty good teams. I didn't expect it this year to be honest. I saw the way we were playing the first game (vs. Wake Forest). We had our legs and we had enthusiasm.
It means a lot to me. As you go along in your coaching career I think you gain satisfaction from your team doing what they do. We had to stay tough this year. It was amazing that after 10 straight NCAA's we had some criticism with a team that had 10 freshmen and sophomores. We really had to stay together. We spent time every day talking about how we were getting better. It didn't always show, because of the teams we were playing in this league. You are playing a Top-20 team almost once a week. You don't always get the reward of winning all the time. The week before the ACC Tournament we won two games we probably had to win. Then we came down here with a lot of confidence.
(Other than the NCAA Championship, if this your most satisfying moment at Maryland)
This is (most satisfying moment) as a college coach. But the day we beat Georgetown when Joe Smith and Keith Booth were freshmen was pretty special. That was our first game coming off of sanctions. To be able to play on television and qualify for the NCAA Tournament meant a lot to us.
(On more juniors and seniors staying in college)
I really hope so. I wish I could tell every high school player right now the feeling of being out there on the floor. Not just because we won, but to be able to compete at this level. You can go to the pros and make all that money. I have been around the pros and hear them talk after practice. Their fondest memories are talking about their college memories. When the Duke, North Carolina and Maryland guys that play for the Wizards are talking after practice, they argue about who is the best team in the ACC. That is part of your life, no matter who much money you have, can never get back. I'm not sure everybody realizes it at the time because they are young. I hope it will turn. You see a guy like Chris Duhon, with the class that he has. You hope he can have an influence on as many players as LeBron James.
Sophomore, John Gilchrist
(On the three-point play to force OT)
The coach said he was going to run a specialized play because we go through that situation all the time in practice. He said we were going to run a screen-and-roll and once I see the opportunity, just like Duke was doing, go to the basket. I saw the clear lane. They switched out Shelden (Williams) and I said "Hey, I can beat this guy," so I just went to the rack as hard as I could and luckily he bumped me.
(On being a bubble team entering the ACC Tournament)
It was gut-check time. We went through a little adversity, a little turbulence a couple weeks ago and we just had to come together.
(On the emotion of the weekend)
I never doubted this team from day one. You're going to go through ups and downs, so you're going to have to bring it every single night. "For the team" that's our motto.
(On feeding the post)
That's what we learned in pickup ball in the summertime. That's the first thing that you learn when you talk to the coaches. They say, "You got to feed the post every time they're open and you got to kick the ball up when a guy is ahead of you on the break." That's one of the first two basic principles that we learn here.
Senior, Jamar Smith
(On his level of play)
I think I'm playing at my peak right now. I'm just getting more aggressive on the offensive end and playing defense well. I have got to continue it throughout the (NCAA) Tournament.
(On trailing by 12 in the second half)
A lot of people probably counted us out around that time, but we were down 19 and we cut that lead short very fast last night. I'm very confident in my team. I knew what we could do. I tried to tell everybody to just stay strong since I thought we'd probably get the lead in the next minute.
(On Gilchrist's play in the tournament)
John's probably playing his best basketball right now. He's hitting most of the shots that he's taking. That's just making it easier for me on the offensive end and trying to rebound the ball.
Head Coach Duke University
Maryland needs to be congratulated. What amazing heart those kids showed throughout the weekend. They never allowed themselves to get beat in any of the three games.
I'm proud of our guys. They did a really good job. There was a lot of adversity with injury and some foul trouble. We battled back, got a lead, and couldn't put the ball in the hole. When we drove we were just trying to get in a position to get fouled or take it to the hole and score, and we just couldn't do that. They took advantage of that. They made big plays. I thought our kids did too.
It was a tough loss for us. (Chris) Duhon was so courageous. He was really hurting and has a bruised rib.
Their team spirit was the thing that won it for them. When you get beat by a team that shows that, you just shake their hands and congratulate them, because some one had to beat you. The team that beat us was the one that showed this great spirit throughout the weekend.
(On key factors of the game)
Both teams are fatigued, but they hit their free throws better. Throughout the conference, we've been an outstanding free throw shooting team. That's just the human factor. I don't fault our kids. I don't think it's because they're nervous. They've been in a lot of different situations. That's part of the game.
At least they were getting to the line. We wanted to try and get Chris (Duhon) there a few more times, because he was driving the ball so strong in the last few minutes. He wasn't able to get an angle so he would get fouled.
A couple of times we didn't go up strong with the ball. In overtime, we were trying to get back in and put them on the line. We had an open three to tie the game. Our guys had some good shots, we just missed them. I tell my guys all of the time, "Don't take responsibility for that." Those are our shots, we took them with confidence.
(On the NCAA Tournament)
We're certainly going to send a lot of good representatives. I would think that our teams, if we can recover from playing so hard here...the ACC should do quite well.
There hasn't been one team that has been dominant in college basketball this year. There have been a lot of really good ones. That means it's going to be a very wide open tournament.
I am concerned a little bit about our injuries. Daniel (Ewing) hurt his hand and Chris (Duhon) after running into that camera. We will know a little more about them tomorrow. We're just anxious to see where we are going to go and who we're going to play.
Our program gives everything it can to this championship and I think it's a great tournament. We were proud to be the champions for the last five years and we would have been proud to be the sixth, but we are also proud to shake the hands of the new champions and move on.
Freshman, Luol Deng
(On key factors)
Maryland played a great game. We just made a few mistakes. We should have been stronger with the ball at the end. We should have put the game away.
Maryland gets the win, but we've got to keep our head up and go into the NCAA Tournament.
We should've taken better care of the ball and we didn't hit our free throws.