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March 19, 2010

Landon Milbourne

Greivis Vasquez

Gary Williams

Jordan Williams


Maryland – 89
Houston - 77

THE MODERATOR: We'll have an opening statement from Coach Williams and then take questions for the student-athletes.
COACH WILLIAMS: Two of our seniors here Landon Milbourne and Greivis Vasquez. This is their third trip I believe along with Eric Hayes to the NCAA tournament. And I'm really proud of these guys because they fought hard for four years to get to the level that they can play at now. And it took a lot of work. I think Landon scored 18 points his freshman year and he's a thousand point scorer for us. Greivis is over 2000 points and Eric Hayes is over a thousand points.
So really, when you coach you really appreciate people that care about it like you do and work extremely hard to improve all the time that they're there.
Jordan -- I think he had 17 rebounds tonight. Which is outstanding for a NCAA tournament game. Outstanding any time. He came into this year I wasn't sure how much he was going to play, but we needed somebody that took up some room inside that we could throw the ball to and it's really helped our offense.
It was great to see what Jordan did out there tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Take questions now for the student-athletes.

Q. Landon, you had one of your better offensive games in a while. What was different and just how well were things working?
LANDON MILBOURNE: I just came in the game with the attitude that I was going to try to do everything it took for us to win. So whether it be me taking my open shots, trying to get to the free throw line, getting rebounds, whatever it took I wasn't really worried about trying to score a lot of points. I was just taking advantage of what the defense was giving me.
And Greivis did a real good job of getting me involved in the open spots. We ran our plays and the other guys on the team did a really good job of looking for me and I just knocked down my shots. But the big part about tonight was just coming in here and trying to get this first game. It's the most important thing, just we have been working hard the past couple of days to get this first game and that was the only thing on my mind.

Q. Jordan, can you talk about the night that you had. It didn't seem like you had nerves or anything. Playing in your first NCAA tournament game have any affect on you at all?
JORDAN WILLIAMS: I started the past couple games trying to get into the rhythm of the game. I wanted to let the game come to me instead of force shots and rush. Tonight I think my teammates did a good job of getting me the ball and Greivis is a good player, so he draws a lot of attention from the other team so...
When they doubled him and he could dish me the ball down low and I finished tonight. So it was a team effort. It wasn't just me. My teammates gave me the ball, they trusted me and I think I did a good job doing that.

Q. Jordan, there was that one stretch in the first half where they were sort of controlling the tempo. I think you had eight points and I don't know how many offensive rebounds but you were 10-10 at the half and ended with a career highs I think in scoring. What were you able to do to get to dominate the boards the way you did in that particular stretch of the game?
JORDAN WILLIAMS: Just keep moving. Don't just look at the ball. Go to the rim, fight, keep on pushing it. Before every game my goal is to try to get every rebound. I know I'm not going to do that but just to put that mindset in your head it helps out a lot and just to keep, I mean, if I can just get a rebound, the points will come. I have to tell myself to get points, I don't have to do that, I don't want to get a certain amount of points a game. Like I said, if I rebound, points will follow. That's what I did.

Q. Greivis, after the first few minutes was there a conscious effort to get the ball into the post a little bit more to get it to Jordan and were you guys at a big advantage there on the block?
GREIVIS VASQUEZ: That was the game plan to go inside out. I thought that Jordan and Landon did a great job and helping us out in the paint. So I'm so proud of Jordan and Landon and Dino, because they fought extremely hard tonight. That was the difference of the game. I mean going inside and making our bigs work.

Q. Greivis, you guys have talked about making it tough on Coleman to get it, if he was going to get his points. Just talk about what that matchup was like for you.
GREIVIS VASQUEZ: It was good. I love that he's a great player. As I said, it was just hopefully that he only going to get 25, didn't want him to get 30. He got 26. He's good. He's a good player. He's hard to -- it's really hard to contain him one-on-one. So I thought my teammates did a great job of helping me out. But I love that type of challenge. That's why you go to the NCAA tournament because you want somebody to challenge you and then you compete and see what happens. So he's an unbelievable player.

Q. Greivis, in that run early in the second half where it went from tied to an 11 point lead really quickly. What did you see? What did you sense changed for you guys and maybe even for them as well in that stretch?
GREIVIS VASQUEZ: I think we were in the first couple minutes of the first half we were tight. We didn't play in a while. We watched all these games, a lot of teams get upset and then we just weren't relaxed. Second half was different type of game. We were more loose and we let the game come to us. It came to us and we had a good game.
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and excuse the student-athletes. Thank you. Take questions for coach.

Q. Can you kind of go into what Landon was able to do tonight? It seems like he's been in a situation all year where he's kind of had to really over the last couple years adapt his game to whatever you guys needed. What was different about him tonight and how helpful is it to know that you got him being able to put up 18, 20 points in a night in this tournament?
COACH WILLIAMS: I think when you have a couple games where things don't go well you get a tendency to be cautious and not be aggressive. And that's all I talked to Landon about was making sure that he was aggressive coming out tonight. Whatever that turned out to be. Whether it was just rebounds or whatever. But I think the key thing to see Landon play like he did, he had a good all around game getting seven free throws, he hadn't been doing that. And he's a good free throw shooter, he's one of our best free throw shooters so we need to get him to the line. I think that gave him some confidence with his jump shot. He made a couple of them and missed a couple layups, but he could have had a very strong night if he made a couple layups there in the second half, but Landon's a senior. You can't shake him. That's the best part of him. He can go through a stretch where he doesn't play well, but he's not going to go away. He's going to be there at the end of the game.

Q. Does a game like this tonight kind of show that your team does extend farther than just Greivis and that there's other guys on this team that can give you good contribution?
COACH WILLIAMS: I think we have done it all year. Eric Hayes is a very quiet personality type guy so I think sometimes he gets overlooked in the scheme of things, but he's really important to us. Jordan Williams, he doesn't get those numbers every night, but he gives us the opportunity to throw the ball inside in our offense, which is something that we didn't have last year. And that has really helped our game considerably.
And Greivis tonight, if he would have shot better, he would have played an unbelievable game because he really got people involved and that's the key. When's really on his game, everybody's a part of what we're doing out there and he was a great leader tonight and he's had a lot to do with the success of Jordan Williams. Those two have really gotten close and he really pushes Jordan. It's a whole new thing for Jordan to have to work hard every day. He played in a league where he was probably the biggest guy by about six inches and never had to work too hard. So this is all new, but he's accepted it and Greivis has had a lot to do with that.

Q. Looking ahead here going up against a Tom Izzo team. Do you think you guys are more alike or more different in some ways? It seems that you guys coach a lot of emotion, a lot of passion and you guys have played each other a lot.
COACH WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm older than Tom, unfortunately, that's one difference.
When I was at Ohio State, Tom was on the bench with Jud Heathcote at Michigan State so I've known Tom a long time and what's done at Michigan State, I don't think he's got enough credit for it . I think they have been to five Final Fours and the National Championship within the last 11 years, something like that. So that speaks for itself. Tom's teams always play. It doesn't matter who the players are, they come after you, they execute very well. And you have to match their intensity and passion for the game. And that's what you get when you play Tom.

Q. Could you talk about the job you thought Greivis did defensively and the sort of decision to use him, it seems like an awful risk if he gets in foul trouble trying to handle Coleman, that might hinder you offensively. Can you just talk about that?
COACH WILLIAMS: I thought he was the one guy that was quick enough and had the size where he could play off of Coleman a little bit and still bother him if he pulled up for his threes.
The more tape you watch, with Coleman, I think that for us the first thing we tried to do was take away his penetration because that's where he gets to the foul line and he shot a lot of fouls this year. So I thought that was more important even if he hit a couple threes we had to keep him out of the paint. We gradually got better at it as the game went on. I think it takes time to get used to a player like that that has the quickness and strength to do what he does.

Q. You're now 10-0 in your last 10 first round appearances and that by far outweighs things with all the upsets and what the tournament has become, do you take that as a, I don't know, a validation of your success or how do you look at that?
COACH WILLIAMS: That's for other people to say. I just try to -- I know how important it is to get ready for that first game. I always tell myself that nothing else matters except the first game. I don't look at anybody else's tape or anything like that. I just look at Houston and try to prepare that way. And I try to get that through to the players because if you start thinking, well if this team wins they lose that helps us, you know that type of thing, that's where you get into trouble. So I just tried to win this game tonight and when I get back to the hotel I'll get on Michigan State, but until now, it's just been about Houston.
We have had good teams which helps when you get in there. That's like this year with seniors, that really helps your first round game in the NCAA because everybody's nervous. The problem we had we watched all the games, I guess we were the last game to start. And you see the upsets and you wonder, you know, how good is Houston? We didn't see that much of them during the year and all of a sudden they win their conference tournament. They beat a good UTEP team a couple times during the year besides the conference tournament game and lot of things go into that and all you can do is prepare really well and hope you've done a good job of that.

Q. You mentioned Williams' ability to get the rebounds tonight inside. How important was that for you guys to win with the second chance opportunities?
COACH WILLIAMS: We thought we could go after Houston. They had been outrebounded per game for the year so we really stressed that the last couple days, practiced to make sure that we understood that there were points to be scored on the offensive glass and Landon, Jordan, Dino Gregory, a couple of the other guys stepped up and gave us some of that.
And that's really -- they're back breakers. If you can get an offensive rebound and put it back in the team might have played great defense for 30 seconds and all of a sudden you still score. That gets to you after awhile. So I was glad we could get some points tonight on the glass.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, coach.

End of FastScripts

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