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Northwestern vs. Maryland Press Conference Notes

Chris Collins, Scottie Lindsey and Gavin Skelly addressed the media following Northwestern’s 72-64 win over Maryland.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Tournament-Northwestern vs Maryland Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern (23-10, 10-8 B1G) advanced the Big Ten Tournament semifinals Friday after a 72-64 victory over the Maryland Terrapins (24-8, 12-6) in Washington D.C. Bryant McIntosh, Vic Law Jr. and Scottie Lindsey combined for 50 points in the win, and the Wildcats outscored the Terps by 10 in the second half to pick up a program-record 23rd win of the season. Lindsey, along with head coach Chris Collins and forward Gavin Skelly, addressed the media at the post-game conference. Here’s what they had to say:

Chris Collins

  • On the game as a whole: “I just thought tonight was a high-level game. It's exactly what we expected coming in here, playing a really good team, in front of all their home fans. It was a game that we viewed as a great opportunity for us and our program.”
  • On playing in the Big Ten Tournament semi-finals: “Obviously for us, it gave us the opportunity, again, to do something that has never been done, which is to advance in Saturday in this tournament. It's something we talked about. We talked about taking advantage of those opportunities. You never know. You can never take for granted when you're going to get opportunities to do something. Tonight we had an opportunity. Was really proud of our team. We had a lot of toughness. Withstood a big run to start the game, then at the end of the first half, early second half.”
  • On what he thought was a turning point in the game: “I thought McIntosh's three in front of our bench, when we were down 10, was maybe the biggest shot of the game. Gavin drove in there. I guess I'll call that a no-look pass. Bryant hit the shot. It kind of settled us, got us to seven. I think it was our first basket of the second half. It kind of got us back into the flow.”
  • On watching his team grow up: “It's just been an honor coaching this group, really has. To have all these guys believe in what we were trying to do from day one, when we really didn't have much to believe in, but a dream and a vision. To see them work for these things, that's what makes it fun for me, is just thinking back of all the times I saw them in the gym. I saw them coming in at night, getting together, talking about the game, how we could be better, that bad taste in their mouths when we would have tough defeats, come up a little bit short. To see them come into this year and become the tough-minded group, we had to win tonight with toughness. This was a difficult game. We played last night. They were fresh. You're playing basically in their home gym, in a great environment. They got a lot of energy behind them.”
  • On his what he said to his team when Maryland made a run: “We got down 10. I thought we were a little bit tired. I really challenged those guys about 16 minutes to go. Do you guys just want to go home or do you want to try to win this game? They got a little bit fired up. They got a little bit angry. They said, We're here to win. They believe it. That's what's cool. They not only say it, I feel they believe not only that they should be playing on this stage, but they should win on this stage. That just doesn't happen overnight. It happens with a process through time and ups and downs.”
  • On what he’s learned about himself while at Northwestern: “Well, I feel like I've improved a lot. I felt like I was prepared to come in, but there's a lot of stuff I didn't know. We're a developmental program in every way, shape and form. Just like I ask my players to get better, I hold myself to that same standard. I feel like I've improved handling different situations, coaching, all the things it takes in running a program. It's been fun for me to grow with the guys. We're one. Hopefully you guys see it. We're a together group. It's not just the players. It's the staff. It's the staff with the players. This is a really together group. You don't get a chance to coach teams like that very often. I've been lucky to coach a few, not many. You can probably count them on one hand. This is one of those teams.”
  • On Northwestern’s second-half defense: “It was huge. Vic got two really quick fouls. It put us in a bind. I think he had two fouls in the first three minutes. All of a sudden, I'm trying to manage the whole first half with his foul trouble. He was going to be our primary guy on Melo. Now it put different guys on Melo. It put Scottie on him a bunch, B. Mac, a little bit of Isiah. Those guys had to step up and handle the deal. At the end of the day, we did not stop Melo. He got 20 points and 4 assists. We made him take more shots. We didn't let him run wild the way he was able to do it against us last month in Evanston.”
  • On using his previous experience to help his team: “Yeah. I think some of my experience, just being in post-season, maybe more so just how to manage the guys in between games, you know, they need rest. They need to be fresh, how much preparation versus those things. I mean, I've been very fortunate to have gone deep in a lot of conference tournaments, to be in NCAA tournaments, kind of witness Coach K, how he's handled those situations. Certainly I've learned a lot from him with those things.”
  • On what Bryant McIntosh has meant to him: “He's been an extension of me. It's something we talked about in the recruiting process. He and I bonded right away. He grew up a huge Duke fan. When I called him for the first time, there was an immediate connection. We just clicked. I started talking to him about my vision, what I wanted for this program, how I needed guys. I needed a guard. I needed one guy that was going to have the ball, that could be my extension, that could be my leader, that I could coach throughout on the floor. That's what he's been from day one. Gave him the ball from the first day he got here. He's grown to be an incredible player.”

Scottie Lindsey

  • On Northwestern’s defense against Melo Trimble: “In the previous game, Melo got a lot of points off curls, ball screens. Our help line, it really wasn't in the right position. We adjusted how we were guarding him. I think with everyone in the right positions, we did a better job.”
  • On Northwestern’s successes on the road: “Yeah, we definitely feel that when we're on the road, in enemy territory, we definitely come together as a team. We want to come together, going in there in the harsh environment, get a win.”
  • On what the team’s success means: “Obviously we're super excited right now to be on the stage where we've never been before. I don't really think that we realize what we're doing right now. I think, you know, after the season, a couple years down the road, we'll realize what we've done, what we've accomplished. But, you know, just being in the moment, it's awesome. Being able to be a team that gotten wins in the Big Ten, broke our single-season wins record, made it to the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament. It's an awesome feeling. It really shows how hard we've worked over the years.”
  • On his development in the offseason: “This off-season was about picking up my work ethic, being more disciplined, being a better player and teammate. With that, I think I was getting better every day, every workout, every game I played. You know, playing different positions, I know that's what coach asked me to do. I got to do what he asked me to do. I feel that I am a versatile player. I can guard multiple positions. It was more about not being tired, trying to push through. You can't be tired in these type of situations. That's not an excuse.”

Gavin Skelly

  • On playing well away from home: “Yeah, you know, it's interesting going into different arenas and playing. I think the great thing about our team, the weird thing about our team, is we play harder at away games, I feel like. We unify, come together, buckle down, get things done the way we need to, and win games.”
  • On carrying over regular season success to the postseason: “Yeah, you know, you carry those things over. A great thing about what our coach does is he keeps us fighting, keeps us in the game. In those 18 rounds, we're pretty beat up and tired. Coach doesn't let us let up. He doesn't overwork us, keep our bodies fresh. Every day we have to have a new mindset and fresh mindset of winning games.”
  • On Damonte Dodd getting into early foul trouble: “It's obviously great to have a starter to get two fouls early. I think that helped us out a lot. A huge thing we need to do is stop Melo. I think we were successful tonight in doing that. But having Dodd pick up the two early fouls definitely helped us in our game, for sure.”