Kevin Willard, players break down win vs. South Alabama

Maryland got back to .500 on the season with a 68-55 win over South Alabama on Saturday night in a game where only four Terps scored. After taking a three-point lead into the break, Maryland turned in a 23-4 run to open the second half as head coach Kevin Willard, Donta Scott and Jordan Geronimo break down the win.

Willard on takeaway from three-point shooting

“Seeing Donta start to round in the form and Jordan and Julian, seeing that frontline kind of work well together has been fun the last couple games. Getting a lot of confidence of what Jordan’s doing down there, especially defensively. He’s doing a lot of good things defensively. So that lineup of Donta, Jordan Julian, they got good size. They’re rebounding the ball well. They’re doing a lot of good things.”

Willard on what led the second-half run

“I think we got the ball inside the Julian and Jordan. Again, our three-point shooting is obviously a struggle right now. We’re kind of compounding it a little bit by getting down on ourselves. You can see them after they miss shots, are getting a little a little down, but I thought we did a much better job of getting the ball side to side quickly in the second half and then getting the ball inside. I thought in the first half, we didn’t shift the zone at all. The ball kind of stuck a lot and I thought the second half I thought early on we popped the ball much better and we’re able to kind of get them chasing a little bit.”

Willard on Maryland’s struggles against the zone in the first half

“I would say it was a little bit of a combination of both. I thought they did a really good job. They, I mean, they had three guys in the lane just about on every reversal. They weren’t extended. They were going underneath pick-and-rolls. We tried to screen the zone. They were going underneath, even at the free throw line. They were going to make us shoot the basketball. And we got four or five, again, early looks. We got wide open that, we’re just struggling to make those right now. I do have confidence in these guys eventually that once we start making those, it’ll make life for Julian a whole lot easier. And I think everyone will be a little bit more relaxed. Right now, I think they just, they’re getting a little bit down on themselves.  We have to fight through that a little bit.”

Willard on what steps Jordan Geronimo has taken

“I think Jordan’s getting used to the way how we play. I mean, we play totally different than what Indiana does. So I think early on, a lot of his mistakes and a lot of my mistakes with him were, again, just him game slippage. Going back to what he’s been playing for three years. Now he’s playing a totally different system. I think he’s starting to get a good feel for what we’re trying to do defensively and what we’re trying to do offensively.”

Willard on winning with only four players scoring

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. I just noticed that. We’re gonna we’re gonna rely on Julian, Donta and Jahmir [Young] a lot. If Jordan can become another guy that’s getting 14 a game, you got two guys with 19 and another guy the 14, a guy was 16, I have a lot of confidence. DeShawn, he’s gonna come around. He’s doing so many good things offensively. He’s got five assists. I think he’s pushing the pace. He’s seeing guys. He’s making good reads. Eventually, he’s shooting almost 60% from twos. Eventually. It’s gonna go for him. The rest of those guys they’re not going to get enough shot attempts at times to be huge factors offensively when those guys are getting most of the shots.”

Willard on what contributed to the slow star then fast turnaround

“We’re missing some shots early and it’s A, not letting us set up our press, which has kind of been our big issue in three of three of our games. And it’s not, you know, we’re just, we’re not able to get out of our own heads a little bit.  Scoring and getting into the press a little bit helps kind of everyone just relax because you’re flying around. You don’t really have a whole lot of time to think. Which sometimes, you know, I hate to say it, I do have a smart group of guys so I think sometimes that hurts a little bit when they’re really smart and they start thinking about things instead of just not being able to think about things.”

Willard on what he’s seen differently from Donta Scott

“I think he’s gotten comfortable playing the wing. I fought it the three games down and really fought it in Asheville because we just didn’t have time to practice it. And so I didn’t feel comfortable, and then he would make a mistake. I would blame me not him because we didn’t practice it and I’m trying to get him to do something. We’ve had a week and a half of him practicing on the wing and he just seems so much more relaxed and he understands what he’s doing offensively to when the first three games, he had no idea what he was doing. I was trying to switch them back and forth and him playing not as good as he was my fault, not his fault. So I just I’ve stuck with it and that’s, I’m sticking with it for the rest of the year because he’s not comfortable playing two positions. I just need to stick him with one and let it rock with that.”

Willard on what he does to improve shooting confidence

“We hired a world-renowned sports psychiatrist. He’s coming over from Australia. We’re flying them in from Australia. He’s going to be here hopefully next week and he’s going to spend a couple weeks with us and talking to them. But he works with the Australian national team and all this stuff. So hopefully by the time he gets there, he can sit these guys down and do something.”


“I’m just messing around. I’m sorry.  The simple answer is I have a lot of confidence in these guys for the amount of work. Like I’ll go in, I can come in the gym tonight at 11 o’clock. I guarantee there’s gonna be four guys in here shooting the basketball. I have to do a better job explaining them that at times. when you’re a freshman or you haven’t played a lot, it’s hard to get in the rhythm. It’s hard to find a rhythm. And I think right now, the struggle shooting is just for the fact that I know eventually we won’t struggle to shoot the basketball but it’s, I think it’s a little bit part of a growth factor that you just have to let these guys kind of figure it out a little bit on their own too. So, I’m really impressed you guys thought I was bringing someone in from Australia.”

Jordan Geronimo on 14 pts vs. South Alabama

“It felt great to be out there, to be able to help my teammates get a win. I was just able to find a gap, trying to open space in the zone and I was able to make plays out of that. My teammates were able to find me so, kudos to them.”

Donta Scott on settling into South Alabama’s zone

“It was a conscious effort that we had to get the ball in because they were trying to keep us from getting inside to [Julian Reese] and the rest of our fellas. So we made it an emphasis that we had to really move the ball and just try to find those gaps where we can get into the lane.”

Scott on whether they settled for threes early

“Well coach believes in our shot. We believe in each other’s shots. If you open, shoot it and a lot of times we’re open. We just unfortunately didn’t make them. But I’m still trusting my teammates, even if they’re not making shots because I know they’re gonna fall eventually. So it was just if you open, shoot the ball. If you can get in the gap, get in the gap, find somebody. And so I don’t think we really took too many shots early, threes early on. But, if they’re open, I have confidence in all my teammates.”

Geronimo on whether they settled for threes early

“I have faith on my teammates that they can shoot the ball pretty well. I’m in practice with them every day so I see them shoot. Obviously if shots aren’t falling, then we’re going to have to switch the gameplan up and try to get it to [Julian Reese] or any other post players.”

Geronimo on where he’s taken steps at Maryland

“Just being that guy to make those hustle plays. That’s what I do. That’s kind of my identity. So I kind of just trying to do my best to emphasize that. Just make those hustle plays. Offensive rebound. Get on the floor. Be a defensive first person. But then, but then again, you know, as I, as I work with coaches on the court, and just working on my offense game, just take working on my shot and all that kind of stuff.”

Donta Scott on transitioning at the wing

“I think I’m settling a little bit more with the coaches help, trying to get me in the right spots and stuff like that at practice and trying to guide me into [the] right area. So I won’t just be standing in an area where I can’t score or look and get assists. So I feel like it’s not that much of an adjustment from playing in high school where I played multiple positions from coming here and playing the four and the five. So it’s just a step up where I just gotta adjust and be willing to take in all the comments that coaches got and just go from there.”


“It was a little challenging just getting used to it and getting used to getting the stuff down and knowing exactly where to be, but it’s nothing much I can’t handle because at the end of the day, I believe that I’m a very versatile, person and at the end of the day, wherever my coach fits me, I got to be there and I got to be ready just to do my best.”

Geronimo on what was working in the second half to get the ball into the post 

“Coach drew up some nice stuff for us so get the ball inside, just, executing, being able to set screens and being able to find our teammates in open spaces. I feel like that kind of just helped us out once you realize how they played and how they moved in the 2-3 defense.”

Scott on Julian Reese’s 15 rebounds vs. South Alabama

“I believe Juju is a very talented player and I believe that with time he’s going to develop to become the player that he wants to become. But when he is on the court and his presence is key for us. When he on the court, I feel like he help us and make us better, especially with the rebound and effort that he gives every night and the big presence as he has in the post.”

Geronimo on what the focus is in practice this week

“I feel like just trying to maintain that kind of edge that we have had for the past two games, just playing hard. You know what I mean? I feel like we’re playing pretty decent basketball. It’s just we’re not, the ball isn’t really going in when we were shooting the ball. So obviously we’re going to get our shots up in practice, but then again, we want to maintain the kind of like hard style of play that we play.”

Scott on what it’s been like playing back at home

“It’s always good to be home because when you’re home, that’s where the energy lies. That’s where you got your fans and you got the people that really pick you up when you’re down and you’re lows when you’re not making the shots that you should be making. And they’re cheering and when you make a good play or great play and that’s where the energy lies. So it’s really helped us being able to come back and really just see the fans and see the energy they bring and the energy they give, and I feel like it just picks us up a lot more and gives us a lot of energy.”

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