Postgame quotes: American 68, New Hampshire 44

Head coach Mike Brennan and guards Sa’eed Nelson and Larry Motuzis spoke after American beat New Hampshire 68-44 in its home opener to improve to 2-1. See below for full video and select quotes from the interviews.

Mike Brennan

“I thought we came out excited to play. We had really, really good practices. I thought we executed well, defended well, and a lot of people contributed.”

On Josh Alexander
“I wasn’t necessarily surprised. I was happy that Josh when he got in there did what he did. I know he’s fully capable of doing it. I’ve been anxious to get him in and what he did tonight just makes me more confident to put him in next time.”

On the luxury of getting freshmen time in a blowout
“We’ve been subbing a lot the first two games, but just getting those two guys in tonight was huge because I think they’re both going to be very good players for us.”

On transition scoring off of defense
“I thought we made them miss a lot of shots they probably normally make. I thought everyone was involved in the rebounding. And then when you get out in transition and score some easy ones, it’s helpful and it sort of gives you false confidence in your offense.”

Larry Motuzis

On AU’s first home game
“It felt great getting a win in front of the home crowd, it was huge. It felt great to be back home and in front of our families.”

On capitalizing on UNH’s fast style of play
“Defensively this year as a team, we’ve gotten better in terms of being at the right place at the right time. They were trying to force things and we were at the right spots, which helped create a lot of turnovers.”

On YY’s on-court communication and defense
“YY is unbelievable from the moment we get on the course for practice, even if it’s 8 AM on a Saturday, YY is talking. It’s amazing how much one guy can have an effect on 13/14 guys. Him doing what he does makes everyone better and everyone wants to do what YY does, especially talk, it’s huge.”

On his new role in the offense
“I’m not worried about the offense, we have a lot of guys who can score. I’m sure some nights I’ll get 2 and some I’ll get 20. This year we have YY and Mark back for a post presence…so, I’m finding ways to get the ball in the post, and helping new guys learn the offense. I’m more concerned about defensively being better than I was last year.”

On Stacy Beckton’s development
“He looks a lot more comfortable. I knew Stacy could shoot and obviously, he’s very athletic. I think the biggest thing for him this year is that he’s very comfortable…he’s at the right spots and shoots good shots.”

Sa’eed Nelson

On his defensive mentality
“It’s the same one I have every night; come out and play aggressive, watch film more. I knew what they were good at and I knew I could jump the passing lanes…so just staying aggressive and playing my game.”

On being up 20
“Just keep playing and keep playing defense. Last year we were up on them by 20 in New Hampshire and they walked the lead down. So no matter how much time was left, every 4 minute segment just play as tough as you can on defense. Just to not give up and let them walk the lead down.”

On defensive deflections
”Just always be ready, be in help. I know I’m quicker than most guys, so just be ready, anticipate every pass that’s thrown. If I’m in the right position, I can just go for it and get the steal.”

On Stacy’s development
”Just to be aggressive. He’s 6-4, got a nice frame, can jump out the gym, so I just tell him every day to be aggressive even when I’m guarding him — attack me. It’ll make me better, it’ll make him better.”

On getting rest and only playing 26 minutes
”It feels real good, man! I just told Nick, it felt like it’s four o’clock right now. I feel wide awake. So, I mean, getting that rest is definitely gonna help me once we get to league play because some of those games I will be playing 30 to 40 minutes every game. I’ll take the rest when I can take it.”