(All quotes courtesy of Josh Adams of College Hoops Digest)
Fordham head coach Tom Pecora's opening statement:
"The game served its purpose in a lot of ways, you know? There's different philosophies in scheduling, some people want to open up sometimes with real tough opponents. In hindsight, this was great. They're a good Division II basketball team, a solid guy that's been there a very long time, 18 years, does a very good job with them, but I wanted to play a home game. The schedule worked out that way, I wanted us to have some success and we had that, worked out the kinks with seven freshmen, and on top of that, we had so many guys dinged up that we really thought yesterday that we might go in with six scholarship players, because everybody who didn't play tonight was hurt. A couple of the other guys who were dinged up did play, so you can see we tried to run guys in and out, we tried to protect people a little bit. Obviously, we've got a lot to work on. We've got a lot to work on defensively, we've got a lot to work on execution-wise, but we found a way to win, we defended when it mattered, and obviously, Eric's performance tonight was a special one for a freshman coming in, and he'll speak about that. We'll get ready tomorrow and we'll play two back-to-back Big Ten teams, at Penn State Sunday and then on to Maryland Thursday, so it's a big first week for us."
On overall defense:
"We switched, we have, you know, a handful of ways we can defend ball screens, so we just made an adjustment to the way we defend ball screens, you know? It's hard to do it on the fly with a young team, so at halftime, we had an opportunity to make those adjustments. We talked about how we wanted to defend it, and that was the difference, but they came out hot, you know, making threes; I think they had five in the first half and six overall, so I think that was the difference maker in the second half, them not making those deep threes."
On Friday's win serving as a confidence booster:
"Yeah! Well, every team's a work in progress at this point of the year, but I think, you know, Mandell Thomas did a great job for us defending the basketball, Bryan Smith played very well in spurts, Ryan Rhoomes was competitive, had 13 rebounds. Obviously, Eric (Paschall) getting a double-double coming out of the gate, you know, bringing some excitement to the gym the way he can finish plays around the basket, and a lot of the other guys, you know, with this many young guys, it's good for them to get the nervousness out of them, so to speak, in the first game. But yeah, I mean, it's kind of what we expected, but it's good."
On getting back on the court:
"And to do it home, I was pleased with an early game early in the season. God, we used to start basketball season Thanksgiving weekend. I think we had a good crowd, and they were into it, so that was a good thing."
Eric Paschall (31 points) on his debut:
"It meant a lot for me to put on the Fordham uniform. I've been committed since my junior year. Coach Pecora, Coach (Tom) Parrotta put me in the right place to go out, let my teammates find me, so it's just all my teammates and my coaches that gave me the confidence to play like this."
Paschall on the significance of Friday's game:
"I've just got to play it game by game. I'm always a confident person, but some nights I'll have bad games, some nights I'll have good games. It gives me confidence to know I can go out there and play, Coach Pecora has trust in me and my teammates have trust in me."
Pecora on Ryan Rhoomes:
"We've worked with all the guys on different things in the offseason, but he's a junior now, he's an upperclassman, so you know, once again, some of it has to do with the opponent; and he was bigger and stronger than the majority of guys he was playing against tonight, but he's done a really good job with that in the offseason. He's worked a little bit on polishing his offense up a little bit, but also, our defensive philosophy, he's become more disciplined. So, a lot of those cheap, silly fouls, he avoided tonight, so let's hope that continues. That's a good observation."
Pecora on his freshmen:
"Yeah, Christian (Sengfelder) was good, I thought Christian made some real good decisions. They're puppies, but they're big puppies, you know what I mean? You see Eric at 6-6, 240 and Christian at about 6-8, 240, a big, physical kid. They're going to have their nights. Obviously, with that said, being freshmen, there might be some issues, but I think that everyone did good, and Nemanja (Zarkovic) had six assists and no turnovers, and that's important too. So, we've got to take care of the basketball. We talk about defending and rebounding, we didn't do a great job defending, but we did a great job of rebounding the basketball, and we talked about ball security. We had nine turnovers, so that was good that we took care of the basketball."
Paschall on how he envisioned Friday's game turning out:
"I never expected anything like that. I expected to play a good game, but not have the night that I had. It just came out and happened. My teammates did a great job finding me and had great confidence in me shooting the ball, so that's how tonight happened."
Paschall on his first dunk:
"Coach is always telling me to finish strong, so when I saw the opportunity to dunk on them, Coach Pecora is like, 'finish strong!' because he hates when I try to lay the ball up, so that was the first thing that came to my head: Finish strong."
Pecora on Penn State and Maryland:
"I'll go home now and I'll watch, I've already watched about four, five of Penn State's games from last year. We'll have their game from this evening tomorrow morning, so I'll be in here tomorrow at about six watching that, and I'll watch this game from this evening tonight once or twice at home, so it's basketball season, you know? That's what we'll be doing until April."