Terps Fall Short Against MSU

Maryland fell to Michigan State 64-61 March 12.

COACH TURGEON: If you like defense, that was a heck of a college basketball game. Two teams that I thought really defended and tried to rebound and tried to execute. Obviously, I was really proud of my team. Talked about this morning that we couldn't play the game in the 80s, had to play the game in the 60s. We learned a lot about ourselves today.

The best we've guarded in a long time. We competed on the boards. They still got us by 7. We were better on the offensive rebounds. We had 11, which is good. So just proud of our group. But in the end, the last three minutes, they were able to make one or two more plays than we were, than we could. And Davis had the big block in there, which is big. Would have put us up one. And they made free throws. We missed a couple down the stretch. But I was proud of my team. We had a chance. Melo got all the way to the rim. Robert had his hands on the ball. Just wasn't meant to be.

Q. Now that you guys are at the NCAA tournament, that's your next game, are you comfortable with where you guys are at just heading into that event?

RASHEED SULAIMON: Yeah, I believe so. The effort we put out there today, Coach and our coaching staff had a great game plan for us and our guys fought hard. Like Coach said, one or two plays it might be a different outcome. But it just wasn't meant to be. But Michigan State, all credit goes to them. They're one of the best teams in the country, and I think we proved today that playing at a high level and playing with a lot of effort, we can compete at a very high level. So it's heartbreaking. But at the same time, I think we're going to try to bounce back and head into the tournament strong.

Q. Your coach said you learned a lot about yourselves today. What do you think you all learned?

ROBERT CARTER: Just like Rasheed just said, that we're one of the best teams in the country. We battled. Had a chance to win versus another great team. So we just learned that we're back, and we can compete with anybody, and it's going to be a fun NCAA tournament.

Q. Robert, you partially answered the question. But in terms of the way you guys felt about yourselves and the way you were being perceived going into this week and now coming out, do you think that even though you lost today, you guys playing down to the wire with Michigan State made the statement in itself?

ROBERT CARTER: Yeah, of course going into the game we wanted to win. We competed. We had a chance to win. But like I say, we fought hard. We had a chance to win there near the end, and we got momentum going into the NCAA tournament.

Q. Holding Forbes without a 3 for the first time in two months, can you talk about the game plan there and your execution on stopping him.

RASHEED SULAIMON: Yeah, they have a lot of great players especially Forbes and Valentine. And we knew for us to stay in the game, we were going to have to limit Forbes' 3s. It means more to them when he makes shots, really gets their bench into it and their team going. And our coaching staff, they came up with an outstanding game plan and. I'm just proud of our guys and how hard we worked. Michigan State is a great team. They run their sets hard. They set a lot of great screens, and we just wheeled through it and just tried to run them off the line and get to his legs. With a good shooter like that, you try to get into his legs. And, fortunately, he didn't light himself on 3 like he did the first game and it gave us a chance.

Q. Rasheed, you guys played the late game last night, and it was a high-scoring fast-paced game. And Michigan

State played such good defense. My question for you is: You guys only made one field goal in the last 10:30. Is that

a factor?

RASHEED SULAIMON: I don't think so. Of course, we want to make shots. But that's a game of basketball. Of course, it was probably unfortunate timing down the stretch. But I'm proud of the way we still stayed in the game. Having one field goal in the last 10 minutes and being one possession away from either tying or taking the lead, that shows a lot of resilience from our team and that shows a lot of character. We didn't let the offensive side of the ball affect our defensive end. We kept ourselves involved in the game. We had the utmost confidence in every one of our players, and we felt that if we defended and stayed within striking distance that we can have a big burst offensively at any given moment. It just wasn't meant to be tonight.

Q. Coach Turgeon, you've coached great teams. You've been around a lot of them in your career. Can you give us your thoughts of Michigan State now as they're preparing to go into the tournament, please?

COACH TURGEON: Well, watching them on film and watching the way they played since we played at their place, I think they've lost one game in overtime since. You could tell they were getting it together and playing well. And they built incredible depth in a guy like Davis who has gotten so much better. He's a rim protector for them. To me, I thought it was kind of a joke them not being mentioned as a number one seed. You take Valentine's injury, he's out. They kind of lose their rhythm a little bit. Lose a couple games in that stretch. If he never gets hurt, they probably don't lose them. You're talking probably number one in the country, only had one or two losses. Heck of a team. Obviously, they're well-coached. And where they've really improved I think is defensively. They've gotten better.

Q. Mark, you talked about the way your team defended today. And how much confidence does that give you moving forward?

COACH TURGEON: Well, we matched up well with this team, and that helped us. We did not match up well last night with that team and it was hard for us. So that helped us. But we played much smarter defensively. The job we did on Forbes -- I'll answer that question for you -- Jake Layman was tremendous defensively. He got through every screen. He was there when he caught it.

Rasheed was great on Valentine. Valentine made two 3s. One was on a scrum loose ball, bounces right to him and he makes it. I think the other one might have been on the break. So I thought our defense was great.

Can't remember the question now. But the shots that hurt us and the difference in the game is [ Eron ] Harris makes two, Quaid (Matt McQuaid) makes one, [ Marvin ] Clark makes one, and [ Alvin ]Ellis makes two. That's the difference. I mean, those are the ones I wasn't counting on. And those guys made it. But that's why you have deep team. That's why you recruit a deep team.

Q. Mark, you talked about the defense on Forbes and also the traps on Valentine as he tried to come up. Looked like you were turning down 3s. When you go to game plan for Michigan State right now, where does that begin and what's the plan on Forbes?

COACH TURGEON: Well, our game plan was real simple. We woke up at 10:45. We met at 11:00. Guys went to bed about 2:00. And we met at 11:00. We had a 45-minute meeting. We walked through some stuff. And we kept it very simple. And we're going to switch this. We're going to guard this this way. And we're going to play by our defensive principles that we put in during the summer, or whenever we put them in. So that's just what we did.

Our guys were just really alert, too, their wide pin downs. We did a great job on their wide pin downs today.

And I thought our post defense was great. Our big guys were on a string. They kept working together, and their big guys didn't make any jump shots for us. Clark made one, and that really helped us defensively.

Q. Do you think that this weekend brought you closer to where you want to be going into next weekend?

COACH TURGEON: It's huge. When the expectations are so high and you're 25-8, you got 25 wins, and it's not good enough sometimes, it puts young men in not a good place.

So we just talked about -- we had a lot of fun this week in practice. We played games. We did a lot of different things just to try to get to relax. Hey, regular season is over. Let's go play.

So we did a lot of mind things that really made them better. And we worked a lot on defense. Didn't show up last night. Showed up today. There's no question, coaching staff, players, everybody involved in Maryland basketball feels really good. Feels better than we did coming into this tournament. We wanted momentum. We wanted to beat Michigan State. We couldn't do it today. Maybe if we get them again in a couple weeks, we'll be good enough to beat them, but today we weren't. But we feel good about ourselves.

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