MSU focused on tight perimeter D vs Terps

Spartans learned last time the game plan for the Terrapins revolved around guard play and getting to the line. They hope to fix the mistakes from that loss for Saturday's rematch.

It is a quick turnaround for Michigan State and Maryland. The two teams met less than three weeks ago in their Big Ten opener on Dec. 30 and now are back at it again Saturday.

So the lessons learned by Michigan State remain fresh in their minds after the double overtime loss.

“The advantage is they are fresh,” junior Denzel Valentine said. “You just played them a couple games ago. You know what they like to do. What they like to run. It’s fresh in our minds.”

Perhaps the strongest memory for MSU players – and coach Tom Izzo – is the play of Terrapins guards Melo Trimble and Dez Wells. The pair combined for 33 of Maryland’s 68 points, while they shot a combined 20 free throws in the second half and two overtimes.

Senior guard Travis Trice said the key will be to close down gaps defensively this time against Trimble and Wells.

"We were watching the film of last game and we were really hugging defensively and it really opened up gaps for them to drive,” Trice said. “They are a great attacking team so I think our thing is now to close down the lane and force them to make shots.

”They are a good shooting team, but it’s hard to defend somebody when they are at the free-throw line.”

Junior guard Bryn Forbes, who thought the Maryland game was one of the better ones he has played defensively at MSU, said in the last meeting MSU focused in on Maryland forward Jake Layman in the game plan. This time, they are more aware of the guards, who were strong at getting to the line by putting their heads down and playing aggressively.

”They’ve got some good players,” he said. “Their point guard (Trimble) is really good. He hits free throws.

”It’s what hurt us last game. I think if we defend the perimeter, we should be alright.”


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