FINAL: UMD 75, WFU 64

ATLANTA -- Wake Forest came out timid against a hungry Maryland team on Friday night, losing to the Terrapins 75-64 in the Demon Deacons' opening game at the 2009 ACC Tournament. The following are post-game quotes from Wake Forest players after the Demon Deacons' elimination from the ACC Tournament.

James Johnson
On his three early fouls...
I don't think it threw us off one bit. I think we have a lot of guys who got a little stage fright for a second. It happens. It happened to me last year. I didn't play as well as I wanted to play either in my first ACC Tournament. It happens to the best of us. I don't think it threw us off, me being out. We have a lot of people who can score the ball and play defense. It had nothing to do with that. It was just the flow of the game, that's the only way I can explain it…Even when I was in the game in the 2nd half, they went on a big run…we had a lot of times when we could cut the lead and they had an open shooter in the corner...

On who had stage fright...
I just mean as a team, we roll as one. We're a team. We're only as strong as our weakest link. That's all it was. It was just stage fright from the whole team it seemed like. We weren't playing Wake Forest basketball at first and when it comes time to cut the lead, we tried to turn it on but Maryland is a great team. They're too good for that and they showed it today.

How does Wake turn it around before the next stage, the NCAAs?
Now we know what it's like…maybe we go away, maybe we stay closer, who knows. But as long as we play Wake basketball and come out hitting people first, we're going to be ok.

On the number of threes Wake took...
Our coach told us at halftime that if we took 20 threes we would lose. That's just what happened. We shoot threes every day in practice and guys knock down big threes in practice, but you have to take them like you're in a game every time when you're just working out.

Jeff Teague:
Sitting in a hotel, just watching games, you should be excited. But you're just sitting there. Our legs weren't there. We were well rested but I don't think guys came out and knew how hard guys are going to play. We didn't know how hard they were really going to play. Coach Gaudio was trying to explain to us, but as a player, you're like ‘alright, they're going to play hard and we're going to play hard too.' They really came out fighting. I don't think anybody was being aggressive in the first half. When JJ got his first two fouls, I looked at him like ‘alright, we'll be ok.' But I didn't really step up at all. I should have been more aggressive. I put a lot of the blame on our first half, the way we played in the 1st half, on me. In the 2nd half, they were hitting everything, hitting on all cylinders...

On his play individually...
It was pretty bad. I don't think I played good at all. That's not my game. I should have been more aggressive but you have games like that some times. Next game we play, I promise you that I'll be way more aggressive, a lot more in attack mode.

On James Johnson's comment that Wake had stage fright…
I don't think it was stage fright. I think guys were scared to shoot as they haven't shot in this gym. Guys didn't have the confidence...Their zone was hugging tight on me. They would let us shoot…We just weren't knocking them down…When you finally get a chance to shoot here, it's like shooting into the ocean. The backdrop is [tough] and we just didn't play well.

One the coaches talking to him on the bench...
They were just telling me to be more aggressive. Coach Muse was telling me you've got to attack in transition. A couple times in transition, I backed it out and kicked it around. He said I don't care what people are telling you about you need to cut down your turnovers, we need you to score. That's what got us where we're at...

Did Maryland do anything different than they did in College Park?
They did the same exact thing they did the first game. In the first game, we were just being aggressive. I was going to the rim and we were going after the boards. We were just playing harder. Today, we just kind of shied away...

How does Wake turn it around for next week in the NCAAs?
I'm going to put it on myself and make sure everyone comes ready to work. I'm going to make sure everyone is more aggressive, I don't care. I'm going to say we've got to attack. We're not a great perimeter shooting team so we've got to attack the basket. I'm going to be in attack mode the rest of the season. I let us down today and I put a lot of the blame on me. Everyone looks at me to score a lot of points and I didn't give anybody anything today. I apologized to the guys and I've got to step up.

Ish Smith
On what the team will get from the ACC Tournament loss...
You've got to learn from it. People use the boxing analogy a lot, but you've got to be the guy out of the corner first, throwing the first punch. I think we allowed our offense to snowball affect out defense. They got some wide open 3s in transition. Like [Jeff Teague] was saying, we've got o be aggressive. We've got to learn from this. Even when they're in zone, attack, attack.

On what Wake saw from Maryland this time...
They played the same way they did in College Park. We got some runouts and made some big shots. We knew how capable they were and that they were good. They just made the shots and we didn't make them.

One what to tell the guys before the NCAAs...
I'm going to tell them to be aggressive. I know it's not the same thing, but you've got to play the way you do in the regular season. I know it's not the same game, but you have to play the same way you do in the regular season. It's a little more tight and more intensity, but you have to go in there like it's another game. You have to be aggressive and be fearless and think you're not going to make any mistakes. If we do that, I think we'll be alright.

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