We're getting used to a dejected Chris Collins in press conferences these days. And it was much of the same following Northwestern's 68-67 loss to the No. 13 Maryland Terrapins. Here's what he had to say about the Wildcats' loss.
- Most of what he said could have been copied and pasted from postgame pressers from previous games. He said he was proud of his team and thought they played well. He "felt awful for his guys."
- Northwestern struggled to take care of the ball, committing 17 turnovers on the night. Ultimately, that was the single area Collins blamed most for the loss.
"The turnovers did us in. I thought we were a little bit sloppy the whole night with the ball. We had ten in the first half. Obviously down the stretch we had a couple of costly ones in the last few minutes that hurt us."
- Collins' reflection on Northwestern's losing streak, especially the team's last five losses:
"It's been a tough couple weeks, but you know what? That's part of basketball. You can say, ‘We should be this, or we should have won these games,' but we're not. You have to finish the deal, especially in this league when you're playing really good teams. There's a lot of good, we're playing really well but we're not getting the results. We gotta find a way to start getting the results. I feel really awful for my team. My guys continue to just lay it on the line."
- Collins on Bryant McIntosh, who led Northwestern in scoring with 21 points and had a chance to give the Wildcats a bit of a cushion with under 30 seconds left in the game and leading by one, but missed the front-end of a one-and-one:
"The kid is a brilliant player man. To come into this environment as a freshman to play the way he did. Obviously he's going to be kicking himself on that one-and-one. Could have put us back up three there with 20 seconds. He didn't make the shot. I love that kid... Like I've told Bryant--like, I want the ball in that kid's hands. He makes good decisions. He can score. He can find guys. He just missed a one-and-one. It's just part of the game but he's the guy I want on the line in that situation every time."
- Collins on his team's and his staff's psyche following so many close losses:
"We got to keep fighting. Those that have covered us, I mean, we've been playing really well. We're leading by two on the last play at Michigan State. We have a shot at Michigan to send it into overtime. We're right there with Ohio State until the last minute. But, you have to learn how to win. I take that personally because it's my job as a coach to teach these guys the way to win in the last couple minutes. That's our job as a staff is to help those guys in those situations. I can do a better job and I will do a better job. I told them, ‘We're going to start winning.' When we break through, I think it could lead to a lot more wins because I think our team has proven that we can play with any team in this league. We're just not getting the results and that's what's frustrating."
- Collins says that his team may be starting to doubt itself, but as a staff, he can't let that happen. He wants to focus on the improvements his team has made.
"I'm really proud of the improvement we've shown. We're getting better. We're getting more confident. We just have to get more confident at the end. I think you have a tendency when you lose some games like this, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh, here we go again.' That's where my staff and I have to do a good job of instilling that belief in the guys."
- Collins on what he said in the huddle when Maryland took its first lead of the game:
"I said, ‘We're going to win.' I said, ‘Look, we're going to score. We're going to win the game. We're down by one. It's our ball. We're going to come out. We're going to execute a play. We're going to score and we're going to win.' That's what we did. We came out and executed our play exactly how we wanted. We gave Tre [Demps] the space he needed. He knocked down a big shot and we just didn't get the stop. We got the miss and we didn't get the block out which was tough. It's hard. It's not fun when you lose a game like that."
- McIntosh also spoke to the media following the game. He was pretty down about the loss, obviously, despite his strong play.
"It's kind of hard to look at a personal perspective. I don't deal with losing very well. All I know is we got beat... It is tough, I've won all my life. It is really tough right now and I got to take it for what it's worth. It's a great learning experience because once we win it will be a little more satisfying."