COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Northwestern lost an overtime heartbreaker to Maryland at the Xfinity Center on Tuesday night. It was the second year in a row in which the Wildcats have come up just short on the road in College Park.
Northwestern head coach Chris Collins, Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon, and Northwestern players Bryant McIntosh and Tre Demps spoke after the loss:
- Collins said he was proud of his players' effort after a disappointing loss to Penn State. "I thought we gave an effort that was worthy of winning, we just weren't rewarded with it," he said.
- Collins on matching up with Maryland: "We're not going to win a racehorse game with them. They have athlete on athlete, pro on pro. We had to try to manage the possessions, and make it a grind it out game, and I thought we did that. We had opportunities."
- Collins pointed out free throw shooting. Northwestern went 5-12 from the line, while Maryland went 16-19.
- Collins on Maryland: "I think they're the most talented team in the country."
- Collins: "We're a building program. We're trying to garner respect. These are the kind of games you gotta be in, and then you gotta find a way to win 'em."
- Collins: "It was really hard to score against them. I think they're the tallest team in the country... I thought Melo [Trimble] defended well, he did a good job staying in front of Bryant."
- Collins when asked what's up with Tre Demps: "I don't know. I don't know. I can't answer that." When asked if he still feels comfortable with Demps having the ball in his hands late in the game, Collins said, "I mean, what other options... who else would you like me to give it to? I thought Bryant had it a lot down the stretch. If you have another option for me, if you have some guys you'd love for me to get the ball to, let me know. I'll take your suggestions."
- Collins on why Dererk Pardon didn't play much late in the game: "I thought defensively he was getting hurt in the pick-and-roll. I thought Melo got around him a couple times. I just thought Joey [van Zegeren] was giving us a better presence defensively. But I thought Dererk played great... I loved how Dererk played."
- Collins on defending Maryland: "You have to pick your poison. We wanted to try to protect the paint. Last game, Rasheed [Sulaimon] and Melo just diced us with their penetration, and they got in the open floor a lot, which led to open threes. So first of all, we got back. They had very few fast break points. We were able to get back and set our defense. And they're great players, they're still going to hit. But... we were going to live with some long jump shots."
- Collins on the improved offensive rebounding (Northwestern had 16 Tuesday against one of the nation's tallest teams): "We're a little more physical. Sanjay [Lumpkin] has always done it, but the addition of Joey and Dererk, those two guys can really offensive rebound. And quietly you're seeing Aaron [Falzon] — Aaron got 4 tonight — he's 6-foot-8 at the small forward position. So we're a little bit bigger, so we're able to get in there a little more. That's been a strength of ours."
- Collins: "I can live with the way my guys fought tonight. Sometimes the game doesn't reward you like you feel like it should."
- Demps looked really dejected after the game. He struggled again Tuesday night, going 3-14 from the field and 0-6 from three-point range. Demps said he felt like he was on the verge of getting it going in an abbreviated second-half stretch, but just couldn't find a groove.
- Demps: "They do a pretty good job on the ball, but once you get by them, they're so big. They have NBA-type size down there. Once you get past one guy, you have another seven-footer flying at you. So it's tough."
- Demps said the plan on the final offensive possession of regulation was McIntosh coming off a handoff. "They did a good job of jumping it, and forcing him to catch it in the corner, so [Bryant] wasn't really able to come off the handoff. They put us in a tough position."
- Demps: "Losing a game playing like that is not acceptable anymore. But after a game like this, you can look yourself in the mirror and say you fought."
- Demps on the defensive performance: "We did a really good job of locking in the ball screens until the end. Obviously Trimble is great, but we did a better job boxing out and not allowing second-chance points and finding their key guys."
- McIntosh on what made Maryland's defense tough: "Length, and then it's hard to go to ball screens against them, because they kind of trap you. You kind of end up playing a one-on-one game against them. They give you something, but they give you the shot you probably don't want to take. They make you take tough shots. And we just didn't [make them] down the stretch."
- McIntosh said there were some decisions he'd like to have back down the stretch. "I saw Sanjay open in the corner," he said, "and I fumbled it and it went out of bounds. That's the one I want to have back."
- McIntosh on the defensive performance: "We communicated really well, and for the most part I thought we did a pretty good job handling ball screens with Melo. Obviously he's a great player, so he broke us down a little bit, but for the most part I thought we did a very good job with him."
- McIntosh on Northwestern's final possession of regulation: "We called one of our out of bounds plays, and guys kind of lost it. [Van Zegeren] just popped to the corner, and I had to get it in, and I threw it to him. My initial thought is to get out of the corner so they can't trap... well he turned his back and they stole it from him."
- McIntosh got one two-minute break in the first half, but played 43 minutes. However, he said, "for whatever reason, in the second half, I don't feel tired. At the start of a game, for the first five minutes, everything is faster, there's juice in the building. After that is when I need a break." But later in the game, he said, he doesn't need one.
- Turgeon on his team's defense: "[Northwestern] spaces you. Our ball screen defense was terrific, our on-ball defense was terrific, our team defense was terrific. We just didn't finish possessions with rebounds."
- Turgeon said he was "nervous about this game" before it tipped off.
- Turgeon said he knew his team would be in for a battle right away. "I yelled at my assistants, 'we're in for a tough one.' I knew it early."