EVANSTON -- Following Northwestern's 72-59 defeat at the hands of No. 4 Maryland, Terrapins head coach Mark Turgeon and the Wildcats' Chris Collins and Bryant McIntosh spoke to the media:
Mark Turgeon, Maryland head coach
- Turgeon was impressed with his team's defensive play, shutting down Northwestern from the perimeter. "We were as good defensively as we've been," he said. "The things we tried to take away, we took away. They run a hundred sets."
- After a disappointing performance in a come-from-behind victory over Penn State in the Big Ten-opener, Turgeon's goal was to get his team to play with more energy early. "I thought our energy level was great in the first half... Our guys were dialed in." A lot of the reason for that is the Terps knew they couldn't take Northwestern lightly. "Coming in here and they're 13-1, undefeated at home, that kind of gets your attention." In reference to last season's 68-67 win over Northwestern, Turgeon added, "I don't think we knew how good they were last year when we played them."
- Maryland, the No. 4 team in the country, is one of the most balanced teams in the nation. On the outside, the Terrapins' veteran, talented guard duo of Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 38 points. On the interior, Turgeon uses a deep rotation of players were were able to frustrate Northwestern in the paint. "All our guys were good," he said.
Chris Collins, Northwestern head coach
- The big theme from Collins press conference was helping his team avoid making this game mean more than it should. "We have 18 opportunities and we had one tonight. We got beat," he said. "We've got to flush it and move on." He added, "It would have been great to beat Maryland, but we can't make this game bigger than it is."
- Collins also mentioned his team's jitters before the game. While Collins credited Maryland's defensive effort, especially in the half-court, for forcing Northwestern into too many first-half turnovers, it was the atmosphere at Welsh-Ryan Arena that may have caught his team off guard. "It was a great atmosphere," he said. "I want to thank the fans. When I took this thing over a couple years ago, these are the nights that you dream about. It's a big time game on a Saturday night, a great team your playing and the place is packed and cheering for us...
"To be quite frank," he added, "we haven't played in front of these kinds of crowds. We just haven't. And that's something that we've gotta get used to. We're a good team and I hope people are gonna come out. They should. Our guys deserve it. They're a fun team to watch and they should come out. I just thought the excitement, they knew how good Maryland was, got us sped up a little bit."
- Maryland clung to Northwestern's shooters on the perimeter, forcing the Wildcats to try to take advantage of the gaps in the Terrapins' defense, instead of running plays for open three-point shots as they had been doing successfully for the better part of this season. "A lot of times when you play really good teams is that you get exposed. I think they exposed us a little bit." Collins added that with so much attention paid to shooters, there were opportunities to get into the teeth of the defense. If layups fall, he said, the defense opens up. It never really did until the second half.
- In an effort to open Maryland's defense, the Wildcats made a conscious effort to push the pace on offense in the second half. The increased tempo led to a plus-seven scoring margin for Northwestern in the second half. The goal, Collins said, was to catch Maryland's defense in "broken floor" situations. With the defense not set and scrambling, perimeter drives became easier to finish and passing lanes opened up.
Bryant McIntosh, Northwestern point guard
- At the start of the game, McIntosh said his team was caught off guard by Maryland's length defensively. They're athleticism, he said, was easier to adjust to, but the height at every spot on the floor made things more difficult.
- Part of what made McIntosh and Northwestern successful in the second half was their play in transition. McIntosh said that increasing the pace allowed Northwestern to run ball screens without the Terrapins' long-limbed bigs stalking the paint.
- The sophomore also echoed Collins's sentiment about moving on from the 13-point loss. "We can't lose consecutive [games] in a row, or we aren't gonna be able to do what we want to do."